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Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip | Ain´t Bad Yet

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Blues: Blues-Rock Blues: Electric Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Ain´t Bad Yet

by Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip

Hi-octane blues-rock spiced up with New Orleans feel that simply sizzles. From the precise drumming high in the mix to the tasteful sumptuous slide guitar and the attention paid to the powerful, trenchant vocals, this is an intoxicating mix!
Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Last Train to Memphis
2:52 $0.99
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2. Troublemaker
4:05 $0.99
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3. Rain in Jerusalem
3:31 $0.99
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4. Get Ya in da Mood
4:52 $0.99
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5. Hold Your Fire Baby
4:00 $0.99
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6. It Ain´t Bad Yet
3:38 $0.99
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7. Rat Chase
2:56 $0.99
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8. Sweet Dream´s a Sweet Dream
4:37 $0.99
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9. Today
3:20 $0.99
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10. Blame It On the Bright Lights
3:16 $0.99
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11. In Chains
3:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“Ain´t Bad Yet” is the sixth album of the “Finnish Blues Awards 2015 – Best Band” winning, bluesrock band Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip. The new album is produced by John Porter, legendary for his productions of Buddy Guy, B.B King, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Santana and no less than10 Grammy winning albums. Last October they travelled to Rockfield studios in Wales. The now famous studios have played host to many of the worldʼs biggest artists from Black Sabbath to Rush and Oasis, in 1975 was the primary studios used by Queen for the recording of the greatest pop record of all times ʻBohemian Rhapsodyʼ.
-We are really excited about the new material and about this collaboration with John Porter. We had been talking about doing a project together for a couple of years and I´m really glad that we finally could make this happen, says Micke Bjorklof.

Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip is a well-established name in their native Finland and throughout Scandinavia where they have been Ambassadors of Blues music for over 20 years, recording and stirring up audiences with their energetic live shows, whether playing smoky Blues clubs or large Festival arenas. Throughout their career they’ve had the privilege of performing on stages around Europe in the presence of B.B King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Solomon Burke, Robert Plant etc. Bandleader and singer Bjorklof originally founded the band with bass player Seppo Nuolikoski back in 1991. After a few minor changes during the early days, the line-up has remained unaltered for over fifteen years. Initially an acoustic Blues-Rock cover band, they later went electric, started writing original material; Roots & Blues music becoming their primary muse.
Their latest album “After The Flood” was recorded in New Orleans and produced by Mark Bingham. Album was voted to the best Finnish blues album of the year 2013 by listeners of Bluesminister show at Radio Suomi, YLE, National Broadcasting Company.

REVIEW, Bluesdoodles, UK
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

REVIEW, Blues Matters, UK
A rollickin' rowdy bit of quality blues with a rock edge from Scandinavia, a land with a deep, entrenched love of the music, currently producing some artists, bands and music of real interest. Micke Bjorklof & Blues Strip is a five piece outfit with wailing Harp, tasteful guitar licks and powerful, trenchant vocals from Bjorklof himself. All eleven tracks are penned by band members and work well, as might be expected from a band that has remained unchanged for the better part of twenty years and scooped the award for Best Band at this year's annual Blues Awards competition in their native Finland.
From the band's inception in 1991 as an acoustic blues-rock cover band, Bjorklof and co-founder bassist Seppo Nuolikoski have steadily moved increasingly towards the tempting sound and zing of electric guitar-led work and technology. The result is a band with a rolling, boiling electric sound and a tight, controlled cohesion, and with this release, recorded at Wales' legendary Rockfield Studios and produced by John Porter - a guy with ten Grammy winning albums below his belt who has worked with Buddy Guy, BB King, Santana, Keb Mo and Taj mahal, among others - they have certainly come of age. Pace and variety blend perfectly here to produce an album of solid quality musicianship and interest. Definitely well worth a listen.

REVIEW, Liverpool Sound & Vision, UK
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Six albums down the line and Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip Ain’t Bad Yet, and listening to the new offering from the Finnish Royal Blues family, there is no reason to ever believe that they would ever have that moniker attached to them.
Ain’t Bad Yet is an album of great masculine sensitivity but with that hugely desired effect in Blues, one of sheer guts and magnitude, enough of the former to deliver yet another sharply focused piece of writing, more than plenty in the latter to hold the responsibility along with many of the bands Nordic neighbours of keeping the Scandinavian music renaissance of the last decade going and in style. For a band to go so long without a change in its line-up, enforced or just to shake loose the dust which tends to gravitate around a Blues machine when the years roll past in a down-field way, is engaging to the point of craving, a well oiled machine after all needs careful attention; that attention to detail and to the needs of the band is everywhere in the recording and it hums with the geniality of a sage being taught something new.
For Micke Bjorklof, Lefty Leppanens, Teenu Vuorela, Seppo Nuolikoski and Timo Roiko-Jokelas, the time that has elapsed has only served as notice that the unit is as high functioning and as enjoyable to play in as it ever was.
Undeniably Blues suffered the death of a thousand blown notes as the 20th Century ground on and it really is only in the last 15 to 20 years that it finally made its slow recovery where it wasn’t to be seen as a pastiche of its self. This melancholy Blues wasn’t only confined to the single genre, it got hold of Jazz as well but Blues seemed to really feel the brunt force of the lead piping across the back of the palms and the repeated smack of disdain from a younger, perhaps more adventurous audience.
Thanks to bands such as Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip, the outside nations, those not normally associated with the big epics of Blues, have fed the way for the rest to catch up and in tracks such as Rain in Jerusalem, Rat Chase, Sweet Dream’s A Sweet Dream and the excellent Blame It On The Bright Lights, that essence is there and it flourishes great fruit, an abundance of great quality Blues that offers the listener a bridge between the generations to be enthused and discuss the future over.
Ain’t Bad Yet is an album that may have carried the day when Blues was a bloated animal, one that was either going to recover or sink completely into Time’s back pocket, it might have given it breath and oxygen to keep going, thankfully it is perhaps preferable to think of it as yet another great addition to the 21st Century Blues cannon, one in which is far more relevant to the interesting times we find ourselves in.

Ian D. Hall

REVIEW, Folking.com, UK

This is the sixth album by Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip, who hail from Finland. It is all top notch blues-rock delivered in a confident and polished manner. The opening track ‘Last Train to Memphis’ comes hurtling out of the station at a steam driven pace and sets the mood for what is to follow. Swampy slide guitar abounds in the following track “Troublemaker”. There’s a growling guitar intro to ‘Rain in Jerusalem’ and Micke’s voice punches out lyrics. The title track is a slow blues ballad with a spartan feel in comparison to the rest of the album. ‘Rat Chase’ has a funky groove to it and breaks the mould of the more traditional songs on here. The CD concludes with one of my personal favourites ‘Blame it on the Bright Lights’ and then the chanting slow burner ‘In Chains’.
All the members of the band are on form and there are some particularly tasty guitar licks and blues harp playing. Plenty of variety in the styles of blues being played here and there isn’t a poor track amongst them.
The band formed in 1991 and the current line-up has been together for fifteen years and it shows in the professionalism and production of this offering. Only eleven tracks, so, not the longest album in the world, but they are all quality.
If you like the blues, this is definitely one for your collection.

Ron D Bowes

REVIEW, Zicazic, France

Vainqueurs de leur challenge national en 2014, Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip avaient l’honneur de représenter la Finlande lors du 5ème European Blues Challenge à Bruxelles en mars 2015, une occasion de se faire remarquer par un public composé de fans mais aussi de spécialistes venus d’une trentaine de pays d’Europe et même de quelques représentants américains spécialement présents pour l’occasion. Fondé en 1991 par le guitariste, chanteur et harmoniciste Micke Bjorklof et par son acolyte bassiste Seppo Nuolikoski, Blue Strip a conservé le même line up pendant une quinzaine d’années avant d’évoluer et c’est fort de six albums mais aussi d’un opus en duo acoustique proposé avec le guitariste Lefty Lepannen sous le nom de Micke & Lefty que Micke Bjorklof nous revient aujourd’hui avec une nouvelle galette appelée à faire suite à l’excellent « After The Flood » que le groupe avait enregistré à New Orleans en 2012. N’hésitant pas une seconde à se promener entre le blues du Texas et celui de Chicago sans pour autant oublier de regarder du côté du rock ou encore du boogie, les Finlandais mettent un bâton de dynamite dans leurs amplis et s’attachent à y mettre le feu à force d’énergie et de puissance mais aussi de talent, autant d’ingrédients qui dosés avec un soin tout particulier tissent un tapis bien moelleux sur lequel les « Last Train To Memphis », « Rain In Jerusalem », « Hold Your Fire Baby », « Sweet Dream’s A Sweat Dream » et autres « Blame It On The Bright Ligts » prennent une envergure qui pousse à mieux comprendre pourquoi Blue Strip s’est payé le luxe d’assurer les premières parties de légendes comme Solomon Burke, les Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Plant ou encore B.B. King. Une guitare un peu crade et une voix qui s’y associe avec un certain charisme, on n’a pas inventé grand-chose de plus pour proposer un blues savoureux depuis que le genre existe. Si Micke Bjorklof n’arrive pas rapidement jusqu’à nous, il faudra indiscutablement se résoudre à faire le voyage pour aller à sa rencontre !


REVIEW, Rootstime, Belgium

“ Again, a prove that they do belong to the Scandinavian blues elite… “

“Blue Strip” is een Finse blues rock formatie gevormd rond frontman Micke Bjorklof (zang, harmonica, gitaar). Mick Bjorklof & “Blue Strip” zijn al meer dan twintig jaren een begrip in Scandinavië en worden er als de ambassadeurs van de blues beschouwd. Ze wonnen de ‘Finnish Blues Awards 2015’ en stonden dit jaar in Brussel op het podium, tijdens de ‘European Blues Challenge’. Mick Bjorklof & “Blue Strip” treden vaak op in Europa en werkten op het podium al samen met BB King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Little Feat, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Salamon Burke en Robert Plant.

Micke Bjorklof vormt in 1991, samen met bassist Seppo Nuolikoski de groep “Blue Strip”. Op enkele kleine wijzingen na, is de line-up de laatste vijftien jaren onveranderd gebleven. In hun beginjaren treden ze op als akoestische blues pub rock / cover band. Later gaan ze elektrisch spelen en hun eigen roots en blues nummers schrijven. Lefty Leppänen wordt beschouwd als één van top slide gitaristen in Europa. Op vibrafoon (malletKAT) is de percussionist Timo Roiko-Jokela een uitzonderlijk virtuoos en drummer Teemu Vuorela valt op door zijn dynamische stijl.
Micke Bjorklof & “Blue Strip” winnen in Finland met hun album “Three Times Seven Is…” (2002), de award van ‘Best Blues Album of the Year’. In 2007 brengen ze “Whole ‘Nutha Thang” uit. Dit album is opgenomen in Londen, met Neil Brockbank (Nick Lowe, Tanita Tikaram, Alison Moyet, Bryan Ferry…) als producer. Wat de groep altijd geïnspireerd heeft, is de authentieke New Orléans sound. Al jaren is hun grootste wens, om in New Orléans ooit eens een album te kunnen opnemen. In de zomer van 2012 wordt deze droom waar. Het vijfde studio album “After The Flood” (2013) is in de beroemde ‘Piety Street Recording’ studio in New Orléans, LA, opgenomen, met als producer Mark Bingham (Dr. John, John Mooney, Neville Family, Tab Benoit, John Scoffield, Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint…). Het resultaat is een mix van groovy blues rock en funky New Orléans soul en R&B.
“Ain’t Bad Yet” is het nieuwste en zesde album van de band. Op het album staan elf originele “Blue Strip” songs. De producer was John Porter (BB King, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Santana...). Het album is opgenomen in de ‘Rockfield’ studio’s in Wales (“Black Sabbath”, “Oasis”, “Queen”…). De opener ”Last Train To Memphis” is een haastig hedendaags blues nummer. Het wordt al vanaf de eerste akkoorden getypeerd door de slide gitaar van Lefty Leppänen, die niet alleen op dit nummer, maar ook op het ganse album duidelijk zijn stempel zet. Met ”Troublemaker” volgt er nog een vloed van slides, terwijl Micke Bjorklof zijn relaas in zijn zang blijft herhalen. ”Rain In Jerusalem” is een rauwe blues song, waarin Bjorklof te keer gaat tegen de politiek en religie. Iedereen beaamt dit eensgezind in koor. De shuffle die hierna volgt ”Get Ya In Da Mood” wordt geopend door Bjorklof op harmonica, terwijl de gitaar herhalend zijn rif strak speelt en drummer Teemu Vuorela alles op tempo houdt. Nog meer harmonica krijgen we daarna in het zwoele, wat ophitsende ”Hold Your Fire Baby”. ”It Ain’t Bad Yet” is een andere kant van de band. Dit gevoelig gitaar nummer leunt aan bij de klassieke rock, zonder de blues los te laten. ”Rat Chase”, dat hierna volgt is jachtig, even dwepen met funk en de batterijen snel opladen. Met de mooie ballade ”Sweet Dream’s A Sweet Dream” komt de rust er terug en zoekt Bjorklof voor zijn verdriet troost in de blues. ”Today” is sobere Delta slide blues met Lefty Leppänen op zijn puurst. Met het einde in zicht is er eerst nog de rocker ”Blame It On The Bright Lights”, die geleid wordt door Teemu Vuorela en die door allen, van aan de bar wordt meegezongen. Micke Bjorklof sluit de rij af met ”In Chains”. Met dit nummer reflecteert de band perfect waar het in essentie om gaat en waar ze hun inspiratie vinden: in de blues!
Met “Ain’t Bad Yet” van “Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip” dweept dit Finse vijftal met meerdere stijlen. Je krijgt in essentie (meerdere genres) blues, doordrenkt met rock, Latino, funk en country. Finland is niet alleen het land met het winterse, fascinerende poollicht, maar ook het land met blues muziek. Hiervoor moet je zeker “Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip” ontdekken!

Eric Schuurmans

REVIEW, Rocktimes, Germany

"Ain't Bad Yet" heißt das sechste Album der finnischen Blues Rock-Band Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip und wurde bereits im vergangenen Oktober in den walisischen Rockfield Studios aufgenommen, in denen einst sogar Rockgrößen wie Queen, Black Sabbath oder Oasis einige ihrer Tonträger eingespielt haben.
In Skandinavien haben sich die Finnen, dank ihrer Auftritte in diversen Blues-Clubs, einen recht großen Bekanntheitsgrad erworben. Seit gut fünfzehn Jahren hat sich ihr Line-up nicht mehr verändert und so ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass sich die Band außerordentlich gut eingespielt präsentiert. Sänger, Gitarrist, Harmonikaspezialist und Namensgeber der Band Micke Bjorklof kann sich am besten in Szene setzen, wenn er sein Lungenvolumen in seine Harp bläst. Für diese musikalischen Einlagen, z. B. bei "Hold Your Fire Baby", gibt es von mir eine glatte Eins. Seine Stimme hört sich ebenfalls recht ansprechend an und er weiß damit die Texte in die jeweiligen Songs gut einzupacken.
"It Ain't Bad Yet" ist mein Favorit des Silberlings. Dieser Slowblues besticht mit einer glänzenden Slide-Klampfe sowie eingängigem Rhythmus. Zwar werden hier die Instrumente nicht bis zum Anschlag ausgereizt, jedoch so gezielt eingesetzt, dass das Teil bei mir absolutes Wohlbehagen erzeugt. Ein Song, der ohne es großartig zu begründen, Ohrwurm-Charakter besitzt.
Der nordeuropäische Fünfer, der 2014 den Finnish Blues Challenge gewann und erst im vergangenen März ihr Land beim European Blues Challenge in Brüssel vertrat, zeigt von "Last Train To Memphis" bis "In Chains", dass sie sich ausschließlich dem Genre des Blues zugehörig fühlen. Mal mehr rockig, mal mehr die ruhige Spur wählend, egal, die Band versteht ihr Handwerk. Zum Gelingen von "Ain't Bad Yet" tragen alle beteiligten Musiker bei, auch die Gastspieler, allen voran Keyboarder Tim Lewin. Er bedient bei "Troublemaker", "Rain In Jerusalem", "It Aint't Bad", "Rat Chase" und "Sweet Dream's A Sweet Dream" die Tasten und sorgt mit seinem Können fürs perfekte 'Abschmecken' der Stücke.
Letztlich offerieren Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip mit ihrer Neuerscheinung ein gelungenes Werk. Ohne groß anzuecken, ohne die Saiten ihrer Gitarren bis zum Exzess zu strapazieren oder sonstwo völlig auszuarten, bieten die Finnen ein, von der Qualität her, gutes Album. Wer es allerdings etwas härter mag, auf Endlossolo der Marke Hendrix steht, der wartet hier auf solche Einlagen vergebens. Deshalb halte ich ein Reinhören für ratsam, ist es doch so wie immer - alles reine Geschmackssache.

Mike Kempf

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