The Wildcat OHalloran Band - Midnight Service Call

By Karen Nugent
December 2015

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The Wildcat O’Halloran Band

Midnight Service Call

By Karen Nugent

Wildcat O’Halloran and his crew is the party blues band of Western Massachusetts, and the new CD proves it.

The witty, comical lyrics and madcap stories complement O’Halloran’s exemplary - and Tampa Red-like - guitar playing, along with some commendable harp by fellow Bay Stater Ottomatic Slim, and excellent sax by Emily “Dr. Luscious” Duff.

Nearly every tune on the 12-track disc is fun, starting with “Double Dating at the Divorce Court” an amusing account of two couples trading spouses (for good, not swingers) and ending – you guessed it, double dating. (“We’re not really sure if we’re friends or relations/but we great deals on those cruise vacations.”)

You laugh again when the danceable title track, “Midnight Service Call” shows up a few songs later.

It has O’Halloran’s patented sexy-voiced female rapper talking to him on the phone (some people find this annoying, others love it.) This time, in a parody of a heating emergency on a cold New England winter night, the girl (Katie Wright) calls Wildcat, who is working the overnight shift at a boiler company. She describes various, sexual double entendre problems that he can surely fix - as long as her ex-Marine boyfriend (who is upstairs cleaning his AK47) doesn’t find out.

In between the conversation snippets, there are some nice long guitar and harp solos.

The song “97 percent” is especially poignant these days. It’s about a survey which says just 3 percent of Americans list blues as their favorite music. Hence, Wildcat’s assertion that 97 percent of us “think the blues suck.” He goes to admonish bands who learn “three chords that most anyone can play (even while drunk), leave the arrangements to luck, and show up late with a pick up band,” and finally: “If you plan to make fans with another version of “Chicken Shack” you’re out of luck.”

There are a few serious songs on the record. O’Halloran is fantastic on slow, emotion-ridden guitar on “Sweet Little Angel,” as is Ms. Duff on a sax solo. The band, with help from female backup singers, does a reasonable job on “Misunderstood,” the 70s hit by Eric Burdon and the Animals, and a few ballads.

A live O’Halloran Band performance usually involves crazy antics such as Wildcat doing the atop-the-bar walk while playing slide, a la J.B. Hutto, the fetching “Harp Girls” rapping, and various other fun stuff, but this record captures the spirit of all that, and will make you chuckle.

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