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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, November 21, 2014

Ruf Records artist: Mike Zito & The Wheel - Songs From The Road - CD/DVD - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Songs From The Road from Mike Zito & The Wheel and it's terrific! This like a number of other releases in this series is a 2 disc set and in this case, one a DVD and I'll tell you, I can't wait to get this thing home and watch it! I'll do a separate review of the CD here and a follow up for the DVD shortly. Opening with Don't Break A Leg, a real hot funky number is cooking. With Zito on vocal and guitar and hot sax lines from Jimmy Carpenter, a funky organ solo from Lewis Stephens, Scot Sutherland laying down a funky bass line and the tight rhythms of Rob Lee on drums, this is Zito at his best! Next up is Greyhound with an almost Keith Richards attitude but with a bit more country flavor. Carpenter rides high on sax with soul and clarity. A change up is a quiet remake of Prince's Little Red Corvette and again the supple vocal like sax leads of Carpenter. Another rocker with attitude is Rainbow Bridge. I really like the slick slide guitar work and fat riffs backed by Carpenter on sax and and that swampy, rocky feel. Excellent! Pearl River is a bluesy ballad with warm chords and a sultry sax chaser. Zito's vocals really shine on this track and his guitar tone is rich! Hell On Me is a rolling rocker with some really grinding guitar work. Pushed along by snappy drum work from Lee, this track really hits. C'Mon Baby is an easy R&B style ballad with a country twist. Organ work from Stephens cushions the vocals nicely making for a definite radio track. Judgement Day is a solid high stepper with a pounding down beat. Zito steps out with a much more rock style guitar solo on this track the excellent snare work of Lee really makes it work. An over the top sax solo by Carpenter iced the deal on this one. Dirty Blonde has a real country/rock blues feel and Zito take a page from the Gatemouth Brown book. With R&B richness the band develops a real nice jam and Stephens lays out a great electric piano solo opening the floor. Zito follows short behind with a free flowing guitar solo of his own. Carpenter steps up and trades riffs with Zito making for a really enjoyable rocker. Subtraction Blues has a real New Orleans funky blue sound that is hard not to really like. His vocals have a rawness that contrast nicely against the polished sound of Stephens on the electric piano. His stylized guitar work adds without overwhelming the track and his phrasing is really cool. Wrapping the CD portion of the release is Gone To Texas, a subdued and well written ballad. Carpenter and Zito really light up the solos giving the CD portion of this release a super close.  

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