CD Review: Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip ~ Ain’t Bad Yet



Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip
Ain’t Bad Yet
Hokahey Records


This is the sixth album from the Finnish Rock Blues band Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip, Ain’t Bad Yet with its opening track may be Last Train to Memphis but the driving beat with some hollering sumptuous slide guitar from Lefty Leyeppanen a starlight wonder throughout the album and an urgency of running to get the last train is encapsulated in this modern blues track, you just know that you will be listening to the whole album it is infectious music.

Blues just got dirty with Rain in Jerusalem. The music underpins the hard-hitting, relevant tracks for a modern world which is crying and religion is confusing politics; the chorus line is full on and you just sit and listen and your feet are tapping instinctively.

The Micke on harmonica that opens Get Ya in da Mood leads you into this track and the searing electric guitar is a counterpoint to the deep vocal tone and the track works as a whole and the booming drumming from Tonau Vuorela. It Ain’t Bad Yet, half way through the album is full of guitar slower more acoustic in its approach the sound paints a picture of cowboys and country while firmly entrenched in the blues the vocals are full and this is a track laden with emotion. This is then followed by funked up blues, Rat Chaser has an adrenalin burst of percussive energy a real fun track that makes you smile with musical delight.
Closing with In Chains a heavy blues number, the music is full of dread and being trapped and the vocals reflect this, and remind you this is a blues band that loves to rock and shape their music but their influences are pure clear blues. Throughout the album you can hear influences form ZZ Top through to Robert Johnson and music styles from Jazz to Southern Rock; but the heartbeat always is the Blues of every shade and hue.

The album is beautifully produced, bt Grammy Award winning John Porter and was recorded far from Finland at the Rockfield Studios based in Monmouth, Wales who have delivered many a fine album from across the music scene.

Ain’t Bad Yet; definitely true every track is excellent and the flow of the album is pure as the Finnish lakes this is blues washed clean of preconceptions and distilled with heat and passion, blended with sweet slide guitar, funny, thoughtful moody lyrics and a soulful driving meaningful rhythm so there is nothing bad on this stylish album.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Last Train to Memphis
2. Troublemaker
3. Rain in Jerusalem
4. Get Ya in da Mood
5. Hold Your Fire Baby
6. It Ain’t Bad Yet
7. Rat Chaser
8. Sweet Dream’s a Sweet Dream
9. Today
10. Blame It on the Bright Lights
11. In Chains

Band Members
Micke Bjorklof: Harmonica / Electric Guitar
Lefty Leyeppanen: Electric, Slide Guitars & Backing Vocals
Tonau Vuorela: Drums
Seppo Nuolikoski: Bass/ Backing vocals
Timo Roiko-Jokela: Percussion / MalletKat

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