Review: Mike Andersen Band – Echoes

Posted on: Sunday, Oct 3, 2010

(Custom Records: CRCD003)

Following on from two fine releases on the Dutch blues label Black & Tan, the excellent Mike Andersen Band, hailing from Aarhus in Denmark, tread some fine soulful and blues grooves on their third release on Custom Records, led by Mike Andersen’s heartfelt vocals and tasteful guitar work, and ably assisted by the band, who comprise Claus Sand (keyboards), Mikkel Fisher (bass), Jens Kristian Dam (drums), Rasmus Boegelund (trumpet) and Morten Elbek (saxophone).

Eight of the 10 tracks here are written by Mike Andersen or the band members – the straightest blues here is a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil”, given a lowdown feel by guest BooBoo Davis, former Black & Tan labelmate, who shares the vocal and contributes some harmonica. The solitary other cover is a quite gorgeous interpretation of the Bobby Womack classic, “Woman’s Gotta Have It”, a lovely, warm version with guest backing vocals from Johannes Noerrelykke, who also contributes a fine guitar solo, and  funky clavinet from Claus Sand.

Romance and affairs of the heart dominate proceedings here – from the opening grooves of “Still Carry A Torch” . . . seeing his lady walking with another man, but still hoping to win her back, which is followed by the pretty “Over You” . . . where he is coping with losing his love to another. His ballad “Someone Toughened You” is another song about relationships and broken hearts, and again highlights the soulful aspects of Mike Andersen’s voice and his great band.

“More Of You” is an uptempo stomping soul tune, with Andersen’s guitar ringing out and the four backing singers – Mette Ratzer, Laura Kjaergaard, Nina Luna and Pia Troejgaard – punching out the chorus, with the horns to the fore. The pace is slowed down on “Games”, with its classic Memphis soul feel, but taken up on “Information Blues”, which rides on a great hook from the guitar of Mike Andersen and again features Rasmus Boegelund and Morten Elbek, and the ever-impressive Claus Sand.

The bluesy, sparse “Restless To The Bone” closes the album in fine style, with another guest, pianist N.O. Thorning playing quite beautifully here, with a rip-roaring Mike Andersen guitar solo – as with all his playing here he is sharp and incise, never resorting to overlong solos or histrionics.

The Mike Andersen Band have toured mainly in Europe for the last ten years or so, and a visit to these shores must be overdue, let’s hope it happens in the not-too-distant future . . . “Echoes” comes highly recommended for those who like their music soulful and full of good grooves and top notch songs, beautifully mixed by American, Russell Elevado, who has been involved in award-winning projects from Alicia Keys, D’Angelo, The Roots and Al Green to name but a few.


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