Saturday, May 6, 2023

Bullfrog - High In Spirits (1977 germany, strong hard rock with hammond organ and prog touches, 2009 remaster and expanded)

Bullfrog played classic seventies hard rock, which in terms of sound is reminiscent of big names like Deep Purple , Rainbow or Uriah Heep , but nevertheless has its own note and independence. Starting with the raspy, rough voice of Gerd Hoch , through the superb, fresh and rousing guitar work of Sebastian Leitner , the cool grooving and equally explosive substructure of Vincent Trost (bass) and Bruno Perosa (drums) to the first-class keyboard work of Harald Kaltenecker, here were exceptionally good musicians at the start, who made "High In Spirits" the high-class album that it finally became.

The rocking title track opens the dance with small funky sprinklings and the keyboard (mostly on this track) reminiscent of Jon Lord . The following "Feelin' Allright" is a great grooving mid-tempo rocker, with a running time of more than six minutes, especially the guitar and the keys provide exclamation marks. "Be Yourself" was released as a single and is a killer ballad with a very successful vocal melody and a Gerd Hoch , who was able to fully show off his whiskey-soaked vocal cords here. A strong song that not only goes straight to the ear, but also gets stuck there.

But with "Rollin' Again" and "Free Spirit" the gas pedal is pushed harder again! Especially the boogie rocker "Free Spirit" gets you in a good mood, while in "Rollin' Again" the creaking bass carries everything away and the keyboard once again sets the tone. It's half time now and my bad memories of the band have long since faded, or rather been swept off the table completely! At just under nine minutes, "A Housepainter's Song" is the longest track on the disc. After a guitar/keyboard intro lasting about two minutes, the band once again slides into a melodic verse of highsThen vote the necessary dirt, i.e. the corners and edges are missed. Fat guitar melodies make the title downright epic, but they always find their way back to the verses in good time. My personal highlight on "High In Spirits"!

After the straight forward rocking "Live" follows the last piece with "LA Police #55". And this is where it gets down to business with such a relaxed, swinging, rocking energy that you are inevitably carried away. A worthy conclusion to a great disc!

The mix of the record, released in 1977, was done by Krautrock producer legend Conny Planck . On the new edition of "High In Spirits" to be discussed here, all eight tracks were added a second time as a bonus. And this in the original mix completed by the band in the recording studio. The biggest difference is that the bonus tracks sound a bit rougher.

Ultimately, it remains to be said that "High In Spirits" is a very strong rock album by this band, which rightly claims its special place in German rock history and was therefore also highly deservedly re-released. So, I'll see if I can get Bullfrog 's Rockpalast performance again. It seems to me that I was fundamentally wrong in my opinion at the time! 
by Markus Kerren, November 8th, 2009
1. High In Spirits - 3:19
2. Feelin' Allright - 6:05
3. Be Yourself - 3:21
4. Rollin' Again - 3:32
5. Free Spirit - 2:54
6. A Housepainter's Song - 8:53
7. Live - 3:46
8. L.A. Police No. 55. - 5:09 
9. High In Spirits - 3:19
10.Feelin' Allright - 6:04
11.Be Yourself - 3:19
12.Rollin' Again - 3:41
13.Free Spirit - 2:54
14.A Housepainter' Song - 8:30
15.Live - 3:46
16.L.A. Police No. 55 - 5:08
All compositions by Sebastian Leitner, Gerd Hoch
Tracks 1-8 from "High In Spirits" 1977
Bonus Tracks 9-16 The Unreleased Hiltpoltstein Mix

*Gerd Hoch - Vocals
*Sebastian Leitner - Guitars
*Harald Kaltenecker - Keyboards
*Vincent Trost - Bass
*Bruno Perosa - Drums, Percussion
*G√ľnter Kaup- Backing Vocals
*Uwe Hillmer - Backing Vocals
*William Candler - Backing Vocals