Rock 'n' Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry, the latest from bluesman Mike Zito (and Friends), arrives 1 November via Ruf Records. Joining Zito in this endeavor is a wide range of guitarists, including Luther Dickinson, Alex Skolnick and, for a rendition of Berry's quintessential tune, "Johnny B. Goode", Walter Trout.

It's an essential pairing: Trout's scorched Earth Stratocaster maneuvers meld nicely with Zito's, equally blistering Telecaster tones. Though the song itself is...

Week 12: "God’s Word"

Originally by J.B. Lenoir

(March 5, 1929 – April 29,1967).

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Born in Monticello, Mississippi. During the 1940s, Lenoir worked with Sunny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James. He moved to Chicago in 1949 and began recording in 1951. His band included pianist, Sunnyland Slim. He died at age 38 of internal bleeding relating to injuries he had suffered in a car crash which had not been properly treated in a hospital.

Lenoir was a prolific songwriter, also...

Week 10: "Goin’ Down To The River"

Originally by Mississippi Fred McDowell

(Fred McDowell January 12, 1906 – July 3, 1972).

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"McDowell was born in Rossville, Tennessee, where he started playing at dances at age 14. Trying to escape the hard farm work he moved to Memphis in 1926 to work at a mill. In 1928, he moved to Mississippi to pick cotton and he finally settled in Como, MS.

He performed music at dances and picnics but continued to work steadily as a farmer. In 1959,...

Week 10: "Out of Bad Luck"

Originally by Magic Sam

(Samuel Gene Maghett -February 14, 1937 – December 1, 1969).

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"He was born in Grenada Country Mississippi, and moved to Chicago in 1956. At a recording session in 1957, his bass player coined his stage name Magic Sam – a creative take on his actual name.

He recorded and performed until he died of a heart attack at age 32. Sam never really achieved wide spread success, but for years, he has been revered and loved by blues...

Week 9: "It Takes Time"

Originally by Otis Rush

(April 29, 1934 – September 29, 2018)

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi and moved to Chicago, IL in 1949 and made a name for himself playing the blues clubs on the South and the Westside. He started his recording career in 1956 with his classic song, "I Can’t Quit You Baby." He is often credited with being one of the architects of the West Side Guitar Style. I first met Otis, when I was in John Mayall’s band, and we did a...

Week 8: "Something Inside of Me"

Originally by Elmore James

(January 27,1918 – May 24, 1963).

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Born in Richland, Mississippi, James started playing the diddley bow at age 12. He started performing in bands in the late 30s, and after a stint in the Navy in WWII, he teamed up with Sonny Boy Williamson and performed all over the South. In 1951, he released Dust My Broom, which started his solo career.

He moved to Chicago in 1953, recording many classic songs and playing and...

Week 7: "Red Sun"

Originally by Floyd Lee

(Ted Williams, 1933)

Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Lee was born in Lamar Mississippi. He learned to play the blues while staying with his aunt in Memphis from his father, Guitar Floyd. He started wandering around the country playing music, before he, in 1972, moved to Harlem, New York, where he played in the subways of the city. He has played with various musicians including Jimmy Reed, Wilson Pickett, and Bo Diddley, as well as fronted his own band. The son...

Week 6: "Nature’s Disappearing"

Originally by John Mayall

(Born November 29, 1933)

 Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Born in Macclesfield, England, he grew up listening to his father’s large record collection. From an early age, John Mayall was drawn to the sound of American music—particularly the blues—and he taught himself to play the piano, guitar, and the harmonica. He moved to America in 1969, and has lived on the West Coast in California since then.(Picture of John and Walter 1985)I first me...

Week 5: "Please Love Me"

Originally by B.B. King

(Riley B. King – September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)

 Walter Talks About the Song: 

"What can I say about B.B. King? In my opinion, he is the greatest blues man of all time. Truly the king of the blues. His singing and guitar playing set the bar for everyone else. I met him when I was sixteen and he talked to me for over an hour. That meeting completely changed the trajectory of my life. I went home that night and told my mother: “I’m going to be a...

Week 4: "Sadie"

Originally by Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor

(April 12, 1915 – December 17, 1975)

 Walter Talks About the Song: 

"Taylor was born in Natchez, Mississippi. He moved to Chicago in 1942. He was famous among guitar players for having six fingers on both hands. The extra fingers were rudimentary and could not be moved. One night, while drunk, he cut off the extra digit on his right hand using a straight razor. He started performing in Chicago in small clubs in 1957. He performe...

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