I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues for the Southside, from Mike Zito and it's really strong! Recorded live at the Old Rock House in St Louis, MO. this band is cranking. Opening with Mississippi Nights, Mike Zito is up front on lead vocal and guitar. Mike has great a super grinding tone and his slide work is great. Backed by Matthew Johnson on drums, Lewis Stephens on piano, Doug Byrkit on bass, this band is smoking. Larry Davis' Texas Flood really gives Zito a chance to put his foot to the floor and he doesn't hesitate a bit. His vocals are firm and his guitar work inspired and scorching! Hell On Me is a great, rolling blues with a solid walking bass line from Byrkit opening up a super land for Zito to wind it up and he's on it. Building a lot tension with his vocals and nice use of a chorus pedal, Zito sets it up nicely. Stephens' organ work adds a lot of lather setting the lob up for a slam by Zito to close. Very nice. Opening side two of this concert is Highway Mama, and adding Tony Campanella on guitar. I really like this track... a perfect example of blues rock at it's best along the lines of Frank Marino's Mahogany Rush. Excellent! Hendrix's Voodoo Chile finds Eric Gales on stage with Zito and a real shootout. This is a 12 minute duel and lots of smoke. Very nice! On Life Is Hard Zito really take his time and works his solo. His chops are excellent and clocking in at over eight and a half minute, it really makes you sad that you missed this show in person. Wow! Wrapping the release is Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode. With nothing left on the table, this is an excellent closer keeping the energy up and Zito keeps the riffs flying. This is a really strong closer for a really potent double live concert.
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