One of Chicago’s hardest working groups, the Mike Wheeler Band, is back with their sophomore recording on Delmark, Turn Up!! The CD features Wheeler’s long time, ultra-tight band of Larry Williams on bass and background vocals, Cleo Cole on drums, Brian James on keys and background vocals, plus the legendary Chicago Horns of Kenny Anderson on trumpet and Hank Ford on tenor sax. This is funky, electrifyin’, modern, original Chicago Blues at its best and most entertaining.
Turn Up!! is packed full of catchy, killer original songs, with a standout cover of Little Milton’s classic, “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” Mike truly excels at the funky, soul-drenched, up-tempo rockers like the title track, “Yeah!,” “Sweet Girl,”, and “I’m Hooked.” He gets lowdown and funky on slower ballads like “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “Sad State of The World,” but can also get super heavy, like with the blues rocker, “Brand New Cadillac.”
Mike Wheeler has been known for a long time as one of Chicago’s best blues guitarists, playing lead and rhythm with so many bands, including Big James and the Chicago Playboys, Jimmy Johnson, Peaches Staten, Demetria Taylor, Nellie Travis and Big Ray. In addition to his jaw-dropping guitar work, Mike has really exploded into one of the best singers, songwriters, and bandleaders in Chicago.