Artist: John Oates
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Being a child of the 80's, I've always been a huge fan of Daryl Hall and John Oates, both as a duo and as solo artists. When I heard that John was releasing a solo "Americana/Country" cd, I knew I had to review this one. I wasn't sure what to expect as John is such a versatile artist, always pulling rabbits out of his hat, but I knew it would be top shelf and uniquely John. Well, this has to be the largest rabbit he's pulled out of that hat yet. The cd can only be described as deep southern soul with a dash of unexpected bluesy twang. What a unique mix of vocal styles rolled into a single cd. This definitely isn't pop, it isn't exactly country, and not exclusively blues ... it's just refreshingly good music.
If you're expecting the typical sound of "Oates" from Hall and Oates, you're not gonna hear that here. You're probably gonna drop your jaw at what you do hear, a coarse, raw exposed side of John Oates, one that instantly reflects his love of good music and his exceptional talent of taking a song and making it sound like something that is the furthest thing from what you think you're gonna hear. He puts a special touch of Philly soul and Delta blues on his music that has yet to be duplicated and this cd is no exception. The fusion of unique spin and originality that he puts into this selection of cover songs and his personal compositions is the ideal combination of the musical creativity we've come to expect from John Oates.
The toe tappin', soul infused title track, "Mississippi Mile" kicks off a list of 12 songs that take you on a mental journey to the deep south, Memphis and New Orleans. If you close your eyes, you can almost envision John sitting in a musical jam session with swamp blues legends such as BB King, Willie Nix and Joe Hill Louis. The songs on this project are as southern as southern gets, I'm talking "cornbread, black eyed peas and crawdads pulled from the bayou" southern The coolest thing about this cd is that it's not just straight out blues, it's definitely got a country feel to it and it blends the two perfectly. Oates also includes unique covers of hit songs such as "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley, but trust me, it's not your everyday recognizable karaoke cover. This is a fantastic personal rendition of a classic song that is so good, it'll make you wanna bypass your mama and slap your grandma instead. He also does a fun, snappy version of his own hit song, "You Make My Dreams Come True" done in a style very similar to Joe Cocker. I'm gonna stop with these 3 songs and just tell you to go take a listen yourself, judge for yourself. I love the cd because it's like NOTHING on the market now, nothing you'll hear 400 times a day on the radio. It's simple, yet complex, true to his roots music.