Little Mike and The Tornadoes Back up Zora Young 'Friday Night' on self-Released CD (REVIEW)

By Mike Greenblatt | Dec 12, 2015 12:53 PM EST
On their 'Friday Night' together, Zora Young and Little Mike and The Tornadoes get down! (Photo : Courtesy Frank Roszak)

Regular visitors to the Chicago Blues Festival know Zora Young, 67, from Mississippi. Fans of Pinetop Perkins [1913-2011] and Hubert Sumlin [1931-2011] know New York harmonicat Mike Markowitz and his Tornadoes as the touring and recording band of those two late legends. On Friday Night, Zora, Mike and the boys get down. Period. This harmonica/guitar/bass/drums/saxophone/trumpet band has been putting out solid blues records since 1990. They've also served apprenticeships with Roscoe Gordon [1928-2002] and Big Daddy Kinsey [1927-2001]. But here, they throw the rulebook out the window and burn it.

To hear Zora sing Howling Wolf's "44 Blues" is know the meaning of the word "gutbucket." Similarly, to hear Mike blow hard'n'fast on his hero Little Walter's "Just Your Fool" is to hear the next generation of what Muddy was puttin' down all those years ago. Everyone on this record is drenched in historic sweat. They've earned it. Otis Spann's "Country Girl" is a bumpy ride. Zora's country. Not genre-specific country but the kind of country Carla Thomas called out Otis Redding for on "Tramp." She can't help it. That's who she is. And we're all the better for it. When she opens her mouth, and the gravel pours out with inflection as she modulates within her phlegm to produce that human instrument, who's to say she's not the best damn female blues singer in the world today?

Little Mike and The Tornadoes can make any bar come alive on a Friday Night. Now you can have that goodtime Friday feeling--when the eagle flies and you just got paid--any old time you want.

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