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JOHN OATES - Mississippi Mile (2011) & The Bluesville Session (2012)
John William Oates is an American rock, R&B and soul guitarist, musician, songwriter and producer best known as half of the rock and soul duo Hall & Oates (with co-founder/lead vocalist/songwriter/occasional instrumentalist Daryl Hall).
For his third solo album, John Oates decided to pay tribute to the blues and R&B that originated in the Mississippi Delta, taking considerable liberty in his definition of the Delta by letting it encompass Chuck Berry's rock & roll, the Coasters' jiving cool, the Impressions' slick uptown groove, and Percy Mayfield's smoky late-night balladry. Only sticklers will gripe about Oates bending the borders of the blues because history has shown that he's never been a purist; he's always fused different sounds and styles, which is precisely what he does here, grounding himself in an easy-rolling bluesy roots music that can encompass all manner of R&B, from a reworking of Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up" to a dynamic reinterpretation of Oates' own "You Make My Dreams Come True." It's a setting far more stripped-down than he's usually performed within -- lots of acoustic guitars, Dobros, and mandolins -- and the band locks into its rhythm with ease. Plus, there's actually a bit of sandpaper grit to Oates' voice -- maybe not enough to make this a down-and-dirty hoedown, but enough to give it soulfulness, enough to keep it from grooving a little too smoothly. Parts of Mississippi Mile hark back to Oates' folky beginnings -- Hall & Oates covered "Deep River Blues" early on and he reworks the song here -- but it's a unique record in his career, not just in how it puts an emphasis on blues and folk over soul but how it captures him performing with a relaxed authority that's quite appealing. - cduniverse.com
TRACKS: 01. Mississippi Mile 02. Let It Rock 03. It's All Aright 04. Please Send Me Someone To Love 05. All Shook Up 06. Pallet 07. Searchin' 08. Come Back Baby 09. Deep River 10. He Was A Friend Of Mine 11. You Make My Dreams Come True 12. Dance Hall Girls
"The Bluesville Sessions" was recorded "Live in-studio" at the Sirius XM studios and not at a concert venue. It still has a good live feel throughout the recording though. Most of the songs are live versions from John Oates' "Mississippi Mile" album and I think they actually sound more pleasing to the ear on this album. The music style is straight-ahead blues-rock with John Oates' distinctive singing voice taking center stage. The instrumentation and production is consistent through the entire album. I think if John Oates went full-blown country-crossover, he'd have a new career. - amazon.com
TRACKS: 01. Mississippi Mile 02. Searchin' 03. Come Back Baby 04. It s Alright 05. All Shook Up 06. Send Me Someone To Love 07. Something You Got 08. Deep River 09. Sittin' On Top Of The World 10. He Was A Friend of Mine 11. Dance Hall Girls 12. Maneater
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