SONG OF THE DAY Alice Babs & Svend Asmussen – Blue Mountain Land 


In 1964 two Swedish artists got together to record an album called Scandinavian Songs With Alice And Svend.  Released via the Swedish record company, Swedisc, the record is made up of a curious blend of jazz, folk and pop (though I’ve only heard a couple of tracks so far) and was performed by Alice Babs and Svend Asmussen in a recoding session in Copenhagen. According to some sources, the album was nearly 400 hours in the making and involved a large choir and orchestra. 

Alice Babs (born Hildur Alice Babs Sjöblom) was a Swedish singer, bass player and actress who worked in a wide number of genres, including, Swedish Folk, Elizabethan song, opera and jazz – though she was possibly best known as a jazz singer.  She released her first recording in April 1939 and in 1958 she formed the jazz trio, The Swe-Danes – along with Svend Asmussen!  The same year she was the first Swedish contender in Eurovision Song Contest and finished fourth. Impressively her musical career spanned over an impressive 60 years!

Her partner for this record was fellow Swe-Danes band member, Svend Asmussen, a Danish jazz violinist, known as the “The Fiddling Viking”.  A swing style genius/magician, he played and recorded with many jazz musicians over his impressive eight decade career, including the likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Stephane Grappelli!!

All of the instruments on Scandinavian Songs With Alice And Svend were played by Svend Asmussen himself and the choir, well, that was pretty much all Alice Babs!! Blue Mountain Land is what brought me here…It’s nothing short of utter escapism in its purist form! It’s more dreamy than a billion sunset clouds in all their fluffy glory and a teeny bit haunting too, when those strings get going. It’s utterly enchanting and Bab’s vocals are the bewitching cherry on this ethereal cake! Listen above. 

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