Almost Ruphus with the Aspaas Larsen Band

Aspaas Larsen Ronningen 22082014-22In the 70s we had four big rock bands in Norway which stood out – Popol Ace (earlier Popol Vuh), Aunt Mary, Junipher Greene and Ruphus. Aunt Mary played harder prog rock, while Junipher Greene, Popol Ace and Ruphus played a mix of prog and sympho rock. All the bands stopped playing together in the late 70s, but all of them have had reunion concerts in later years. Yesterday night I saw the Aspaas Larsen band at the Olsen Bar in Oslo, with three of the original members of Ruphus.

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You can check out Popol Ace here, Aunt Mary here, and I have written about Junipher Greene on this blog before. I saw Ruphus several times in the 70s, and also twice lately. in 2009 and 2010. Here you can hear one of their best songs, Trapped In A Game, from their debut LP New Born Day from 1973.

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The members of Ruphus changed a lot during the years they were acive, from 1972 until 1981. Kjell Larsen started the band, and he was a member the whole time. Gudny Aspaas was also a member of the first edition, and she quit and started up again several times during the 10 years they existed. The other founding members were Thor Bendiksen on drums, Asle Nilsen on bass and Håkon Graf on keyboard, Hans Petter Danielsen on guitar and Rune Sundby on vocal.

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Later on Kjell Rønningen joined on keyboard, Freddy Dahl from Junipher Greene was a member for a short period and Bjørn Jensen played drums for a while. Kjell Larsen started several other bands afterwards, before he started Pigalle Blues Band, which changed it’s name to Pigalle Kvartetten (The Pigalle Quartet) with Kjell Rønningen, Preben Olram on bass and Terje Pedersen on drums. Last night they allied with Gudny Aspaas and played a double concert with part Pigalle and part Ruphus songs.

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The band played two sets, each of the sets half and half Pigalle and Ruphus songs. One of the things that characterized Ruphus, was Gudny Aspaas’ voice, She has a strong voice with a high register, and she has managed to keep her voice since the years in Ruphus. On all the three occasions I have heard her the last five years, she has done a good job and presented the best Ruphus songs in a great way.

Aspaas Larsen Ronningen 22082014-04The Pigalle band is great for these songs, since two of them also played them originally. But, of course it isn’t the real thing, but a very nice reminder of a band that released 6 studio and 4 compilation albums over 10 years. Pigalle Kvartetten as such is also a splendid band. They have played clubs for years and do a good mix between the sutile and the hard, with great precision and eye for the details.

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Olsen på Bryn (Olsen at Bryn) is becoming an institution in Oslo with it’s mix of a good restaurant with a live event every Friday and Saturday. It is located south east in Oslo, and is generally well visited for their live events and their food. It is well worth to check them out if you visit Oslo some time. The food is good, and reasonably priced.

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I had a great night yesterday with the musicians and their songs. Pigale presented their songs and played them well, among them their radio hit Lørdag på been (Saturday on the town). Togeter with Gudny Aspaas they played songs like Trapped In A Game, New Born Day and Coloured Dreams from their first LP, plus several others. The audience knew their songs well and rewarded them with heartfelt applause.

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All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.

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