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Mississippi Mile

John Oates

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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.

Customer Reviews

This is honestly great.

I love Hall and Oates and they're hits are hits. I hate how most ppl are bashing John for going solo. I am a fan of the stripped down acoustics of "you make my dreams" or even some of his new stuff. I give him credit. I really do.

sounds good to me!!

wasn't expecting it, but I like it a lot. Shocked at how narrow some Hall and Oates fans view of the artist they like has become.

Good for him

I'm not necessarily a fan of John Oates, but to say (as some "reviewers" here are doing) that the guy shouldn't do anything other than "Hall and Oates" is ridiculous. An artist that never grows and expands is stuck in a rut and not worth sticking with. Even Hall and Oates changed their style to broaden their horizons. So let's restrict our "reviews" to discussing the quality of what's on offer. In my view, although it isn't necessarily my style, this stuff is fresh and creative. For that alone John is to be congratulated.

Biography

Born: April 7, 1949 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s, '10s

Although he's played on, penned songs for, and/or produced other artists' recordings, singer/guitarist John Oates is best known as one half of one of rock's most successful duos of all time, Hall & Oates. Born on April 7, 1949 in New York City, Oates attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the '60s, where he met fellow student Daryl Hall. The duo quickly realized that they shared a love of rock & roll and Philly soul, and teamed up in various doo wop groups. After...
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Mississippi Mile, John Oates
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