Dykes & Vaughan – On the Jimmy Reed Highway


Kent “Omar” Dykes is best known for fronting Omar and the Howlers, and though this disc was planned a solo effort paying homage to fellow Mississippi blues man Jimmy Reed, as word got out, friends started showing up at the session, including Kim Wilson (who brought his harmonica), Lou Ann Barton, Delbert McClinton, and James Cotton (and his harmonica). Jimmie Vaughan was scheduled to guest on a couple of cuts, but had so much fun and felt so close to the project, he stayed for the entire session.

Vaughan’s precise, tasty chops amp up the 12 cuts here, most covers from the Jimmy Reed catalog. Dykes, whose vocal style lies between Howlin’ Wolf and Root Boy Slim, has that cigarettes-and-whiskey growl you expect from a blues man. And he understands the music as well as the musical influence of Reed and his guitarist Eddie Taylor. So do the rhythm section consisting of Derek O’Brien (guitar), Ronnie James (bass), Wes Starr (drums), and the guests. Barton’s duo vocal with Dykes on “Good Lover” is inspired and inspirational, while the good-time grooves of “Big Boss Man” and “Baby, What You Want Me to Do?” are respectful, yet original.

The recordings sound like they were done live, old-school style, and even the packaging has a cool factor. We’ve all seen CDs printed to look like mini LPs. Well, this one even has little grooves molded into the top. Take it for a spin!

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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