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July 17, 2024

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Ramsay Midwood
Shoot Out At The OK Chinese Restaurant (Vanguard Records)

By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV

I can almost see Ramsay Midwood singing as if possessed, eyes closed, lips brushing the microphone, so into the music his body almost shakes from a stool. Behind him the bass is thumping like tires on asphalt, the harp is throwing in it's two cents just trying to get the last word and the guitar in his lap speaks coaxed by mojo hands. This has the taste of a slow progression toward madness, a gradual mental deterioration as if worn down by worldly elements. This is what swims through my head listening to the rambling stutter of Shoot Out At The OK Chinese Restaurant. This blues album fills it with images of haunted cotton fields and the clank of chain gangs driving stakes into railroad tracks reaching ever west. An album that has the improvisational feel of John Lee Hooker and the mumbled mystery of later Dylon. Midwood reminds me of the unnatural curiosity of listening to the rambling conversations of those members of society that have fallen unnoticed through the cracks. I think you pay attention in hopes that you can understand as well as to find within all the jumble, a secret to reaching a state of separation from the events of the world around us. It would be hard to single out any particular song as they all float into one another seamlessly, making it an album of whispered madness.
Rating: B+
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