Friday, October 5, 2012

BLÅ SCHÄFER – Blå Schäfer (Blå Schäfer, 1975)

International relevance **
Swedish vocals

Gothenburg based Blå Schäfer's only album is one of those that seems more interesting than it is. It's a decent effort, privately released in 1,000 copies, self distributed with an attractive cover, but it never quite takes off. Llyrics are often non rhymed and socially conscious in a leftwing fashion, dealing with environmental issues, imperialism, nazism and the life of ordinary people. Musically it's pretty standard fare rock with some folkish and progressive touches, and truth is that the band weren't distinct songwriters enough to make the songs particularly interesting.

The album was recorded in singer and guitarist Olev Ott's summer house on two Revox machines, providing a basement feel. The mixing leaves something to be desired; vocals are too loud in the mix, and had they turned up the guitars a fair bit, the album would have sounded much more balanced. Ott isn't the greatest singer in the world, and the primitive production makes him sound rather intrusive at times. The best track is the instrumental ”Valsång” that rounds off the album in a slightly druggy, relaxed mood.

The band started out in 1971 and kept going for a long time. After one 1979 single and two tracks on the ”Göteborgsrock/Ytterrock” compilation in 1982, a revamped version of the band released the ”Ge freden en chans” EP in 1986 as Ott & Friends. The band played Amnesty festivals and several charity gigs in and around Gothenburg. In the mid 00s there were plans for a new CD but nothing seems to have come of it.

The album is quite rare but rarely very expensive. I seem to recall that Ott himself had copies for sale at record fairs where he was a familiar figure among record collectors.


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