Two years ago, the rollicking tribute album On the Jimmy Reed Highway pointed the storied career of singer/guitarist Omar Kent Dykes in a new direction. That record, cut in Austin and one of the most popular blues releases of 2007, united Dykes with guitar master Jimmie Vaughan and a cadre of talented Reed devotees. Together, they celebrated the music of an acknowledged post-war blues hero. For his new Big Town Playboy, Dykes summoned many of the same Austin session players (including Vaughan, guitarist/producer Derek O'Brien and singer Lou Ann Barton) and teamed them with a pair of bona fide blues harp legends, Lazy Lester and James Cotton, on a half-dozen tracks. The all-star lineup delivers another shuffling, satisfying selection of classic American blues.
The musical scope has been broadened this time around to include post-war gems made famous by John Lee Hooker, Ivory Joe Hunter, Smokey Smothers and Jimmy McCracklin. Dykes revisits the Jimmy Reed songbook on three tracks and shines the spotlight on Reed's often overlooked partner Eddie Taylor, who scored his biggest solo hit with "Big Town Playboy" in 1956.