”we have had the great fortune to hear many of the world’s best players. Add to those numbers the extremely-talented Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip with “Ain’t Bad Yet!”
Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip have been tearin’ up the blues in Finland for over twenty years. They started out as an acoustic cover band, and, after a few personnel changes, turned into their current lineup, and began to write their own material and work on their now-legendary live shows. Their latest album, and sixth overall, is entitled “Ain’t Bad Yet,” and combines elements of Delta blues, rockabilly, and good ole straight-up combo blues.
At the helm is singer and harp blaster Micke Bjorklof, with Lefty Leppanen on guitars throughout. On bass is Seppo Nuolikoski, with Teemu Vuorela on drums. This one comes roarin’ out of the station with the chugging boogie of “Last Train To Memphis,” as Micke’s goin’ to see “Carl Perkins and a young Elvis in his blue suede shoes!” Lefty’s slide is on fire on this one, and, a few cuts later, they make a stop down at 706 Union for a cool shot of rockabilly-infused blues, “Blame It On The Bright Lights.”
Micke gets his harp greased up and ready in “Hold Your Fire, Baby,” then takes a look at today’s world of instant gratification with the frenetic pace of winnin’ the “Rat Chase.” The band shows off a definite Delta connection with Lefty’s powerful acoustic slide over Micke’s reassuring vocals that “It Ain’t Bad Yet, everything’ll be all right.” The set closes with another Delta gem, a story-in-song of a man on trial for robbing a bank and giving the money to a poor woman. Micke and the band beg the judge, “don’t put the man In Chains.”
We had two favorites, too. Micke hits the nail on the head with the slide-heavy funk of “Get Ya In Da Mood,” because everybody knows that “you gotta go down South, if you wanna have some fun!” The set’s most topical piece follows a Doomsday beat, as Micke warns us all that “this killing game” among each other is only gonna lead to a bitter “Rain In Jerusalem.”
The blues is a global form of entertainment, and we have had the great fortune to hear many of the world’s best players. Add to those numbers the extremely-talented Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip with “Ain’t Bad Yet!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow