Omar & the Howlers

Muddy Springs Road

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    7
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Muddy Springs Road, originally released in 1995 on Watermelon Records, was the album in which Omar Kent Dykes finally started putting everything together, opening up his sound with additional players, including harmonica ace Gary Primich and session drummer George Rains, while at the same time reining in his vocal excesses and writing solid, autobiographical songs like the two that lead off this album, "Muddy Springs Road" and "Black Bottom." Both songs draw on Dykes' childhood impressions growing up in McComb, MS, and both give off an ominous, swampy glow that gains emotional nuance from Dykes' gruff, raspy vocals, which sound at times like Wolfman Jack fronting a blues band -- which isn't a bad thing at all. Unfortunately, the rest of the album, with the exception of the Bo Diddley pastiche "Hoo Doo Ball," doesn't carry the same kind of emotional wallop, and while everything is solid and professional sounding, it is the first two tracks that cast their tones over this album.

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