“Finland’s best kept secret, and possibly hottest commodity, Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip are a blues/rock band reminiscent of some of the earliest blues-rockers.”
I found myself going back to Macke Bjorklof & Blue Strip and giving them another listen. It resulted in a rewrite of my review and an apology to the band. These are all top-notch musicians…some of the best in the world.
Finland’s best kept secret, and possibly hottest commodity, Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip are a blues/rock band reminiscent of some of the earliest blues-rockers. From hard-driving blues, deeply rooted in the oldest of blues traditions, to laid-back ballads, this band has their bases covered. The musicianship on this album is solid, through and through, with great guitar work and a rhythm section that is right on the money. As an added bonus, we have the fact that all the tunes are original, written by the band. Micke Bjorklof on vocals, harmonica and electric guitar (cut 4), Lefty Leppanen on electric and slide guitars & backing vocals, Teemu Vourela on drums, Seppo Nuolikoski on bass & vocals, Timo Roiko-Jokela on percussion, Tim Lewis on assorted organs, John Porter on electric guitar (cut 10) and background vocals thanks to Lena Lindroos & Veera Railio make up the unit that is tight as the proverbial gnat’s backside. They have obviously done their homework when it comes to blues and have not only a deep love for the genre but musical roots that run deep. If I had to pick a single word to describe this band, it would be “polished.” They have been plying their trade throughout Finland and Scandinavia for more than 20 years…and it shows. While I was not familiar with the band until just recently, you can bet I’ll not miss their next release. This band shows elements of what appears to be a Cuban influence on a number or two, which I found not only interesting, but refreshing. The band is diverse, moving from one style to another, seamlessly, and never drifting far from the root in blues in the process. While some purists might argue, it is hard to ignore the quality of the musicianship, the songwriting and the overall performance. To put it bluntly, this is an ass-kicking band, and well worth a good listen, and then some. — Bill Wilson