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Omar Kent Dykes - Big Town Playboy

Ruf Records

Omar Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan’s On the Jimmy Reed Highway was nominated for Blues Music Awards last year in the Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album categories, and the title cut was up for Song of the Year. While Blues Foundation voters didn’t put the CD or the song at the top of each of those lists, Omar’s latest Ruf Records CD, Big Town Playboy, continues the blues journey with a dozen songs that feature Jimmie Vaughan on guitar and vocals and some very special guests.

Lazy Lester blows a mean harp on “Hello Mary Lee” and “Dream Girl,” and James Cotton lends several touches of class to the title cut, “Can’t Judge Nobody,” “No More Doggin,” and “Close Together.”

Gary Clark, Jr’s in the house, too: his performance in John Sayles’ Honeydripper was my top blues experience in the movie theatre last year, and this young bluesman pitches in on harmonica and guitar on driving, but understated, versions of “Man Down There,” and “King Bee.”

Ronnie James and Wes Starr return to lay a solid foundation on bass and drums behind Omar, and I wish we could have heard more from that angel from Texas named Lou Ann Barton. Her vocals with Omar on “Think” and “Close Together” are two of the most memorable songs on this CD.

If you liked On the Jimmy Reed Highway, you’ll enjoy Big Town Playboy. It’s not as rambunctious or as wild as Omar’s outings with his Howlers on Boogie Man or Bamboozled, but Big Town Playboy is a solid CD of Texas-tinged blues.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category.

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