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Oldaker's Mad Dog's and Okies
Label: Concord Records
The guest list on this album reads like a roll call for a blues rock/country Hall of Fame. Jamie Oldaker, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, J.J. Cale, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, Ray Benson. And that's just a start. This is quite a diverse collection of music and performers. While most projects that would fall under the grouping “various” are disjointed collections that don't have any commonality other than being released in the same year or by the same label, this recording is held together by a central theme; Tulsa, Oklahoma and music out of the surrounding area. All the artists come from this area, or have worked extensively with and been influenced by artists from northeaster Oklahoma. What you end up with is a fusion of blues, jazz, country, and rock that is infectious.
When I first put this CD in, I didn't read any of the liner notes or even look at the cover. I just threw it in the player as soon as I got it. Being from Oklahoma, the title really interested me, but I didn't know what to expect from such a diverse collection of artists. From the familiar sounds of Gill, Clapton, and Nelson to the ethereal sounds of 20 year old Tulsa native Ellen Felske, this collection never disappoints. The songs range from the smooth rolling “Magnolia” to the snappy “Time to Boogie” the driving “Motormouth”. The instrumentation is incredibly tight from a bunch of players who really seem to have set out to have a good time with each other and happened to produce an incredible album in the process. A quote from Clapton about the Tulsa music scene seems to sum it up best. “I always liked Tulsa music for its no-compromise attitude, as if the musicians were making it just for themselves, without regard to what other people would think of it.” Here's a little insight from Oldaker into the inspiration behind the album. “It all started in 2001 when I decided to record a bunch of songs written by Oklahoma natives. Of course, the project originally came from a selfish standpoint because that's where I'm from and that's where I got started, working with Leon Russell at his Shelter Records and branching off from there. I wanted to get a bunch of my friends together and make an album like we used to years ago; go into the studio, perform the songs live, and forget the ProTools.” Who needs ProTools when you have a group of pros like this?
After listening to this CD (an hour that seemed to fly by because it was so much fun), I took the time to pull out the cover booklet, and was surprised to see a pictorial history of the town I call home. If you've never been to Tulsa, take a look at these pictures and see what you've been missing. From the Cain's Ballroom “The house that Bob built”, to the giant praying hands at ORU, and the 76 foot tall Golden Driller, you'll see what makes this town as unique as the album you're listening to.
Justin Wright 10/23/2005