AFTON BLUES - '13 (Bluestown Records 1031-2)
I first heard the Blues in the spring of 1973 when I was 12 years old and under the constant influence of my elder brother Gunnar's keen interest in jazz. Together, we recorded jazz shows from the Norwegian State Radio (NRK) on our sister's mono cassette deck that she'd received as a confirmation gift, and thanks to my brother and I - she never saw again! For that I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to my sister Tone who actually was the rightful owner of my first audio hardware. Music was something that has touched me as long as I can remember. Of course, I liked a lot of normal kid stuff, and I loved fishing, but music was my #1 love. I remember tricking my parents - staying awake until 11pm to record "Jazzklubben" on the Norwegian Broadcasting; Miles Davis; Michał Urbaniak and John McLaughlin were among names that hit my uppermost bodypart. Jazz was exciting and groovy, but I didn't grasp the concept 100 %.
By 1973, radio receivers were getting sophisticated enough to locate Swedish radio programs and by accident one fateful Wednesday evening, I turned on our Tandberg stereo during 'Aftonblues' (Blues After Hours), a half hour blues show on Sweden's channel 3. I was totally blown away by the music, and together with Gunnar, I started a 4 year tradition - recording all 'Aftonblues' and 'Mera Blues' radio shows (which alternated every second week)! Blues became my music; the same kind of energy that I felt listening to jazz music, but simpler, sweeter and to my ears, far more poetic. At 12 years of age I became a complete and total fan of the blues - blues was pain and relief, it expressed both the lamb on the sacrificial table as well as the downward motion of the sacrificial knife. It was fiery, passionate music, dark red and bloody – in short: to me blues was "life" and so, barely out of my childhood years of innocence, I was already determined to live my life steeped in the blues!
The songs you hear on this album were among the very first songs I learned. Most of them I were either introduced to me by 'Afton Blues' or 'Mera Blues', and a couple I learned from my guitar teacher Joe Vey. Some are, in my opinion, among the best blues ever recorded. Of course I did play a few George Harrison and David Bowie tunes, who were immensely popular at that time, but blues was my main focus – and to my ears, pre-war blues were the cream of the crop. This album contains 12 songs from my 1973 late night radio rambles – plus one bonus track: “Blinded By Love”, learned from Dr. John while touring with him 10 years later.