Little Mike And The Tornadoes review…August 7, 2013…

LITTLE MIKE AND THE TORNADOES

FORGIVE ME

ELROB RECORDS  ER 13231

OPELOUSAS RAIN–WAIT A MINUTE BABY–NOTHIN’ I WOULDN’T DO–TELL ME BABY–WALKED ALL THE WAY–FOOL TOO LONG–YOU DON’T LOVE ME–FORGIVE ME BABY–MY LITTLE THERESE–THE HIT–TRAVELING BLUES

 

The blues has always been about the hard times and good times of the working class.  Little Mike and the Tornadoes have always maintained that ethic, as each of the band members are from working-class families and neighborhoods, and many of their fans are those same blue-collar working stiffs that appreciate tough, honest, no-frills blues.

Such is what you will find on their latest album, “Forgive Me,” eleven Little Mike or band originals that keep alive their tradition of good-time blues that they’ve been playing over the last twenty-five or so years.  Yep, this ain’t Little Mike’s first rodeo, by any means.  He played on and produced Pinetop’s  debut for Blind Pig, “After Hours,” back in 1988, and did the same for Hubert Sumlin on “Heart And Soul” a year later.  (Trust us–these two albums, still in print, are classics, and well worth checking out!)

Little Mike handles the harp and vocals, and is backed by Troy Nahumko on guitar, Cam Robb on drums, Chris Brzezicki on bass, Jim McKaba on keys, and Sonny Landreth on lap steel.  They get things started with a breezy, loping instrumental, “Oopelousas Rain,” which gets everyone involved.  Then, a little later, they get downright funky and nasty on “The Hit,” another instrumental that recalls the glory days of the Excello label, so much so that one halfway expects ol’ Slim Harpo himself to jump up and holler, “Baby, scrastch my back” during this one.

“Tell Me Baby” utilizes Sonny Landreth’s considerable slide skills, and Ace Moreland backs up Mike’s vocals on this dance floor burner, reminiscent of Hound Dog Taylor’s best sides.  Mike tells a lover that he’s had it, and been a “Fool Too Long” in this uptempo rocker with fine piano from Jim.  Mike gets into a soulful groove with the help of the horn section and Warren King’s subtle guitar on “Nothin’ I Wouldn’t Do.”

As much as we like Mike and the fellows at their houserockin’ best, our favorite cut was a slow blues.  “My Little Therese” is an eleven-minute, classic slow-burner in the vein of Junior Wells, and it features some serious piano and harp interplay between Mike and Jim, and shows Mike’s deep love for the tradition of the guys he grew up listening to, and he’s obviously havin’ fun throughout this set.

Little Mike And The Tornadoes will always carry the torch for the workin’ man, and will always bring the best in down-home, Chicago-style blues, which is something we can never get enough of!  “Forgive Me” is a sho’ nuff hit from a bona fide blues master!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by WARREN MILLER on November 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Hey. Just stumbled on the web site.
    I’m an old blues harp man and enjoy to the fullest hearing some recordingS.
    rock on…

    Reply

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