Sunday, October 15, 2017

TELGE BLUES - Telge Blues (Philips, 1975) / BLUE FIRE - Blue Fire (MIstlur, 1978)

TELGE BLUES – Telge Blues (Philips, 1975)
International relevance: **
English vocals

BLUE FIRE – Blue Fire (Mistlur, 1978)
International relevance: **
English and Swedish vocals

In my very first post to this blog, I said that Södertälje was a blues city, with Sven Zetterberg being of paramount importance. Zetterberg rose to local stardom in the 70's before earning international reverence in the 80's and beyond. Deservedly so, as he was a great harp blower, an even better guitarist and as years went by became one of the most soulful singers ever to come out of Sweden.

Zetterberg moved from his native town of Skärblacka to Södertälje in the late 60's, and in 1972, he founded Telge Bluesorkester with excellent drummer Stefan ”Stoffe” Sundlöf among others. (Telge is an older name for Södertälje.) The following year the band did a session for the Tonkraft radio show, bringing the yet unsigned band to national attention. This in turn led to several commitments as support act to international blues stars visiting Sweden. In 1975, Telge Bluesorkester, with their name abbreviated to Telge Blues, Philips Records signed them for what was to become their only album. (For those taking notes, the drawbridge seen on the album cover is one of the best known local landmarks.)
 

Although ”Telge Blues” can't compare with Zetterberg's later victories (his solo albums in particular), it's a rough and ready urban blues effort. Tracks like ”Wish Me Well” and Billy Boy Arnold's ”I Wish You Would” are too crude to make their point, but ”Act Like You Know Me”, ”Hard Road” and ”Checkin' Up” are credible enough.

After the demise of Telge Blues, Zetterberg and Sundlöf went on to form Blue Fire who later changed their name to Chicago Express and became Sweden's prime blues band for fifteen years. Blue Fire were a more self-assured band and an all around more efficient machinery than Telge Blues. Zetterberg grew as a singer, and while his greatest achievements were still years ahead of him, his and the band's potential was already evident in slower numbers, ”Suicide Blues” in particular.

”Telge Blues” was the first ever album released on the Mistlur label, later home of Trettioåriga Kriget, Thomas Almqvist, Torkel Rasmusson and other progg acts, as well as several noted Swedish punk bands.

Special thanks to Tor-Björn Lyrhed for his kind permission to use his early 70's pic of Sven Zetterberg.

TELGE BLUES:

BLUE FIRE:

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