The Title Says It All!
In a week when I’ve nearly caught up with my backlog of albums to review I happened upon this one in the box of tricks. Although from my ‘secret source’ in the US of A, who has never let me down in the last 12 months it was actually the Blue Note style album cover that first caught my eye, and when I flipped it over and saw the song titles I thought it might be worth a spin.
Ooh, ooh and thrice OOH!
The first song, Money Makin’ Woman simply sizzles like breakfast bacon, the way it attacks all of your senses at once; and of course makes you salivate at the prospect of what else is to come. A tasty treat it is too with Oscher’s leathery voice sounding like it’s coming from a man with a twinkle in his eye, and his red hot guitar licks plus a couple of swinging sax’s in the background take us back to some late night dive, two alleys back from Bourbon Street, where only the ne’er do wells dare drink.
Next up Oscher slows things down to a late night stroll with Blues and Trouble, and not for the last time on this album he does things with his electric guitar that are still illegal in four states!
Now you are hooked; I can let you into a secret…….Paul Oscher played in Muddy Water’s band from 67 through 76; and even lived in his basement! That’s how good he is.
For a native of LA who has been settled in Austin for a long while; there’s a cool Chicago vibe going on here, with Work That Stuff and Dirty Dealin’ Mama being the type of Blues I’ve dreamt about re-discovering for years now; Oscher blowing a mean ole mouth-harp on the former and on the latter I can only imagine that Miss Lavelle White sings it with one hand on her hip and the other waving in the air as she hisses and purrs the sassy lyrics like a woman who has been wronged; very wronged more than once in her life and gets her mean revenge on Oscher who plays guitar and piano with as much guilt as he can muster.
When I tell you that there’s a poem here; Mississippi Poem don’t despair as it’s a precursor to the Talking Blues, Ain’t That a Man (Dedicated to James Cotton) and the pairing is quite exquisite!
Then; there’s also a Jazz instrumental, On The Edge, and, in this setting it proves that there’s only a sliver of difference between the Blues and Jazz.
Oscher pays homage to Muddy Waters with a cool mid-tempo arrangement of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and if I’m honest, it was an early contender for the Favourite Track title; but that has gone to, not just one song but two, or is it three….or sort of?
The title track Cool Cat makes it’s first appearance with Paul giving a heartfelt and amusing monologue explaining who (or what) Cool Cat was; and it not just made me smile each time I’ve heard it…… but giggle a couple of times too. This is followed by a delightful 4 minute instrumental with Oscher at the piano and nodding in the direction of Booker T and the MG’s. It’s so good that if I still had my radio show I would certainly incorporate it into an intro tune.
Then Cool Cat makes another, but this time epic appearance at the end with 9 and a half minute full on Rhythm and Blues whig out, with Miss Lisa Leuschner sexily purring the words; a la Eartha Kitt in her Catwoman guise “Cool Cat…..Cool Cat” over the end credits; and I can’t think of a better way to close such a cool, classy and occasionally sexy album like this.
Released October 19th 2018