Paul Oscher review…December 7, 2018…..

PAUL OSCHER

COOL CAT

BLUES FIDELITY RECORDINGS  VJM CD 1005

MONEY MAKIN’ WOMAN–BLUES AND TROUBLE–HIDE OUT BABY–WORK THAT STUFF–ROLLIN’ AND TUMBLIN’–COOL CAT (R & b) PROLOGUE–COOL CAT (JAZZ QUARTET)–MISSISSIPPI POEM–AIN’T THAT A MAN (DEDICATED TO MR. COTTON)–DIRTY DEALIN’ MAMA–ON THE EDGE (JAZZ QUARTET)–POOR MAN BLUES–COOL CAT (R & b) LONG VERSION

Blues fans who are familiar with Paul Oscher only as harp man for Muddy’s later bands may be pleasantly surprised upon hearing his latest release, “Cool Cat.”  Over the course of these thirteen cuts, a mix of covers and originals, we get not only Paul’s unique looks at Delta and Chicago blues, but also forays into small-combo jazz as well.  Paul is on vocals and harp as usual, and also is featured on piano and guitar throughout.  A slew of special guests, including Kid Andersen on bass on one cut, June Core on drums, and guest vocalists Miss Lavelle White and Lisa Leuschner round out the program.

The party starts on a NOLA, rumba-rockin’ groove about that “Money-Makin’ Woman, makin’ money all the time,” while “Hide Out Baby” features South Side guitar from Mick Schermer.  Speaking of the South Side of Chicago, Paul spent some time living in Muddy’s house in that area, sharing the basement with piano man Sunnyland Slim.  Each day, a street musician would come by that house, leading a cat on a rope around his waist!  He called the cat “Cool Cat,” which gave Paul the idea for the instrumental that serves as the album title.  It’s one part soulful strut, and one part Guaraldi-inspired jazz.”  A longer, more R & B-centered version closes the program, as Paul’s piano chops are on full and fine display.

Paul revisits some of Muddy’s Delta blues offerings, playing slide on “Rollin’ And Tumblin,” and on his own original, “Blues And Trouble.”  Our two favorites, tho, were a blistering ode to Mr. Superharp, “Ain’t That A Man (Dedicated To Mr. Cotton),” and a simply hilarious stop-time groove featuring Miss Lavelle White on vocals, spelling out all her low-down-and-dirty ways in “Dirty Dealin’ Mama.”

Paul Oscher is a fantastic musician with a tie to the history of the blues that can never be severed.  His days with Muddy honed his storytelling, and one can hear in the songs of “Cool Cat,” that this skill is one of the most unique traits of this legendary bluesman!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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