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Midnight Shift - Rhythm Rockin’ Boogie

Cabernet Records


This Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania ensemble brings a sound honed from catering to dancers, while slowing down the pace at times to vary the attack. An amalgam of rockabilly, 50’s rock and roll, jump blues and blues is delivered by a very capable unit of musicians. Front man Mike Mettalia provides vocals well suited to rockabilly and easy roclling rock and roll, along with a craftsman’s grasp of electric harmonica skills. Guitar man Mike Mcmillan compliments the other Mike with his nimble-fingered guitar playing. Oft-times going from rockabilly riffing to blues licks all within one tune. The guys have their style firmly planted in rockabilly and 50’s rock and roll, at times adding blues touches. The only true blues songs are “The L & N” and the blazing harmonica romp of “Back Off”. Steve Guyger, Tommy Conwell and others lend handy harp, guitar and keyboard support. Mettalia matches Guyger in the harmonica department with varied grooves.

 The largely band-penned tunes infuse the best elements of rockabilly, rock and blues that would keep any dance floor bopping ‘til it drops. For lack of a better description, I’ll call it blues-a-billy, perhaps best displayed on the opener “Real Good Sign”. The leader’s strong harp skills come to the forefront quickly in the lead-off track and never show signs of letting up throughout the CD. Johnny Burnette’s “Tear It Up” is given it’s due with rockabilly riffing all over the place. Mcmillan again shows his versatility by taking up the piano parts of the R&B chestnut “Mess Around” with his skittering guitar parts. He gets into surf territory on his guitar showcase on “The Girl From Nogales”, which he penned. The sympathetic rhythm section of Tim Smith and Paul Pluta is there and every turn in the proceedings, never missing a beat. The addition of Steve Guyger’s beefy harp and the boogie-woogie piano of Dan Mckinney along with fleet-fingered guitar render “The L & N” as a soon to be classic in the pantheon of blues train songs. The ghost of Buddy Holly is evoked with jangly guitar backing on the easy bopping “Crash Into Love”. These groove-masters are surely in possession of “the right tools for the job”, but at times the blueprints need a bit of tweaking. The lack of rhyming lyrics in the occasional song causes a lack of flow. The instrumental skills executed throughout are much more than impressive. Minor flaws aside, fans of an upbeat good time can’t go wrong with working this “Midnight Shift”.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

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