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  • Writer's pictureLuke Wolk

Wildcat O'Halloran Band latest album "Lead Me Not Into Temptation, I'll Find It Myself" review!!!

Updated: Jun 8

Artist: Wildcat O'Halloran Band

Album: Lead Me Not Into Temptation, I'll Find It Myself

Release: 2024

The latest release from Wildcat and company is an 11 song set of the blues he has become known for. Musically the band tends to wade in the traditional side of the blues, but lyrically "Cat" always tells a fun and interesting story that is atypical of the blues. He is undoubtedly a skilled wordsmith with a great sense of humor. His guitar playing is derivative of 60's Clapton, choosing taste and restraint over guitar acrobatics. I suspect he is more of a Peter Green and Matt "Guitar "Murphy fan than the players that came to the blues scene with a Hendrix influence.

The first song Temptation is a fun lyric that perfectly sums up his approach to writing lyrics. It's always a story that leaves the listener needing to hear it to the end to see how the story plays out. His lyrics are simply entertaining and light hearted at every turn. His guitar playing on this cut tips the hat to the great Otis Rush in more ways than one, borrowing heavily from the classic "All Your Loving". Not a bad source to grab some licks!

The slow blues My Own Fault is a 7:32 master class in taste and grit, reminiscent of the kind of blues you would hear in one of the alleys on Beale Street. It's not pretty, but it is 100% real. The pretty stuff is inside the club under the lights, but the real stuff is on the street with the dirt. The harmonica and guitar leads are a throwback in time to a "less is more" approach that there isn't enough of in the modern blues scene. This is the space in which this band shines. It would be a mistake to even attempt to polish it. It would be like trying to class up BBQ and coleslaw. It is meant to be consumed on a paper plate at a picnic table in an alley.

Always a sucker for a straight simple shuffle, the track Don't Get No Further scratched that itch. With distorted harp that howls and moans throughout, this one lands right in blues central. There is nothing new or groundbreaking here, which I mean as a compliment. Just solid blues being played on top of a freight train shuffle. It has everything that fans of gritty blues live for. The performance is nasty, but mature. Nothing complicated, just damn good.

This album feels like it could've been recorded in the 70's with the dry production that was prevalent in that time period. It is a sound that is dated in a great way. A time before the bass was buried in the mix and barely audible. Each instrument sits comfortably in the mix complimenting the ensemble. If you like a traditional approach to blues, this is a great place to find it. Not only is it traditional musically, but seems to be recorded in a traditional manner, leaving the grease in it right where it belongs. It is also a fantastic intro into the world of the Wildcat O'Halloran Band. With almost 20 records in their catalog there is a lot to dig into and this album is a great first scoop.

Check out the interview with Wildcat as well!

Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.

I’m based in Western Massachusetts, where I’ve played Blues since 1968.  When the Chicago Blues masters started coming out to the 5 college area, I set up numerous shows opening….John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, J. Geils, Charlie Musslewhite, Son Seals….later, Greg Allman, the Stray Cats, and Bo Diddley.  When Cotton’s drummer Kennard Johnson fell in love with a Greenfield Ma., I played with him around the area, sometimes with Ottomatic Slim, (who has returned to us and is on the new album).  At this point, we’ve played all over New England, and done a few small tours around other parts of the country.   And though we didn’t get rich from recording, we would recoup enough to do another release (this is #20!)

Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.

Late in his life, as his voice deteriorated, James Cotton decided to tour with just himself and Luther Tucker.  Since he had, by that time, known me for years, and I was opening the show, he asked to use my rhythm section for the last few songs, to up the energy.   I was happy to oblige, but then Luther had a guitar malfunction, so I jumped onstage as well.  WMUA dj Katie Wright was arriving late, and told me she wondered where Cotton had gotten his hot new guitar player from….then realizing, once inside, that it was her neighborhood Cat.

Describe your worst performance. What did you learn from this experience?

At a show in Southwick Ma., with James Montgomery, I broke 5 strings in 45 minutes.   Besides learning to bring spare guitars, we arranged an elaborate gimmick song to cover any future malfunctions……which we never used…..until a year later (again with James) then, the band had forgotten how the gimmick song went.    James called me over afterward, saying “ Same tight, professional show as usual, I see”......”Let’s never speak of this again” I replied

How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past? 

We’ve done albums where we had a lot of guests, and couldn’t really duplicate the tracks live….we recently had a Live album, which was exactly like a typical show–but didn’t break any new ground…..we had one where we warped Rock songs into Blues—that just confused the audience….AND the band.   This time, we’re self-contained, but with a mix of traditional and less typical material.  The only one we can’t reproduce would be Move On Up, which will have to wait until the US Navy allows Emily Duff Christmas leave!  THis one is all about the musical conversations between Ottomatic and myself–with a terrific variety of rhythmic pulses behind us.

What are your interests outside of music?

As indicated by the song Lead Me Not Into Temptation, I have spent a lot of time in the world of HVAC.  The verse with the overheated girl removing clothing actually happened during my time in the service truck…..actually twice!  I still teach a class at a local Community College

What is the best way to stay updated on current news; gigs, releases, etc.

We post things on Facebook, but the best way is

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