Archive for the Omar & The Howlers Category

Omar And The HOWLERS – World Wide Open 1996

Posted in BLUES, Omar & The Howlers on December 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Omar And The HOWLERS – World Wide Open 1996

Blues

Long known for what founder Omar Kent Dykes called “big leg music,” Austin’s Howlers stick close to their frontman’s Mississippi roots. That makes for a body of work incorporating a Delta influence with contemporary smarts and a touch of backwoods hoodoo. Dykes grew up in McComb, home of Bo Diddley, whose heavy-bottomed sound imprinted Omar early on, as did fellow Mississippian Jimmy Reed. By age 12, Dykes had sniffed out McComb’s juke joints and was hanging around the local music store. In the early 1970s, he formed the first lineup of the Howlers, making their name around the Deep South. He had his eye on Austin, with its then-underground blues scene, and in 1976, he and the Howlers moved to Texas. Though the band’s hybrid of Texas and Delta blues didn’t garner them the crowds that flocked to see the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Paul Ray & the Cobras, they had loyal fans and in 1980, released their first album, Big Leg Beat. Tours of Europe found the act a huge draw, especially on the festival circuit, and their enormous popularity continues there. Over the years, the Howlers’ recordings have been excellent, yet Dykes yearned to return closer to his roots, so 2007 found him releasing a Jimmy Reed tribute, On the Jimmy Reed Highway, with kindred spirit Jimmie Vaughan. The two also taped an Austin City Limits episode together.
By Margaret Moser.
**
If you like electrified blues-rock with masculine rough vocals, I advise you to check out Omar & The Howlers. The fact is that this band sound very similar on their albums (with exception of “Swingland”), but I guess “World wide open” is their best effort. The music bare connection to Tony Joe White’s Swamp Blues style. The approach is raw but the songs usually have an attractive hook or melody. The only, or in fact the main problem is that music in this genre have a tendency to be very boring in the long run, but I believe Omar & The Howlers are better than others in avoiding this trap since their much more original
than say Walter Trout.
By  L. B. Ivarsson.
**
01. Mystery Walk 3:49
02. Hey Joe 3:37
03. Sugar Ditch 4:59
04. Mail Order Mojo 2:42
05. Got My Heart Set on You 2:56
06. Low Down Dirty Blues 4:26
07. Highway 49 4:25
08. Fire in the House 4:09
09. Red River 3:36
10. No More Cane 3:35
11. Enough Is Enough 3:38
12. World of Trouble 3:21
**

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Omar & The Howlers – Bamboozled, Live in Germany 2006

Posted in BLUES, Omar & The Howlers on November 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Omar & The Howlers – Bamboozled, Live in Germany  2006

Blues

Mississippi-born but Texas-based Omar Kent Dykes understands a fundamental fact about modern electric blues. He knows there are only a handful of rhythms and themes in the blues grab bag, and he uses them all over and over again in slightly different guises. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The blues has lasted this long because it’s supposed to sound like the blues, and if you stretch it too far you end up with something like prog rock. It is this fundamental conservatism of the blues and its limited palette that has kept the form alive long after its colorful offspring (R&B, soul, rock & roll etc.) have flown the roost, taking a large part of the audience with them. But Omar understands all this. He has had a 30-year career playing these rhythms, and he knows how to keep it all simple, direct, and powerful, and how to build new songs out of the fabric of the old songs without destroying their familiarity. Bamboozled, a live set recorded at the Musa in Gottingen, Germany on October 20, 2005, finds Omar & the Howlers looking back over that 30 years of bars, sheds, and studios and hitting some of the high points. The opener, “Shake for Me,” pretty much sets the tone with its gritty and overdriven guitar tone and harsh, ragged vocals that sound a bit like Wolfman Jack fronting a Texas blues trio. Omar slows things down for a couple of tracks here, like “East Side Blues” and the resonant “South Congress Blues,” but pretty much the Howlers keep things chugging at a brisk pace as Omar trots out the Bo Diddley rhythm for “Magic Man,” dips into the John Lee Hooker bag of rhythm tricks for his tribute to Hooker, “Boogie Man,” continually recycling the history of the blues into a solid, 70-some minute example of what a modern blues band does. A clear highlight is the ominous, swampy realism of “Muddy Springs Road,” which is informed by Omar’s childhood memories growing up in McComb, MS, and it is easily one of the best songs he’s ever written, bringing the personal and autobiographical to the familiar rhythmic structure of the blues. This is what the best blues is supposed to do: locate the personal within a familiar framework that everyone — band and audience — understands. If Omar has a fault as a writer, it is that he doesn’t do this enough, all too often falling prey to the easy clichés that seem to be part and parcel of the blues. Keeping things fresh while still keeping things familiar inside a tradition is a hard thing to do. On “Muddy Springs Road,” Omar & the Howlers walk that line perfectly.
By Steve Leggett.
**
BAMBOOZLED: LIVE IN GERMANY captures one of America’s most respected blues bands live in Göttingen in the fall of 2005. For more than 30 years, Mississippi native Kent “Omar” Dykes has led this never-say-die trio, making them a mainstay of the Austin, Texas music scene. Dykes’ roots are all over Bamboozled. The songs span his entire recording career. And whether it’s with his Bo Diddley-influenced “Magic Man,” the John Lee Hooker-Tribute “Boogie Man” or in his vocal lineage, which can be traced back directly to Howlin’ Wolf’s midnight moan – Omar Dykes is not ashamed to admit he’s part of a tradition. He plays blues, boogie and rock ‘n’ roll, without any musical frills or cheap showmanship. One might be tempted to think he’d get bored following this straight and narrow path for more than three decades. Exactly the opposite is true. As he has grown older and dealt with personal tragedy in recent years, Dykes’ music has become deeper and more intense. This we hear most clearly on two knockout slow blues numbers, “East Side Blues” and “South Congress Blues.”
The title of this release – “Bamboozled” – is a song from the Howlers’ last studio CD, also included in this live set. Considering the band’s authenticity, you couldn’t have chosen a less appropriate name. To quote Clifford Antone, “You can count on Omar for the real thing and I think that’s why people keep coming back year after year, to hear the real thing.” Recorded in an intimate club setting in front of a small gathering of his most loyal fans, Bamboozled documents more than just an enjoyable night of blues. It allows us to peer into the soul and to consider the impressive career of a true master.
**
Omar- (Vocals, Guitar);
Barry Bihm- (Bass Guitar);
Jon Hahn- (Drums).
**
01. Shake For Me 2:22
02. Mississippi Hoo Doo Man 5:16
03. Bamboozled 4:59
04. East Side Blues 6:03
05. Magic Man 6:00
06. South Congress Blues 5:56
07. Boogie Man 4:31
08. Muddy Springs Road 4:54
09. That’s Just My Life 3:48
10. Snake Oil Doctor 6:10
11. Bad Seed 3:03
12. Wall Of Pride 3:12
13. Hard Times In The Land Of Plenty 4:15
14. Monkey Land 6:54
15. Rock ‘n Roll Ball 6:31
**

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