Midnite Johnny – Long Road Home
South Florida’s Midnite Johnny Morana now relocated in the UK delivers solid blues-rock along with the occasional rockin’ blues via his nicely husky vocals and strong guitar skills. He is more than ably abetted here by keyboards, drums, bass, sax, synth brass and a backing vocalist. Thirteen of the fifteen songs are band compositions. The music and lyrics nicely mosey along and you suddenly realize that this is good stuff. All the parts fit just right and these guys definitely have the right tools for the job.
Johnny gets off on the right foot with the rockin’ blues of “Your New Occupation” that chugs along bolstered by his energetic guitar licks and the gusto of his vocals as he bemoans his loose girlfriend. Next up is a slow blues-rocker in “Slow Burn Inside”. Cool backing vocals by Arlene Coutee compliment the fluid guitar and Johnny’s sure fire vocal delivery. J.J. Cale’s “Crazy Mama” is delivered a bit faster tempo than the original and is enhanced by slide guitar and Steve Zoyes on piano.
The title track borrows a bit of it’s riff from “Rollin’ And Tumbling”, but it fits the song’s slide driven groove. “Lookin’ Good” is a jauntily syncopated instrumental with a groove that won’t quit. You want a shuffle, we give you a nifty one in “Tired Of Foolin Around” featuring organ, piano and more tasty slide guitar work. Johnny’s smooth vocal moves “All The Blues” along quite nicely thank you and Stan Waldman’s energetic sax doesn’t hurt a bit.
“Motels, Whiskey & Me” is a slow and mellow blues ballad. Harvey Mandel’s jazz tinged instrumental “Baby Batter” includes electric piano and guitar that increasingly builds in intensity. The classic “Key To The Highway” is given an acoustic workout with Johnny contributing separate rhythm and lead parts. He does justice to the original with his version. “Outta Time” is a mellow and smooth delight. “That’s All You Gonna Get” serves up another mellow groove one. An “acoustic” version of the title track takes us to the end of this truly satisfying recording. Mournful electric and acoustic slide, piano and “strings” close out things on a melancholy note.
Call this music what you will. I call it great. Not one misstep within. First rate singing, playing, lyrics and production…What’s not to like? Do yourself a favor and scoop this tasty morsel up.