Rogefeldt made his breakthrough in the late 1960s with albums such as Ja, dä ä dä and Pughish. Unlike most other Swedish pop musicians who wanted to achieve international success, he sang in Swedish. One song which is commonly associated with Rogefeldt is Sma lätta moln. Other major hits include Här kommer natten, Föräldralaten, Hog Farm, Dinga Linga Lena and Stockholm. In the 1970s, he toured with this band Rainrock, together with Ola Magnell and Janne Lucas Persson. A live double LP was released from this tour, entitled Ett steg till.
In the early 1990s, he was also a member of Grymlings, alongside Göran Lagerberg, Mikael Rickfors and Magnus Lindberg.
Serge Gainsbourg was plumbing the depths of depravity with his sleazy releases in France (where else). In Holland the supremely brilliant Jan Ackerman was busy carving up the fret board with Brainbox and Focus. In Germany, Can and the other Krautrockers were crafting some of the greatest music ever transposed to vinyl.
The Joys of Swedish Rock
In Sweden in 1969, Pugh Rogefeldt was taking the first steps on a long and varied career that would crown him as a cultural icon in his own native land. His first album Ja, dä ä dä, was recorded for Metronome and featured the talents of guitarist George Wadenius and respected Jazz and Funk drummer Jan Karlsson. The three of them managed to produce a fine album of psychedelic funk.
Pugh had been shipping out demos to various record companies, but by the time Metronome Records offered him a recording contract he had begun his military service. Leave wasn’t granted for making records at this time, so, in keeping with the sheer recklessness of the decade Pugh went AWOL and went off to the studio to record Ja, dä ä dä...and then spent 3 months in prison for doing so.
And it is a good thing he did because Ja, dä ä dä is pretty solid throughout. Stylistically it draws upon straight up blues rock, but with Pugh’s penchant for experimentation and playful compositional structures the album at times veers more towards early Pink Floyd and progressive rock territory.
The first track on the album “Love, Love, Love” should be instantly recognisable to fans of DJ Shadow as the crashing introductory drum break was lifted in its entirety for Shadow’s “Mutual Slump”. Aside from that it’s a brilliant bit of rock with an astounding guitar solo courtesy of Wadenius.
Elsewhere on the album Pugh turns his hand to doom-laden blues with “Här kommer natten”. He bows his acoustic guitar with mixed results on the folksy, Donovan-esque “Signe”, and demonstrates his ability to eat a harmonica on the slightly bonkers “Dä ä bra, dä ä fint”.
But by far the best track has to be “Sma lätta moln”. Apparently a song about clouds, it’s a terrific bit of hazy psychedelic folk, with gentle acoustic strumming and circling finger picking. Gorgeously ethereal vocals carry the track through to its dreamy psychedelic ending.
Pugh carried on through the seventies with some notable releases such as Pughish in 1970 and 1972’s Hollywood. However his records seemed to become less well received towards the eighties as rock became outdate and less popular. Thankfully he is still making music today and his back catalogue is worth a listen, even if it’s just to discover that there is more to Sweden’s musical heritage than Benny and Bjorn. --- Rewiev by Gerard Fanno.
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