The Raindogs

Chicago Callin'


Kurt Bislin
Vocals (songs 1, 4, 5 and 8)
Harmonica (songs 3, 7 and 8)
Backing Vocals

Benno Rupp
Guitar
Slide Guitar (song 8)

Norman Marogg
Guitar (all songs except 2)

René Mehrmann
Bass
Backing Vocals

Ordy Somchai Sihaampai
Drums


Guests

Aron Burton
Vocals (songs 2 and 6)
Backing Vocals

Zora Young
Vocals (songs 3 and 7)
Backing Vocals

Christian Willisohn
Piano (all songs except 1 and 8)
Backing Vocals

Kurt Bislin, Zora Young, Ordy Somchai Sihaampai, Benno Rupp, Christian Willisohn, Aron Burton, René Mehrmann, Norman Marogg (from left to right)

A little bit of history ...

Benno Rupp and Kurt Bislin met Aron Burton in 1985 at the club "Limmatquai 82" in Zurich. Burton had a three-week engagement there as bandleader and bass player, backing up a different solo artist each week.

Benno Rupp and Kurt Bislin knew of him, being one of the sought-after bass players in Chicago. Burton played with his brother-in-law, slide guitar master Johnny Littlejohn, Eddie Clearwater, and James Cotton, just to name a few. Aron Burton and his band, consisting of his brother Larry Burton on guitar, A.C. Reed on saxophone, Alan Batts on keyboards and Casey Jones on drums were picked by legendary Texas blues giant Albert Collins to play in his first recording session with Alligator Records. The musicians then became the original Icebreakers, and recorded several albums and acted as Collins' touring band for many years.

Aron Burton wasn't just one fine bass player, but a wonderful singer in his own right. He made a habit of spending about half of the year in Europe, mainly in Copenhagen. There he recorded his first solo album, "Usual Dangerous Guy”, with the Kenn Lending Blues Band and Champion Jack Dupree on piano. The album, with exclusively original songs, proves Burton’s strong abilities also as a songwriter.

The two young Swiss blues enthusiasts lived a good hour away from Zurich, but nonetheless went to "Limmatquai 82" as often as possible to listen to and talk to their newly found friend. Aron Burton then went back to Chicago and not much later, the two Swiss arrived in ‘the windy city’ too, for their first time. Aron Burton invited them to stay in his home, which was located out on the westside. He showed them Chicago and its vibrant blues scene and introduced the two to many of the legendary blues musicians alive and well back then, like Junior Wells, Sunnyland Slim, Moose Walker and Eddie Clearwater. It meant the world for the two ...

Kurt Bislin and Benno Rupp, together with their band "The Raindogs", planned the recording their first album with new inspiration. Knowing Aron Burton was coming back to Zurich again in fall of 1987 to perform at Limmatquai 82 for three weeks led to the idea of inviting him to sing a couple of songs on the album. Burton was all up for it and ended up recorded his two originals "Seven Day Blues" and “Spirit” with The Raindogs.

On this tour, Aron Burton had an up-and-coming singer in the band, the marvelous Zora Young. On piano was one of Germany's stellar New Orleans blues and boogie players, the wonderful Christian Willisohn from Munich. It didn't take much to convince the two to become part of The Raindogs’ recording session. Zora Young sang on two songs, her original "Bad Track Records” and Kokomo Arnold's "How Long" and, Christian Willisohn provided outstanding piano work throughout the entire album.

"Chicago Callin'" was released shortly after and got rave reviews from all over Switzerland. This led to several tours the following years. For instance "The Raindogs", featuring Aron Burton and Christian Willisohn (sans Zora Young, unfortunately) played such prestigious festivals like the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Paléo Festival in Nyon, and the Out In The Green in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.

Now, some 35 years later, it was time to dig up the old 1/4 inch master tape, and check if it still was firmly holding the music that was recorded such a long time ago. It was a very special moment when sound engineer Little Konzett put the old tape onto his Studer master machine and hit the play button. There it was…as fresh as decades ago! With some minor adjustments to meet modern sound expectations and today’s wider sonic range, the recording went into the digital world.

Aron Burton and Benno Rupp are sadly no longer with us. But the rest of the crew is still here, spread out all over the world. Zora Young is living in Chicago, drummer Ordy Somchai Sihaampai is back in his homeland of Thailand and Christian Willisohn is doing what he's always doing, playing his piano all over Europe. Kurt Bislin sings and plays the blues even more than ever, while René Mehrmann and Norman Marogg are flying a little under the radar these days.

Chicago Callin'
(Benno Rupp/Kurt Bislin/SUISA)

Seven Day Blues
(Aron Burton/Drop Top Music/BMI)
Aron Burton, Vocals

How Long
(Kokomo Arnold/Spikedriver Music/ASCAP)
Zora Young, Vocals

Do This Town Tonight
(Edward Harrington/Cleartone Pub./BMI)

North St. Louis 943
(Benno Rupp/Kurt Bislin/SUISA)

Spirit
(Aron Burton/Drop Top Music/BMI)
Aron Burton, Vocals

Bad Track Record
(Zora Young/BMI)
Zora Young, Vocals

Louisiana Further
(Benno Rupp/Kurt Bislin/SUISA)


All rights of the production reseved
© 2021 – SUISA


Recorded, mixed and mastered in November 1987 at New Sound Studio, Päffikon/SZ, Switzerland, by Etienne Bron

Digitally remastered and sonically enhanced in February 2021 at LITTLE BIG BEAT Studios, Eschen, Liechtenstein, by Little Konzett

Produced by The Raindogs and Aron Burton
Executive producers: The Raindogs and Four Roses Management
Digital post production: Kurt Bislin

Front cover photo by Michael Bühler
Back cover photo by Etienne Bron
Cover design by Kurt Bislin


Special thanks to Aron Burton, Zora Young, Christian Willisohn, Willie Burton, Kurt Müntener, Michael Bühler, Etienne Bron, Pedro Hirt und Cesarino, Peter Keller, André Kurmann und Juh, Clemes Löpfe, Joe Morscher, Heinz Rohrer, The Limatquai 82, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted, The Kingston Mines


The Second Cousins -
«Bloody Tears»

BurroBeat | Ser.Daia.Songs | SDS-002

Deep Blues from Switzerland

By Richard Koechli

«Deep Blues», that’s what nowadays the traditional music from Chicago, Louisiana or Mississippi is called, and it’s a very rare thing for this kind of music to come out of Switzerland. So, even more pleasant, every now and then such a credible marvel surfaces, and deep it is from the first to the last note! A quite proper mix of electric Chicago Blues, rough Mississippi tones, swampy Louisiana feel and lively New Orleans grooves. Swinging, sweaty, mesmerizing. Nett and Bislin take turns singing and playing guitar, the entire quartet harmonizes splendidly. Idiosyncratic the two singers tell their stories ... taken straight out of long life experience and miles apart from any parody.

Concert schedule

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Bislin & Forlin

The Genuine Blues Duo

Kurt Bislin  vocals, guitar
Tino Forlin  piano, organ

Genuine Blues [genuine = authentic, real] ... Kurt Bislin and Tino Forlin are harking far back to the roots of the Blues, devoid of all echoes of today's modern forms of this genre. In their understanding, Blues has very little to do with three chords, fast solos and dark sunglasses ... all the more with the soul and rhythm of this music, which finds its way so directly and sincerely into the innermost part of the human being. Mojo Buford, Muddy Waters' harmonica player, once said: "Blues might be simple in its musical form, but just that makes it possible to create it spontaneously, all new again and again, while playing together with your fellow band mates." ... and that's just how "Bislin & Forlin" deliver ...

The repertoire of “Bislin & Forlin” includes songs from the rich catalog of the blues of the past hundred years, original compositions, and even a couple of Southern Soul trouvailles. Delivered in guitar and piano duo, the music comes very close to the audience, the setting is intimate, the volume is moderate.

For some time Kurt Bislin had been tossing around the idea of getting closer to his musical roots, solo or in a duo, and exploring the depths of his beloved blues. In Tino Forlin he found a fellow musician and notabene companion from the old days who was ready to be involved in the project.

In the early eighties the paths of Tino Forlin and Kurt Bislin crossed for the first time. For many years they toured rather successfully in mainly Switzerland with «Bluecaster». After the band broke up, the contact remained. They met again musically in 1991 at the recording session for Larry Burton's album "Hustler’s Paradise" at Soto Sound Studios in Chicago.

Concert Schedule

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Doug Legacy & Kurt Bislin

Doug Legacy - vocals, piano, accordion
Kurt Bislin – vocals, guitar

Doug Legacy and Kurt Bislin have been close friends for a long time. In the 1990s, Kurt Bislin was the tour manager for Doug Legacy and his Zydeco Party Band on their European tours. The two stayed in contact and finally met again during a three-week solo engagement Doug Legacy had in Central Switzerland. Legacy was performing nightly at a hotel on Lake Lucerne, and asked Kurt Bislin to come over with his band and accompany him at his weekend club shows. The arrangement worked out well and the two musicians decided to continue their collaboration, which led to several tours in Europe in the early 2000s.

In 2005, Doug Legacy and Kurt Bislin, with Bislin’s band Donkey Biters, recorded the brilliant album "Sittin 'On Top Of The World" at the legendary Powerplay Studios, near Zürich. A few of Legacy's music colleagues back in Los Angeles contributed solo work to some of the songs. Along with other great players, Waddy Wachtel (Keith Richards, Bob Dylan), Lee Thornburg (Tower Of Power), Jimmy Z. (Rod Stewart, Eurythmics) and Doug's former bandmate, slide guitar wizard Mark Shark, all came together on this album for Legacy and Bislin, as did Cla Nett, the Swiss blues veteran and winner of the first Swiss Blues Award.

Now, Legacy & Bislin are on the road as a duo. In this small but effective line-up, the charismatic friends and bandmates get closer to their audiences and present their songs in a more intimate setting. Doug Legacy with his outstanding, irresistible voice, rousing piano and accordion playing, and Kurt Bislin with rough vocals and authentic blues guitar present a gripping, varied program of Blues, New Orleans style piano tunes, Voodoo Soul, Zydeco and Cajun music.

Concert Schedule

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