Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Teach You a Lesson" - Randy Oxford Band (Della Records)

Reprinted with permission from Big City Rhythm and Blues Magazine, April/May 2010
by Gary vonTersch

Teach You A Lesson
Vibrant trombonist and notorious wild-man, Randy Oxford, has been keeping the blues alive in the Pacific Northwest for more than two decades, sitting in with local favorites like Little Bill and the Blue Notes, Fat Cat, and Junkyard Jane, as well as leading various incarnations of his own big, little combo on four previous albums. His growing popularity has also resulted in a regular gig as jam host on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise sailings and induction into the Washington Blues Society’s Hall of Fame. His current six piece band features two international guitar slingers - Mexico City native Rafael Tranquilino and Japanese-born Jho Blenis- along with dusky-voiced singer Jada Amy, bassist Eliud Atondo and drummer Asael Gutierrez.

Among this project’s thirteen tracks, I find a couple composed and sung in Spanish by Tranquilino especially appealing. “Salvo Mi Alma” proves a lengthy slow blues that allows plenty of space for him to stretch-out on guitar, with a slightly distorted, slashing, note-laden sound, reminiscent of Pat Hare, at times. “Sababa,” which the liner notes explain is the “language of babies,” is a hip-shaking and spicy guitar embossed affair. Ex-Army “brat. Amy began her singing career in the choir at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Tacoma. A relative newcomer to the blues scene, she sounds like a quick learner. She’s impressive on a pair of songs she cocomposed - the jazz-tinged, beefy trombone-furbished title tune and the wistfully soulful breakup ballad, “The Next Day.” She also does a stellar revival of the legendary Charles Brown’s, “My Heart is Mended,” a funky rearranged cover of Delbert McClinton’s “Standing on Shaky Ground,” as well as a steamy, Etta James-like redo of Willy Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You.”

Also checked is a great Mexican rock ‘n roll version of Little Richard’s smash hit, “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” titled “La Plaga.” Blenis’ vocal and fretboard chops come to the fore on his wryly observant composition, “I Got to Quit Drinkin’ Again.” Guest vocalist Patti Allen channels Dinah Washington on a playful rendition of “Big, Long Slidin’ Thing,” with Oxford demonstrating just how sexy a trombone can be. On the set closing jazzy jam favorite, ”Smooth Feeling,”Gutierrez gets a chance to showcase his stick-work. Oxford and his band are justifiably proud to be representing the Washington Blues Society at the 2010 IBC in Memphis, and you can read about his Midwest tour elsewhere in this very magazine. Catch them, if you can.

No comments:

Post a Comment