Oscar Wilson review…February 12, 2018…

OSCAR WILSON

ONE ROOM COUNTRY BLUES

AIRWAY RECORDS

WHEN I WAS YOUNG–LOST MIND–FOUND LOVE–BLACKJACK–RECONSIDER BABY–TEXAS TURNAROUND–THE RIVER[‘S INVITATION–I’M LOST WITHOUT YOU–FURTHER UP THE ROAD–YOUR LETTER–EVERY DAY I HAVE THE BLUES–ONE ROOM COUNTRY SHACK–HAPPY REUNION

Many fans will readily recognize that bold baritone from Oscar Wilson as the voice of The Cash Box Kings.  He’s sho’ nuff one of Chicago’s “OG’s,” growing up on 43rd Street, right in the heart of the Windy City.  For a hot minute,  he’s stepped away from the Kings to release a great solo project entitled, “One Room Country Blues” for Airway Records.  These eleven cuts, (plus two sweet band instrumentals), showcase a side of Oscar that is more jazz-oriented, with a groove more like Brother Ray or Bobby Bland, and it makes for quite a unique listen, indeed.

Joining Oscar is guitarist Joel Patterson, who you will also recognize as one of the Cash Box Kings,.  Sam Burckhardt is on tenor sax, Beau Sample is on bass, Pat Benson is on keys, and Alex Hall on drums.  They start things off with the rhumba-rockin jump of “When I Was Young,” and they keep that groove going with an unusual, funk-filled arrangement of Brother Ray’s iconic “Blackjack.”  Oscar gets into a sweet jazzy mode on the stop-time “Lost Mind,” and stays in it for a tale of love gone bad, “Your Letter,” with fine keys from Pete.

Oscar and the fellows really shine on some of the more well-known cuts, too.  “Reconsider Baby” is presented here with an uptown swing, as does “Every Day I Have The Blues.”  Nothing, however, was as well done as our favorite, the album’s title cut.  Joel’s slide and Oscar’s vocal give that serious country-blues edge to “One Room Country Shack,” and “my old, ‘leven foot cotton sack!”

The purpose of “One Room Country Blues” was to have something to sell off the bandstand during their appearance at the 2017 Basel Blues Festival in Switzerland.  It ended up, tho, as a brilliant vehicle for Oscar Wilson and some of the best sidemen on the planet to bring out Oscar’s ease at switching from blues to soul to jazz.  More, please!!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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