Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Swedish Queen Of Groovy Hammond - Merit Hemmingson

Instrumental covers can be a bore and often I don't really understand what actually is the purpose of releasing them on record. But of course the exceptions make the rule and the following instrumental versions of 60's Eurovision entries are just plain groovy. Groovy, for those younsters not familiar with the word, it's dated slang for Cool, Neat, Interesting. To me it means 'swinging your ass off'.

The Hammond organ is a popular keyboard instrument with endless possibilities, but often the Eurocovers on the organ (and there are hundreds) are of the cheesy variety.
But not so Merit Hemmingson, Swedish key-magicienne. Her Hammond antics are the most swinging you'll ever hear.

Debut LP Merit Hemmingson and the Meritones at the Esquire Club (Sonet T 7656, 1967) features an odd collection of popular songs putting a pop song like Sandie's Shaw's Always Something There To Remind Me against a funky jazz Watermelon Man.
And then there's New Fashioned Waltz. It's a version of the jazzy Swedish Eurovision entry of 1966, Nygammal Vals, written by Bengt-Arne Wallin. Even though Merit Hemminsons interpretation is instrumental it's worth mentioning that the lyrics (by Björn Lindroth) are some of the weirdest ever written in Eurovision history. There's a hip pig breeder, a prudish princess and some saucepan banging. You can check them (and translation in English) out at the site for Eurovision lyrics The Diggiloo Thrush.

There's some more serious toetapping and finger snapping to be done with Hemminsons second LP, Merit Hemminson Plays (RCA Camden YSJL-1-547, 1968). It's another collection of hits like Lady Madonna, Mighty Quinn and A Banda. And it has two Eurocovers.
Massiels 1968 winner La La La opens gentle and slowly but you just can't sit still once the beats kick in. Cliff Richards runner up of the same year, Congratulations, gets the groovy hammond treatment laced with some funky sax.
You can find more details about this second LP and its personel here at the Sabu Martinez website.

Today Merit Hemmingson mainly focusses on folk music and she has issued several CDs in recent years (check her MySpace).
In a 40 year career she has released 20 albums (so far), the most recent being Touch of 2006.
In 2005 a compilation of 70's tracks was released at the initiative of Merit fans/Eurovision stars The Ark: Merit - Queen Of Swedish Hammond Folk Groove (Bonnier-Amigo AMSCD 111).Both Merit Hemmingson CDs are available from CD-ON and other sources. The early LP's have not been issued on CD (yet).
Merit Hemmingson Homepage and MySpace and a Youtube video for 2006 song Halcyon Days.


Fronde said...

Great work.

Anonymous said...

The link to "LP Merit Hemmingson & the Meritones at the Esquire Club" (Sweden 66, I believe) no longer works.

Eurocovers said...

All links to uploaded songs at Eurocovers have been deleted as my uploader has terminated my account for copyright infringement.
I can understand their point of view and bear no grudge against them, but to the petty little weazels who scour the internet just to be able to snitch for a few pennies: I hope your children will be ugly.

I won't be creating a new account, so from now on Eurocovers will only feature news, release info and links to websites with content that is legal and interesting for the Eurocovers reader.
All the Eurocovers posts, stories, discographies etcetera, stay up and I hope you'll still enjoy the read.
It was great while it lasted, wasn't it?