"Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me"
Oh Yeah
Charles Mingus

In a sense Oh Yeah is Mingus's messiest, bluesiest record that I've heard. You would think Blues & Roots would take that honor, but there are subtle differences. Here Mingus takes the piano chair, leaving bass duties to Doug Watkins - who is fine, but no Mingus. The result is broad, loose strokes from the rhythm section - which is perhaps not unheard of in a Mingus band, but with Mingus himself on bass on Blues & Roots, the influences of the blues on his playing are expressed much more subtly, both in the sounds and the rhythms.

The playing here is woozy, smeary; joyously easygoing and deceptively ramshackle. It's at its wooziest on "Atomic Bomb," which Mingus introduces - 'like to play a piece titled, "Oh Lord Don't Let 'Em Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me "'. He sings, too! Oh yes. Most Mingus albums have, as the Rhino sales geek in the liner notes puts it, "exhortations of threat, encouragement, and rage," from Mingus. Here it sounds as if they actually got him a mic, and he uses it. His voice, like his piano playing, is not extremely technically accomplished, but is always expressive. So we get Mingus, crying to God, asking for safety from the atomic bomb. The wording is ambiguous, too - surely Mingus didn't want the bomb dropped on anyone, but specifically, not on him, please. The flavor of the blues here is similarly one of fear, pleading, moaning - the horns and Mingus sound long, drawn out notes, cries.