Omar & The Howlers
The Kitchen Sink
Big Guitar Music
Omar Kent Dykes was born in McComb, Mississippi in 1950. His first album, Omar and The Howlers “Big Leg Beat” was released in 1980. In 1987 Dykes signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and that year’s release “Hard Times in the Land of Plenty” sold over half a million copies.
Twenty years later, Dykes collaborated with Jimmy Vaughan to record “On The Jimmy Reed Highway”. That album managed to further establish Dykes, whose vocals are at once both gruff and clear, as one of the genre’s top vocalists. Dykes received nominations for both “Album of The Year” and “Song of The Year” at the 2008 Blues Music Awards.
This newest recording on the Big Guitar Music label is Dykes 27th overall. Half of the album is new while the other half is a tribute to four good friends Dykes lost in 2014. They are Efrain Ramos, artist and fan club President; disc jockey Larry Monroe; Omar and The Howlers drummer Gene Brandon; and Jack Primich, philanthropist and father of harpist Gary Primich who passed in 2007.
The new recordings include six originals featuring Dykes, guitar and vocals; and the rhythm section of Bruce Jones, bass; and Wes Starr, drums. On the opener “That Ain’t It” Casper Rawls plays lead guitar. Guitarist Derek O’Brien is added on both “Fire and Gasoline” and on “Dirty People”. Dykes displays his country side by adding steel guitarist Tommy Spurlock on both “The Battle Rages On” and on “Dixie’s All Night Bar”. Danny Levin plays both fiddle and piano on “I’ll Keep On Dreamin’”.
The archived recordings include Brandon, The Howlers drummer from 1981 thru 1994, on Elmore James “Dust My Broom”; on Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” featuring Greg “Fingers” Taylor on harmonica; and again on Dykes’ “Hello Operator”.
A different band including O’Brien guitar; Primich, harp; Nick Connolly, organ; Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, sax; Paul Junior, bass; and George Rains, drums; is used on both Jerry “Boogie” McCain’s “Cutie Named Judy” and on Elmore James “Can’t Hold Out”. The album closes with “Climb on Board” with Rawls on guitar.
Dykes’ is an original roots rocker whose musical sensibilities never disappoint. Dykes’ is a national treasure.