Midnite Johnny Morana
Long Road Home
Mosher St. Records
Johnny Morana a.k.a. Midnite Johnny has had a long career playing the blues. From 1986 to 1988 Morana worked with Harvey Mandel of Canned Heat. Morana was also a fill-in guitarist for both James Cotton and Bo Diddley. From 1990 to 1994 Morana was a member of the South Florida band “Kilmo and The Killers” and they opened for Johnny Winter, Jeff Healey and Foghat.
Morana’s debut “Lyin’ Eyes”, recorded live, was released in 1998. His last studio recording “So Complicated“ was released on Mosher St. Records in 2015.
Currently the MJB includes Morana, lead guitars and vocals; Sergio Caizzo, bass; John Grillo, drums; Steve Zoyes, keyboards; Stan Waldman, saxophone; and Yoel Hyman, brass synthesizer. “Long Road Home” is produced by Marc Loren, while the executive producer is Jerry Blum.
Ten of the fifteen songs are written by Morana; four co-written with Zoyes. “Your New Occupation” “is making a fool outta me” features Zoyes on organ. Morana has great vocal clarity while his guitar playing is reminiscent of Eric Clapton and Freddie King.
“Closing in with a Slow Burn Inside” features the horn section of Waldman and Hyman. Also featured is background vocalist Arlene Coutee.
The title track “Long Road Home” features Morana on slide and some great production from Loren. “I could of had religion, I guess I lost my way, bad luck and whiskey would not let me pray”.
“Lookin Good” is a great instrumental and a showcase for the band. Drummer Grillo sets up solos from saxman Waldman, pianist Zoyes and Morana.
“I’m Tired of Foolin Around with you” again features Morana on slide and Zoyes on piano.This is another strong vocal performance from Morana.
“Motels, Whiskey and Me” is a slow blues featuring the lyric “the truth is plain to see, anywhere is a better place to be”.
Morana also includes three selected covers. “Crazy Mama” written by J.J.Cale was a 1971 single off of Savoy Brown’s “Street Corner Talking” album. This is a great vehicle for Morana as it highlights his talents both vocally and as a slide guitarist.
“Baby Batter” is a funky instrumental from Mandel, still an influence on Morana. Zoyes’ piano and Morana, on both rhythm and lead, are perfect together.
“Key To The Highway” written by Big Bill Broonzy Is another great vocal from Morana who takes a beautiful acoustic guitar solo. Morana closes with an acoustic version of the title track.
Although an established veteran this blues rock album will serve as a fine introduction to the talented Midnite Johnny.
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