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CD Review by Michael McKenna
PA Music
February 2011

Midnight Shift is an experienced, talented group of musicians with many years of experience under their belts. Playing in such bands as Crosscut Saw, Illinois Slim, The Tall Guys, Hi Rev Combo, Blue Moon, The Noble Savages, Hired Guns and Four on the Floor, these 4 musicians have paid their dues on the regional club circuit and have joined forces as Midnight Shift. Mike Mettalia on vocals and harmonica, Mike McMillan on guitar and vocals, Paul Pluta on bass and vocals and Tim Smith on drums make up the core of this banging group. They call their sound “Rhythm Rockin Boogie” which describes their unique blend of Americana roots music and prolific original songwriting. They touch many different genres that include Rockabilly, Blues and Rock and Roll.

On this new CD, a few good friends make guest appearances and it reads like a Who’s Who! They include Tommy Conwell from The Young Rumblers, harmonica legend Steve Guyger, keyboard player Chicago Carl Snyder formerly with Jimmy Johnson and Junior Wells, Christopher Dean on guitar, Phil Pilorz on slide guitar and Dan McKinney on keys who play key roles on some of this CD’s 18 tracks.

“Real Good Sign” is rockabilly at its best! From the mouth organ to the percussion, this tune is a reminder of the good old days. “Back to the Heart” is an uptempo tune with clean harmonies and some cool riffs from Tommy Conwell reminiscent of Carl Perkins. “Low Cut Blouse” has an awesome piano solo and string work that gives this song that extra push. “Tear It Up” is a kick ass Jerry Lee Lewis style rocker that should end up as a party favorite. “Mr. Lincoln” has a deep bluesy feel and some cooking lyrics. Phil Lorenz’s slide guitar is talking bigtime!

The title track “Rhythm Rockin’ Boogie” is an awesome kick ass tune that would fill a dance floor. Steve Guyger’s harmonica resonates with a funky get-down sound. Mike McMillan’s guitar is slamming! One of the best tracks on this CD! “Before This Song is Over” is a nice change of pace. This soft tempo song gets one close for those special times when you got that special lady on the dance floor. “Georgia Slop” reminds me of one George Thorogood and his brand of partying jams. This is a high energy monster and another one of my picks! “Let It Show” has that old timey sound from the late 50’s that one rarely hears, very refreshing!

“The Girl from Nogales” reminds me of some of the old artists that were on Sun records out of Memphis. The guitar work is spot on in this instrumental number! “Mess Around” is a cool tune that would inspire one to invent a new dance. The driving beat combined with Tommy Conwell’s slamming guitar work make this a must listen! “My Destiny” reminds me of a tune one would hear by the Stray Cats. “Do The 45” is a classic 60’s rock and roll tune that is shit hot! Carl McKinney adds some nice feeling with the Hammond! Wolfman Jack would have had fun with this!

“She Never Would Forget” is a slap happy southern style harmonica party tune. Steve Guyger just makes that mouth organ sing and the strings stand out and bite you in the butt! “Back To Memphis” has a nice Chuck Berry sound to it. This is like Johnny B Goode modernized! “The L&N” reminds me of the old Casey Jones tune from the 30’s, only updated. The ivories, strings and mouth organ all wail! Love this tune!! “Crash into Love” is a monster! The composition, lyrics and melody all blend perfectly. I can even hear some Elvis Costello in this! This has commercial possibilities! “Back Off” features driving rhythm and Mike Mettalia blasting his signature harmonica with an energy that is off the scale. This instrumental could very well be a “B” side of a single!

WOW! I was blown off my seat when I listened to this CD! This is one of those rare collections of music where you want to put on your boogie-woogie dancing shoes and let it all hang out! I give this TWO THUMBS UP!!