This is a fantastic recording from a great Swedish blues band … Swinging blues that is as good as it gets. The guitar work stands out. “First Gear” is the debut CD from this interesting Stockholm band, Blue Hammer, that is stylistically tied to jazzy R & B, soul of the ’60s and exquisite guitar players of the 50’s. Anders Karlsson is a good singer, whose voice holds its own even while fronting a large brass section. The hard working quintet (Blue Hammer) have been active on the Scandinavian blues scene since 1995 with guitarist Thomas Hammarlund demonstrating some Alex Schultz and Junior Watson influences. The band strikes an enviable groove, and the recording definitely cooks.