Get this crazy baby off my head!


Zola Moon


Zola Moon - Tales of Love and Desperation - 2003 - Postmodern Music

Brilliant postmodern blues from the great Californian blues vocalist, Zola Moon. The album has strong elements of soul, blues rock, folk, and roots music. Among her influences are Janis Joplin & Big Mama Thornton. She provides electrifying vocals and music, and has performed with Albert Collins, Etta James, Elvin Bishop, Albert King, Big Mama Thornton, Al Kooper, and Junior Wells among others. "Tales of Love and Desperation" is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Buy her great "Earthquakes, Thunder and Smiling Lightning" album, and promote this great music. Zola's "Lost in the Blues" album is @ ZOLMO/LITB


1 Never Give Up on Ya 4:06
2 Hard Liquor 3:19
3 How Long 4:31
4 Bluesville 3:40
5 Steel Bars 5:06
6 Talkin' 'Bout You 3:53
7 Snake Eyes 7:32
8 Don't Blame It on God 4:19
9 Sweet Pea 2:44
10 House of the Rising Sun 4:16
11 Mechanical Beast 4:11

All words and music by Zola Moon except Track 10 (Trad.)


Zola Moon - Vocals, Harmonica
Vince "the Silver Fox" Joy - Guitar
Ron Battle - Bass
Jerry Olson - Drums


"A charismatic singer with a restless, blues-wailing sound, Zola Moon's literate original tunes exude a Charles Bukowski wit and a lyrical immediacy missing from most current blues revivalists. This longtime blues-rocking vet remains one of the Southland's best-kept musical secrets."--LOS ANGELES WEEKLY

"Zola Moon's pretty damn scary; she can belt 'em out like nobody's business, and she plays a wicked-ass harp. When she croons, she grabs you by your throat, knocks you out flat, sits on your chest, and makes sure you know how much she's hurtin';."--ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY

"Not only does Zola sing her heart out, but she plays the harmonica, writes all the songs, and generally just shines."--SOUTHLAND BLUES

"Willie Dixon once said to Koko Taylor 'That's what what the world needs, a woman with a voice like yours that sings the blues;. If Willie were alive today you can bet he'd be saying the same thing to Zola Moon. Zola serves up some wild rocking blues complete with gut wrenching vocals, hot guitar licks and some pretty mean harp-and shows that the blues don't have to be the same old thing, they can be fresh, original and very, very HOT!"--BLUEZ4U.COM

"When Zola sings, you can just FEEL the blues drip down, like wax on a candle."--THE ONCE AND FUTURE BLUES

"I am more excited about Zola Moon than any female blues singer that has ever passed my way in 47 years. She is the best female blues singer I have ever heard. She is SPELLBINDING."--BIG DADDY BLUZHARP'S Guide To The Best Of Blues Harmonica And Beyond

"Zola Moon should make any blues fan jump for joy."--BLUESBOYMUSIC.COM

"It's very refreshing to hear something new, yet still in a great blues tradition. Zola Moon will be heard on my show over & over & over."--Brett Parker: THE BLUES BOX, Logan 101.1FM, AUSTRALIA

"Zola Moon has a voice that places her on the same level with the legends of the blues. It is hard to find any accolades that haven't already been used to describe her talent."--DELTA SNAKE DAILY BLUES

"Zola Moon has been picking up hot reviews from several quarters."--BLUES ON STAGE

"Zola writes original songs that swing and rock, plays the harp, and is a full-voiced blues singer who can hold a note with power forever and still get soft and sultry."--BLUES ACCESS

"Wow! This gal has a great set of powerful pipes. Zola Moon pulls no punches. There is a real echo of Big Mama Thornton and Janis Joplin and I'd be the last to complain about that. Zola is a truly honest talent and fills a very bright spot on the blues scene today. This is refreshing as hell blues."--JAZZREVIEWS.COM

"It's 105 degrees in Texas, but Zola Moon makes that seem cool by comparison. This woman and her music are HOT!!!"--Dave Johnson: Host of the nationally-syndicated BLUES DELUXE radio program

"South Bay blues legend Zola Moon plays a wicked harp and belts the blues like she grew up on the Mississippi Delta."--LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

"Zola Moon is one of the most exciting blues singers in the United States."--THE-MP3-WAY.COM

"If talent is truly in the equation, this Moon should rise, indeed."--MUSIC CONNECTION

"The blues would not be the blues without the timeless songs of people like John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, Mississippi John Hurt, and Muddy Waters. Zola Moon's songwriting and singing put her in very good company."--EASY READER

"You get 200 percent when she's on stage. She must lose at least 5 pounds a night when she performs. Zola Moon is marked for greatness."--CULTURE WARS

"Her name is Zola Moon and she is a triple-threat talent. Not only does she write the songs and sing the hell out of them, she plays a mean harmonica."--WHAT'S UP

"Zola Moon delivers blues the way blues were meant to be delivered, with passion and soul. No doubt about it, Zola Moon is the REAL DEAL."--Karen E. Reynolds: WDVX

"Steamy, raw, wailing songs; she is completely original. Miss seeing Zola Moon at your own risk."--ROCK CITY NEWS

"Zola Moon is making a name for herself in the blues like there's no tomorrow."--4 FRONT

"Zola Moon's incredible voice, smoldering presence, and powerful charisma have captivated everyone from legendary blues players to brain-fried club patrons."--BUZZ

"Zola Moon is one of the great blues singers."--EDGE

"Zola Moon is a riveting stage presence. With her flair for improvisation, each performance has its own unique flavor. Her powerful style and charisma are undeniable. Don't miss her act."--NEW MILLENNIUM

"Zola Moon can rip through a song with the ferocity of a caged lion that's finally been freed."--STEREOPLAY

"It's not often that we get a blues singer that has the ballsy style of Zola Moon. TOTALLY original. If you love hot & heavy blues with GUTS, you'll agree with me when I declare her to be one of the BEST OF THE BEST!" --IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION

"It has been a long time since I have had the pleasure of listening to such a spectacular voice. Zola Moon is the Goddess of the Blues. Zola draws you in and makes you feel the blues like you've never felt them before. I grew up on the blues, and can tell you that it just doesn't get any better than this. If it does, I've yet to hear it."--THE GLOBAL MUSE.COM

"Zola Moon is a blues icon."--Left Coast Carl: KSPC

"Real blues fans, the ones with B.B. King and John Lee Hooker in their CD collections, will love Zola Moon."--INDIE-MUSIC.COM

"Zola Moon will be on our playlists for as long as forever is."--Larry Lowe: CYBRORADIO

"***** Zola Moon recordings are must-haves for any blues lover."--BEACH NEWS

"Zola Moon is the hardest working blues singer in Southern California."--RAVE

"Zola Moon sings some powerful original blues with a powerful voice that is not really like any other we have heard in quite a while.--GRITZ.COM

"Zola Moon is one of the TOP TEN artists of the year."--FEMMUSIC.COM

"Zola Moon has energy and style-an unbeatable combination where the blues are concerned."--Dave Butler: WHBN

"Zola Moon serves up fiery original blues songs, powerfully versatile vocals, and great harmonica prowess."--PLAYBACK

"As both a singer and a songwriter, Zola Moon continues to add luster to her well deserved renown her with wild, rocking blues. Yet her music is, at the same time, very sophisticated, and when she wants to, in spite of her force-of-nature power, she can draw you in and create an intimate atmosphere."--HALLANDSPOSTEN

"South Bay legend Zola Moon's CDs are packed with the kind of blues that makes you laugh, cry, sing along and tap your foot."--SOUTH BAY WEEKLY/LA TIMES

"Zola Moon is a powerhouse. She reminds me of Etta James and Koko Taylor at their peaks."--Erica Reed: KUOR

"Zola Moon is the best blues artist I have heard in many years."--Kjell Andreassen: RADIO HOLSTEBRO

"Zola Moon is a challenging talent and a master of the blues. Her incredible power and stunning vocals clearly prove that she is, indeed, a force to be reckoned with."--GOGIRLSMUSIC.COM

"Zola Moon is unique, insightful, passionate and genuine. My only disappointment is that I live in Australia and can't experience her music live all the time."--Stewart Dorman: WALKING THE BLUES, 4DDB FM 102.7, AUSTRALIA

"Zola Moon's lyrics are totally clich-less and, with only slight inflections in her phrasing, her voice can convey irony, menace, or sadness."--BLUES BYTES

"Zola Moon is one of the finest blues singers I've ever heard."--Curtis Tillman (bass player for Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, Albert Collins, Bobby Blue Bland, Freddie King, Johnny Ace, etc., etc., etc.)

"Zola Moon can blow you away one minute, then take you to another place the next, still leaving you with the blues. She can sing, play harp, and write a bloody good song. If you have got the blues, you need Zola. Recommended? You better believe it."--Terry Iredale: HOT-FM 106.7

"Zola Moon sounds like no other blueswoman in the business. She scratches and bites with a vocal aggression seldom heard today. Nevertheless shes no rock singer, but is deeply rooted in the blues. This is also evident in her songwriting. Her blues seem to come out of deep soul even when she swings. Her voice reminds me of Koko Taylor and Janis Joplin. Live, Zola Moon must be a phenomenon of nature."--CONCERTO, GERMANY

"From the first time of the many times I have seen Zola perform, I have always considered her incredible voice and power to be true forces of nature."--Vince Daniels: WPMD

"Zola Moon delivers tons of passion with an incredible voice. Great original songs, great backing band, great production. Wow! Wow! Wow!"--Uncle Vasja: MOJO BLUES 103 FM

"Zola Moon concentrates on good songs (hers) and is a welcome different take on the blues, doing away with the cheesy, self-indulgent, fake-Stevie Ray noodlings many bands mistake as blues. She is enrapturing. One of our picks of the year."--SHADOWWORLD

"Great musicianship and an incredible voice make Zola Moon a definite winner. For those of you who look at the Blues as an old man style of music, all I have to say is, listen to Zola!Those who have heard her, understand what I'm talking about. Those who are interested, are going to be shown the way.This is just simply fantastic blues!!! Highest rating-A++."--LIVE MUSIC

"Zola Moon plays a deadly harp, has a tight hard-assed band, and belts the blues like the early shouters. The fact that she writes all her material is a bonus. When is she coming to Australia?"--Stephen Hall: RED HOUSE BLUES, Radio 2NSB, Sydney, AUSTRALIA

"Does Zola Moon know how to sing the blues?-Damn right she does!!! Does Zola Moon know how to play harp?-Damn right she does!!! Does Zola look GOOOOOD?-Oh, Mama, she sure does!!!"--Kruno: VFM BLUES RADIO, CROATIA

"Man, if Zola Moon doesn't grab you by the soul, then you must be dead!"--DJ Smilestir: BLUE ICEWATER RADIO, blueicewater.cjb.net

"Zola Moon is a staple of our radio show. Her vocals and songwriting are stellar. Plus, Zola's band is top-flight and keeps the party rockin."--Joe Kelly: THE UPPER ROOM WITH JOE KELLY, WVOF 88.5 FM, CONNECTICUT

"I was too young for Billie Holiday; I never got to see Janis Joplin perform, but I can tell the world that I've seen Zola Moon and, friends, she was something to see. Zola Moon is an artist you can tell your grandchildren about."--SOUTHBOUND BEAT

"Zola Moon is one of the few contemporary American blues artists who manages to say some new things in a truly original way."--Gustavo Rozenberg: GOODTIME BLUES, VIERNES 91.3 FM, Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA

"Zola Moon and her music are hot as Hell."--Johnny Timewarp, WFCS 107.7 FM, CONNECTICUT

"As ever, Zola Moon is a cool artist full of vitality who shows what she is able to do, which is more than one can really imagine."--Vicente Zumel: THE BLUES HOUR, 96.6 FM, Barcelona, SPAIN

"Zola Moon has a powerhouse voice. These are original songs sung by a woman who puts emotion and feeling into her song stylings."--Doug Lewis: The Doug Lewis Show, WGVN, 107.3 FM, St. Thomas, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

"An amazing Blues harmonica player as well as an incredible singer."--BELLY UP 4 BLUES

"Zola Moon not only sings, but writes from the heart, always with honesty, power and beauty."--LIVELY ARTS

"As Zola Moon sings, you can feel the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck standing on end. She grabs you by the throat and comes up fighting."--SOCAL BLUES


Female blues singer and songwriter Zola Moon was born in San Jose, CA, but her powerful song stylings might mislead listeners to guess that she was raised in the Deep South of Louisiana or Mississippi on grounds better known for producing great blues artists. She is self-taught, though she does mention numerous musical influences, ranging from B. B. King and Muddy Waters to Hank Williams and Tina Turner. Even with all of those wonderful influences, Zola Moon has worked hard to keep her sound all her own. Zola Moon began her career in blues about 1983, in the San Francisco area. After seven years of performing, which helped her grow a large fan base, she finally released a debut album in 1990. It was titled Dangerous Love and recorded under the BareMoon Records label. Five years later, and with a new label, she finished work on an enjoyable sophomore offering, Lost in the Blues. It was followed in 1998 by Almost Crazy and then in 2000 by Earthquakes, Thunder, and Smiling Lighting. Some of the original blues tunes fans can sample on Zola Moon's albums are "Doll House," "Lucky Me," "I Look at the Fool," "Imagination," "Alley Cat," "Hollywood to the Hood," and "I Don't Think So." Over the years Zola Moon has performed at concerts, festivals, and nightclubs, appearing with many artists, including Etta James, Junior Wells, Al Kooper, Albert Collins, and Elvin Bishop. Her band consists of longtime drummer Jerry Olson, guitarist Vince "the Silver Fox" Joy, and bassist Ron Battle. © Charlotte Dillon, allmusic.com


“For me, It’s always about the music,” says Zola Moon. “It’s like a painter who just has to paint that painting. I do it because I can, because I’m lucky enough to be able to do it, and because I have to. It’s an unstoppable drive. Artists do it because something makes them do it. Not the money,” she laughs. “Although, sometimes that helps.” Blues singer Zola Moon has been a consistent presence in Los Angeles for more years than we have fingers and toes, going back to the early and mid-1980s. When I first interviewed her, she had just released “Lost in the Blues” on the prestigious Kent Records label. That was early in 1995. The deal with Kent soured. “When I wanted to start writing my own material and controlling what I sang more, that became a problem for my guitar player and then musical director. So I fired him and the whole band. But we had had a long successful run. Because of my insistence on original material, we were selling original blues shows for 13 years, hammering out an identity, which can be very hard to do. We opened up a lot of doors for a lot of blues acts. We proved to the owners and bookers of a lot of venues, at a time when there were pretty well no blues venues, that the blues was viable.” That was ten years ago, and a year after that Zola released her first record of her own original material, “Almost Crazy.” Her fifth and latest CD of original songs (her seventh overall) “Wildcats under My Skin” is about to be released. When it comes to what she looks for and expects from her band, Zola is one savvy character. The ability to play well is not enough; her players have to have their chops, but they need to be fearless, too, and must be able to extemporize and turn on a dime like the alert, well-seasoned musicians they are. Zola calls her group The Pretty Boys, and the lineup consists of bassist Eric Williams, drummer Jerry Olson, guitarist Michael Carter. “Michael is a sensitive, exciting guitar player,” she says. He’s also got a jazz attitude, like me. There’s plenty of room for him to move, and he really delivers for me.” Williams is described as a solid, old school bass player, like Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones. “Eric plays the bottom, you know, and he is rock steady.” And Olson? “Jerry is the engine of the band. He will put on a show for you. I have had him in every kind of circumstance or show. Jazz clubs where they want a lower volume show, not a boring show, but lower, which is hard for some drummers to do, to huge outside concerts in front of thousands of people where I need a real fire drummer with lots of power and energy. Jerry always delivers what I need. My group always delivers what I need; I love them.” This is the band that recorded “Wildcats under My Skin” on an analog 2-inch tape machine at Dino M4 Studio in Torrance, CA. In this digital age, analog tape is going the way of the dinosaur, but for some musicians it is still the only way to go for its wide sonic range and big sound. The album contains eleven tracks, all of them penned by Zola, with the exception of a little help from Cynthia Manley and Jessica Williams on “Boat Man.” The record also has guest appearances by Ricky Stelma on piano and accordion, Elizabeth Hangan on back-up vocals, and Jimmy Z on saxophone and harmonica. Zola says she can be nervous about a new release at first, but that she’s already sold on her latest, “which I liked immediately. I think it’s because of ‘Tequila Dreams.’ ” At eight and a half minutes, “Tequila Dreams” is by far the longest track, but it stands out in a good way, in part because of its surreal narrative, Zola’s mesmerizing vocals, and Jimmy Z’s sinuous and slithering sax work that plays well against the solid foundation set down by the bass and drums. “ ‘Tequila Dreams’ is a combination of -- yes, I confess – drinking mescal and eating the worms in Tijuana,” Zola says with a loud laugh. “It’s kind of a mescal hallucination. But it’s also the story of the rise of the Insect Queen who dominates the world at the end of Earth’s life-cycle in the solar system.” She then additionally describes the contents of the song which don’t get any less surreal and ends by saying, “So that’s the story of the Dowager Empress Worm Commissioner of the World.” We agree that it’s very Jim Morrison-like, and for me reminiscent of “Beggars Banquet”- era Stones without being derivative of either Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison. Not surprisingly, a list of Zola’s influences puts her own work into perspective, and conveys something of the standards she sets for herself when composing and performing. When asked who has impressed her, she mentions Patti Smith, both as a lyricist and for her Jim Morrison-like spirit. She quickly adds others: Charles Bukowski, Buddy Guy, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Linda Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton. Some of these artists, those still with us, have been slogging away at their art – at times without due recognition – for year after year. So how does Zola keep herself going, particularly after – and I assume that all artists have some – a show not up to her exacting standards? “Me and my band are what you would call the last of the roadhouse warriors,” she replies, “and you only feel as good as your last show. So even if it’s a night that there’s not a lot of people there, you still have to make it happen. If those people are excited after the show, you can walk out with your head high. It’s what you have to do. Every show matters. And that is hard to do – but some of us long-distance runners learn how to do that.” As strenuous as they sometimes can be, the live shows inevitably fuel the recordings. “You know, I still believe in the work ethic. To get out there and work the band in front of a real audience tells you more about where you are and the legitimacy of what you’re doing than any kind of record company executive – they live in a different, artificial world. But when you’re out there with people watching your show, and they love you, and you’re doing original material, you know you’re on the right track. That’s why my CDs come out of my live shows. I learned a hard lesson in the past, where you go in and let a producer do what they think the record company wants, and then your fans go, ‘What’s this? This isn’t you.’ Now I take my boys into the studio, no studio players, and I do what I want. “ Often the kernel of a new song evolves while Zola is singing onstage. “A lot of the time it’s the hook and the melody line, it’s all there. Other times it’s the melody line and the story. If the story’s there, the rest will come later.” On occasion, when she’s writing the lyrics, she’ll solicit suggestions from her producer, Richard Vidan, who has overseen her recordings and shows for several years. Although there is a certain autobiographical element in many of Zola’s songs, one can’t fail to notice that her music is billed as postmodern blues, and to a large extent, that is due to her wide range of subject matter, which often parts company with the usual laments of desire and despair that pervade most songs, whether pop, country, or blues. “I think this why postmodern is a good explanation for what I do,” she says, and this is referring to her political and social commentary. But there’s another aspect as well. “I’ve come to realize in the past year that we’re a blues-based band with what I would Americana-roots rock influences. Although it’s all blues-based, some of the blues purists probably don’t think it’s not blues or not blues enough. They’re the same people that don’t like Janis Joplin or Stevie Ray Vaughn or Buddy Guy’s recent work.” Zola acknowledges their viewpoint, but doesn’t seem overly concerned about not fitting neatly into someone’s narrow definition of what they think the genre should be. “We are different, this is true. I’m in love with the blues, always have been. But we are different. I’m doing my blues.” © Bondo Wyszpolski, © 1998-2008 Postmodern Music


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

thanks - steve.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Likewise, Steve. Cheers!