Bobbie ‘Mercy’ Oliver – Sleeping With The Dogs | Album Review

bobbymercyolivercd Bobbie ‘Mercy’ Oliver – Sleeping With The Dogs

 Self-Release – 2013

 9 tracks; 33 minutes

Bobbie ‘Mercy’ Oliver is an experienced bluesman from Texas whose CD tells us that he is ‘The King Of Blue’s’ – the apostrophe may save him from a lawsuit from BB King! His website tells us that he often performs and records solo, playing guitar, harp and percussion but on this recording he is with a band: there is clearly bass and drums alongside Bobby’s harp, guitar and vocals, with some keyboards. All the material is original, if rather derivative. The sound quality of the recording is OK but lacks the sonic distinction of many CDs we hear these days. The information on the CD is poor with no band members listed and some strange spellings, including Bobbie appearing as ‘Bobby’ and pictured playing left-handed on the cover, whereas on his website he is clearly right handed!

The CD opens promisingly with the instrumental “Juke Joint”, a feature for Bobbie’s harp with a short guitar solo towards the end. It’s a catchy shuffle and shows off Bobbie’s instrumental talents well. “Highway 61” is a slower blues which takes us into familiar lyrical territory as Bobbie bemoans his misfortune with an unreliable partner, obliging him to consider heading off up 61 to find a better situation. Again, Bobbie blows harp convincingly. “I’m Leaving You” explores similar territory as Bobbie finds that his girl is not the right one for him. Some organ appears on this one to beef up the sound. “On The Bottom” starts with some rumbling bass but is very similar to the previous tune with another ‘down’ lyric.

The focus changes completely on the overtly religious “I Love The Lord”, Bobbie and the band adopting a country feel for this expression of Bobbie’s faith. “One Woman Man” returns to the more familiar blues issues though the music here is a bit rockier, Bobbie’s core riff having a Stones feel and his solo a rock edge. The title track follows, another messed-up relationship: Bobbie has been caught out by his woman and banished to the yard with the dogs. The organ on this one sounds distant in the mix, possibly dubbed on later? “I Want A Talk To Ya” is slightly more upbeat but again a similar tune with more relationship issues. Closer “She’s My Baby” is a lively cut with both piano and organ accompaniment and Bobbie’s catchy finger-picked riff at its core.

Overall this CD breaks no new ground but probably gives a fair impression of Bobbie’s live shows.

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