FAME Review: Omar & the Howlers - I'm Gone
Omar & the Howlers - I'm Gone

I'm Gone

Omar & the Howlers

Big Guitar Music - 1201

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

With his latest, Omar Kent Dykes has turned the pages of the blues book backwards and forwards a number of times, embracing a wider variety of styles than is customary, dovetailing into the kind of panoplistic wont of Duke Robillard. I'm Gone kicks off with a rambunctious Stray Catsy number straight from the Appalachians while the follower, All about the Money, is pure down-home blues, simply but captivatingly put. Cut 3, Drunkard's Paradise, finds him urban cowpokin' in the Great Plains in a jangly tale about being fired from the job and hightailing his backside to the tavern for solace. That's bookended by a Bo Diddley-esque Wild and Free, and so the entire CD goes, one righteous surprise after another.

Omar has a trademark bear tone to his vocals, and the band could just as easily have been dubbed 'Growler & the Howlers', but that's one of the reasons we return time and again to his music: hard to resist the back country appeal. Lone Star Blues is a cut Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer woulda been knocked out by back in the day, highly reminiscent of the righteously pre-everything Eric Clapton material one finds in offbeat labels, all that Taildragger stuff or whatever the hell it was titled. I don't even recall 'cause my eyes mist over and the knees get weak every time I throw on those killer Springboard and History of British Blues sides. Man, do I loooooove that shit, so this reprise was a very welcome surprise indeed. Ah, but Omar then tosses scat into that instrumental number, and, hoo-ee!, Ezra, hold me back lest I swallow that gin bottle whole!

Yep, O & Da Boyz got reeeeeeal Robillardy this time around. I'm tempted to say Omar does nothing but get better each and very outing but won't, and only 'cause I'd sound like a cracked record, though the claim is manifestly true. If you want good, down and dirty, shake that thang 'n have a drink with me music, you're gonna find it ten ways from Sunday here. The Baby Booming era of long-term lads 'n lassies ain't just gettin' older, y'all, they're gettin' better, and we've all been around long enough to know the difference. This CD, along with the 2-CD Essential Collection (here), is a part of the ongoing celebration of Omar's 50 (!!!!) years in the biz, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Track List:

  • I'm Gone
  • All About The Money
  • Drunkard's Paradise
  • Wild And Free (Dykes / Callif)
  • Down To The Station
  • Lone Star Blues
  • Omar's Boogie
  • Goin' Back To Texas
  • Let Me Hold You
  • Move Up To Memphis (John Lee Hooker)
  • I'm Mad Again
  • Take Me Back (Dykes / Callif)
All songs written by Omar Kent Dykes excpet as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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