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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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Showing posts with label ELROB Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ELROB Records. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

ELROB Records artists: Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers with Little Mike and the Tornadoes - Genuine Blues Legends - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Genuine Blues Legends from Little Mike (Markowitz) and the Tornadoes featuring Pinetop Perkins and Jimmy Rogers and it's terrific! Recorded live at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine on May 21, 1988, this is a real gem! Opening with Cleanhead Vinson's Kidney Stew, Pinetop is rocking the keys and lead vocals and Little Mike is on harp backed by Tony O Melio on guitar, Brad Vickers on bass and Michael Anderson on drums. A cool shuffle track, Mike really takes the harp for a ride and Pinetop is in his prime. Excellent opener! Tommy Tucker's High Heeled Sneakers is up and Chicago style. Melio rips off some real nice blues riffs on guitar on this track and in addition to solid work by Pinetop on vocal and piano, Little Mike rides high on harp. Very nice! St Louis Jimmy Odem's Had My Fun is up next cranking in at over 10 minutes and Pinetop's vocals and piano work on this track are terrific. Melio digs deep on this track putting together some really tight guitar phrases. There is not a wasted not on this track. Excellent! Joe Willie Perkin's track, For You My Love is a real blues shuffle with Pinetop literally taking control. If you aren't familiar with Pinetop's work from this time period, you owe it to yourself to hear this release. This is Pinetop at his best! Little Mike really cranks it up on this track pushed along nicely by Anderson. Jimmy Rogers joins on this track and lays down some cool riffs of his own. Excellent! On Jimmy Reed's Big Boss Man, Reed takes the mic backed by Pinetop and the Tornadoes. Little Mike keeps his riffs tame giving plenty of room for Pinetop to solo. Very nice. Another Rogers original, All In My Sleep slows things down a bit and Melio and Mike take an early instrumental intro reminding me quite a bit of Bloomfield/Butterfield. Roger's vocals are more pronounced on this track and Pinetop really digs in on piano. Melio takes a later solo again putting me in mind of Bloomfield. At 9 minutes plus this track is very nice! Shuffle track, The Last Time, again led by Rogers captures the classic Rogers style. The blend and clarity of soloing on this release by Perkins and Little Mike is terrific. On Perkins penned, When I Lost My Baby, similar to a Ivory Joe Hunter song of similar name, features Pinetop back on lead vocal and piano. Pinetop's keyboad work is sensational and tight and Little Mike's harp work stimulating. Very cool! On Pinetop's Boogie Woogie, Pinetop really lets it go with Melio, Mike and Rogers each adding nicely to what really is Pinetop's track. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Pine and Jimmy's Jump, a tight instrumental jam. Each man gets his chance up front and takes it deep. This is a great conclusion to what had to be a terrific show. Excellent!

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Unfortunately I couldnt find any footage of these guys together but Here's Little Mike!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ELROB Records artist: Zora Young & Little Mike and the Tornadoes - Friday Night - New Release review

I just received the newest release, Friday Night, from Zora Young & Little Mike and the Tornadoes and it's got texture! Opening with the dynamic, I've Been A Fool Too Long, Tony O Melio gets a great guitar groove going. With Jim McKaba on organ and piano, Robert Piazza on drums and Brad Vickers, Zora leads the way on vocals for a real nice shuffle track. Slowing down a bit R&B track, A Fool's Lament is really designed to showcase Young's vocals. With Little Mike Marknwitz adding some key harp work and Rick Johnson on sax and Gary Smith on trumpet, this track drips soul. Howlin' Wolf's 44 Blues is up next with strong piano work from McKaba. With strong a Chicago feel, this track is perfect for Young's voice, complimented nicely by Mike on harp and McKaba on piano. Easy swinging, True Love Is Hard To Find, plays the horns nicely against Young's perfect vocal phrasing. McKaba takes a real nice piano solo on this track as does O Melio. Very nice! Excellent blues track, I Love Chicago, has just that right feel with Vickers and Piazza setting the pace. McKaba lays down another super piano solo leading the way for Little Mike. Melio sets up some really hot guitar riffs of his own making this a well balanced track. With some funky rock in the air, title track, Friday Night hits the ground running. Little Mike gets a real nice opportunity to play some of the tastiest riffs on the release, with Johnson and Smith keeping it moving. McKaba jazzes up the piano a bit and Melio sets the closer. Piano Man Walls' track, Chains Of Love, maintains it's traditional arrangement with Young delivering a deep blues feel. Melio, McKaba and Little Mike each get a swat at the wall, and each hits it deep. Very nice! Little Walter's Just Your Fool and it's shuffle pace gives the release the just right boost to get it rolling. Little Mike and McKaba stretch a bit making this a real nice harp jam. Otis Spann's Country Girl has a nice easy blues saunter. Being a Spann track, McKaba has a ready made spot to show his stuff. Melio hits a particularly nice stretch of guitar on this track giving extra spice. It's the bass of Vickers that sets the pace on I'm Good punched by Johnson and Smith. Young leads on vocal giving way to McKaba and a real nice piano solo and ultimately Little Mike who cleans the bases. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Spann's Boogie (Otis Spann) and McKaba is off the hook! Excellent closer for this well done release.

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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!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”