After years of being a sideman and gigging without recorded, Paul Oscher -- a former harpist for Muddy Waters -- made his first album, Knockin' on the Devil's Door, in 1996. Oscher stays true to his Chicago blues roots, but he wisely doesn't run through the same old standards again. Instead, he's written a set of impassioned originals, augmented by a couple of appropriate covers. Working with a talented supporting group -- featuring harpist Steve Guyger, bassist Mudcat Ward, pianist David Maxwell and drummer Big Eyes Smith -- Oscher devotes himself to guitar, showing a flair for gritty riffs and solos. But the key to the record's success are his fully realized originals, which make the album an impressive, if much belated, debut.
AllMusic Review by Thom Owens