Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peps & Blues Quality - Sweet Mary Jane (1969 sweden blues rock with jazz touches, 1994 sonet reissue - MP3 320K and FLAC)

Peps Persson was probably the most important artist in introducing blues to Sweden in the late '60s and early '70s.

Since then he has had a reputation of being mainly a blues artist, but his discography shows a much wider range, including Afro-pop, reggae, R&B, and folk.

Peps Persson is most easily recognized by his full and trembling voice, and his extreme deep south (Swedish) dialect that gives him a wide selection of words and rhymes. In a peculiar way it also helps him to adapt Swedish to blues music, a thing not many have mastered.

Denmark had Peter Thorup and Sweden had Peps Persson. Both were Scandinavian bluesmen who recorded some of their material with British and American blues legends.

Blues Quality was formed in Örebro in the mid-sixties, although they soon relocated to Stockholm. Peps Persson came into the group in 1969 and strongly influenced their sole album.

His gutsy blues voice was close to Tony McPhee and even the legends of Chicago blues. Two tracks were cover versions (of songs by Little Walter Jacobs and Lightnin' Hopkins), the remaining five were written by Persson.

Skoglund and Tingberg had their background in jazz, allowing the group to go beyond the A4 blues format. The result is really good instrumental music with growling harp, sharp electric guitar statements, fat hammond organ chords, jazz'n'soul influenced sax and trumpet blasts, some tingling piano and a swinging rhythm section.

This is of similar quality level to early Fleetwood Mac. The first issue of the album, with the members smoking a chillum in a weed field, was soon withdrawn but a later re-issue is quite easy to find.

In 1970 Persson became seriously ill and was unable to play with the group. When he rejoined, both parties discovered that they had developed in different musical directions.

Persson then travelled to Chicago and made an album with black blues players such as Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Dawkins. This is recommended to blues-rock fans. Later albums continued in the blues direction but were less interesting.

Peps & Blues Quality - Copenhagen Blues:

Track list:
01. Sweet Mary Jane (4:23)
02. Copenhagen Blues (5:14)
03. You're So Fine (3:56) - Little Walter
04. Somebody (5:22)
05. I Once Was A Gambler (6:40) - Lightnin' Hopkins
06. Sail Off To Another Shore (3:55)
07. Sad Night Is Fallin' (6:15)

Peps & Blues Quality:
*Peps Persson - vocals, harmonica, guitar
*Lars Ove Welander - guitars
*Mats Olof Stromberg - organ, piano & trumpet
*Pär-David Johnson - electric bass
*Magnus Tingberg - alto sax
*Bosse Skoglund - drums

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