Mike Zito & Friends – Music News

In Music

Ruf (label)

01 November 2019 (released)

11 min

I may be blowing any credibility I have in the Blues community by saying that I never enjoyed Chuck Berry playing his own music – not in the way I adored Bo Diddley or Fats Domino.
However, he is one of the most covered artists on the planet and the covers of his songs have always given me a massive lift – probably the greatest Rock & Roll songwriter of them all.

Now, Mike Zito is an artist I have a huge amount of respect for and to see him putting out an album of Chuck Berry covers with a host of guest artists sounded like heaven to me.
You add in the likes of Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, Eric Gales – hell it’s a massive list – and joy should be, and is, unconfined. This is some truly fine music.

All the favourites are here: ‘St Louis Blues’ (featuring Charles Berry III), ‘Rock & Roll Music’, Walter Trout doing a monster ‘Johnny B Goode’, Joe Bonamassa on ‘Wee Wee Hours’ all terrific. My favourite track on the album is a fine version of ‘No Particular Place To Go’ featuring Jeremiah Johnson. Even Kid Anderson can’t quite save ‘My Ding A Ling’ – a song I have never enjoyed – but a good go at it nonetheless.

The entire album sounds truly authentic. These are tracks that have been covered time and again and some, such as Johnny Winter’s version of ‘Johnny B Goode’ are considered unbeatable classics – it takes someone of the stature of Walter Trout to bring it in line. The whole album feels ‘right’ and I couldn’t detect any overt egoism, everyone seems to be intent of doing this great music justice.
Zito plays and does the lead vocals on every track while Matthew Johnson (Drums & percussion|( Terry Dry on bass and Lewis Stephenson (Piano, organ, Wurlitzer) provide a superb backing band to the myriad of others.

I’d say that this is essential listening for fans of both Berry and Mike Zito. Great songs and great playing.

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