Baltimoore - Best Of Baltimoore

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Lion Music
Catalog Number: LMC 2108-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 37:24:00

Bjorn Lodin (photo: © Lion Music)Maybe it's the dry, scratchy way that vocalist Bjorn Lodin sings that puts me off this album. Baltimoore aren't a progressive rock band, but rather a bluesy bar band that we can compare to Rod Stewart, Glenn Hughes, etc. While there are times where I can almost listen to Lodin's vocal delivery... he's on key, mind you... his voice is as grizzled as a 3-day old beard, and it needs to be shaved.. Somehow, the huskiness of Stewart is so much more appealing, warmer... Lodin's frankly makes me think it must hurt. I mean, whisky-soaked is one thing, but ripped to shreds by razors is quite another. In fact, though I'm not a big fan of the death metal rumbles, I'd just about prefer that now... well, just about. Actually, a throat lozenge would more helpful.

The irony is this: Best Of Baltimoore is, as the title implies, a compilation of Baltimoore tunes past, culled from the first four of the bands five albums. The catch? Lodin has recorded each of these pieces because "I was never happy with how the earlier recordings turned out," he says at the Lion Music site. "So now when I had the the opportunity to do these songs again I did." How they compare, I can't say, but uh... well, that's just dwelling on a point.

Of course, this isn't an a capella album, so... about the music. "Ballerina" is interesting in terms of arrangement, though lyrically and vocally it leaves me a little cold ... in other words, this'd be a killer, dramatic instrumental with its epic, though not particularly unique, organ passages from ?rjan Fernstr?m. Alas, it is not, though it does have the organ passages as described. I like the laid-back groove of "Day To Come," which also has some nice organ work from Fernstr?m, as well as nice lead guitar work from Thomas Larsson (who could be Bill Mumy's doppelganger). Ian Haugland is good drummer, as evidenced in the solo that begins "Kahluha Confusion."

Some additional random thoughts -- the opening arpreggio of "Memories Calling" made me think of "Suicide Is Painless" (aka "Theme From M*A*S*H*") but the piece becomes a mellow, bluesy ballad. Quite a bit of the material is sexist, but that's part for the course with this style of music. Well, most rock is a bit sexist anyway, isn't it? I suppose "Calling You Closer" is likable enough... but he sure seems cock sure of himself, every play on words intended. "Try Change To Better" is a little creepy... I mean, I'm guessing is a father singing to an often estranged daughter, but plonked amongst the other tracks with their sometime frank sexuality... I don't know... The track that worked best for me on all points was that which ends the disc, "'Til The End Of The Day."

Baltimoore was the band that Lodin started after his band Ready Steady had been dropped by Electra and he had been picked up by the same label as solo artist. Over the course of 5 albums, the first, There's No Danger On The Roof, having been released in 1989, the line up of Baltimoore has changed. Only two of the four other members have played with Lodin before in earlier versions of the band, Larsson right from the outset, though by the second album, Freak (1990), Stefan Bergstr?m was the guitarist, Nikolo Kotzev took over by the time the third album, Double Density was released in 1992. The band split after Thought For Food's release in 1994 Larsson rejoined for 2000's Original Sin. Hoagland and Johansson came on board with Thought For Food

All of the rating points for this go to the music and the performances from Fernstr?m, Larsson, Haugland and bassist Weine Johansson. But, since Lodin's vocals are very much up front...

Rating: 2.5/5

Baltimoore (clockwise from left: Björn Lodin, Ian Hauglund, Weine Johansson, Thomas Larsson, and Örjan Fernström
Baltimoore (clockwise from left:
Bj?rn Lodin, Ian Hauglund, Weine Johansson,
Thomas Larsson, and ?rjan Fernstr?m

Little Bye (2:52) / My Blue Moon (4:30) / Day To Come (3:34) / Kahlua Confusion (3:40) / Memories Calling (4:49) / Full Speed Ahead (3:27) / Take Me To The Top (3:30) / Calling You Closer (4:00) / Try Change To Better (4:03) / 'Til The End Of Day (4:49)

?rjan Fernstr?m - organ
Ian Haugland - drums
Weine Johansson - bass
Thomas Larsson - lead and rhythm guitars
Bj?rn Lodin - vocals and rhythm guitar

Additional musicians:

Per Wiberg - organ
Magnus Melander - backing vocals

There's No Danger On The Roof (1989)
Freak (1990)
Double Density (1992)
Thought For Food (1994)
Original Sin (2000)
Best Of Baltimoore (2001)
Ultimate Tribute (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin SE

Added: December 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1450
Language: english


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