Sunday, April 29, 2007

SBB(Szukaj, Burz i Buduj)-SBB (Wolanie o brzek szkla),LP,1978,Poland

SBB were a Polish fusion outfit, led by über-keyboard man Józef Skrzek, who produced several inventive albums during their career, especially their second and third, both from '75, Nowy Horyzont and Pamięć. Like many Eastern European bands (Omega spring immediately to mind), SBB's discography is a confused thing, with albums appearing in different territories under different titles, although their website seems to put matters straight by listing their releases not only in order, but with the month as well as the year of original release.
As a result, it seems Ze Słowem Biegnę do Ciebie is definitely their fourth album, and like its two predecessors, is a ripping slice of prog/jazz rock, consisting of two side-long pieces, one with vocals, although not a jot of the credited Mellotron, unless the extremely faint sustained sound on side one (which pretty much rules it out anyway) is what we're looking for. Neither the first nor the last time we'll hear from 'the inaudible 'Tron'. Or not. Fine album, anyway. Now, their second album of '77 really starts the ball rolling properly; SBB (Wołanie o Brzęk Szkła) (****) is a storming record, with some of the most incendiary MiniMoog playing (from Józef Skrzek) you may possibly ever hear scorched into its grooves/binary pits. This is a fucking great album, make no mistake, even for someone who generally avoids fusion, although, despite rumours, it appears to not only be entirely 'Tron-free, but hasn't actually got the thing credited. Follow My Dream (***½), from later the same year, hasn't got it credited either, but the year's second eponymous SBB album apparently has. Confused? Good.
Sadly, the band had 'normalised' considerably by Welcome, but it still has its moments, although, to be honest, they're few and far between. Opener Walkin' Around The Stormy Bay is a high-energy slice of prog-fusion, and How Can I Begin has some nice organ work, but most of the rest of the material's pretty dispensable. There's Mellotron credited on three tracks, but I can't hear the thing myself, so that's a fat 'zero' on the 'T' rating, then.
Memento z Banalnym Tryptykiem is a better affair, surprisingly, without all the cheesy vocal material of its predecessor (I believe this was due to leaving their previous label). There's some quite ripping fusion guitar work to be heard here, which, while creating its own problems, is vastly superior to awful attempts at songwriting. The side-long title track is especially good, building to a superb guitar-driven crescendo before a sudden tape cut. Mellotron's credited on two tracks but is, once again, completely inaudible.
The only (apparently) relevant SBB albums I now haven't heard are the above-mentioned 'Amiga album' and a cassette-only release from 1978, Jerzyk, although I've no idea whether or not the latter's made it onto CD anywhere. There's also a '79 Skrzek solo release, Pamiętnik Karoliny, but going by these three, I can't imagine what use Skrzek actually made of his Mellotron; the only other band I can think of who used it so little are Novalis. So, the only genuinely poor album I've heard by the band (apart from its opening track) is Welcome, but everything else is pretty much worth hearing, assuming you're into fusion.
From Planet Mellotron

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Anonymous said...

i'm from Poland and back in the summer of 1981 "Memento Z banalnym Tryptykiem" by SBB was one of my first record purchases ; there were 2 or 3 record companies in Poland at that time and they released everything (i mean everything). the fact that that one sounds different is most likely due to the line-up change - second guitarist came on board. and by the time it was out, the band had split.
i have just discovered your awesome blog, i hope i can share some great Polish music with you in future. good luck1

Anonymous said...

FYI, there is a 22 CD Box Set of SBB currently making the rounds - as 22 individual Torrents. You can obtain the torrent(s) from Demonoid.


Anonymous said...

Poland wasn't very lucky when it came to prog/jazz rock bands. There was only a handful of them and they didn't display too much originality. bands like Grupa Niemen, Niemen Aerolit and SBB recorded good albums for sure and are treated as pioneers of prog in our territory. But people tend to forget about another greater Polish group called Laboratorium that produced a few jazz rock-oriented albums. They are the ones to really look for.

Line by Line said...

SBB is a great Band !!!
Tkx for the post.

Anonymous said...

any chance of re upping this?