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Otis Taylor Link:

Otis Taylor

Otis Taylor
Respect the Dead

2001, Northern Blues

Otis Taylor is the king of dark, mystical and disturbing images as well as excellent acoustic guitar and trance-like instrumental fills. Taylor’s second release on Northern Blues fills much the same mold as White African but it lacks some of the freshness and the element of surprise. Much of the subject matter is, again, the black experience. In a post-apocalyptic fallout shelter, slave ships are visualized. The Civil Rights crusade, love changes and its aftermath or just being "friends," crimes of passion, examples of honor and pride and other topics are explored in Otis Taylor’s unique way. The musically shimmers with gouache’s of silvery color provided by bassist, pianist, producer Kenny Passarelli and guitarist Eddie Turner. My attention was not as riveted as on his previous work but particularly noteworthy are the opener, "Ten Million Slaves", deeply African "Changing Rules" and the eerie cold heat of "32nd Time." Just Live Your Life" exhorts you to appreciate life and "Baby So" is filled with huffing and round harmonica licks that underline a less than happy ending. Otis Taylor wrestles with demons and apparitions and he enlightens injustice and presents a totally new experience. Production values are crystal with amazing imaging and clarity. There are no drums and, I quote, "like John Lee Hooker, Taylor plays one chord songs using only a handful of bass notes to set the mood. Like Lightning Hopkins, he creates a basic framework with forceful strums, picking single strings for emphasis. And like Robert Pete Williams, he sings in a powerfully plain voice, slowly unraveling his tale over the course of a song." —Mark Gresser

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