Soundstream Sunday: “Impressions Of My Country / Foothill Patrol” by Gabor Szabo

GaborSzabo-Nice1…the next move, after Manuel Gottsching’s E2-E4, pulls the thread of that piece’s guitar work and comes up with Gabor Szabo at his funky six-string best, in Stockholm in 1972. From the album Small World (available as a compilation with its sister album, Belsta River, as In Stockholm), “Impressions Of My Country / Foothill Patrol” is a duel with Janne Schaffer — a Swedish guitar hero known mostly for his work with Abba. In 1972 Szabo, a serious jazz cat with a penchant for interpreting pop tunes (and riding that line between elevator music and the sublime), might have been primed to explore this Hendrixian territory.  The previous year his “Gypsy Queen,” from the album Spellbinder (Impulse, 1966), had been adapted to round out Santana’s cover of “Black Magic Woman” on the album Abraxas.  That song reached number four on the charts, while Abraxas went to number one. Szabo’s approach on Small World may have been, in no small part, influenced by Santana. The usually clean tones are fuzzed out, wah-wah pedals are employed, and there is a freer, funkier feel to the proceedings. Coming from Szabo, though, it’s no surprise, and his experimentation with tone and feedback in the 60s, coupled with the use of his native eastern European melodies, helped define a psychedelic sensibility that lent itself to the jam.

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3 thoughts on “Soundstream Sunday: “Impressions Of My Country / Foothill Patrol” by Gabor Szabo

  1. Jeff

    Schaffer’s work outside of Abba is generally unknown, heck, he’s generally unknown! His two late 70’s LPs, Katharsis (rather Beckian) and Earmeal (much funkier) were staples on my stereo for many years. I still break them out from time to time, very tasty I’d say and each has its own sound. I often wondered if Roine Stolt was even slightly influenced by Schaffer, as his popularity at home probably would not have gone unnoticed by Stolt.

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    1. Thanks Jeff! I’ll admit I had no knowledge of Schaffer until I heard his work with Szabo. Most sources, understandably, seem to mention his contributions to Abba first, which is unfair (or maybe not — after all, Abba’s work was amazing). Anyhow, looking forward to checking out his other stuff!

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      1. Jeff

        De nada! Yeah, you’d have to listen DEEP in the Abba mix to hear Schaffer’s contributions. If your local library system is tied into Freegal, you can stream/download from there. Legal downloads, OBTW.

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