Tulsa’s Blues Scene Comes Together

This is billed as The Blues Society Of Tulsa Compilation Volume One. It’s a collection of the best Blues-oriented bands in our area. This is not strictly a blues album, many purists would argue, but the original material herein has elements of Blues. Technically, it has to do with chords and scales. If you don’t know the blues, you will have to play Handel or Oh Susannah. The other aspect is the emotion. Just trying to make a living in music will give you the Blues. Any experienced musician knows the feelings.

Many of our well-known locals participated, including Tractors Ron Getman and Casey Van Beek, who is on two tracks. David Teegarden, Chuck Blackwell, Dick Sims and even Texan Malford Milligan are here. There are also many younger, less famous musicians who are making good music on this disk.

Rocky Frisco is usually a side-man and you don’t hear how well he can sing that often. He turns in a song here that you could have heard in a lounge on Greenwood in another era. Wanda Watson usually belts it out over a full-blown band, but here she’s just got an acoustic guitar behind her. She doesn’t need any more to touch your heart. David Dover surprises us by being a one-man band on his submission.

The Englishman, Lata Gouveia, sings the praises of the locals and he names names. Jennifer Marriot is whooping it up in the kitchen and makes you want to grab a seat at her table. Scott Ellison leads an all-star band in a southern-gospel-style rendering. Cindy McCain is downright bawdy, maybe giving a nod to Memphis Minnie.

There is a lot of stylistic variety, from the country blues of Little Joe to the uncharacteristically slick track of Steve Pryor. Dustin Pittsley and The Dinosaurs show their stuff quite well. There’s not a bad track to be found; even among bands I hadn’t heard, such as Wild Card, Locus and Mike Blackwell. Others include Jeff Parker, The Home Brewed Band, and The Zigs – whom we’re not permitted to brag on.

These 18 songs were probably recorded in as many studios. Mike Peace did a good job of mastering the disk to have a good, even sound; no small feat.

Thanks to The Blues Society for herding cats and getting this sampler together. It took a while; three of the players are no longer with us. Get them while you can.

Few cities could produce a collection remotely this good. If you‘re a proud Tulsan who brags on our scene to your out-of-state friends, here’s a chance to prove your point. Send them this disk for Christmas. You can get it through www.bluessocietyoftulsa.com.

About the author:  Jim Downing is a lifelong musician and music historian. He has written and been published in countless publications over the past 30 years. His father was a columnist for the old Tulsa Tribune who wrote Downing’s Street