Jimmie Reed Highway
Every once in a long while I get a package in the mail that once-opened elicits enthusiasm so concentrated and unrestrained that I can probably be heard “Yahooing!” from a half-mile away. As any lover of Pure, Mojo-powered Primal Blues will tell you, one quick look at the cover of this CD probably caused uniform and universal “Thank You God-s” and an excess of salutations. Am I exaggerating? No. Actually, I could spend 2 pages writing about how important and exceptionally welcome this disc is in a World full of 2nd-rate imitations of The Real Thing. It should be mandatory for every Blues fan (and musician) under the age of 35 to ingest (aurally of course) the wonderful Blues that saturates this CD. Why a star-calibre Tribute to Jimmy Reed hadn’t been done before is a mystery to me but here it is folks and it couldn’t be better. Jimmy Reed is of course (believe it or not) the most influential Bluesman of all-time with dozens of Radio Hits in the early 1960s encouraging a whole generation of White Blues bands. If you had a band between 1961-1967 you had to have a minimum of 3 Reed tunes in your repertoire and that included Rock’n Roll bands and Surf bands. Jimmy was huge and the Reed Shuffles seemed easy to master but we all know now that Reed’s music was deceptively simple and very, very few musicians actually understood the guitar parts or Earl Phillip’s drumming. But, it was great to dance to and sounded much cooler than The Kingston Trio or Fabian and usually Friday Night Parties culminated in “I’m Jimmy Reed” (the immortal LP on VeeJay) taking over the turntable, especially after the smuggled-in mickey bottles were consumed in the washroom. Every Blues musician Black or White, who came up during the 1960s has Jimmy Reed stories and/or memories and I’m sure Omar Dykes (Omar & The Howlers) and Jimmie Vaughan had big grins for most of the time it took to conceive and create “On The Jimmy Reed Highway” and, when I said ‘All Star Tribute’ I wasn’t kidding; besides Dykes and Vaughan, we get Lou-Ann Barton, Kim Wilson, James Cotton, Gary Primich and Delbert McClinton as well as young-star-rising, Gary Clark Jr.. And, then there’s a supporting cast that tells you right-away that this here CD is gonna be a Real Hum-dinger. Yessiree! How’s about George Rains, Jay Moeller, Wes Starr and Jake Dykes (Omar’s son) on drums, Ronnie James or Barry Bihm on bass, Derek O’Brien on guitar throughout (Omar, Jimmie V., Gary Clark Jr. are featured pickers on various tunes), while Primich, Kim Wilson, James Cotton and McClinton blow harp on several tunes. Now what more could you ask for? The has got all the necessary ingredients to become a Texas Blues Hall of Fame shoo-in and the 10 Jimmy Reed tunes are all the right ones (there are two Omar Dykes originals and they fit the mold easily).
The opening cut tells (Yells, actually) the World that you had better pay attention to what’s bein’ put down and you’d also better ‘Get-with-the-program’ and immerse yourself in Jimmy Reed recordings. Yes, Track #1 is a good old-fashioned shit-kickin’ Blues with enough Womp in it to replace Viagra and all other things artificial. Jimmie Vaughan’s perfect Crowley Louisiana guitar sound reminds us that JLV grew up playing to Excello and Jewel 45s. Lou Ann Barton and Omar's voices are made for each other and sound perfect together. Track #2, “Baby What You Want Me To Do/Bright Lights, Big City” has Omar and Jimmie singing together with Kim Wilson blowing Chicago harp and I wonder if this is the first time Jimmie and Kim have recorded together since the days of The Fabulous Thunderbirds (?). Derek O’Brian plays guitar along with Jimmie and gets that solid, driving Chicago thing going the way it should be. Minimalist accompaniment by a group of guys who remember what 78s and 45s sounded like coming out of a jukebox speaker. Kim’s harp solo is one of the most inspired he’s ever delivered. “Big Boss Man” sounds almost as good as the original and that’s saying a lot. I wonder why Lou Ann isn’t doing the background vocal a la Mama Reed? Oh well, it’s still hot and Starr has that snare drum thing going which is the key to the whole song. Lou Ann is right up front on “Good Lover” with Omar singing in answer and Derek O’Brien picking out a hot, hot solo. This tune should be HUGE on the Beach Music Scene in Myrtle Beach. “Caress Me Baby “ has James Cotton on harp and the vocals of Lou Ann and Omar are sublime not to mention perfect picking from Derek and Jimmie. This is a beautiful number. Cotton sounds better than ever, especially on the closing harp solo. “Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth” is one for the dancers with its’ driving beat and ditto for “You Upset My Mind” which also features real hot Kim Wilson harmonica. “I’ll Change My Style” is a nice respite from the Chicago sound with its ‘Louisiana swamp waltz’ sound and Omar sings in his regular voice for once, which is a really pleasant experience. “Baby What’s Wrong” has Gary Clark Jr. on guitar and vocals with Omar singing and playing also and Gary Primich blows up a storm on harp. Totally different sound and one of the highlight tracks. “Hush, Hush” has Delbert McClinton guesting on harp/vocals and it’s also killer. The closing tune “You Made Me Laugh” is an Omar original and it’s choice. Gary Primich shows why he’s one of the BEST Blues Harp blowers in America today. Omar’s son Jake handles the drums and the cymbal-work is nice. This is truly the best track on the album as great as the others all are. In a World where people need to be reminded what Truth, Honesty and Real sound and look like, this album is invaluable. Firstly, it does what should’ve been done long ago; a Tribute to a Great Man’s Music delivered by those who hold both a fondness for him and an acknowledged debt to him. 6 Bottles for one of the few CDs of 2007 that is both required listening and a whole lot of party. Jimmy Reed played to make people happy and that important Truth hasn’t been missed.
On the Jimmy Reed Highway-Omar Kent Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan Ruf 1122 2007
The Jimmy Reed Highway is both a huge interstate and a winding ancient road following an Indian trail. It affected Omar in Mississippi and Jimmie Vaughan in Dallas, as it coursed through the country and cityscapes with hard country blues that set the stage for the coming explosion of electric urban blues. That stage was driven and supercharged by Eddie Taylor’s axe and Jimmy Reed’s phenomenal ability to create and join lyrics and music. As a tribute, this one goes further by bringing out the soul of Reed. Omar howls, Vaughan lays down the fine grit you expect and guests galore sit in. Lou Ann Barton adds her warbling bliss to the mix and harps fall out of the walls from Kim Wilson, Gary Primich and Delbert McClinton to Mr. High Compression Cotton himself. Later, Omar growls guttural, Jimmie picks like fluid water until he breaks open a raging hurricane of sound and Austex legend guit-man Derek O’Brien turns it on too. Together, they send a screaming ’57 Crown Vic down the asphalt at highly illegal speeds. The disk opens with Omar’s “Jimmy Reed Highway”, opening and closing the book, putting everything together and down home hard in stunning heat and unmistakable affection. Covering “Baby, What You Want Me To Do,” Willie Dixon’s “Big Boss Man”, “Good Love”. “You Upset My Mind”, “Hush, Hush” and more, this is a dozen droplets of fevered sweat from the brow of the blues and it rolls on so sweet. 8.5 snaves – Dr. Blues
Omar Kent Dykes/Jimmie Vaughan
On The Jimmy Reed Highway
Omar Kent Dykes fronts Omar and The Howlers and it is one of the most exciting bands out of Austin, Texas. On his last cd “Boogie Man”, Omar paid tribute to John Lee Hooker. “On The Jimmy Reed Highway”, a collaboration with Jimmie Vaughan, they pay tribute to Jimmy Reed. Jimmy Reed 1925-1976 was a blues singer/guitarist who is considered one of the architects of Rock n Roll.
Jimmie Vaughan, guitar, sounds as if he is having a great time on this album with both the material and with the other participants as they all are friends living in Austin; this camaraderie is enjoyed by the listener. Along for this recording Jimmie has brought with him, vocalist Lou Ann Barton; on harmonica, his ex-partner from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson; also from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, bassist, Ronnie James Webber; guitarist Derek O’Brien; and from Anson Funderburgh and The Rockets, drummer Wes Starr. George Rains and Jay Moeller also take a turn on the drums. Barry Bihm takes his turn on bass. Guest appearances include Delbert McClinton, James Cotton, Gary Clark Jr., and the late Gary Primich.
Omar’s vocals range from gruff to bittersweet as on “I’ll Change My Style”. Highlights are covers of Jimmy Reed classics including “Baby What You Want Me To Do”, “Bright Lights Big City”, and “Big Boss Man”. Lou Ann Barton is featured in a duet with Omar on “Good Lover”. James Cotton plays his signature harp on “Caress Me Baby”. Delbert McClinton sings and plays harp on “Hush, Hush”. Gary Primich plays harp on “Baby What’s Wrong” and on the closer “You Made Me Laugh”.
The good time making this album can be heard thanks to the relaxing production by Derek O’Brien. Omar authored the title track, “The Jimmy Reed Highway” a tribute song; on it Omar sings about the road he travels, the same road Jimmy Reed once traveled on. This highway is a super highway.
The New York Blues and Jazz Society
Online Voting and Ticket Sales Open December 13
Memphis, TN (December 12, 2007) – The Blues Foundation will present the Blues Music Awards for the first time in their 29-year history in the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the Blues. Performers, industry representatives and fans from around the globe will celebrate the best in Blues recording and performance from the previous year
on May 8, 2008 at the Grand Casino Event Center in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi, just down the road from Memphis, the Awards’ home since their 1980 inception.
Among those heading the list of the honorees is Mississippi favorite son Bobby Rush who garnered four nominations, including another historical first—nomination as Artist of the Year in both the Acoustic and Soul Blues categories. This singular achievement stems from the nominators’ recognition of the two personas exhibited in his 2007 public performances--some shows featuring his long-running soul revue while others found him alone with a guitar and a harmonica in support of his Acoustic Album of the Year nominee Raw.
Watermelon Slim & the Workers returned in force, securing six nominations for the second consecutive year on the strength of their Album of Year candidate The Wheel Man. The “Queen of the Blues” Koko Taylor returns to form with four nominations, including one for her Album of the Year nominee Old School. The other artists with Album of the Year selections rode them to three nominations apiece, including On the Jimmy Reed Highway by Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan; Bettye LaVette’s The Scene of the Crime; Nick Moss & the Flip Tops’ Play It ‘Til Tomorrow; My Life, My Friends, My Music by Sugar Ray & the Bluetones; and James Blood Ulmer’s Bad Blood in the City. Lurrie Bell also was honored with three nominations, including one he shares with his late father Carey in the newly-created DVD category.
“At this time of year, releasing the list of nominees is like letting a Blues fan open a gift a little bit early,” according to Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation’s Executive Director, “and members are able to play with it right away by rushing out to purchase the nominated CDs, accessing the ballot to start marking their choices or purchasing tickets to get the best seats for the show. Looking into next year, we are really excited about the opportunities the 2008 event will offer Blues fans worldwide, the chance to soak up the deep Blues history of the Delta both before and after the Awards show itself. As the State of Mississippi continues to develop its Blues Marker Trail, you know Mississippi will be ready.”
Online voting begins December 13 for members. Voting, ticket and host hotel information can be found at The Blues Foundation’s website—www.blues.org.
The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest honor given to Blues artists. The presenting sponsor will once again be The Gibson Foundation. In 2008, the State of Mississippi, the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Grand Casino and Resort are also sponsoring the Blues Music Awards. The Blues Music Awards are also sponsored by BMI, Casey Family Programs, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
The Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Charter Members' Dinner will be held the night before on Wednesday, May 7 at the Tunica RiverPark museum situated on the banks of the Mississippi River. The 2008 inductees will be announced early next year.
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The Blues Music Awards are produced by The Blues Foundation, a non-profit organization established to preserve Blues history, celebrate Blues excellence, support Blues education and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. The Foundation consists of a worldwide network of 165 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships spanning the globe. In addition to the Blues Music Awards, the Foundation also produces the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the International Blues Challenge and the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. It fosters education through its Blues in the Schools programming and supports the medical needs of Blues musicians with its HART Fund. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news. For more information or to join The Blues Foundation, log onto www.blues.org
2008 Blues Music Awards
Presenting Sponsor: The Gibson Foundation
Acoustic Album of the Year
Bobby Rush - Raw
Dave Riley and Bob Corritore - Travelin' the Dirt Road
Fruteland Jackson - Tell Me What You Say
Jimmy "Duck" Holmes - Done Got Tired Of Tryin'
Marie Knight - Let Us Get Together
Acoustic Artist of the Year
Album of the Year
Bettye LaVette - The Scene of the Crime
James Blood Ulmer - Bad Blood in the City
Koko Taylor - Old School
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops - Play It 'Til Tomorrow
Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones - My Life, My Friends, My Music
Watermelon Slim & the Workers - The Wheel Man
B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Band of the Year
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops
Watermelon Slim & the Workers
Best New Artist Debut
Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy - Cotton Field to Coffee House
Gina Sicilia - Allow Me to Confess
Insomniacs - Left Coast Blues
John Nemeth - Magic Touch
The Soul of John Black - The Good Girl Blues
Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Bryan Lee - Katrina Was Her Name
James Blood Ulmer - Bad Blood in the City
Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Tear Down Chicago
Tommy Castro - Painkiller
Watermelon Slim & the Workers - The Wheel Man
Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year
James Blood Ulmer
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Carey & Lurrie Bell - Gettin' Up: Live at Buddy Guy's Legends, Rosa's and Lurrrie's Home
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - 10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads
Pinetop Perkins - Born in the Honey
Son Seals - A Journey through the Blues - The Son Seals Story
Willie King - Down in the Woods
Historical Album of the Year
Blind Pig - The Essential Magic Slim - Magic Slim
Blue Witch - House Rockin' and Blues Shoutin' - Various Artists
Delmark - Kidney Stew Is Fine - Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson
Delmark - Steady Rollin' Man - Robert Jr. Lockwood
Epic/Legacy - Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down - Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, James Cotton
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones
Michael "Mudcat" Ward
Sugar Ray Norcia
Big James Montgomery
Gerry Hundt - Mandolin
Johnny Sansone - Accordion
Otis Taylor - Banjo
Robert Randolph - Pedal Steel
Sonny Rhodes - Lap Steel
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year
Song of the Year
'Gonna Buy Me a Mule' - Koko Taylor, Koko Taylor - Old School
'Jimmy Reed Highway' - Omar Kent Dykes & Steve Callif, Omar Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway
'Poor Man's Paradise' - Johnny Sansone, Johnny Sansone - Poor Man's Paradise
'The Last Words of A Fool' - Sugar Ray Norcia, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones - My Life, My Friends, My Music
'The Wheel Man' - William Homans, Watermelon Slim & the Workers - The Wheel Man
Soul Blues Album of the Year
Eugene Hideaway Bridges - Eugene Hideaway Bridges
Holmes Brothers - State of Grace
Mem Shannon - A Night at Tipitina's
Root Doctor -Change Our Ways
Tad Robinson - A New Point of View
Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year
Sista Monica Parker
Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year
Eugene Hideaway Bridges
Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year
Nora Jean Bruso
Traditional Blues Album of the Year
Big George Brock - Live at Seventy Five
Darrell Nulisch - Goin' Back to Dallas
Koko Taylor - Old School
Nappy Brown - Long Time Coming
Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway
Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year