“Paul Oscher plays the
soul I feel”
“Paul Oscher’s a monster: harp, piano, and
guitar—plays slide like Muddy.” James Cotton
“A legend… a musician’s musician. When I saw him
working with Muddy Waters
and Otis Spann, it was the toughest band I’d ever seen… an inspiration.”
Rick Estrin of Little Charlie & the Nitecats
“Classic Chicago Blues… his blues has the bite and
gravity of the tradition he upholds.”
John Pareles, The New York Times
deep satisfying blues experience.”
Critics Choice, Billboard
“You can hear Muddy in his guitar, and Otis Spann
in the piano, but the overriding sensation is of Oscher at the height of his
powers and maturity. This is a man who has spent his life steeped in a blues
tradition, and it
Juke Blues (U.K.)
“He’s got all my respect.”
“The most natural musician I know.”
Portnoy, harp with Muddy Waters & Eric Clapton
“The first guy that I ever met who could really
play the harp, he used tongue
blocking before any of his contemporaries.”
“Muddy Water’s album Live at Mr. Kelly’s, featuring
Paul Oscher on harmonica
was one of the first blues albums I purchased when I was in high school. His
harmonica playing has been inspirational and I admire the road he has
traveled. He paved the way for all the blues harmonica players of my
Bob Corritore, harp player & owner of The Rhythm Room,
“No one on the scene can beat his low-down harp
tone, his ability to summon
Muddy’s spirit in his slide guitar playing, and his blue note piano
technique. He’s right where he’s always been: smack in the middle of the
real unadulterated blues.”
Kim Field, Author of Harmonicas, Harps, and
“…If you like the real thing, that is the blues
played without compromise:
Paul Oscher’s ‘Down In The Delta’ should be in your CD player right now.”
"A must for devotees and players." Knight
Rider wire service
“Paul Oscher not only channels the guitar sound of Muddy
Waters, piano of Otis Spann, and the deepest toned blues harp this side of
Big Walter Horton,
he’s also a fine songwriter in the classic blues tradition. Oscher is one of
Scott Dirks, Author, Little Walter biography, Blues With A
“Paul Oscher’s blues are deep as the Delta soil.
With just a guitar, a slide, a harmonica and his voice, Oscher rekindles the
fire, soul and spirit of the music of the late, great Muddy Waters.”
Drozdowski, The Boston Phoenix, Tower Pulse!, Guitar World, and winner 1998
Keeping the Blues Alive in
“Paul Oscher carries the soul of Muddy
Waters in his music, he deserves wider
recognition as a superb musician, singer and songwriter.”
Author of Mojo Man biography of Muddy Waters
“He seems to be channeling the riffs
straight from Blues Heaven.”
Blue Suede News
“One of the best authentic blues albums
of the year.”
Andy Grigg Real Blues
"On The Road With Muddy"
Select an excerpt from Paul's
forthcoming book "Alone With The Blues"
Chicago > The
South > St. Louis >
Texas > Anywhere, USA
moved into Muddy's house at Lake Park Avenue and 43rd street on
Chicago's South Side. I was staying in the basement. Spann was
in a room in the back. The front room belonged to Muddy's
driver, 'Bo.' 'Bo' slept with a sawed-off shotgun next to his
bed. When he was drinkin' he would have nightmares and shout out
in his sleep 'move bitch, move motherfucker!' I was sleeping on
a couch in the next room.
This is the place where Willie Dixon had rehearsed the guys on
all those big numbers -- you know, with Little Walter and
everything. Muddy had his Harmony guitar that he used at Newport
hanging on the wall, and his Fender Bassman amp that Cotton used
to blow through was there covered with red oil cloth.
One afternoon, I was hanging out across the street with
guitarist Pee Wee Madison. This woman came home from work, and I
said 'Hey, Barbara, what's happenin?' Next thing you know this
guy comes out of the doorway and says, 'This is for you bitch!'
Boom! Shot her right in the head. At first I thought it was like
a cap gun or blanks or something like that. But then she sorta
swirled down real slowly and her feet started kickin' up. Pee
Wee looked at me and shook his head. I said, 'Goddamn!'
The guy that shot her was still standin' there, so I ran across
into Muddy's house. Now I don't know what Pee Wee did. He
might've just stood there. But I told Muddy, 'some guy just shot
this woman!' Muddy was real cool. He just called 911 or whatever
the number you called in Chicago was back then, and said,
'there's been a murder over here on Lake Park. You'd better send
the police.' Then Muddy put a pistol in his waist band and
walked out by his front fence and said, 'this motherfucker don't
scare anybody.' The guy who shot the woman kept yelling and
waving his pistol. The police came and they locked him up.
They say the woman didn't die. And the guy got out after six
months and ended up being killed by the cops. The funny thing
was that about two weeks before the shooting, I was drinking
with this guy. He loaned me a water glass, y' know, an ordinary
ten cent water glass. But Pee Wee kept saying, 'Make sure you
give him back his glass.' He must have known the guy was crazy."
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"The year was 1968, before Martin Luther King was assassinated,
before the Watts and Chicago riots. The country was in turmoil,
fighting the Vietnam War and the war for Civil Rights in the
South. The times were changing.
I was riding in a Volkswagen van traveling on a winding highway
somwhere near Tupelo, Mississippi with Otis Spann, S.P. Leary,
Sammy Lawhorn and Bo the driver. Luther "Georgia Boy Snake"
Johnson was driving the lead car, a station wagon, with Little
Sonny Wimberly riding shotgun. Muddy Waters was relaxing in the
rear seat. Everyone in the band carried a gun.
(Left to right) Paul Oscher, Otis Spann, S.P.
Leary, Pee Wee Madison,
Little Sonny, Muddy Waters, Snake Johnson - Germany, 1968
As the band entered the town, a large railroad-sized billboard
of a hooded KKK nightrider on a white stallion, reared up on its
hind legs, greeted the band. The sign had a caption below it:
"BEWARE, YOU ARE NOW ENTERING KLAN COUNTRY."
Everyone in the band saw the sign. No one spoke."
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"We used to play this place in St. Louis called the Moonlight
Lounge. I remember the first time we went down there. We pulled
up at the hotel and all these prostitutes on the corner started
shouting 'Muddy Waters Band is here!' And they'd hike-up their
dresses. I remember at the gig Muddy played 'I Just Want To Make
Love To You' and I had this chromatic solo. I dropped to my
knees still playin', and this woman yelled-out from the
audience, 'Don't stop now baby! My drawers are wet!"
Muddy Waters And Paul Oscher
Miss Herbs Moonlight Lounge
St. Louis, Missouri 1968
Muddy would mesmerize the audience like a preacher. He'd walk
all over the club singing and people'd shout 'I hear you
brother!' '....Tell the truth!' Tell it like it is. I loved
those shows. After the gig, we came back to the hotel. You
entered the hotel through a barbecue joint and then in the back
there was a bar and a piano. Spann would play the piano all
night. We would shoot dice and hang out with the girls. You had
people sitting in like Albert King. It was just a great time. I
had a great time."
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"I remember one time in East Texas we were going in someplace to
sit down and get a bite to eat. And the whole place just got
quiet. It was a white roadside place. It just got so quiet. Six
tough black guys with their hair tied-up with doo rags and me.
No one said a word. Not a sound. The tension was incredible. We
just decided to get take-out. Food to go. It was like -- did you
ever see Easy Rider? The reaction of those rednecks when those
hippies walk into the place -- but this was worse. It looked
like that -- everybody wearing' cowboy hats. East Texas is
really like Mississippi, almost."
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"Andrew 'Bo' Brown was Muddy's driver and valet. He was a big,
dark-skinned guy that liked to act mean. Bo would drink gin
while he was driving. He said it kept him awake. He'd take a
long swig of gin and say, "Ooh, I see the moon and the moon see
me. Hah! God bless the moon and God bless me." Then he'd turn
around and say, "Wake-up! Y'all sleeping' while I'm trying to
At that time, Muddy was booking himself. We were zigzagging
across the country: DC to LA, Chicago to Texas. One time we had
to go from New York to Montreal, Canada. And there's, like, a
straight route all the way up, right? Bo didn't know the way, so
he went by way of Buffalo! Four hundred miles out the way. Stuff
like that would happen. We'd miss towns. Some of the guys in the
band couldn't read....everybody carried a gun."
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For additional reading check out "The Gift" by Paul Oscher,
published in the companion book to the PBS series Martin
Scorcese Presents "The Blues" page 223 and the essay by Paul's
lovely wife Suzan-Lori Parks "How I Met My Husband" page 226.