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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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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ruf Records artist: Mike Zito & Friends - Rock 'N' Roll - A Tribute to Chuck Berry - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Rock 'N' Roll - A Tribute to Chuck Berry, by Mike Zito and this disc is loaded. Opening with St. Louis Blues and Charlie Berry II, Mike Zito handles guitar and lead vocals, backed by Matthew Johnson on drums, Terry Dry bass and Lewis Stephens on keys. Joanna Conner joins on Rock and Roll Music and there is just no match for that dynamo on slide guitar. Powerhouse player, Walter Trout steps in on Johnny B Goode, a long time favorite of blues and rock players alike. Trout's fluid, high intensity attack is well suited for this classic. Very nice. On Wee Wee Hours, master showman, Joe Bonamassa is featured and he lays out a full tour of the fretboard hitting about every fret on every string, making it seem totally effortless and with great feel. Clocking in at almost 5 and a half minutes, Bonamassa gives you the grand tour. Smoking. Robben Ford takes more of a country flavored approach to You Never Can Tell, contrasting nicely with earlier gun slingers. His poise and music sensibility adds nicely to the overall mix. Simplicity is the word on Luther Dickinson's approach on Too Much Monkey Business. A great rocker with vocal duet and straight up Berry riffs, this track is great. Shared lead vocal with Ally Venable gives School Days a unique perspective and holding tight to the rhythm as Venable and Zito jam is just a bit different. I like Kirk Fletcher's understated guitar work on Brown Eyed Handsome Man, tight and flavorful with soul. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Chuck Berry's classic ditty, My Ding A Ling that is tackled by Kid Andersen who tackles it with all seriousness. Vocals are playful but solid and guitar work full of stylized bens. Super closer. 

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