John Oates / John Oates Band

The Bluesville Sessions

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As part of the promotion for his 2011 blues album Mississippi Mile, John Oates dropped by Sirius XM studios to perform live on their Bluesville station. This 2012 set, appropriately titled The Bluesville Sessions, captures that concert and, like the album it's promoting, it's a surprisingly convincing and thoroughly entertaining blend of classic soul, folk, rock & roll, and, of course, blues. Due to the vagaries of age, Oates now has a considerable amount of grit in his voice, something that suits these songs well, whether they're originals or covers of Curtis Mayfield's "It's Alright," Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love," the Coasters' "Searchin'," or "Sittin' on Top of the World." Oates throws out a tip of a hat to his pop past by concluding his set with "Maneater," but that too has been given a cheerfully bouncy, rootsy makeover. There isn't much dark mining of the soul on The Bluesville Sessions, but that's the appeal of the set: it's relaxed and friendly and Oates' pleasure in playing these tunes is palpable.

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