Michael Osborn
"Oh What Goes Around "

Robben Ford's Onboard For Half Of This Go Around , (01/16/08)

"Spanish Harlem" and Bacharach and David's "This Girl's in Love With You").

Mike Osborn is an artist with whom I recently became acquainted, who, after some research, I found toured and/or recorded with an impressive list of high quality musicians like Robben Ford (who is also on this album), the Charles Ford Band, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, James Cotton, the always wonderful Sista Monica Parker, plus the late greats Willie Dixon and John Lee Hooker, who Osborn toured the world with, including the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Montreaux Jazz Fest, and New York City's Carnegie Hall.

Osborn released his first solo recording in 1988, Cold Hearted Girl, followed by his second release, A Case For The Blues, which came out in 1993, and A Background In The Blues released in the summer of 1996. All three of his solo efforts were released by the West Coast-based Blue Rock 'It Records. What Goes Around, Osborn's first self-released recording on his own label, Checkerboard Records, appears some eleven years later. What Goes Around features drummer John Moore, bassist Tom Szell, D.K. Stewart on keyboards, Bill Rhoades plays harp and sings on two tracks, plus the special guest, Robben Ford, who plays guitar (but does not sing) on half of this recording. Eight of the ten tracks included on What Goes Around were either authored or co-authored by Osborn.

Osborn definitely speaks best through his guitar, as his vocals leave a bit to be desired. But the instrumental tracks, like the opener and title track "What Goes Around," "Nightmare Blues," and "The Rum Boogie," are fine examples of Osborn's solid work on the fretboard. There are some other fine moments, courtesy of Robben Ford who provides some heavy turbulence from his intense guitar, especially on the album's best track, "Hey Baby."

This recording breaks little new ground, perhaps due to the "probable" limited production budget, thus making What Goes Around a so-so affair. On the next recording, Osborn should take a few cues from his old boss Sista Monica Parker, who mightily showed the world a few outstanding production tricks on her last top-shelf/self-produced album, Can't Keep a Good Woman Down.

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com