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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

ELROB Records artist: Little Mike & The Tornadoes - All The Right Moves - New Release review

I just received the newest release, All The Right Moves, form Little Mike & The Tornadoes and it's great! As you know I'm a real Little Mike fan and this new release is no exception. Opening with Hard Hard Way, a smokin Chicago style blues track features Little Mike on vocal and harp. Tony O. Melio plays a real nice guitar solo leading up to Mike taking over with a super harp blowout. This is a great year for harp lovers with this and Corritore's recent release being two of the best I've heard in some time. So Many Problems is a cool R&B track with a great groove. Brad Vickers (bass) and Robert Piazza (drums) seat Jim McKaba on organ for a cool ride but I really like Melio's loose guitar style and Mike comes up with some really nice harp phrasing making this a real heel bopper. Since My Mother Been Ill is a really nice slow R&B blues track featuring soulful vocals by Mike. His clear interface with Melio's punctuating guitar riffs and super piano backing from McKaba make this one of my favorite tracks on the release. Yes, Melio does step forward and lay it all out on this track...close your eyes and suck it up! Excellent! (I Got) Drunk Last Night is a cool shuffle track with a great swang. Piazza leads the pace on drums but with Mike on vocal and Melio on the ever present tasteful guitar riffs, this is entertainment! McKaba lays down some really nice piano work on this track as well. Very Nice! Little On The Side has a Latin beat with Piazza leading the way on tom tom and Melio throwing down some cool riffs. Mike has you in the palm of his hand with his vocal style but then he whips out his harp and parts your hair. His riffs aren't always over the top... but they are always top cut and clean. McKaba does have an aggressive piano style and I think that it's a great contrast to the bands tightness on this track. Title track, All The Right Moves is a real loping traditional Chicago blues. I particularly like Melio's guitar attack on this particular track. It has it's own personality and it isn't at all sterile... that's the blues! Little Mike steps up with some hot riffs of his own on this track, pushed by serious work from McKaba, Vickers, Piazza and Melio and he rides the wave. One thing that I genuinely love about this band is that everyone is a standout without any apparent "star" and sharing the spotlight, this is a really dynamic mix. Boogie track, Blues Is Killing Me has a definite trace to original Morganfield and Hooker tracks and based upon construction alone is a terrific track. Mike rides the boogie with his harp, joined by Melio on what could be an "endless boogie". Very nice! Wonder Why has a real authentic early electric blues feel to it. Being a guitar player myself, I always wonder when I hear someone play awkward phrasing like Melio if he has to work to play like that or if it comes naturally. In any case, I am envious. I really like it. All The Time has a funky R&B style with an almost James Brown thing starting to happen. Again Melio steps up and lays out some simple but wonderfully bluesy riffs on guitar. Mike keeps it all under wraps vocally and Vickers and Pizza are right there. Mike steps up and plays simple blues harp...just the way it should be. Vickers penned, jump track I Won't Be Your Fool is hot from the first note. You want the harp blowout...this is it! (Stilladog...this one's for you!)Yeah, I dare you to keep both feet on the ground during this one... if you can, check your pulse! Stuck Out On This Highway is a really sultry slow blues track. Opening with some atmospheric harp work as good as anything on the release, Mike digs deep singing a super blues track. Complimented in response by Melio on guitar, this is a really cool track. Mike uses the lower end of the harp for some deep resonate notes and has it singing. Clocking in at almost 6 minutes, this is definitely one of my favorites on the release. Wrapping it all up is Close To My Baby, an easy going 12 bar number. Reminicent of Paul Butterfield, Mike holds it back and sings the blues. Melio breaks out with another of his finely tuned guitar solos and after another chorus, Mike wraps it all up on harp. You want a recommendation for one of the coolest new Chicago blues style releases of the year...this is it!

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  1. Thank you Bman for the kind words!--Mike

  2. Couldn't agree more, Bman!! This is a refreshing recording that gets right down to the "roots" that Muddy was talkin' 'bout!!! It stays at the top of my "play pile" for sure! Plus the fact that Mike is a true gentleman and has put his family first and helped teach kids as coach and mentor for years garners ultimate respect from this blues aficionado.

  3. Thank you much appreciated ! .....Tony O

  4. Thank you ! Blues, Blues, Blues - Tony O (NYC)

  5. Great review, Bman! This is one of the best Blues CDs I have heard in the last three years easily. Great songs, great playing, and I appreciate that Little Mike and co. saw no need to add funk, jazz, or rock and roll to these songs. This is a BLUES CD, and we Blues fans appreciate that. Great players all, but Mike, Tony, and Jim McKaba (keys) are really impressive. I'm ready for the next Tornadoes record!