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Paul Oscher | Cool Cat

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Cool Cat

by Paul Oscher

Former Muddy Waters Band Member creates an album with 12 originals and 1 cover . Songs range from Low-down Blues to Jazz and R&B
Genre: Blues: Chicago Style
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Money Makin Woman
4:03 $1.29
2. Blues and Trouble
4:12 $1.29
3. Hide out Baby
3:12 $1.29
4. Work That Stuff
4:58 $1.29
5. Rollin and Tumblin
4:42 $1.29
6. Cool Cat (R&b) Prologue
2:14 $1.29
7. Cool Cat ( Jazz Quartet)
4:16 $1.29
8. Mississippi Poem (feat. Russell Lee)
0:31 $1.29
9. Ain't That a Man (Dedicated to Mr. Cotton) [feat. Russell Lee]
3:36 $1.29
10. Dirty Dealin Mama (feat. Miss Lavelle White)
4:49 $1.29
11. On the Edge (Jazz Quartet)
2:11 $1.29
12. Poor Man Blues (feat. Russell Lee)
4:01 $1.29
13. Cool Cat (R&b) Long Version
9:34 $2.49
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

“Paul Oscher plays the soul I feel.” - Muddy Waters

“... Classic Chicago Blues…his blues has the bite and gravity of the tradition he upholds.” - John Pareles, The New York Times

“… a deep satisfying blues experience.” - Critic’s Choice Billboard

“Paul Oscher’s a monster - harp, piano and guitar - plays slide like Muddy.” - James Cotton

“This is a man who has spent his life steeped in the blues tradition and it shows.” – Juke Blues (UK)

“This former member of the great Muddy Waters Blues Band not only channels the guitar sound of Muddy Waters, piano of Otis Spann, he’s got the deepest toned blues harp this side of Big Walter Horton and is a fine songwriter in the classic blues tradition. Paul Oscher is one of a kind.
- Scott Dirks, author of Little Walter's biography, "Blues With A Feeling"


Paul Oscher is a blues legend. A blues singer and multi-instrumentalist (harmonica, guitar and piano), who while still in his teens, became the first Caucasian member of the great Muddy Waters Blues Band (1967-1971). Paul lived in Muddy’s house on Chicago’s South Side and shared the basement with blues piano player Otis Spann. Paul played the Chitlin’ Circuit and recorded with Muddy for the legendary Chess Records Company. He traveled the world with Muddy.

Besides Muddy, he has performed and/or recorded with T-Bone Walker, Otis Spann, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy,Johnny Young, Johnny CopeIand, Big Joe Turner, Louisiana Red, Big Mama Thornton, Victoria Spivey and many others.

As Muddy Waters harp player, Paul Oscher inspired a whole generation of blues players including Rick Estrin, Jerry Portnoy, Paul Delay, and William Clark. Paul is the real deal, he learned his blues from the masters.

Paul was featured playing harmonica, guitar and singing on Hubert Sumlin's Grammy Nominated Album, "About Them Shoes," along with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Levon Helm.

In 2006 he collaborated with Mos Def and recorded the song "Bed Stuy Parade and Funeral March" on Mos Def's album "New Danger." He recorded with Keb Mo' in 2008 on the soundtrack of the film about the Blues, "Who Do You Love," and also he recorded on Keb Mo's "Suitcase Album.” Paul has won two Handy Blues Music Awards and has 9 Blues Music Award nominations. His latest recording, “Bet On The Blues,” was nominated for three Blues Music Awards. Paul has also appeared in many documentaries and books about the blues and is now in the process of writing his own book about his life in the blues.

Paul Oscher resides in Austin Texas where he has an All-Star Six-Piece Blues Band. Many of the Musicians from his band and other local musicians appear on this CD.
This CD contains 10 Original songs and one Muddy Waters cover. The Title track of this CD "Cool Cat" was inspired by the wooden recorder playing of a wino walking down the street in front of Muddy's house on Chicago's south side with a real cat wearing baby sunglasses and a beret tied to the wino's waist and a bunch of kids clapping and dancing behind him.The track #6 "Cool Cat Prologue" tells this story in Pauls words and is followed by a jazz version of the song (track 7) Paul also included on (track 13) an extended version of this song (9:42:) which has different musicians and was recorded in both San Jose by Kid Andersen, where the prologue was recorded, and WyldwoodTx.by Billy Horton. This CD also features a Spoken Poem entitled "Mississippi" and a spoken "Ain't that a Man" about the late great James Cotton a great Blues Harmonica player and Paul's friend of over 50 years. Cotton was born in Tunica, Mississippi in 1935 and passed away in 2017 at the age of 81. The poem reflects the Mississippi where Cotton and many other Blues Players were raised, It was a hard and tough way to grow up and Cotton learned to face adversity with a smile. Both the poem and "Ain't that a Man"is spoken by the drummer on this record Russell Lee. Russell also sings the Oscher original "Poor Man Blues"( track 12) a true story. Paul never writes about anything he hasn't experienced or hasn't had first hand knowledge of. (Track 10) features Special guest, Miss Lavelle White" singing "Dirty Dealin Mama" a risqué double entendre comical song about a jealous man asking his woman where has she been?. "On the edge" (Track 11) is an excursion into the world of jazz and the rest of this CD is basically the low-down type blues which Paul is known for and which he learned from the masters. We think you will really enjoy the collection of varied music on this CD, which reflects Paul Oscher's life paying his dues in the Blues.

Gone to Texas:

In 2012, following a divorce, I moved from LA to Austin. It was almost like fate led me here, when I was driving at night on 290 heading into Austin. I could not see the lines on the country road so I got behind this big, all lit up, aluminum trunk and followed him into Austin but I lost the truck at a light only later to see that he had pulled over and was waitin’ for me. Never saw his face. My ex-wife said that was an angel guiding me through the night. I say that was a sample of Texas hospitality.

The next unusual occurrence was when I was standing along side the moving truck with the movers unloading my stuff. A little black Volkswagen pulls up and the driver shouts out, “Hey Paul WTF you doin’ here”. It was James Cotton. I said, “I just moved in here”. Cotton says, ”Well I live right there”. He points towards a house three doors down. For me to move to a place three doors down from Cotton, that was quite a surprise.
I played in Muddy’s band from (1967-1971) and lived in Muddy’s house on South lake Park Ave and shared the basement with Otis Spann. James Cotton, was a friend of mine for over fifty years, he was also a harp player and a former member of the Muddy Waters Blues Band before me. (1954-1966.) He was one of my idols when I was in Muddy’s band.
Talk about irony, what are the odds of that happening. It reinforced in my mind this must be the right move.

For almost all of 2012, I only played fly out gigs. I didn’t even try to get a gig in Austin. I kept a very low profile. Then one night in 2013, I went to dinner with Cotton and his wife to a barbeque place near my house, ‘The Railroad BBQ’. I asked the woman behind the counter, “You ever have music in here?”. She said, “What do you play?”. I said, “I play the Blues”. She said, “Well come on down”. The next night I came to the restaurant with my Venice Beach street rig, a battery operated amp, my neck rack, guitar and a mic. She put me in front of the TV. There were only about 4 people in the joint but they liked it. So I put up a sign out front ‘LIVE BLUES EVERY TUES’. I didn’t use my name. I just wanted a place where I could get my chops together with no pressure. The next day I saw an ad for a 30’x10’ stage in Craig’s list for $100. Me and my friend, Al Smithson went to get it. We cut the stage in half and moved it in Al’s pick up truck. We set it up at the barbeque joint by putting the two halves on top of each other. So I had a pretty nice size 10’x15’ stage. Word started getting out after a while that Paul Oscher, an ex Muddy Waters band member was playin’ there and that James Cotton had been seen sittin’ in. Man in no time that place started to getting real packed. It had become a destination. All the best blues musicians in Austin started coming down. It had a wood floor, wood walls and a wood ceiling great sound! Besides playin’, I was also telling stories about my life in the blues which the people really dug. (btw, I’m currently in the process of writing a book about my life in the blues scheduled for a 2019-20 release. If your interested in signing up for my book newsletter go to my website at www.pauloscher.com and sign up there. We will keep you posted on the developments.)

I met a lot of famous people in the Austin music scene at the Railroad BBQ gig including the late Margaret Moser, a longtime staff writer for the Austin Chronicle and director of the Austin Music Awards; Michael Corcoran, a freelance music writer, who wrote a very favorable article about the Railroad BBQ scene and Nancy Coplin, a mover and shaker on the Austin music scene for over thirty years, she helped me out a lot. I also met Clifford Antone’s sister, Susan Antone, a big Muddy fan, who still has an interest in the world famous Austin blues club, Antones. Things were goin my way.

About four months later the owner of the land, that the railroad barbeque was built on, got an offer from a developer to sell the land. So the owner of the restaurant, who had leased it for 31 years, had to leave, Goodbye Railroad BBQ! Willie Pipkin, a great guitarist and one of the musicians who used to hang out at my shows told me that Steve Wertheimer, owner of the ‘Continental Club’ and a new club ‘C-BOY’S Heart and Soul’, wanted to talk to me. Willie gave me his number so I called Steve and he wanted me to do the same solo show at C-Boy’s that I was doin’ at the Railroad BBQ. I tried it a couple of times and then decided I needed a band because people were talkin’ and I couldn’t really tell stories over the din in the bar. C-Boy’s is a cool lookin’ place, it looks like a like a chitlin’ circuit bar from the 60’s and 70’s. So I got me a 5- piece band from the musicians that came to my shows and we started killin’ it every Thursday. I had Mike Keller on the guitar, his brother Corey on the Drums, Austin legend Sarah Brown on the Bass, and Tommy Robinson on the Tenor Sax. They are all Great Musicians. C-boy’s turned into a weekly residence gig for over five years.

What I like about Austin Musicians they don’t have ego problems and they are just happy to be playing. The Music Comes First. I was just playing my solo show -vocals, guitar, piano and harmonica and they just fell in right behind me like we’d been playin’ together for years.

About the Artist and the CD:

Paul Oscher is the real deal. He plays only unadulterated, down-in-the–alley, gutbucket blues. He is not a retro player -- he just plays the blues the way he learned them and feels them… lowdown and lonesome. He has been doing so for the past fifty years, from the time he joined the Muddy Waters Blues Band in 1967 while still in his teens. He has won two BMA awards for “Down in the Delta” and has had 9 BMA nominations for his other releases. No matter what instrument Paul touches, be it guitar, harp, or piano, he makes it sing the deep blues. And that’s why “Cool Cat” is such a great release. It is pure Paul Oscher, with beautiful old style blues timing and great stories that plant exotic pictures in your mind. On every track the instruments talk to one another, each one giving you a piece of the story. Paul sings a line, answers it with a powerful lick, and the band responds in kind. The playing is direct and forceful – nothing is tentative. And it’s all infused with Paul’s strong personality and distinctive view of the world. You’ll laugh and nod in agreement as Miss Lavelle White tells the story of the “Dirty Dealin’ Mama”. You’ll shake your head in despair at “Poor Man Blues”. You’ll see whole films in your head while listening to “Mississippi” and “Ain’t That A Man”. “Money Makin’ Woman” will take you to New Orleans and “Hide Out Baby” will bring you to the south side of Chicago. Even “On The Edge”, Paul’s venture into jazz territory, is steeped in blues feeling. The cunning and seductive charm of “Work That Stuff” evokes memories of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller). Then there is the unforgettable title track “Cool Cat”, with its evocative prologue, where Paul in his own words tells a story about a Wino with a cat named Cool Cat tied to his waist who was walking down the street in front of Muddy Waters house and the wino started playing this beautiful melody on a recorder and all the kids in the area started following him dancing and clapping. This is how the song “Cool Cat” came to be. Paul includes two versions of “Cool Cat” on the CD - a short swinging jazz one and a longer very danceable R&B style one which is used to wrap up the recording. Paul’s piano played during “Cool Cat” conjures up the spirit of the Wino’s plastic recorder playing, as the chorus sings “He’s a Cool Cat” and a line of dancing children follow the piper towards the horizon. This is the stuff that has made the blues so timeless and compelling, and Paul Oscher delivers it with no punches pulled.

-Louis X. Erlanger- Associate Producer



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