Posted in Uncategorized

Eddie 9V Little Black Flies

Rhetta Akamatsu 

Atlanta blues man Eddie 9V is set to release Little Black Fies on Ruf Records May 28. While this is not Eddie ‘s first record, it is his first for an established record label. It was produced at Atlanta’s Echo Deco Studios  Eddie’s brother, Lane Kelly.


Even though he is only 24 years old, Eddie is no newcomer to the stage. Indeed, he began performing in clubs around Atlanta at age 15 under his original name, Brooks Mason, with his brother Lane. My husband and I saw him perform that year, and I was surprised at how natural he was in front of an audience. This album, recorded live in the studio, shows he is just as natural on record. You even get some loose chatter between him and the other musicians, who include some of the cream of the Atlanta scene. The bassist, for instance, is Brandon Boone from the Tedeschi Trucks band. Another speciL guest is Cody Matlock, a former prodigy who has grown into a guitar hero and a long-time friend of Eddie’s.


One thing that has not changed with any of Eddie’s endeavors under any name is that the music is really excellent. There are 9 original tunes and 3 covers and they are all authentic,  full of soul and true to Eddie’s blues roots while adding a modern twist.


Every track here is a winner, but “Litle Black Flies” shows that Eddie 9V knows how to get dark and “3 AM in Chicago” is a hard look at life on the poor side of town. To balance the serious songs, there is the silly fun of “Columbus Zoo Blues” and the sassiness of “Miss Jane.


Mark your calendR for May 28 and p ck out your own favorites from this amazing release from an explosive young artist who should be on your radar if he is not already!

Posted in Uncategorized

Atlanta Bluesman Eddie 9-voltto Release ‘Little Black Flies’ May 28

I first saw Eddie 9V when he was 15 years old and using his original name! . I have been following his career ever since and included him and his brother Lane in my book Southern Crossroads, Georgia Blues when they were performing as The Georgia Flood. This new album is amazing! Here is the press release:

Eddie 9V (9-volt) is proud to announce that his new album, Little Black Flies, will be released via Ruf Records on May 28th.

All his life, Eddie has acted on instinct. At the tender age of 15, this old soul turned away from the age-old traditional path of school and jobs to attack his native Atlanta, Georgia’s blues club circuit. Flash forward to 2019, and for his debut album, Left My Soul In Memphis, the prodigious multi-instrumentalist simply powered up the amps in his mobile trailer and with his brother/co-writer/producer, Lane Kelly, laid down one of the year’s breakout releases, acclaimed as “fresh and life-affirming” by Rock & Blues Muse. “Memphis was a total side project,” shrugs Eddie, “that ended up taking off.”

Little Black Flies is the 24-year-old’s most impulsive move to date. Tracked live in Atlanta’s Echo Deco Studios, with Lane once again turning the knobs. It’s an album that Eddie planned to feel like it’s unfolding right in front of you – right down to the clink of bottles and loose studio banter. “I’ve seen a trend in modern recording,” he says. “There’s no soul. I took inspiration from Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Mike Bloomfield. All those great records were done live with their buddies and no overdubs. I wanted the playing to be spot-on – but even if we made a mistake, we kept going.”

Born in June 1996 to a non-musical family living ten miles south of Atlanta, Eddie still remembers his fateful first guitar. “I was six, and it was one of those with the speaker in it – get the most bang for your buck, y’know?” he muses. While manufactured pop dominated the airwaves as he grew up, Eddie forked hard left, digging back into the catalogs of blues giants like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, and Rory Gallagher. “I studied the older cats,” he explains, “saw what made them groove and tick.” As for his freewheeling lyrics, Eddie credits his home life, “I’ve been making words up on the spot for years – my Uncle Brian taught me how to do that at our family fish fries. How to make people laugh, how to hold an audience’s attention.”

Eddie still recalls the frustration of watching local musicians load into the fabled clubs of Atlanta. “My first heroes were the local legends like Sean Costello, but I was too young to go see them,” he remembers. When he finally made it inside, it was as a performer, learning his craft at the sharp end, and at precocious speed, with early vehicles like the cover band The Smokin’ Frogs and its maturing blues-rock offshoot, The Georgia Flood. “My first step in being a professional musician was learning how to accept failure,” says Eddie. “As a nobody, the music business is a dartboard. You just hope something sticks.”

In 2013 – and before Eddie had even graduated high school – The Georgia Flood represented the Atlanta Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. That band spilled over into the indie-rock PREACHERVAN, but perhaps the pivotal moment came in 2019 when he dropped his name – Brooks Mason – and adopted the Eddie 9V moniker for his solo work. 

Since that rebirth, he’s not only pricked up the ears of the music press. “A huge talent,” wrote Blues Blast, “to be noticed and followed,” but earned a respect on the scene that made it easy to recruit local heroes for the Little Black Flies sessions. “Every player is the best of their craft,” says Eddie of his studio band, “and that’s why I picked ’em. We had the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s bass player Brandon Boone and Cody Matlock, on guitar. Everybody’s mood was so exciting. The energy was there.”

This record catches everything that went down at a session that felt more like a party, as Eddie leads the line-up through nine new songs – plus three classic covers – that retool the soul-blues genre on his own terms, reminding a new generation why this music hits so hard. Horns blast, drums rattle, slide guitars howl and at the heart of it all is Eddie’s stinging guitar and unmistakable vocal, the bandleader thrilling us one minute with his soul-man holler, then spinning story songs like he’s sat on the next barstool. “The title track,” he explains, “was a narrative about me being in love with the girl in the apartment upstairs, who was being abused, and wanting to do something about it. “3AM In Chicago” is about America’s unfairness between race and income levels, but also wanting to improve on the situation. “Puttin’ The Kids To Bed” was a total ‘let’s hurry this up and get down to business’ song.”

With Little Black Flies, there’s a sense of an artist coming full circle, and at the same time coming of age, the kid who once loitered outside the clubs of Atlanta now leading some of Georgia’s greatest players into the studio. Indeed, these recordings gave much-needed catharsis to the musicians who created them. But perhaps Eddie’s ultimate aim is to pass that spirit on to everyone who hears the record. “It makes my day to please someone after they work all day,” he says. “My job is to make them smile and let the music make them forget – or remember.”    

In 2013 – and before Eddie had even graduated high school – The Georgia Flood represented the Atlanta Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. That band spilled over into the indie-rock PREACHERVAN, but perhaps the pivotal moment came in 2019 when he dropped his name – Brooks Mason – and adopted the Eddie 9V moniker for his solo work. 

Since that rebirth, he’s not only pricked up the ears of the music press. “A huge talent,” wrote Blues Blast, “to be noticed and followed,” but earned a respect on the scene that made it easy to recruit local heroes for the Little Black Flies sessions. “Every player is the best of their craft,” says Eddie of his studio band, “and that’s why I picked ’em. We had the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s bass player Brandon Boone and Cody Matlock, on guitar. Everybody’s mood was so exciting. The energy was there.”

This record catches everything that went down at a session that felt more like a party, as Eddie leads the line-up through nine new songs – plus three classic covers – that retool the soul-blues genre on his own terms, reminding a new generation why this music hits so hard. Horns blast, drums rattle, slide guitars howl and at the heart of it all is Eddie’s stinging guitar and unmistakable vocal, the bandleader thrilling us one minute with his soul-man holler, then spinning story songs like he’s sat on the next barstool. “The title track,” he explains, “was a narrative about me being in love with the girl in the apartment upstairs, who was being abused, and wanting to do something about it. “3AM In Chicago” is about America’s unfairness between race and income levels, but also wanting to improve on the situation. “Puttin’ The Kids To Bed” was a total ‘let’s hurry this up and get down to business’ song.”

With Little Black Flies, there’s a sense of an artist coming full circle, and at the same time coming of age, the kid who once loitered outside the clubs of Atlanta now leading some of Georgia’s greatest players into the studio. Indeed, these recordings gave much-needed catharsis to the musicians who created them. But perhaps Eddie’s ultimate aim is to pass that spirit on to everyone who hears the record. “It makes my day to please someone after they work all day,” he says. “My job is to make them smile and let the music make them forget – or remember.”    

Posted in Uncategorized

Quarto Valley Records Signs Guitarist/Singer Sean Chambers & Will Release His Label Debut, “That’s What I’m Talkin About,” a Tribute to Hubert Sumlin, on June 11

April 21, 2021

WOODLAND HILLS, CA –  Quarto Valley Records announces the signing of acclaimed blues-rock guitarist/singer Sean Chambers, and will release his label debut CD, That’s What I’m Talkin About, a tribute to legendary former Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, on June 11.

Recorded in March 2020 just before the coronavirus shut everything down, the Florida-based Chambers went into Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey, for the sessions of his 8th album. That’s What I’m Talkin About was engineered and produced by Showplace owner Ben Elliott, who suddenly passed away shortly after the album was recorded. In addition to Sean Chambers (guitar, vocals) and members of his band, That’s What I’m Talkin About also features guest appearances from lauded keyboardists Bruce Katz and John Ginty. The 11 tracks on the new disc include 10 songs Sean regularly performed on the road as a member of Hubert Sumlin’s touring band, as well as “Hubert’s Song,” a Chambers original saluting Sumlin. The music showcases a tour-de force of Sean’s blazing guitar pyrotechnics.

“This album is a tribute to my mentor, and friend, the late great Hubert Sumlin,”Sean Chambers says. “Back in 1998, I got a call asking if my band and I would be interested in backing up Hubert at ‘Blues Stock’ in Memphis. Of course, I was honored and said yes. The band and I woodshedded the songs for a month or so and went to play with Hubert for the first time in October of 1998. It was a magical night for me, and the chemistry between us and Hubert worked really well. After that show, Hubert asked if we would become his full-time group. My band and I continued to play and tour with Hubert for over four years. I look back on that time with Hubert as my ‘college education in the blues’. ‘That’s What I’m Talkin About’ was a phrase that Hubert used to say a lot, so we thought it would be a fitting name for this album. Ben Elliott, who engineered and produced the album, sadly passed away suddenly shortly after this session, and it would turn out to be his last project. The picture in the album package of Ben and I behind the mixing board was the last one of us, as we listened back to the tracks we had just recorded, hoping that Hubert would be proud. My previous two albums, Trouble & Whiskeyand Welcome To My Blues were also recorded with Ben Elliott. He was a great friend and partner in the business and will be sorely missed by everyone that knew and worked with him. I will always be grateful to both Hubert Sumlin and Ben Elliott and will never forget all the work we did together, as well as all the lessons that I learned from them both. The music will always live on, and I hope that you enjoy this album as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Sean Chambers will begin a post-COVID tour in support of the new CD with his band throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He currently resides in Southwest Florida with his wife Karen, who handles his merchandise sales while on tour.

“I am bringing back my old bass player, Todd Cook, who played bass on Trouble & Whiskey and Welcome to My Blues. New touring drummer Andrei Koribanics, was the drummer on the new album, That’s What I’m Talkin About, and played percussion on Trouble & Whiskey,” Chambers says about his new touring band.

Band Members:

Sean Chambers – guitar/vocals

Todd Cook – bass 

Andrei Koribanics – drums 

Rick Curran – Hammond B3/keyboards

www.seanchambers.com

Posted in Uncategorized

Eliza Neals – “Black Crow Moan”

Eliza Neals has a new album, Black Crow Moan and if you want to blast away your blues, this is what you need. She has a host of guitarists backing her up , including Joe Louis Walker and Derek St. Holmes who played with Ted Nugent. She also has some great back up singers including her sister, Valerie Taylor.In fact, every musician on here is terrific, And so is Eliza and her new material !She is as wild and soulful as ever.Think Janis Joplin and Koko Taylor with a lot of of pure Detroit soul and you will have an idea what to expect.

You know you’re in for some raging blues when you hear the opening chords of “Don’t Judge the Blues” and Eliza’s vocals and the chugging percussion fulfill that promise. The tempo continues for the next song, “Why You Oogin’ Me,”which is a different sort of look at a peeping Tom!

Moving on, here is a real treat. Joe Louis Walker and Neals are extremely well-matched vocally, and here they offer a powerful message accented by Bruce Bears’ Hammond B3 .Church is never like this!

Now things slow down for a heartfelt power ballad, “watch Me Fly.”n This is an exceptionally well-written song too, showcasing Neals’ power in that respect. It is followed by “River is Rising,” which has a strong Bon Jovi vibe and some great vocal harmonies.

“Run Sugar Run” is a poppy son , again featuring great harmony and a message of courage and hope. “Black Crow Moan,” a great title, once again finds Eliza in a duet with Joe Louis Walker, to haunting effect.

“Never Stray” is an aching blues with powerful guitar bolstering Eliza’s raspy delivery. Next is a fabulous version of the classic “Ball and Chain” Yes, you’ve heard it many times, but this will make you feel like you are hearing it for the first time.

To finish it off, you’ll have a party with the rock and roll extravaganza, “Take Your Pants Off.”

This CD will make you forget all about being stuck inside! Give it a listen and see if Eliza Neals does not give your whole day a lift!

Posted in Uncategorized

Eddie 9V – Way Down the Alley

by Rhetta Akamatsu

Many of us have been craving live music these days when we can’t safely gather, so it is lovely to hear Way Down the Alley. Close your eyes and imagine you are at Atlanta’s famous Blind Willie’s Blues Club, where it was recorded, listening to Eddie 9V (pronounced 9 Volt) lay down a blistering set of authentic blues with his excellent band. Even the “technical difficulties” early in the set are fun!

Eddie is only on his 20’s, the same age Robert Johnson and other icons were when they started, but like them, he has already been playing and performing under other names for years, and most of the audience have been fans of this man and his band members for a long time. And this recording surely shows why.

Whether it’s his own original music, like “Left My Soul in Memphis” and “Lo-Fi Love,” or classics like “Look Over Yonder Wall” and “Catfish Blues,” Eddie 9V deliver them perfectly. His deep love for this music shines through.

As for the band. Eddie himself is a strong guitarist, capable of delivering those fierce solos so necessary in live blues. The rest of the band (Lane Kelly on bass, Colin Dean on drums, Chad Mason on keyboards, and Jackson Allen on harmonica are tight and exciting. Chad Mason really shines on this album and Jackson Allen was a wonderful treat.his harmonica loving heart.

Eddie 9V always delivers, and this time he does it again. You will feel like you are there, having a great time and falling in love with the sound of this band!

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

2020 BLUES MUSIC AWARD WINNERS

blues-music-vector-3123191

This year’s Blues Music Awards were different, but proved that no pandemic is going to stop the music! The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony Sunday, May 3rd in a virtual ceremony. If you missed it, you can still see it on the Blues Music Foundation’s YouTube channel!

2020 BLUES MUSIC AWARD WINNERS

BB King Entertainer of the Year

Sugaray Rayford

Album of the Year

Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Band of the Year

The Nick Moss Band feat. Dennis Gruenling

Song of the Year

“Lucky Guy,” written by Nick Moss

Best Emerging Artist Album

Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Acoustic Blues Album

This Guitar and Tonight, Bob Margolin

Acoustic Blues Artist

Doug MacLeod

Blues Rock Album

Masterpiece, Albert Castiglia

Blues Rock Artist

Eric Gales

Contemporary Blues Album

Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Contemporary Blues Female Artist

Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Historical Blues Album

Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records – Definitive Collection, Earwig Music

Soul Blues Album

Sitting on Top of the Blues, Bobby Rush

Soul Blues Female Artist

Bettye LaVette

Soul Blues Male Artist

Sugaray Rayford

Traditional Blues Album

Lucky Guy!, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

Traditional Blues Female Artist

Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist

Jimmie Vaughan

Instrumentalist Bass

Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Instrumentalist Drums

Cedric Burnside

Instrumentalist Guitar

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica

Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist Horn

Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist Piano

Victor Wainwright

Instrumentalist Vocals

Mavis Staples

Congratulations to all these marvelous winners! I especially wish to congratulate Bobby Rush and any other fellow Covid-19 survivors on the list and hope to see you all live someday soon!

Posted in Books, Uncategorized

Book review: Ray Benson: Comin’ Right at Ya, or How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country

Comin Right At Ya, Or How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country

Ray Benson

by Rhetta Akamatsu

As he explains in Comin’ Right At Ya, Ray Benson was indeed born a  Yankee, growing up in Philadelphia, He is also Jewish and was a hippie when he formed Asleep at the Wheel 50 years ago. Yet he fell in love with Bob Wills and Western Swing in the days when young people his age were mainly listening to psychedelic rock and on the verge of disco. Despite all odds, Western Swing, memoir, biography he began his Wills-influenced band and has kept it going through many changes for over 50 years now. The band has lasted through broken dreams and broken relationships,  a slew of record companies and more. They have charted 21 times in  50 years and won 9 Grammy Awards.

How did Asleep at the Wheel survive all these years? Mainly through Benson’s immense charm and willpower. The willingness to nearly starve at times helped too. In the early years, the band moved south and lived in a cabin without heat, electricity or indoor plumbing, playing anywhere they could. They moved constantly and we’re always on the road.

Along the way, Benson and the band made some good friends with other musicians who didn’t care much re much for fitting in. People like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, and Dolly Parton among others. He recalls them all fondly here, with the flair of a natural-born storyteller.

These days, Benson is still on the road with Asleep at the Wheel. This book is almost as much fun to read as they are to hear and see. Lucky us! We have the opportunity to do both!

Posted in Celebrity musicians, Uncategorized

Van Morrison Three Chords and the Truth

Van Morrison

Three Chords and the Truth

Van Morrison is a wonder. Three Chords and the Truth is his 41st album and he is 74 years old, and he sounds marvelous!

The album is all straightforward music with no fancy effects. The backing band, including Astral Weeks guitarist Jay Berliner is part of the reason why, and Morrison himself is everywhere, playing guitar, electric piano, and sax.the marvelous backing band and Morrison is everywhere, playing guitar, piano, and saxophone. He wrote all the songs except for “If We Wait For Mountains,” which he co-wrote with lyricist Dan Black.

Morrison sings about his usual topics. Mysticism and the desire for deeper understanding fuel “Dark Night of the Soul.”N ostalgia is the inspiration for “In Search of Grace,” “Early Days,” and “Days Gone By,” a great song for New Year’s. He blasts politics in “Nobody in Charge” and the dark side of stardom with a wonderful assist from Righteous Brother Bill Medley on “Fame Will Eat the Soul.”

The style of the music is a mixture of R ‘n B, gospel, folk, and easy rock. It all flows together, tied by that well-known, effortlessly expressive voice. The man can sing anything and it will just sound like Van Morrison.

This is a fantastic album by a timeless singer-songwriter. It is highly recommended!

Posted in blues, Uncategorized

Eddie 9V Left My Soul In Memphis

Eddie9vEddie 9V, pronounced 9 Volt, is a phenomenon on his own. He is only 23 years old but under a different name he has been playing Atlanta clubs since he was 15 years old. In 2014, he and his brother competed, with their band, in the IBCs. So when you learn that he is only 23 years old, don’t think he is a beginner in the blues! This January, he is headed back to the IBCs to showcase Left My Soul In Memphis as Atlanta’s Best Self-Produced Album.

Not only did Eddie produce the album himself, working hard to produce a lo-fi sound, he also played all the instruments except the keyboards as well as doing all the vocals. The keyboards were provided by Rhett Huffman. Eddie did drums, that searing guitar, bass, and horns, working on mixing and layering in a genuine Georgia shack he turned into a studio. He wanted a vintage sound and he got it, while still filling the album with funk, soul and absolutely authentic blues.

Eddie’s hero is Freddie King and he shows that influence everywhere, including the incredible version of “Yonder’s Wall” that opens the album. Next, we get the strongly STAX influenced “Left My Soul In Memphis,” which also shows the amazing songwriting talents of this young man. Then comes the intense “Bottle and the Blues,” an original with a very traditional subject and some mighty sweet guitar. If you don’t know his story, it is probably hard to comprehend how he could get that good so young, but we train them that way here in Georgia!

“New Orleans” lets the guitar do a lot of talking, while Eddie sounds more world-weary than he ought to be. “Bending With the Kings” is an incredible instrumental tribute to Freddie, Albert, and BB King, and 9V holds his own with all of them.

“Woke Up Sweatin’” is driven by a catchy riff that draws you into the song’s narrative about love and the need for it, and includes some hot piano by Huffman. In “36th &Main” Eddie considers a musician’s common  solution to that problem: He’s going to 36th and Main to find himself a “midnight woman – one who “don’t talk or complain!” Yeah, he plays those horns, in this jazzy, upbeat number.

“Ghosts” has the most country-blues feel, with strong traces of Dylan and Hendrix in the lyrics and pure blues in the guitar. This is a highlight for the great songwriting and evocative singing. “Lo-Fi Love” is the most contemporary and vocally a definite highlight, showing off 9V’s range.

It’s time for some funk with “Don’t Test Me, Baby” and then Eddie wraps it up with some fine picking and strumming and a trip back to “1945 (Cocaine & Rum.)” Remember that he is the only one playing anything on this track!

Eddie 9V is a genius and “Left My Heart in Memphis” should explode him onto the national scene. As long

 

Posted in Classic Rock, Music, Uncategorized

Mike Zito: Rock N Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry

Mike Zito has done something very special for his 16th album. to be released on Ruf Records November 1. He invited 21 guest ll guitarists, to join him on Rock N Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry 111One of the guests is Charles Berry III, Chuck Berry’s grandson. Other guests include Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Walter Trout, Robben Ford, Sonny Landreth, Luther Dickinson, Albert Castiglia, Anders Osborne, Tinsley Ellis, Ally Venable, and other talented folks. Even Alex Skolnick f from Testament and Richard Fortus of Guns ‘n Roses play parts!

The album includes 20 tracks of Berry’s biggest hits and a few less well-known songs, such as “Downbound Train” and Havana Moon.” But for the most part, any Chuck Berry fan will recognize and love every song.

The album was produced by Zito himself at his own Marz Studio. The basic tracks were recorded and then sent to the guest artists, who gleefully added their own parts and sent them back. The whole process took a year, but the results were certainly worth it!  It sounds like one big party.

It all starts out with Charles Berry III playing and singing with Zito on “St. Louis Blues,”, sounding just like his granddad. Then come two major favorites,” Rock and Roll Music “featuring Joanna Connor and a blazing “Jonny B. Goode” with Walter Trout, before Joe Bonamassa absolutely tears up his part on the lesser-known “Wee, Wee Hours.” making it a real album highlight.

Then it’s back to the well-loved “Memphis,” with Anders Osborne and Zito sounding great together before Ryan Perry helps rock out “I Want to Be Your Driver.” “Robbin Ford adds power to the delightful “You Never Can Tell and”Eric Gales helps out on a great version of “Back in the USA”.

“No Particular Place to Go” is such a great song, perfectly suite to Zito and Jeremiah Johnson. Luther Dickenson joins Zito to make “Too Much Monkey Business” sound very Dylan-y while SonnyLandreth adds to the tropical feel of Havana Moon” with its fabulous steel guitar. Next, just hearing that iconic Berry beginning to “Promised Land” is going to make a lot of people smile, and Zito and Tinsley Ellis sound wonderful together and seem to be having such a great time that this one is another feel-good highlight!

“Downbound Train” is lesser-known and unexpected, with its dark tone, so it’s appropriate that it has an unexpected guest, Alex Selnick of thrash metal band Testament provides the perfect accompaniment. Then, Richard Fortus of Guns and Roses proves he can rock out Berry-style on the classic “Maybelline!”

Ally Venable has just the right young blues voice and hot guitar playing for “School Days.” Then, not one but two guests teach a little history with Zito on “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.'” Reelin’ and Rockin;” is a blast with Tommy Castro joining the party with Zito. Next, get ready to “Let it Rock” as Jimmy Vivino, leader of Conan’s house band, guests.

Choosing Albert Castiglia to guest on “thirty Days” was a stroke of genius. The pure joy that shines through as Zito, Castro and a chorus of others perform this song makes it a pleasure , making sure you’re smiling and prepared for the irrepressible “My Ding-a-Ling,” on which Kid Anderson, Zito and the chorus of grown men all sound like extremely talented and gleeful little boys! I defy you not to laugh.

With this album, Mike Zito and his friends do exactly what Chuck Berry did: Deliver an album that wows listeners not by technology but by skill, a lot of laughs, plenty of chances to boogie, and boundless enthusiasm. Chuck would be so proud!