2021 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 22, 2022
I’ve been a fan of Finnish, award-winning blues artist/bandleader Micke Bjorklof since reviewing his 2014 release After the Flood. Bjorklof and Blue Strip had recorded four albums prior. One of those being 2007’s Whole ‘Nutha Thing, originally released only in Scandinavia. That album is now remastered and re-released by Ruf Records to help celebrate Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip’s thirty-year anniversary of being a touring band. Recorded in London and produced by Neil Brokbank, this landmark record redefined the band’s sound. With Bjorklof on lead vocals and harmonica, the band consists of Lefty Leppanen on slide/guitars, Seppo Nuolikoski on bass/piano, Teemu Vuorela on drums, and Roiko-Jokela on percussion/vibraphone/keys. The eleven-track album also features guest appearances by Geraint Watkins (Paul McCartney, Bill Wymann ,Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler) on keys, and horn players from Van Morrison’s band at the time, Matt Holland on trumpet/flugel horn and Martin Winning on saxophone.
With a Dylan-esque swagger, “Jungle Cat” strolls through with a delicious dose of twangy slide and barrel-house piano. Bjorklof goes into full swing on “Back to my Room”. Leppanen’s guitar performance is stunning and the rhythm section is amazingly tight. This is one to jump, jive and wail to. A whimsical, hypnotic melody speckled with slide creates the dreamy quality in “I Fell Down From the Tree (When I Saw Robert Johnson Pass Me By)”. “Grapesugar Love” breaks out the funk in a big juicy way with bodacious blasts of brass mixed with a huge dose of swampy slide. It’s vibrant and absolutely wonderful. Time stands still as a melancholy wave washes over me with each listen of “Silver Moon”. Bjorklof’s silky smooth vocals sound fantastic against this beautiful piano-led melody which brings Whole ‘Nutha Thang to its end.
Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip never cease to amaze me. They are surely among my favorites.
For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.mickebjorklof.com
Previous PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Micke Bjorklof:
Micke & Lefty (feat Chef ) – Let the Fire Lead
Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Twentyfive Live at Blues Baltica
Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Stat(u)e of Mind
Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet
Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Hale’s Pleasure Railway
Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – After the Flood
Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.