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Blues GR

An interview by Michael Limnios @ Blues.Gr! (The online community of people that got the blues in Greece).
Southern guitarist John Morana talks about Bo Diddley, Harvey Mandel, Thom Doucette, & Albert Collins.

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John thrives on the close contact of an audience and plays the blues effortlessly from one style to another, a crowd pleaser in spades. His own works were on display, from his debut album entitled "Lyin' Eyes", this was featured on  the sound track of the movie "Suicide Blonde", other great songs from the album are "Trouble Fallin' Down"(like Rain)great riffs, "Walkin' The Floor "and "Gypsy Curse". All are winners on this album, and any blues fan would like this in their collection.

Keith Blackledge – Music Reviewer for the North West of England


 

BJs Blues Club Chorley on Thursday 26th April 2012

Me and the ball and chain set off in a tropical monsoon last night. Our objective was to catch Midnight Johnny and the boys at BJ’s in Chorley. We got there early and nabbed a ringside seat. Very romantic it was too with a candle on every table lending a club like ambience to The Hop Pocket.

I’d heard good things about this band and being a bluesman by nature I was curious to see how they interpreted the idiom and its myriad styles. My curiosity was well satisfied. They were stunning. Right from the off they were tighter than a gnats wotsit.

Johnny calls the shots and they all watch him like a hawk. They played mostly covers with one or two originals which impressed. Some old chestnuts were modernised with a really cool funk feel. The old Alain Toussaint standard “Get out my life woman” was a knock out. Having said that they could shuffle straight out of a back street in Chicago in the old school style. This got the audience swinging away in no time.

The rhythm section of Norm Helm (bass) and Tim Franks (drums) did the business without stepping on anyone’s toes. They changed seamlessly from funk to shuffle to rock to slow to fast without a blip.
Ian Cross on keys was the unsung hero with some beautiful piano stuff and a lovely 60s Hammond sound which fit the bill perfectly.

Johnny himself is a guitar maestro who has a chameleon suit on. If you close your eyes you can hear a Carlos or an Eric or a Jimmy or even a Steve Cropper in there. He seems to have a driving powerful style of his own with discrete but well executed effects. There is no compromise though which is how it should be. I itched for him to do some more slide work. Perhaps another day.

They did the live version of Wonderful Tonight with the beautiful opening Mark Knopfler chords and a lad from the audience called John (John Brindley)got up and did the vocals. He was bloody good to. I don’t know if he has a band but he should do. Norm did a slap bass solo in this song which in my view was not the right place for it. But that was my only slight issue with this lot.

Probably the best band I’ve seen this year and of a quality that belies the fact that you can see them in a pub near you very soon, probably for free. Take advantage folks because I can imagine them going places very soon. I would still pay money for this quality though. Exceptional!

All the best CJ (Chris Hughes)


 

The True Blues Club - Newton-le-Willows on Friday 13 April 2012.      

This fantastic venue at Earlstown is without doubt one of the most sophisticated of its type bar none and attracts many a top notch band to entertain its faithful audience. I was privileged to be in that club to witness a remarkable set of musicians by the name of The MIDNITE JOHNNY Band and I have to say they were awesome. This band from the Bolton area have been together now for several years I first saw them back in 2011 and they were just brilliant then nothing has changed except they might have got even better if that’s possible. John Morana alias Midnite Johnny was born in the Bronxs, New York, U. S. A., then moved later to Florida with family  and now resides over here in the Northwest of England. John’s astounding guitar playing captured the crowd and were instantly hooked, he has that ability and takes you through every note, and can make that guitar talk, cry, scream, and weep. John takes the best of the guitar greats from both sides of the Atlantic and then puts his own rubber stamp on it, which results in an amazing all round band performance. John as well as being a great and cool guitarist has written songs for the bands albums, is there no end to this man’s talents I hear you say.  John’s band are, on Keys and Electric piano Ian Cross superb player and commands people to listen to his style of play I was spell bound. This band has a very strong rhythm section, the spine of this band, on drums, Tim Franks he has a wealth of experience a drummer of some repute and is competent in all the different styles and played out of his skin no pun intended.  On a soul searching funky in your face bass guitar a brilliant musician who goes by the name of Norman Helm, and he is not too shabby as a backing vocalist to John.  If you weren’t’ their then you missed a brilliant gig, a brilliant live performance from a great hard working band.  I have no doubt that this band will be back entertaining us all  soon a treat in store.

Keith Blackledge - Independent Music Reviewer for the Northwest.


 

“You guys just seriously upgraded the standard of music in this place! Can you please come back soon?”

Management of the Bitter Suite Lounge - Preston


 

Inspired by West Side Chicago blues greats like Magic Sam and Otis Rush, John Morana plays with plenty of firepower, but with lots of restrain too. It’s that tension that makes his paying so affecting, particularly on slow-burn-ers like “Double Trouble” A veteran of the South Florida blues scene, Morana played beside guitarist Harvey Mandel (Canned Heat) in the house band of the Blue Midnite Pub, Fort Lauderdale.

New Times Magazine - Miami Florida


 

Midnite Johnny proceeds to tear his Fender Sratocaster into a set of relentless blues, something he has done for a long time now. For the money, Morana may be the most powerful blues guitarist in South Florida.

Jeffrey G. Harrell - City Link Magazine Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

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