R. D. Olson review…November 4, 2017….

R D OLSON

KEEP WALKING WOMAN

BABY BOOMER BLUES–SHEILA–BLEED BABY BLEED–I MISS NEW ORLEANS–PETIE REED–KEEP WALKING WOMAN–JOHNNIE WALKER–UP THE LINE–CAN’T LOSE WHAT YOU NEVER HAD

Prescott, Arizona-based bluesman R. D. Olson is known as “Real Deal” to his extended blues family, and deservedly so.  He won competitions in his home state in both 2014 and 2015, each year using those victories as a springboard to the IBC Finals in Memphis.  A great harp man and vocalist, he’s been concentrating on writing his own material of late, and the result is his latest CD, “Keep Walking Woman.”  It features six from-the-soul originals, and R. D.’ll tell you right off, he’s lived every one of ’em!

Backing him on this project is Eric Williams on piano and sax, Jamie Waldron on bass, Darryl Porras on guitars, and Robert Sellani on drums.  All the arrangements are worked up so that everyone gets a chance to stretch out a bit on virtually every cut.  The fun starts with R. D.’s tale of the recession in 2007, finding him “goin’ down down down” to his current home in “the KOA,” entitled “Baby Boomer Blues.”  He name-checks many of his heroes along the way, including Muddy, Freddie King, and fellow Arizona bluesman, the late, great drummer, Chico Chism.  “Petie Reed” is is based on the life of a former model once engaged to R. D., and is set over a jazzy groove with brush-stroked drums.  “Johnnie Walker” is a deep, poignant, slow-blues cut featuring fine harp, sax, and guitar that deals with the loss of a friend who committed suicide.  The set closes with a strong shout-out to Muddy, with echo-effect vocals and slide guitar from Darryl on the classic “you can’t spend what you ain’t got, and You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had!”

We had two favorites, too.  “Sheila” is a barn-burnin’, houserockin’ slab of Fifties-flavored, harp-driven blues dealing with R. D.’s quest for a lover, who, “don’t seem to know my name.”  And, the laid-back, Big Easy groove of “I Miss New Orleans” will make you long for that sweet smell of “magnolias in June,” and that “old lazy Mississippi!”

R. D. Olson is sho’ nuff the “Real Deal.”  He’s a member of the Arizona Blues Hall Of Fame, and adds to his legacy with a strong set of contemporary blues that is “Keep Walking Woman.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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