Horns are added to originals like the title track from Little Mike and the opening "I've Been a Fool Too Long," and provide additional punch behind Zora's moaning vocal style. Certainly she places her stamp on Tony O's "I Love Chicago" as she belts out about her singing the blues and Chicago being both home and the home of the blues. Her vocal here is supported by the Tornadoes driving accompaniment. Wolf's "44 Blues" is nicely covered, but better is her soul-drenched rendition of Big Joe Turner's hit, "Chains of Blues." On a very enjoyable recording, a highpoint might be the wonderful rendition of Otis Spann-Lucille Spann's "Country Girl," with strong playing from McKaba, Little Mike and Tony O (evoking Sam Lawhorn on this track)." Riffing horns and Mike's harmonica add punch behind a fervent cover of Bonnie Lee's "I'm Good."
Young, Mike and Tony O sit out the closing "Spann's Boogie," which is a driving instrumental for pianist McKaba who is ably supported by Vickers and Piazza. It is a solid performance although odd for an album showcasing Zora Young's blues vocals. Throughout there is fine, idiomatic playing from Little Mike and the Tornadoes. Zora Young has not exactly been recorded extensively, so a new recording by her is welcome, especially when she sounds so fine, as she does here.
I received my review copy from a publicist. Here is Zora Young singing at the Lucerne Blues Festival backed by Bob Margolin, Bob Stroger and Kenny Smith.