Wentus Blues Band….March 16, 2018….

WENTUS BLUES BAND

THROWBACK

RAMASOUND RECORDS  RAMA 0718

WRAPPED UP IN LOVE–FUTURE BLUES–RAINBOW–LET ME GET OVER IT–FROG LEG MAN–DONE SOMEBODY WRONG–FEEL SO YOUNG–HARD WORKING WOMAN–DON’T LET NOBODY DRAG YOUR SPIRIT DOWN–I THINK YOU NEED A SHRINK–THIRTY DIRTY WOMEN–FIXIN TO DIE–TIME WAS–LAST OF THE BLUES SINGERS–RED’S DREAM

Most folks might not equate the blues to the cold country of Scandinavia.  But, sho’ nuff, there is a thriving scene over there, and Kokkola, Finland, is the home base of one of that area’s finest blues bands, the Wentus Blues Band.  The quintet draws from the history of American blues,  and their latest set, “Throwback,” shows their appreciation by paying tribute to some of their favorite players.

At the forefront of this band is vocalist Juho Kinaret, possessor of one of those rich brogues that gives this material a passionate sound.  All these guys share that passion, too, and it shows on this set.

The fellows touch on two of Carey Bell Harrington’s best-known tunes, first with the leadoff crunch of “Wrapped Up In Love again,” and a bit later with the minor-key tale of that “Hard-Working Woman, nothin’ but a man’s slave,” with Mr. Bell’s harp parts ably substituted by the keyboard wizardry of Pekka Grohn.  They get into a spiritual theme on a fervent take on Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down,” and lay down some mean slow-blues on Phil Guy’s “Fixin To Die,” featuring killer guitar from Niko Riippa.

They pull out another of Phil’s songs for one of our two favorites.  On the shufflin’ “Last Of The Blues Singers,” Juho name-checks many of our legends where, sadly, “everybody else is gone.”  Our other favorite closed the set.  Iverson Minter was perhaps better-known to blues fans as Louisiana Red, and Juho works the humorous, stop-time groove of “Red’s Dream” for all it’s worth, as, in this “dream,” he calls out Castro, Khruschev, and ‘ol 45, too, in an all-out effort to “set the whole nations right!”

The Wentus Blues Band stands tall in their native land, and rightfully so.  They hold steady to the emotion and passion of all the great bluesmen, and pay a sweet homage to many of them in “Throwback.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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