Photo gallery: Part-Norfolk, part-Swedish 1970s prog rock group prepares 40th anniversary album
13:00 24 October 2012
A part-Norfolk, part-Swedish band that rocked the European music scene four decades ago is releasing a new album after reforming with a little help from a local newspaper in Wales.
Progressive hard rock group Shaggy formed in Sweden in 1972 after Thomas Ryan, who now lives in North Pickenham, near Swaffham, left Britain with his Swedish wife during its economic troubles and the three-day week. The band recorded one album, Lessons for Beginners, in Gothenburg and made a name for itself on the European circuit, after which the members lost touch.
Mr Ryan had heard crew member Brian Jeffreys had moved to Wales and enlisted the help of the South Wales Echo in a bid to track him down while on holiday in the principality in 2007, after which his daughter made contact.
Original drummer Kurt Kastner later emailed to say he was alive and well in Munich, where he played with lots of other bands.
Mr Ryan, who now owns a telescope and optics company but says music remains his first love, said the group decided to record again as fans could otherwise only hear their music on MP3 files made from poor-quality tape recordings from the 1970s.
The reformed Shaggy played its first live show in the Blue Lion in North Pickenham, and members have been meeting in Sweden to record music and are now working on the last three tracks for the album.
Mr Ryan, now aged 60, said: “We all worked on all different stuff but Shaggy was the baby that started us going so getting back together is getting back to our roots.
“A lot of people are quite surprised when they hear our songs because they think they sound like last year, but they were made in the 1970s.”
The album is tentatively entitled No Communication after one of the tracks, but also to commemorate the group’s lost decades after the members fell out of contact.
The group will commission students from Norwich or King’s Lynn to design the album’s art work, and has formed its own label that it hopes will help young bands setting out to make their first recordings.