Some years ago we got new neighbors in the apartment where we were living, and not long after I heard the strains of an accordion from the back steps. I followed the sounds, and soon John Berquist (the fingers behind the accordion) and I were messing around with a few tunes. It turned out John was from Minnesota, and although we hadn’t played together when I lived there we did know quite a few of the same musicians and shared an interest in playing dance music.
John landed a New Year’s gig towards the end of the last millennium, and the South Side Swedes were born, usually with me on guitar and mandolin, John on accordion and guitar, and other musicians filling out on guitar, fiddle, or bass. The line-up eventually stabilized to include Mary Alsopp on fiddle, and in the Spring of 2001 John decided he’d like to make a recording of some of the repertoire the band played, as well as a few other tunes. The compact disk described below was the result.
In later years, John moved away from Chicago and our opportunities to play together grew fewer, although I always treasured those times. John was finally able to move back to northern Minnesota in 2015 but sadly passed away in 2016 after a protracted illness. I miss him, but am glad that there is this recording as a memory of our time together.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the recording please contact me via e-mail at larry[AT]uchicago[DOT]edu.
John Berquist, vocals (v), 2 row button accordion (a), guitar (g)
Mary Alsopp, fiddle (f)
Larry Zbikowski, guitar (g) and tenor banjo (tb)
Copyright © 2016 Lawrence M. Zbikowski