Al Cook received the Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria

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On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the pioneer of the domestic blues scene, who lives in Vienna-Landstrasse, received the Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria in Palais Niederösterreich in downtown Vienna.

He is one of the great musical loners in Austria. An Austrian whose heart beats to the rhythm of the blues! It´s an honor for Wolf Records to have such a great musician on our label!

The Mississippi is a great river; that is relatively well known. What is less well known is that a branch of the river runs through Vienna’s third district. Alois Koch sits on this arm with his guitar and plays what it is fitting to play on the Mississippi: the blues. To make it sound a bit more casual, he calls himself Al Cook. As such he is unmatched in this country, the most intense blues musician in the country, a solitaire.

Some will whisper now. What is, I don’t know, with the Bluespumpn or the Wienerlieder as a domestic counterpart to the Blues? Or the Mojo Blues Band? Or the Hansi Orsolics with Mei potschertes Leb’n – all interpretations of the blues mood that are up to their necks in the Austrian blues.

But the Al Cook blues is not subject to any transatlantic metamorphosis. It has nothing to do with the Viennese self-indulgence that comes out of the espresso jukebox. Al Cook plays this magnificent bastard music as authentically as no other in this country. Life-affirming, a little thwarted and according to the notes that his feelings dictate to him.

Dirty and clean at the same time
His work is the result of a lifelong devotion to this music paired with a loving stubbornness that imposes a purity law on even the dirtiest riff, which is very often called Country Blues. New modern shit has to stay outside. From a musical point of view, Cook never tore off a calendar sheet that reported a time announced much later than 1959.