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Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan - On the Jimmy Reed Highway
Ruf Records
Run Time 45:45

 Stripped, smooth, and crisp is the message that this disc sends to its listener’s ears. It is the epitome of less is more and one of the most ample tribute discs of its kind. Omar Kent Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan got together with a star-studded group of friends and has garnered one of the best discs to be released so far this year. Dykes’ gasoline drenched vocals sound the best they have in years. Jimmie Vaughan’s no flash all skill talent on guitar brings a renaissance to his skills that were once lauded as some of the best in the business once again.

With only two originals tracks, penned by Dykes and Vaughan amiably, the disc is a solid reworking of the master Jimmy Reed’s catalog. The disc also reunites old friends Vaughan and Kim Wilson on harmonica for 3 tracks, and Wilson does not take a back seat or let down on his all acoustic servings. Wes Starr, a veteran of the Texas blues market (Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets among others) serves up the backbeat on drums on the disc. Lou Ann Barton plays the part of Mama Reed on three tracks as well. James Cotton brews up some Sonny Boy Williamson II like licks on the harp on “Caress Me Baby” while Delbert McClinton conjures the vocal and harp ability, almost in complete mimic of Reed himself on “Hush Hush.”

Dykes and Vaughan shine throughout the disc in a truly renaissance performance. Dykes’ vocals are crystal clear, and he even sheds his gruff growl for more sugar-coated phrases on “I’ll Change My Style” and completely wrapping his vocals around the ever-sultry Barton’s backing vocals on “Caress Me Baby.” Vaughan’s guitar chops dazzle with pure picking and spacing on tracks like “Aw Shucks, Hush Your Mouth” and “Bad Boy.” Gary Clark, Jr. and Gary Primmich also turn in some beautiful guest spots that don’t really shine as clear as the rest, but are wonderful notes to an otherwise pristine disc. If you are a Jimmy Reed, Omar Dykes, or Jimmie Vaughan fan this disc is a must have for your library. If you’re a voting member of the Blues Foundation, this one should pop up on your radar as one of the best traditional blues album in a long, long time.

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