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Zora Young and Little Mike and the Tornadoes: Friday Night

C. Michael Bailey By

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Track review of "Country Girl"

If some wary Baby Boomers looks that the cover of Zora Young & Little Mike and the Tornados' Friday Night and feels a 50-year old tickle of recognition, it is not a sign of old age but the memory of the recording the cover alludes to: John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Decca, 1966) one of the more important musical products of the British Invasion. Authenticity of the music's origins became irrelevant at the time as like jazz, the blues became America's gift to the world. West Point, Mississippi-native Zora Young restores a bit of authenticity to the music on the present recording. West Point, Mississippi? It's the birthplace of another noted blues artist. Chester Burnett, AKA Howlin' Wolf.

Young is supported by the crack New York outfit, Little Mike and the Tornadoes. Led by harmonica player Michael Markowitz, this band has performed, in one form or another, for 30 years. They are a solid unit, steeped in the Chicago Post-War vernacular. This is evinced in spades on the Lucille and Otis Spann romp, "Country Girl." Pianist Jim McKaba plays in the best two-fisted Spann tradition: solid left hand and radioactive right. Young is in full voice, guitarist Tony Melio plays with a sinewy grace, approaching the sound of a pedal steel guitar. Markowitz provides dense accompaniment, playing the part of a horn section, adding grease to the gravy. It is that unmistakable sound...

Personnel: Zora Young Vocals; Michael Markowitz: harmonica; Tony O Melio: guitar; Jim McKaba: piano; Brad Vickers: bass; Rob Piazza: drums; rick Johnson: saxophone; Gary Smith: trumpet.

Title: Friday Night | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

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