Thursday, November 22, 2007

Omar Kent Dkyes and Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway (Ruf, 2007)

Bluesman Jimmy Reed was a massive influence of postwar R&B and early rock and roll. His simple melodies and lyrics inspired many to take up instruments and join in making music. Veteran blues musicians Dykes and Vaughan invite some fellow admirers of Reed to produce a thoughtful and genuine tip of the hat to the great man's legacy. There's nothing fancy here which is sensible, since part of Reed's charm was his no-frills working class vibe. Highlights include a medley of Reed hits, "Baby What You Want Me To Do/Bright Lights Big City" with Kim Wilson sitting in on harmonica. Another great harp man, James Cotton, adds some slinky lines to "Caress Me Baby." Lou Ann Barton adds a ladies touch, singing on a couple of tunes as well. But it's the slow rolling vibe of Reed's indestructible music that is the real star here, no matter who is sitting in. A couple of originals bookend the disc, Dykes tribute to the man who inspired this disc "Jimmy Reed Highway," and his heartfelt nod to his recently departed wife, "You Made Me Laugh." Both fit in well with Reed's own music and are performed admirably. The simple music seems like it is a lazy rolling river that the musicians hop aboard on a raft for a slow ride down the stream of the blues. This is a fine album and is recommended to fans of old-school blues.

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