The buzz in the blues is always on the newcomers or the famous dead players. Here is a guy who was and is a direct extension of Muddy Waters. The truehearted blues doesn’t get any deeper and any more sincere than by Paul Oscher. The former harmonica player for Muddy Waters’ band is not just a great harp player, but an exceptional multi-instrumentalist. Surprisingly, many blues fans are unaware that besides the blues harp, for which he is famous, Oscher is also a superb guitarist, most closely comparable to Muddy in his early days. Considering that Oscher has won every blues award there is for his work with and above-and-beyond the harmonica, he deserves wider recognition as a blues singer, pianist, accordionist and songwriter.
You can line up all the bluesmen in the world today and sit them down with a guitar and a harmonica and he could teach every one of them something. Gritty, ethereal, honest and real blues from a guy who has lived it, has paid his dues and lived to tell about it. Oscher’s music is naturally reminiscent of Muddy earliest recordings by Alan Lomax, startlingly sharp and poignant. Not that he is copying Muddy. He is too evolved and mature for simple emulation. Rather, it is an intrinsic understanding of the feeling of the music, the essential heart and soul. Unlike many younger players, Oscher does not seek to impress with technique and dazzling displays of virtuosity. He has been there and done that. If he wanted to, he could dance circles around anyone with any of his instruments. Instead, he focuses on old-school blues, playing with the assuredness and confidence of a player who knows the music is about feeling, about a groove.
If you like your traditional blues straight with no chaser, hard-core traditional, Paul Oscher is among the living masters.
Down in the Delta- Blues Fidelity- 2005