CD REVIEW: MIKE ZITO – PEARL RIVER

Pearl River – (2009) Delta Groove Productions

As reviewers we are tasked with the duty very similar to that of a carnival employee. Yes I’ll guess your weight, yes the game is rigged to lose. Much of what makes it into my reviews are assumptions on the intent of the product. Sometimes I‘ll try to find a way to either mask my true feelings about an album when they’re negative, or just scrap it completely, something I do unapologetically. Why? I think it’s important to be open minded when experiencing new music, and therefore allow you to be as well.

Mike Zito has talent, he brims with it. His voice is exactly like you’d hope it would be, gruff enough to sell the ruggedness we like from our bluesmen, but strong enough to give you what you crave beyond the superficial. That in itself led me to wonder why bring other vocalists. They seemed detract more than they added were included in the album.

There are duos that work, albeit unnecessary, and some that are just down right baffling. It’s not that those joining him aren’t talented, they just don’t work well on this album, what ever the reason that might be.

Zito has talent, he brims with it. His voice is exactly like you’d hope it would be, gruff enough to sell the ruggedness we like from our bluesmen…

I found myself put off by the track order as well. It’s not often that an album makes me stop and make that “did I leave the oven on” face. I enjoyed about half of the tracks on the album and to hear them put in an order that didn’t make sense was jarring.

I like Zito and what he has to offer and hope to grab one of his other albums and find a better product. While Pearl River struggles to find the higher end of production, if you’re the type of person that doesn’t mind buying an album for a few songs you’ll definitely find that here and who knows, maybe a few more.

New Track Mix
1) Big Mouth 2) Pearl River 3) Dirty Blonde 4) Eye Sight 5) Change My Ways 6) One Step 7) Shoe Blues 8) 39 Days 9) All Last Night 10)Sugar Sweet 11) C’mon Baby 12) Natural Born Lover 13) The Dead Of Night

pearl riverThe new mix starts with “Big Mouth”, a track that has a better lead in, superior to “Dirty Blonde”. After that the album works from high energy to lower energy in a smooth way that is less confusing. It allows for the listener to enjoy the music without feeling like they’ve just been through a blender. When we hit “All Last Night” it starts a 4 song build that ends with a fantastic track in “The Dead Of Night” that is dirty and sexy. It features Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, and is possibly the only duo that shows us what the rest of the duos should have been. It does more than that – it ends the album in a way that makes you want to see what else Zito has to offer.

Suggested Tracks: Change My Ways, One Step At A Time, 39 Days, and The Dead Of Night.

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BG is a free magazine bringing you stories about Buddy Guy's Legends, blues music, and music generally. Please direct submissions to buddyguyslegends@gmail.com for consideration.

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