April 12, 2011
PS Records
Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock

Album Review

For his third solo album, John Oates decided to pay tribute to the blues and R&B that originated in the Mississippi Delta, taking considerable liberty in his definition of the Delta by letting it encompass Chuck Berry’s rock & roll, the Coasters’ jiving cool, the Impressions' slick uptown groove, and Percy Mayfield’s smoky late-night balladry. Only sticklers will gripe about Oates bending the borders of the blues because history has shown that he’s never been a purist; he’s always fused different sounds and styles, which is precisely what he does here, grounding himself in an easy-rolling bluesy roots music that can encompass all manner of R&B, from a reworking of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” to a dynamic reinterpretation of Oates’ own “You Make My Dreams Come True.” It’s a setting far more stripped-down than he’s usually performed within -- lots of acoustic guitars, Dobros, and mandolins -- and the band locks into its rhythm with ease. Plus, there’s actually a bit of sandpaper grit to Oates’ voice -- maybe not enough to make this a down-and-dirty hoedown, but enough to give it soulfulness, enough to keep it from grooving a little too smoothly. Parts of Mississippi Mile hark back to Oates’ folky beginnings -- Hall & Oates covered “Deep River Blues” early on and he reworks the song here -- but it’s a unique record in his career, not just in how it puts an emphasis on blues and folk over soul but how it captures him performing with a relaxed authority that’s quite appealing.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Mississippi Mile
  2. Let It Rock
  3. It's All Aright
  4. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  5. All Shook Up
  6. Pallet
  7. Searchin'
  8. Come Back Baby
  9. Deep River
  10. He Was a Friend of Mine
  11. You Make My Dreams Come True
  12. Dance Hall Girls
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