2019 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; Nov. 22, 2019
This latest release from bluesman Mike Zito is a mighty stellar tribute to the legendary ‘Father of Rock and Roll’ Chuck Berry. Being that both Zito and Berry are from St. Louis, Missouri, makes this a very personal project. Zito, backed by his band, bassist Terry Dry, drummer Matthew Johnson, and pianist/organist Lewis Stephens incorporates a smashing guest list on this twenty track album, which includes some of my favorites: Joanna Conner, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Luther Dickenson, Sonny Landreth, Tinsley Ellis,Tommy Castro, Albert Castiglia, and Kid Anderson.
The album begins with one of the first songs I learned to play on organ, William C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”. This song which I hold close to my heart features Chuck Berry Jr. It’s such a rocking version of the song, and ushers the album in quite nicely. I love the cover of “Rock & Roll Music” with Joanna Connor. She’s such a powerhouse of a guitarist, and brings a lot to the table on this one. Walter Trout shines as he always does on “Johnny B Goode”. Damn, this one rocks! Robben Ford steps in to record a fantastic remake of “You Never Can Tell”. This one will always remind me of my favorite film, Pulp Fiction. The legendary Eric Gales punches up another favorite “Back in the USA” with a huge dose of his ripping guitar-work. I always appreciate what Luther Dickinson is involved in, and “Too Much Monkey Business” is no exception. I love “No Particular Place to Go” with Jerimiah Johnson. This one really resonates. Sonny Landreth brings a certain smoothness to “Havana Moon”. I could listen to this one all day long.
Being a huge fan of Chuck Berry and Mike Zito, this album has such a hold on me. It’s downright spectacular.
For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.mikezito.com
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1. St - Louis Blues Charlie Berry III
3. Johnny B - Goode - Walter Trout
5. Memphis - Anders Osborne
7. You Never Can Tell - Robben Ford
9. No Particular Place to Go - Jeremiah Johnson
11. Havana Moon - Sonny Landreth
13. Downbound Train - Alex Skolnick
15. School Days - Ally Venable
17. Reeling and Rocking - Tommy Castro
19. Thirty Days - Albert Castiglia