Bjorn Hamrin – Coda
Swedish blues harmonica artist Bjorn Hamrin played with Grammy-nominated blues artist Eric Bibb & this set of music from Mr. Hamrin’s Coda (Drops Oct 21–Paraply Records) is a tribute to all the artists he has played with over a 50-year career.
The LP has 16 tracks, some classic Americana music from Townes van Zandt’s haunting “Flyin’ Shoes,” Robert Johnson’s “Stones In My Passway,” Blind Boy Fuller’s “Step It Up & Go,” decorated by hot Bjorn harmonica takes along with Willie Dixon’s exuberant “Wang Dang Doodle.”
I always find it fascinating how foreigners interpret or reinterpret old American blues music. Some are highly commendable & others just don’t get it. But they try. As we do. Elvis Presley had hits with foreign songs like “It’s Now or Never,” (Italian song “O Solo Mio”) & “Surrender,” (actually another Italian melody “Come Back To Sorrento”). Of course, Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” is based on the traditional “Scarborough Fair.”
But here, we have quite a blues effort & it certainly is impressive. There are times vocally Bjorn sounds as deep as John Lee Hooker or as energetic as Mose Allison. The first 7 were originally released as the Templeman Brothers Band (2011-2012) & recorded in Stockholm; 3 others follow by the blues band Grizzly (Bjorn is vocals/harmonica) also recorded in Stockholm.
And finally, Peder af Ugglas — the last 6 tunes Bjorn offers vocals/harmonica. On “Walking,” & “Over Younder,” (probably meant Yonder), Bjorn’s deep growl is reminiscent of legendary blues great John Lee Hooker – chillingly real, true & remarkably well. As does Peder’s slow-burning guitar & Bjorn’s harmonica swipes. These people get it.
Highlights on this 74-minute CD – the sizzling harmonica driven/barrelhouse piano of “Can’t Trust Nobody,” the invigorating blues guitar of “This Is The Time,” a Fabulous Thunderbirds sounding “Something Out There.” Also, “She’s Gone,” “Waiting In Vain,” & another hot harmonica tune “Step It Up & Go,” & “You Would Rather Go.” All impressive blues pieces.
Musicians: Templeman Brothers – B.H. (vocals), Sten Templeman (guitars), Bjorn Templeman (bass), Dan Karlsson (harmonica), Max Lorenz (piano/organ), Ola Swenson (drums). Peder af Ugglas solo features B.H. (vocals/harmonica), Peder af Ugglas (guitars/keyboards/pump organ/percussion), Klara Naslund (voice) & Orjan Klintberg (bass). Grizzly – B.H. (vocals/harmonica), Ronny Mattsson (rhythm guitar), Lasse Summanen (lead guitar), Hans Persson (drums) & Malte Sjostrand (Hammond B3 & Piano).
A sample of Grizzly blues music not on the Coda album is here as a reference.
Our friends in Scandinavia remind you to not hesitate & reach out if you hear something you’d like to own @ firstname.lastname@example.org
B&W image courtesy of Karl Melander. CD @ https://www.paraplyrecords.se/ & https://hemifran.com/news/detail/u/1036/Bj%C3%B6rn%20Hamrin/Coda/