Blues For The Southside

Mike Zito

Gulf Coast Records, 2022

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Mike Zito is one of those guitar road warriors who inhabit American music where the blues intersect with rock and roll. His latest album is a two-disc release titled Music For The Southside. Recorded live at the Old Rock House in St. Louis, Missouri on November 26, 2021, it’s a live journey through his catalogue of music, enhanced by covers of Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Tampa Red.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It is always interesting to hear an artist live, especially when it is one performance. Zito has always been an excellent guitarist and his expertise with the instrument forms the centerpiece and foundation of his music. His voice has a tired feel that’s perfect for the blues. The live nature of the performance serves to enhance his music as it gives it an authentic and very energetic feel.

Zito is backed by his full band, plus several guest guitarists, rolling through of a 12-minute version of Hendrix’ “Voodoo Chile” with additional guitarist Eric Gales, Tampa Red’s “Love Her With A Feeling,” and the concert-ending “Johnny B. Goode” from Chuck Berry.

Still, it’s his original material that serves Zito best. Songs such as “Mississippi Nights,” “Hell On Me,” “Dying Day,” “Make Blues Not War,” and the title track deliver his various interpretations and creations of the blues, showing a lot of depth and hidden textures that only a seasoned performer can provide.

A live album of this type always has an edge to it as the first time through you never know what is coming and what delights the live nature of the music will provide. Zito’s guitar solos are always clear and precise and deserve repeated listens.

Mike Zito has returned to his home territory for this excellent two-hour-long live album. Blues For The Southside finds him comfortable and at the top of his game, and is a keeper.

Rating: B+

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