John Oliver and The Incoming Groove Band – Buried My Blues in Chicago
8 tracks – 36 minutes
John Oliver was born in Chicago and grew up developing his musical roots in the electric blues and rock of that city. He moved from Chicago to Colorado but carried his blues sensibilities to his new home. Per the album’s release notes, “The Incoming Blues Band blends influences of Chicago electric, blues, rock, funk & R&B into the album track. John says that the album is deeply personal to him as the songs “capture the journey from John’s Chicago roots to Colorado with the emotive blues style relatable to everyone – the good, the bad, the low and high feelings in life”.
According to the credits, John Oliver does the lead vocals and plays guitar on all tracks. He also wrote all songs. However, the Incoming Groove Band is noted as two distinctly different groups. The first group plays on three songs and consists of Jim Dodgen on bass, Guy Wadas on keyboards, Steve Quinn on drums, and featuring Mike Conley on rhythm guitar and Jim “Griff” Griffin on harmonica. The remaining five songs are performed by Steve Miller on keyboards, and Rick Yale on bass. John Oliver also plays the drums with this second group.
The album revs up immediately with John singing that he is “Going Home”. Wadas’ keys and Griff’s harmonica leads into John’s first guitar solo. “Bluffing Man’s Blues” follows with John’s guitar ringing out as he sings that “he was a big man, about 6’2″, but you better watch your back.” Don’t trust that man, he will steal your money.” Steve Miller’s organ is a highlight of this song and John’s guitar is certainly up to Chicago standards as he rips through another solo.
The mood slows down on the R&B styled “This Is My Neighborhood” as John sings about listening to Marvin Gaye on the radio and reminiscing about the things he grew up with in his neighborhood. John’s guitar provides a funky feel to the song with Miller’s soft piano underscoring his guitar. John immediately gets the joint jumping again as he declares that he was “Blindsided” and “he can’t breathe” because he “did not see what was coming at all” and “girl, you used me up”.
The music slows down again with “Leave Me Alone” as John’s guitar moans and Wadas’ organ blends in. John cries “You done me wrong. You told me lies.” Steve Miller’s piano leads the drive as John says “Betty Lou” sure has the blues. “She is a sweet tea, with lots of sass and spice” and “I love everything about you.” His notes states that the song is dedicated to his mother, Betty Lou Oliver.
John brings the funk again with Steve Miller’s organ again driving the song with John saying that he will have “No More Boxing Shadows”, “my gloves are on the ground”. The album ends with a rocking “Way Down Low” as John growls that he ‘has no dime in my pocket, no cents at all.” “No place to call my own”.
John’s vocals are constantly warm and comfortable. The band in both variations are certainly well accomplished musicians and meets John’s liner note declaration that they “infuse a unique scene mood into each song”. While I certainly enjoyed the album, if I have one criticism it is that the lyrics are somewhat repetitive through every song.
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