Omar Dykes - vocals, guitar; Bruce Jones - bass; John Inmon - guitar; Gene Brandon - drums
This show was taped at the annual blues barbeque music festival hosted by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Also appearing on the bill for this show were the Robert Cray Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Dave Edmunds. Omar & the Howlers may never have made it to platinum superstar status, but they did make a number of exceptional blues-rock albums on Columbia Records, and built a sizable audience of devout fans, who never seem to get enough of their funky swamp-drenched R&B.
Opening with a great guitar romp, "Mississippi Hoo Doo Man," the group slides effortlessly into a more conventional pop track, "You Ain't Foolin' Nobody." Without missing a beat, they next launch into the very Allman Brothers-influenced, "Don't You Know." The rest of the show is just as exciting, with a full platter of great up-tempo blues tracks, including "Hoy Hoy," "Same Old Grind," "Don't Rock Me The Wrong Way," and several others. They close the show with a one-two punch that included the LP title track, "Hard Times In The Land Of Plenty," and the gospel-fused finale, "Rock N' Roll Ball."
Omar & the Howlers have always had the distinct ability of sounding like several familiar musical acts while maintaining a fresh vibe all their own. Depending on the song, Omar can sound like John Fogerty, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, or even radio legend, Wolfman Jack. As a guitarist, he is firmly in the Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughn camp. All this makes for some exciting music.
Dykes grew up in rural Mississippi and cut his teeth at blues clubs on the city outskirts. It was that background that gave him the credibility to adapt a musical groove and vocal styling not unlike that of the great Hound Dog Taylor. In the early-1980s, he relocated to Austin, Texas, where he found the blues scene kicking into high gear. Omar Dykes performs today as both a solo act and with a new version of the Howlers. He continues to record and release albums from his home-base in Austin.