In many ways Ypö-Viis "did it their way", and this LP is good example of that: even though they already had a deal with a proper label (Poko Rekords), they released their first album on their own Karva-Levyt. And it was a live album. But that's probably part of the band's charm, doing things the fun way, instead of carefully tracing the path that starting bands are expected to follow.
The band had only had a handful of songs released prior to this, so it's understandable that most of those songs are played here too, for example the opening tracks Energia on A ja O and Mari pogoaa. But there are a good deal of new originals as well, of which TV valehtelee and Flipperin orja are especially good, and Läikkiä perhaps less so. Some of the cover song choices are somewhat surprising: the silly Bird dance beat by 60's surf/garage band The Trashmen, and a memorable version of Twist and shout, borrowed from The Beatles. Metsään, a.k.a. Let's dance also originates from the 60's, but obviously Ypö-Viis picked the song from Ramones' first album. The song lyrics aren't directly translated into Finnish, but instead the pronounciation of the song title is reproduced in Finnish. Unfortunately the fun of this is lost on non-Finnish-speakers. This artform was later perfected by Ne Luumäet, who made a series of onomatopoetic Ramones covers like Siipi lonksuu niin (incidentally recorded by Pojat, who featured two ex-Ypö-Viis members) and Siinä on Punk Kari (again, lost on non-Finnish-speakers).
Karhulan poikii live is a delightful album, but its release had some negative consequences too. Apparently the band didn't want to re-record studio versions of songs already released on this live album. This caused a shortage of new material when they were recording their first studio album (recorded less than two months later!), making it a slight disappointment.
Karhulan poikii live was finally released on CD in 2005 (hats off to Woimasointu), with a healthy dose of bonustracks: two additional cuts from the 1979 gig, some early demos, a previously unreleased studio track, and songs from a 1994 reunion gig.
(Note: this review was written for Karva-Levyt LP)