Over the years there has been a steady stream of evidence that Scandinavians know, and can play the blues. The latest example comes from Norway in the shape of Jan Tore (J.T.) Lauritsen & The Buckshot Hunters' "Make A Better World." Lauritsen has been playing for over quarter of a century, but is still only in his early 30's. Over time he has migrated
from keyboards to accordion and harp, and this is reflected in the selection of material, which mostly combines styles from the Louisiana region (swamp blues, Zydeco, New Orleans funk).
The album opens with "Me and My Babe" which sees Lauritsen strapping on his
accordion for an original Zydeco number. This is the first of seven (out
of 11) original tunes, and it offers a good introduction to the quality of
the band. It is swiftly backed up by a fine performance of Robert Cray's
"Labor of Love," and the cooking "Red Hot" which features some great harp
from Arne F. Rasmussen, and pumping piano from Stein Kulseth. Rasmussen is
also featured (on chromatics harp) on the trucking "I Won't Let You In,"
where songwriter Patric Carlson serves up some tasty licks on guitar.
The band also demonstrate a more soulful side on three of the tracks. The
first of these, "I Hope She Know" sounds a little like Van Morrison in one
of his more melancholy moods. It is followed by "Get Your Dirty Hands Off
Me" which sits more in the Percy Sledge or Ben E. King territory. The
final example comes on the version of Dwight Yoakam's "Buenos Nochas,"
which brings things to a nicely relaxed close.
"Make A Better World" is a very solid album that is worth tracking
down. The blend of Louisiana musical styles works very well, and the
musicianship is of the highest order. As with most bands from Scandinavia,
the songs are all delivered in perfect English. "Make A Better World" can
be ordered from the band's web site (www.buckshothunters.com).
This review is copyright © 2001 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.