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Michael Osborn
"What Goes Around"
(Checkerboard Records)

Reviews & Info

Michael Osborn's "What Goes Around" starts off with a little tickling ivories and then quickly is joined by Michael laying down a mean groove. A little more piano, followed by more guitar with harmonica thrown in for good measure and it becomes apparent you are in for treat. 

Michael Osborn has certainly paid his dues and the recognition and accolades he is now receiving are well deserved. Having played with and been mentored by some of the best including his role as the Bandleader and Lead Guitarist for John Lee Hooker, certainly show through as Michael Osborn's "What Goes Around" offers up a literal smorgasbord of classic well thought out easy listening blues, blended to perfection with his guitar and Bill Rhoades magic on harmonica.

Some of my favorites on "What Goes Around" were, "Shake These Blues", and "Nightmare Blues" which is a wonderful slow and biting instrumental where his full talent as a master Blues Guitarist shine thru. Being from Canada, "Nightmare Blues" sort of reminded me a bit of Colin James on Guitar.

"What Goes Around" is another very fine effort from Michael Osborn and one sure to please his fans old and new. 
(John Vermilyea "Blues Underground Network")


This recording features John Moore on drums, Tom Szell on bass, harp master Bill Rhoades on harp, D.K. Stewart on piano and an old friend of Michael's on guitar! All original songs! 

Quote: Michael Osborn is one of the best blues guitarists around, he can really lay it down". - John Lee Hooker

What Goes Around offers a clinic in playing terrific blues guitar that doesn't overwhelm the song. His contemporary-yet-traditional style, beholden to no single influence, is gritty yet sophisticated, with surprising flourishes, a great awareness of the pocket, and cool note choices. Osborn is pushed to excel partly by the presence of Robben Ford, who contributes his unmistakable guitar to five tracks. Bill Rhoades' harmonica serves as a model not only of phrasing and tone but of when to lay out.
-Blues Revue

Blues guitar "veteran" Michael Osborn (John Lee Hooker, The Ford Band, Charlie Musselwhite) comes with a brand new album. Together with his friend Robben Ford who plays guitars on several tracks. Bill Rhoades on vocals on two tracks and on harmonica.
I wrote "veteran" in the opening sentence: .. but Michael sounds as fresh as a young (blues) cat. Lots of energy and superb guitar licks, crystal clear vocals and very good song writing!
-Ton Wanten- Triple R Blues Radio

Michael is one of the limited group of guitarists around who know that less really means more. His technique is precise and his playing is imaginative but he never shows off. The blues he plays is traditional but sounds fresh and fun. Michael's original material - it's strong and can hold it's own along classic blues songs. With "What Goes Around" I like what I hear, a lot!
-Przemek Draheim
Radio Sfera — — in Torun (Poland)

If you love your Blues guitar aggressive, biting and inventive yet still anchored in B.B. & FREDDY, you’ll probably love Michael Osborn. There’s a whole lot of Power-driven fun mixed with a wealth of supreme talent on this disc. 5 Bottles for a CD that’ll surprise many and have all of Michael Osborn’s fans saying, “I told ya so!”
-Real Blues Magazine

For his sophomore release on his own Checkerboard label, Michael Osborn proves that the sensational guitar work found on “Touch Tone” was absolutely no fluke. The new recording, “What Goes Around,” delivers first rate Blues. No questions asked. It is a testimony on how Blues guitar should be played, with tone and craft that relies on no hand-speed flying across the frets to lay down as many notes as possible. Rather this a tastefully rendered example of creating exceptional music by stretching notes and little fills that hit the mark to perfection.
-Bluenotes, Cascade Blues Association

If you check your John Lee Hooker records from the Coast To Coast Band period, chances are you'll see the name of guitarist Michael Osborn. Well, here he is in his own right, accompanied by guests Bill Rhoades and Robben Ford, and demonstrating why Hooker admired him so much.
-Juke Blues

When you see Michael's name on the sleeve, you know you are going to hear some quality guitar work.
-Blues Matters


1 What Goes Around
2 The Glamorous Life
3 Don't You Do Me That Way
4 Hey Baby
5 Innocent (But On Trial)
6 Shake These Blues
7 One Thing Before You Go
8 Got Me Runnin'
9 Nightmare Blues
10 The Rum Boogie

About Michael Osborn

Destined to become John Lee Hooker’s bandleader and lead guitarist -- and a guitar hero in his own right -- Michael Osborn and the blues first made each other’s acquaintance when Michael was a young teen in the mid-1960s. Friends with eventual blues greats Robben and Patrick Ford, Michael took up the bass guitar and played with the Ford brothers in blues, rhythm & blues and soul bands from 1967 through 1969.
After Mike switched to rhythm guitar in 1970, he became a founding member of the famous Charles Ford Band, which featured Gary Smith on harmonica and Lou Bottini on bass guitar, in addition to Robben on lead guitar and Patrick on drums. 

In the ‘70s, Mike recorded with the Charles Ford Band and Charlie Musselwhite, and built his chops in various blues bands with Gary Smith, Mark Ford, Mixed Nuts (featuring Bonnie Raitt's brother, David Raitt) and occasional Charles Ford Band reunions.

In June of 1981 Michael became lead guitarist for blues legend John Lee Hooker, and toured all over North America, Europe, Japan and Brazil with John Lee for more than a dozen years. During this time Mike backed such stars as Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, Brownie McGee, Willie Dixon, James Cotton and Charlie Musselwhite. Mike has also shared stages with such notables as Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Johnson, Albert Collins, Ry Cooder, Carlos Santana, John Hammond, Etta James, Curtis Salgado, and The Nighthawks.

Mike has played – with John Lee Hooker and with other bands, including his own -- at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, The Hammersmith Odeon in London and The Monterey Jazz & Blues Festivals.

Mike released his first solo recording in 1988, "Cold Hearted Girl"; his second release "A Case For The Blues," came out in 1993 and "A Background In The Blues," in June of 1996. All three of his solo efforts were released by Blue Rock'It Records.

Since he left John Lee Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues Band, Mike occasionally fronts his own band and has toured with blues singing sensation Sista Monica and the Blue Rock'It Blues Revue. He’s been a headliner at the Mountain Winery Summer Series Blues Festival; has toured Europe several times, playing festivals and clubs throughout, including Djurs Bluesland Festival in Denmark, the Tiel Blues Festival in the Netherlands and the 1997 Notodden Blues Festival in Norway. He has toured Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and various Northern California venues, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Sacramento Blues Festival.

After moving to Portland a few years ago, Mike hooked up with Bill Rhoades & the Party Kings. Mike’s new CD, "What Goes Around," is on his own label, Checkerboard Records. The album features John Moore on drums, Tom Szell on bass, D.K. Stewart on piano, harmonica ace Bill Rhoades and an old friend from Ukiah, California on guitar.