Sture Elldin

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Sture Elldin is from Sweden, as are all the players on this, his first full-length release featuring tracks from a number of sessions cut primarily in Stockholm between 1999 and 2001. (The closer, a cover of Little Walter's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," was waxed in 1995). Sture plays some very fine harmonica, and the players for the most part acquit themselves well enough. But to my ears the vocals are simply too tongue-tangled to work properly. Perhaps it's churlish to complain; Sture is obviously sincere in his love of the blues. He's been doing it, according to the disc's liner notes, since the seventies, and even garnered a nomination as "Best Blues Instrumentalist" in Living Blues Magazine back in 1983. He's made pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi and to Chicago, and has backed artists of significant stature, including Big Jack Johnson and Magic Slim. He's blessed with a full, fat tone and an obvious intelligence, favouring taste over dexterity and understanding the value of understatement when it comes to getting his musical message across.

In short, there's much to like about this generous eighteen-track collection. The feel is classic 50's Chicago, with tunes from the likes of Little Walter'sr, Jimmy's Reed and Rogers, and Sonny Boy Williamson. He throws in a couple of originals, including the somewhat misnamed "West Coast Jump" (pure Chicago - perhaps he meant "west side?") and the brooding "Quarter To Two." And there are a couple of pleasant surprises, notably an interesting "Summertime" and a melodic reading of Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be."
Sture Elldin


 
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