Omar Coleman - Born and Raised - Delmark Records

The real-deal Chicago blues keeps on, and Delmark is a key label in its documentation. The soul of Bobby Rush, Junior Wells and gospel have been important influences on Omar Coleman, a bluesman who gives us lots to like on his recent album Born & Raised (Delmark 840). He sings with genuine soul and plays a nice harmonica. His band is very together, with Pete Galanis playing some mean guitar along with guests Toronzo Cannon, Mike Wheeler and David Herrero.
This is the essence of old-school soul blues, updated a tad but filled with the classic thrust. Omar writes good tunes, maybe not with quite the lyric jolt of Muddy or B.B., but honest and testificatory, you dig? And the singing is right there, projecting the directness of soul-blues power.
I have nothing bad to say about Omar and the album. He speaks from inside and the band gives it that raw jolt with a little of the soul extra musicality. He and the band have it down, straight.
You want some new blues talent in your listening routine? Born & Raised gives you something good and real to add to what you already have in your head! Recommended!! (Gapplegate Guitar and Bass)


They say that patience is a virtue. They also say that the best in life is worth waiting for. That’s what they say. Omar Coleman knows a thing or two about that. He has been building his playing for years, massaging and caressing it. He has nurtured and loved his music, and his new album shows just how well deserved that nurturing is.
Recorded in January of this year, Born & Raised, on Delmark Records, contains 14 tracks and has a running time of just over one hour. The production and sound quality here is excellent thanks to great work by Steve Wagner, Dave Katzman, and the man himself, Robert G. Koester. The band is Coleman – vocals and harp, Pete Galanis – guitar, Neal O’Hara – keys, Ari Seder – bass, and Marty Binder – drums and percussion. Coleman and the band also enjoy the company of three superb local guitarists on several tracks; Toronzo Cannon, Mike Wheeler, and David Herrero.
Listening to Born & Raised, it’s easy to see how greats such as Bobby Rush, Junior Wells, and O.V. Wright have had such a positive impact on Coleman’s vision. The band is tight and exceptional throughout. Coleman’s vocals are spot on, even playful at times, and his harp lends just right touch everywhere it joins this righteous party.
While Born & Raised is a solid album, even so, we definitely had favorite moments. We enjoyed the club style swing of “Tryin’ to Do Right," and the thumping soul of “Sit Down Baby." With its juke joint flavor, “Man Like Me" reminded us of Lindsey Alexander’s playful soul outings, while “I Was a Fool" has a slow, rich feel, with deep keyboard textures, and perfect guitar fills.
We also enjoyed the rolling romp “Slow Down Baby," urging us to put the top down and step on the gas as we cruise down the highway with the volume on 11. Coleman’s harp sings with a goodness that carried us along on “You Got a Hold on Me," and “I Don’t Want No Trouble" spoke to us with its brilliantly textured weave of keyboards, bass, and guitar.
Born & Raised is an hour well spent. We absolutely recommend this album for our reader’s listening pleasure. This is quality music, lovingly played. What more could anyone want? (ChicagoBlues.com)


The excitement level at Delmark’s Riverside Studios was at fever pitch earlier this year as they recorded the Delmark debut of a young rising star on the Chicago scene, harpman and vocalist Omar Coleman. Omar was West-Side “Born And Raised" (and proud of it!) in 1973, and that’s what he titled this album. He captures the good-time spirits of several Windy City greats with these fine fourteen originals, too.
Omar’s always been a big fan of Bobby Rush, Junior Wells, and Al Green, and he touches on the styles of these legends throughout. Check out the minor-key, remorse-filled, “I Was A Fool to let you run out on me," with Mike Wheeler on guitar, and the poignant ballad, “One Request," to sample the Al Green connection. You gotta love his tributes to that “folk-funk" strut of Bobby Rush, too, with cuts like the danceable “Sit Down Baby," and “I Don’t Want No Trouble." Labelmate Toronzo Cannon adds guitar on the Hill-Country groove of “Man Like Me" and again on Omar’s ode to a lover, “You Got A Hold On Me."
We had two favorites, too. We loved that killer rhumba beat on “I Know You Been Cheating," with Neal O’Hara on piano and Dave Herrero on guitar. And, “Slow Down Baby" rocks with a steady roll, with Dave’s Berry-licious licks riding over Omar’s wailin’ harp!
The folks at Delmark know a good thing when they hear it, and Omar Coleman, with “Born And Raised," is poised to make his mark on the contemporary blues scene! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society. (Sheryl & Don Crow Nashville Blues Society)

I just received the newest release, Born & Raised, by Omar Coleman and this guy can sing! Opening with Shuffle track, Tryin' To Do Right, Coleman exhibits his solid vocals and harp work complimented by Pete Galanis on guitar, Neal O'Hara on keys, Ari Seder on bass ad Marty Binder on drums. Man Like Me has a pure Chicago sound with nice harp work from Coleman and a tasty guitar solo from Toronzo Cannon. Funky Sit Down Baby is anchored by O'Hara's organ work and nicely driven by Seder and Binder. Coleman rides the top with great vocal style and Galanis pops off some stinging riffs along with Colemans harp work pulling the track together. Soulful, I Was A Fool, blends a light funk and soul into the blues for a really strong track. Guest guitarist Mike Wheeler plays some really soulful riffs on this track, making it one of my favorites on the release. A bit more funky, Wishing Well, has a down right limp. It gets so funky you may need an air freshner and Wheeler is right there with fluid guitar riffs keeping the track tight on. Rocker, Slow Down Baby, finds Dave Herrero laying down a solid Chuck Berry riff and O'Hara rides the 88's as Coleman delivers on vocal and harp. Herrera rips a nice solo on this track making Coleman holler for help! Cool track! Another funky track, Lucky Man, with perfect drum riffs by Binder digs a real nice groove. Galanis plays a perfect response to Coleman's vocal call and O'Hara lays right in the groove on organ. Galanis steps up with heated guitar riffs giving the track another dimension altogether making this another favorite on the release. Upbeat shuffle track, You Got A Hold On Me, opens with a real nice harp intro from Coleman. Cannon's back setting the pace with a nice guitar lead and Binders drums are particularly crisp. The coolest harp work on the release falls right into place on this one making it the complete package. Title track, Born & Raised, is a high stepper with Coleman keeping his feet high. Galanis rips a real nice guitar solo on this one over the wah wah rhythm. Very cool! Slow soul track, One Request is the most memorable melody on the track making it my choice for radio track of the release. I really like Coleman's vocal leads on this track and the light organ support by O'Hara on this track is perfect. His piano work is nicely presented, Seder's bass hand is right there and Binder is spot on. Again Galanis steps up with a nice guitar solo on this track but just enough to emphasize the dynamics on the track. Nicely done. Funky jazz track, Tell Me What You Want, has a nice bass line from Seden which really sets the table for me. Coleman's vocal phrasing on the track as well as his harp work is nicely complimented by hot guitar riffs from Herrero. New Orleans infused, I Know You Been Cheating, has an almost rhumba feel with a nice harp solo from Coleman. Seder on snare and O'Hara on piano really emphasize the cultural richness and Galanis throws down a tasty solo to ice the cake. Wrapping the release is full out jazz track, Raspberry Wine, with Coleman showing that his vocals can carry off even the more challenging style. Galanis steps up again with a real nice guitar solo on a carrier of organ and piano by O'Hara. O'Hara pulls off a real nice solo of his own on organ and then as is traditional Coleman steps back up to take the track home and the band joins in on vocals. Really nice closer. (Bman's Blues Report)