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Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
(2009 - ElectoGroove Records)
Review Date: November 2009
by Robert T. Murphy
Mike Zito has put together an excellent CD of 13 songs of which he wrote or co-wrote nine songs. A lot of the songs are related to the New Orleans area, and several guest musicians from that area show up on the various tracks. Singer/Songwriter Susan Cowsill, guitarist Anders Osborne, Cajun specialist Jumpin Johnny Sansone, Drummer Eric Bolivar, Keyboardist Reese Wynans, and Harmonica player Richard 'Lynwood Slim' Duran all make guest appearances on this CD. This CD combines a mix of funky, blues, groovy driven songs in a very effective manner.
Some samples from the CD:
- 'Dirty Blonde' - This is a pretty basic 12 bar blues. Vocally, Mike Zito reminds me of Jimmy Thackery on this song.
- 'Pearl River'- This is a slow to medium tempo blues number, in a slightly altered basic 12 bar blues with enough variation to make it interesting, with plenty of guitar work. Being that Mike Zito is from New Orleans, this song described the Pearl River that runs through the area. It's a very descriptive song about the area and has some great guitar work at the end to top it off.
- 'Big Mouth'- This is a funky song with a catchy chord structure. Again the vocals remind me of something between Jimmy Thackery & Bernard Allison.
- 'Change My Ways'- This is a medium tempo song with a relaxed feel to it. This song leans towards relaxed vocals with tasteful guitar work.
- 'Eyesight To The Blind' - Another funky song with a southern New Orleans feel to it.
- 'One Step At A Time' - This song was written by Anders Osborne, who also provided vocals & acoustic guitar on the track. This song has a real singer/songwriter feel to it, leaning towards Bob Dylan territory, but with better singing.
- '39 Days' - This song has a heavy rocker feel with big heavy guitar work during the opening, but switching between power chords and soulful vocals in a loud/soft manner.
- 'Shoes Blues' - If Creedance Clearwater wrote a blues song, this would be it. Susan Cowsill guests on this song sharing vocals with Mike Zito.
- 'All Last Night' - This is something I would describe as somewhere between Hendrix's 'Red House' and a relaxed slow blues in format & style. Tasteful guitar playing rather than pyrotechnic jamming is the rule here.
- 'The Dead Of Night' is an interesting song that starts off with a toy piano and jumps into a marching shuffle beat driven by the bass guitar.
Bottom Line: This is a good to excellent CD, which reminds me a lot of Jimmy Thackery, Bernard Allison, or Tab Benoit in vocal and musical styles. The production is excellent throughout and this is a solid release. If you’re a Jimmy Thackery or even Tab Benoit fan, then you should like this CD. If your tastes run in that direction, then this might be a CD for you. If you are looking for rip your face off rockin SRV style blues, then you might want to look elsewhere. In any case this is a very good CD with some really good music with various styles and feel. I would certainly make it a point to go see him if he was in the area. I give it four out of five stars.
Guitar and vocals - Mike Zito
Bass & Background vocals- Lonnie "Popcorn" Trevino Jr.
Drums & Percussion - Eric Bolivar
Keyboards - Reese Wynans
Vocals & Acoustic Guitar on 'One Step At A Time' - Anders Osborne
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