©Manfred Jasmund

For over 50 years, Richard Bargel has been a stable of German Blues and Folk scene.
Somewhere in between Enfant terrible and Grandseigneur he found his way own of making music with diversity as his driving force and without any boundaries.
As a musician, actor for film and theatre, writer, sometimes cartoonist, and photographer he always kept being creative.
Born in 1951 he left his childhood home in 1968 for Cologne Arts and Crafts school, becomes part of the COOM artist group, well known for graphics, sculptures and performances.
In 1969 he founded the artist commune “Tabernakel” together with violin player Klaus von Wrochem, known as “Klaus der Geiger”, the most famous busking and protesting musician in Germany. They tried to establish some kind of artistic hippie lifestyle with music and performing arts.
From 1970 on Bargel decided to be a full time musician. While he never lost his folk roots, he began to focus on the Blues, influenced by early American Blues recordings.
The 6ft 5 tall, wild haired and bearded Bargel with his Hobo – jacket with leather fringes played a rough slide guitar and got nicknamed “Bottleneck Giant”.
In the early 70s he spent a lot of time in England, especially in London, where he played among not only Blues artists, but shared the stage with musicians from the Folk and Pubrock scene and early New Wave scene, such as a guy named D.P. Costello, later to be known as Elvis Costello.
From the mid 70s on he played some minor roles in television productions and wrote music for ballet shows (he was trained as a ballet dancer during his childhood).
1976 he hits the road with his “Rolling Blues Revue”, a three hour history of the Blues, starring musicians like Champion Jack Dupree, Eddy Boyd, Memphis Slim and Sunnyland Slim.
His 1977 debut album „Blue Steel“ showed his folk roots, a rough style, coming from many years of busking on the streets.
In that same year he moved to Montpellier in southern France and became a steady artist at international Jazz festivals and radio and television shows. He’s doing concerts with artists like Sugar Blue, Memphis Slim and Miriam Makeba.
His return to Cologne, Germany, in 1984 was followed by touring Europe with the Country Blues Festival USA alongside musicians like Guitar Slim, Flora Molton and Charlie Musselwhite.
During the late 80s and early 90s he played all over Europe, supported acts like Johnny Winter and was often accompanied by Charlie Musselwhite and Tabby Thomas. He also did TV Shows and voice over acting and organized concerts for other Blues artists.
By 1992 he came up with the idea of the first Blues talkshow „Talkin’ Blues“, a combined concert and interview, where international Blues artists would play (a mostly improvised set) with the show’s own band.
In 1999 he played some concerts in the USA together with musicians like Charlie Musselwhite, Blind Mississippi Morris, Larry Garner, Tabby Thomas and Sam Hogan.
In the early 2000s he fought against his alcoholism and is now proud of 22 years of abstinence.
Until then his ongoing struggle with alcohol and money had caused so much trouble, that it’s no wonder he is often referred to as Germany’s most authentic Blues musician.
Many of his experiences found their way into his lyrics, short stories or poems and have been a key to a lot of his theatre performances and performances as a musician.
2012 Bargel faced another threat to his musical career: During a concert with former BAP member Klaus „Major“ Heuser, with whom he recorded „Men in Blues“ and released a live album, he suffered a sudden hearing loss that lead to permanent hearing damage on one ear.
That made him return to acoustic music for a while.
In 2013 he formed his new band „Dead Slow Stampede“ and started recording again.
His 2014 album „It’s Crap!“ was enriched by guests like his long term friend Charlie Musselwhite and guitarist Freddy Koella (Bob Dylan / Willy DeVille) and again nominated for one of the most important German record critics award, an award he already won twice by that time.
After the record was released, guitarist and multi instrumentalist Fabio Nettekoven and bass player Jo Didderen joined the band. With Geert Roelofs on drums, „Dead Slow Stampede“ finally had the set up, that still works its own magic on stage.
The following years Bargel starred in numerous theatre plays, worked as a composer for film music and toured with his band, solo and with Fabio Nettekoven as duo „Family Business“.
2017 as a member of an actors ensemble he runs a theatre in Cologne.
His 12-minute long composition „The River“ is featured in „Lake Of Betrayal“ by American director Paul Lamont.
In 2018 Bargel dares to do a reboot of his „Talkin’ Blues“ show at his own theatre.
With the beginning of the Corona pandemic in 2020, he left the theatre to concentrate on performing again – as an actor in movies and as a musician and he started to portrait his hometown Cologne in black and white photographs.
Together with guitarist, producer and new label founder Fabio Nettekoven he starts planning a new record for his 50th stage anniversary and his 70th birthday in 2021, but Corona caused so many delays, that it took two years to finish.
In December 2022 „Dead Slow Stampede“ was finally released „Dead Slow Stampede“
The eleventh album of his 5-decade lasting career. Produced by his „son-in-music“ Fabio Nettekoven and released on Nettekoven’s label Clementine Music.
This record marks a new chapter in Bargel’s career – new label, new look, new sound. The new Richard Bargel record is an homage to the young and reckless 70s Bargel, but with a pinch of a well aged Gentleman. Rough but well balanced, opulent and playful, just like the popping cover artwork by Nettekoven’s partner and label co-founder Nora Catharina van Rijn.
The main ingredient to that record is the musical relationship between the band members (Jo Didderen, Geert Roelofs, Fabio Nettekoven) and Richard Bargel.
The basic tracks were recorded in a live set-up at Maarwegstudio 2, a former EMI studio in Cologne. It’s that certain live chemistry that connects Bargel’s songwriting to his virtuoso playing band and sets him a monument he deserved for a very long time. The recordings captured Richard Bargel at the prime of his singing and guitar playing and that makes this „new and retrospective“ record special.