Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Oogum Boogum Review

“Oogum Boogum”--a delightfully Rhythmic Style:
 Ain’t no Cadillac, the debut CD by New Orleans-based Oogum Boogum, is a treasure of pleasant vocals, intricate melodies, and intricately crafted arrangements. Band members are George Felton on guitar and vocals; Donna Schlaudecker on bass and vocals; Chris Polachek on guitar and vocals, and Tom Woodin on djembe. These talented musicians have recreated a collection of old favorites and original music that boasts their own original style and yet—in the case of the covers—retains the spirit of the original piece while simultaneously fitting into the new Oogum Boogum sound.

The CD opens with the delightfully quirky “Deuce and a Quarter,” written by Owen and Gordon. Wonderful guitar riffs intermingle with pleasing vocals throughout the Country/rhythm and blues influenced piece.  Tom Woodin’s djembe provides an appealing percussion sound.  Another standout song is Chuck Berry’s “Nadine.”  The band members do not try to compete with Berry.  Rather, they make the song theirs with a wonderful rhythm and almost country vocal feel.  “Who’s Been Talking’ is a musical gift.  The plaintive vocals and riveting instrumental work honor the acclaimed Chester Burnett without becoming a fawning imitation. “Bob’s Rag” by band member George Felton boasts impressive guitar work by band members as well as guests Mick Schaferkotter and Tommy Malone.  Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” receives a spine-chilling rendering, an elegy of time and place in its sad finality. The song also boasts impressive bass support form Donna Schlaudecker, the lone female band member. 

An impressive guest list adds to this amazing new musical foray.  In addition to Malone and Schaferkotter, David Stocker lends his skillful keyboard playing to “Who’s Been Talking” and Andy Forest adds his harmonica to “Who Do you Love” and “Who’s Got the Katy.” This music is very worth the CD purchase or download. No one will be disappointed.