Norwegian Wood (The Folkswingers)

3 NOVEMBER 1966


Following the success of the Beatles' 'Norwegian Wood' and the Stones' 'Paint It Black', there was quite a lot of instrumental sitar-rock crossover stuff about in the mid-'60s. An early-'60s pioneer of this kind of music was Vinnie Bell, inventor of the electric ('coral') sitar, but the master of the 'raga rock' sub-genre was probably highly-respected session guitarist 'Big' Jim Sullivan, who recorded the albums 'Sitar Beat' (1967) and 'Lord Sitar' (1968).

The Folkswingers - a Los Angeles studio group featuring session musicians from the very wonderful Wrecking Crew along with sitar virtuoso Harihar Rao - were quickly onto this fad and released their 'Raga Rock' album in late '66. Despite the talent, this album is quite uneven and often unoriginal. There were obvious covers of 'Norwegian Wood', 'Eight Miles High' and 'Paint It Black' mixed in with sitar takes of other recent chart hits such as 'Homeward Bound' and a pre-Hendrix 'Hey Joe'. Some worked better than others. 
 
Featured here is 'Norwegian Wood', complete with a drone instrument that sounds rather too much like a mooing cow at times. Still, this material has an inherent ''66 grooviness' to it that is quite enjoyable.

Norwegian Wood (The Folkswingers)

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