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“Omaha Sessions” is a compilation of songs written and recorded during the “Omaha years” (1988-1991). During this time period, they didn’t have a record deal so they put records out by themselves and sold them at local record stores and at their shows. They put out three albums, “Dammit,” “Unity,” and “Hydroponic.” These are just a few songs from those albums.
1. Soulsucker- This song starts out with some light tapping on the cymbals and then leads into a really nice bass part and a funk guitar part. It’s kind of mellow in the beginning, but then it gets harder. This song is kind of different, but it’s not bad. 3.5/5
2. Today My Love- This one also starts out really mellow with some light tapping on the cymbals and leads into a harder song. P-nut does some really cool slap bass in this song. This is a really good one. 4/5
3. Slinky- The lyrics in this song tell a story. It’s pretty interesting to listen to. It’s not really hard or mellow, somewhere in between, but it changes style later in the song, like most 311 songs do. This song was a really good choice to include on this compilation. I’ve always been a fan of this one. 4/5
4. Summer of Love- O.K., it’s pretty cool to think that one of my favorite 311 songs of all time was written 14 years ago after they had only been together for 3 years. That’s what I love about 311, their old stuff is just as good as their new stuff. This one is mellow during the verses and hard during the chorus and changes to a reggae type beat near the end. P-nut does some REALLY cool stuff in this song, and Tim has a solo in this song that sounds amazing. I love this song. 5/5
5. Damn- This is a really good song to listen to if you’re looking for a good laugh. Some of the lyrics in this song are classic 311. For instance “no thank you mam, bitch.” See what I mean. It’s kind of got a funk beat to it and a lot of rapping. It changes to a harder song near the end and he stops rapping. Good song. 4/5
6. Down South- This one, like “Summer of Love,” amazes me every time I listen to it. The drums in this song are amazing. It’s one of those songs that if you were listening to it on a beach, it would be a lot better. It’s one of those reggae type songs and every once in a while changes into this hard-core rap/rock song like something off of the Blue Album. This is a really good song. 5/5
7. Rollin’- The instrumental to this song is really powerful in the beginning and changes to a funk beat when Nick starts singing. This song is talkin about how he was walking to his car one night while he was drunk and someone almost hit him, so they got into this big fight. This song’s really fun to listen to. It’s a good one. 4/5
8. Right Now- This starts out with a really mellow instrumental with an amazing guitar part. The vocals are really relaxing in the beginning and then it changes to a harder song later. I love this song. They played this song on 3/11 day 2004 (I wasn’t there, I saw the DVD) and it was amazing. This is a really good song. 5/5
9. This too Shall Pass- This is the only song from “Dammit” on this compilation and a really good choice. It starts out with some really cool bass and leads into a mellow song that changes harder later, just like prettymuch every other song on this compilation. This song has a really good message. It’s talkin’ about how you shouldn’t get too down about problems you have because they all will pass eventually. P-nut has an AMAZING bass solo that he plays twice during the song. I love this song. This song always seems to cheer me up whenever I hear it. 4.5/5
They don’t sell this compilation in record stores, you either have to buy it from their website, or get it at one of their shows (if they happen to be selling it), that’s where I got mine. The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that they only included one song from “Dammit.” The songs from that album are really good, and I was a little bummed that they didn’t include more, but the songs they did choose to include are really good ones too. This compilation is a really good way to experience how 311 was way back in the day. I’m really glad to be an owner of this CD.
The birth of 311: Funk/Rock with an Omaha Twist
It was not the 1995 self-entitled release that marked the birth of 311, although many think this. In fact, their first major label debut was 1993's "Music" on Capricorn Records. But even before this, there were a collection of local releases that dominated Omaha, Nebraska where the band first began making music. Their first three albums released on Nick Hexum's own: "What Have You Records" proved to be a hit in Omaha as well as with word of mouth. Unity, Dammit, and Hydroponic were the humble beginnings of this band that later broke into the industry and later found their spot with their smash-hit single, "Down." Released exclusively at the band's website and live shows, "Omaha Sessions" is a re-mastered collection of some of the songs that were made way back when and never saw release on their major label debut. Though it displays a slightly different sound than the band has now, it's still their roots and the signature 311 sound is still present.