Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s have been the torchbearers of a great American blues musical heritage, not for two years but two decades.
Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Woods was putting together bands in Greenwich Village by his mid-teens. One night Oakland guitarist Hi Tide Harris heard Woods opening for Charlie Musselwhite and was reminded of the sound and theatrics of early R&B pioneer Louis Jordan. Indeed, Jordan has always been a primary influence on Woods. That kind of power was to become rallying cry for Mitch’s next project, Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s, which started in 1980 and quickly rose to the top of the Northern California club circuit.
Taking their inspiration from the great jump n’ boogie outfits of the late 40s and early 50s, they breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to rock’n’roll. Woods styled his group after the jumpin’n’jivin’, shoutin’n’honkin’, pumpin’n’poundin’ bands of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Amos Milburn, and Roy Milton. Adding a healthy dose of New Orleans rhythm and blues, piledrivin’ piano, and some of his own contemporary playful lyrics, Woods and His Rocket 88s forge their own brand of music they call “rock-a-boogie”, still playing all around the world after more than twenty five years soaking up the New Orleans sound.