Vocalist/drummer Ola Dixon has been a fixture on the Northeast blues scene for decades. A resident of the Big Apple, Dixon spent many years recording and touring with various performers including Big Walter Horton, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Paul Oscher and Ronnie Earl, among others. Dixon's first major recording was on Charles Walker's Oblivion release, Blues From the Big Apple (1973). From there she spent several years backing blues vocalist Victoria Spivey and in the 80's toured extensively with Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. After a semi-retirement in the early '90's Ola returned to her roots appearing on Johnson's Grammy-nominated 1998 Telarc release, Got to Find a Way. Finally in 1999, Severn Records released Labor of Love; Ola's first solo recording that displays her sweet vocal style and solid, understated drumming.
NYC singer/drummer Ola Dixon's career has spanned more than 3 decades. She has worked extensively with Jimmy Rogers, Big Walter Horton, Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson and many more. Her debut Labor of Love is produced by Jimmy Vivino (Guitarist of Late Night with Conan O'Brian) and features many great musicians including piano great David Maxwell.
Anyone who has seen Ola Dixon play drums never forgets her because there is no one quite like her. Ola is special. Although Ola is mostly known for her drumming, she is a fine singer as well. This collection of songs captures her unique voice, drumming and also her eclectic taste in music. I first met Ola in the mid `70s at Max's Kansas City in NYC. She was working with the great Paul Oscher's Band. What immediately impressed me was Ola's no-nonsense approach to the drums. She is definitely from the "less is more" school of music. I once heard someone ask Ola how she would describe her style of drumming. Her response was, "I may not be anything fancy, but I can sure keep time." She has "kept time" through the years for many Blues greats, including Jimmy Rogers, Big Walter Horton and Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson. Her style is pure, solid, and filled with feeling.
Special Thanks: to Allen Dixon and the Dixon family for patience, love and support, to Shiqueen Dixon for keeping things together, to Geneva Vivino for help when needed, to Ann Bisesi for endless encouragement, to Jean Graham for her generous hospitality, to Jane Wholey and Jed Horne for always lending an ear, and Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, Johnny Ace, Ken "Man" Frank, Phil Keller and Mike Panek of Victor's House of Music, Paramus, NJ, "Broadway Al" Trommers and Eli Horne.
The musicians on this recording are all people who have worked with Ola at one time or another. The project began when my good friend Jimmy Vivino (guitarist from the TV show Late Night with Conan O' Brien) approached me about recording Ola. From there it grew. Jimmy and I received the same response from everyone we asked to take part (including photographer Joe Rosen): "For Ola? Just let me know when and where!" This very special group of musicians includes: Jimmy Vivino, guitar, keyboards and trumpet; Jerry Vivino, sax; Mike Merritt, bass; Dave Maxwell, piano; Randy Lippincott, bass; and me, Brian Bisesi, guitar. I would like to add that I have had the pleasure of working with Ola on and off for the last 25 years. When we finished recording, Ola looked around the studio at all the musicians, her longtime friends. She said, speaking for all of us, "You know, this was really a labor of love."
Executive Producer: David Earl Produced by: Jimmy Vivino and Brian Bisesi Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 Recorded at Big Sky Studios, Springfield, PA July 28, 1998 Engineer: Marcus Ramsky Tracks 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 12 Recorded at Sorcerer Sound, NYC, NY March 9-11 1999 Engineer: Tim Conklin Assistant Engineer: Dick Kondos Mixed by: David Earl, Brian Bisesi and Jimmy Vivino at Severn Studios, Crownsville, MD Photography: Joe Rosen Horns Arranged by: Jimmy Vivino Mastered by: Phil Klum at the Master Cutting Room, NYC, NY Digital Enhancement of Original Photography: Randy Santos CD Design: Copeland Design Dave Maxwell appears courtesy of Tone Cool Records Back Cover Photograph (left to right): Mike Merritt, Dave Maxwell, Jimmy Vivino, Ola Dixon, Brian Bisesi, Jerry Vivino and Randy Lippincott Broken piano wire on Baby Please Set A Date courtesy of Dave Maxwell