Bob Novak alias ”Bumble Bee” Bob made a painting of me with a guitar in my hands and a Borsalino on my head, that you can see on the album “Limbo Station” (1989). I met him in Copenhagen I 1988 at the famous “Rådhuskroen” now “MOJO”, where he sat in on harmonica with The Blue Devils, the name of my band at that time. During the years to come, he became a regular partner on his annual trips to Europe on his regular route: Copenhagen, Paris and London, where he stayed, and jammed, with the late Steve Marriott. He made paintings for posters to a couple of Copenhagen Blues Festivals and is famous for his Chicago Blues Festival posters. Chicago is his hometown and he has his own permanent stand at the O’hare Airport of Chicago.
I visited him in Chicago in 1989 and got a glance into his universe both as an artist and musician, and he gave me the grand tour. With Bob guiding me through the nightlife of Chicago, I met and jammed with almost everybody and what Bob does not know about the blues of Chicago and its performers is not worth knowing. Albert Collins’ special sting, Little Walters harp-technique, Howlin’ Wolf’s 44 and explain why Muddy Waters always had the best musicians, “they were all good in those days”!!!
Bumble Bee’s love for strange people, obscure events and the blues is shown in his paintings and long titles, like blues stanzas: She Left Me like a Leaf Leaves The Tree” or ”The Boys Who Finds Things Before People Loose Them”
Here is a few examples of his beautiful paintings:
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It was my friend Paul Madsen Cederdorff who turned me on to Per Ulrich. Paul, an outstanding artist himself, turned me on to Per Ulrich. He had invited me to the opening reception on a little gallery in the little fishing village of Dragør just outside Copenhagen and we went ro a nearby Inn for a cup of coffee. Here he asked me if I would write music for an exibition “Raderinger fra Peru” by Per Ulrich and I began studying his extensive works: Novels, art & textbooks, and his diary-like books from many part of the world where he and his family have lived and worked. One book (Rejseår) caught my attention.
It is a kind of synopsis of all these diaries and I suggested that the resolution should be a musical journey in the footsteps of Per Ulrich and Paul agreed. France, Marocco, The Far East, Mexico and Peru are among the places where Ulrich lived and worked and I have tried, in a simple way, to capture the spirit of the folk-music fom these different parts of the world, – just ravelling along. I never thought that this projekt would be recorded, but after the premiere-concert, a lot of folks expressed both joy and regrets that they were not able to listen to “Rejseår” again anytime soon, so Paul and me joint forces and recorded and released it locally.
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