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Mad Dogs & Okies by Jamie Oldaker

Jamie Oldaker's Mad Dogs & Okies is a very enjoyable CD for fans of the kind of laid-back, rootsy records the drummer made with Eric Clapton in the 1970s and 80s as well as aficionados of Oklahoma's country-ish blues tradition. The set features an all-star roster of guests including Clapton, JJ Cale, Willie Nelson, Peter Frampton, Taj Mahal and Bonnie Brammlet. The album flows well, maintaining a mellow, bluesy vibe that carries through its sixteen tracks.

Clapton plays on the first two tracks, overdubbing some tasty lead guitar on Vince Gill's Cale-inspired "Wait Till Your Daddy Gets Home" and singing and playing acoustic on Willis Alan Ramsey's "Positively." Either of these tunes would have fit seamlessly on a Clapton album like Backless or Another Ticket. Frampton contributes lead vocal and guitars on "Sending Me Angels," his rich bluesy turn recalling just a little bit his late musical partner Steve Marriott. Brammlet shows that she still has some pretty good pipes on a smoldering version of "Make Your Move."

Oldaker generously lays out on a few tracks on his own album, placing his concept of a celebration of Oklahoma music over his own ego. Cale uses drummer Jimmy Karstein on two tracks, his compositions "Daylight" and "Motormouth," the latter a duet with the great Willie Nelson. (Cale's classic "Magnolia" is also included, interpreted here by Tony Joe White with Oldaker on drums). Taj Mahal is reunited with two Sooner musicians from his Giant Steps/De Ole Folks at Home LP, drummer Chuck Blackwell and bassist Gary Gilmore on covers of Flash Terry's "Don't Let Your Feet Get Cold" and the standard "Stagger Lee." Jim Keltner fill the drum chair for Richard Feldman's "Promises." Songwriter Feldman's duet partner is Marcy Levy, who filled the same role on Clapton's hit version as well. Other guests include Wiley Hunt, Ray Benson, and Steve Pryor. Though Leon Russell does not appear as a player, Ellen & Joe Felsky turn in a nice version of his "Song For You" with John Catchings on cello.

Jamie Oldaker's Mad Dogs and Okies is well-conceived and executed. The album is both a fine collection of songs and a loving tribute to the music of Oklahoma. Oldaker is a steady drummer who, judging by the stellar line-up of them on this CD, clearly enjoys tremendous respect from his peers.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jamie Oldaker
  • CD Title: Mad Dogs & Okies
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Concord Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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