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Otis Taylor
Double V
Telarc Records
www.otistaylor.com


This is not your daddy's blues record.

What this is is a collection of truths spilled from the mouth of an amazingly graceful songwriter… All put to a soundtrack of a unique hybrid blues-country-folk sound much more reminiscent of the early Velvet Underground records than say… John Lee Hooker. The spirits of blues-men like Hooker exist in Otis Taylor's songs, and his honest and dark delivery; it is the musical aspects of this record that leads the ear off a bit. To be terribly honest, this entire record sounds to my ears much more like a John Cale project, albeit with a bit more heart and passion and polish than one would normally expect from Cale.

That said, the blues are an undeniable presence on this collection of songs, Otis Taylor's sixth release since his return to making music in 1995. Just listen a bit closer to the lyrics if you doubt me. The songs all tell stories that are so packed with reality and passion that there is no doubt much autobiographical information being passed to the listener, directly from the heart of Otis Taylor. Each song has a depth of character rarely found in modern music, and the album as a whole is an amazing experience. Taylor has refined the sound he has come to refer to as "trance-blues", creating a unique sub-genre of contemporary blues. There is a basic drone to these songs that appeals to my ear and lulls me into a state of euphoric fascination, creating the perfect mood to absorb the meanings (or my own interpretations) of the songs. The varied instrumentation leaves the mind wondering if the ear has just heard what it just heard… The incessant repetitions of banjos and odd percussion use lend an air of otherworldly folk music to the songs. The sparse arrangements create so much sonic space for the stories to roll around that there is very little to distract one from the feeling of the songs.

Double V is a mood. A presence. A force to be reckoned with in a world where few things make us look deeply into our own souls searching for the truth found there. It's an almost imperceptible manipulation; these songs making you scrutinize your own life and attitudes almost before you realize that you are doing so. This is music at its finest. Interesting, pure, simple, and undeniably honest, the songs of Otis Taylor redefine the standard to which modern blues music must strive.

This is not your daddy's blues record. This is everyone's blues record.

-David DeVoe

Track listing:

1. Please Come Home Before It Rains
2. Took Their Land
3. Plastic Spoon
4. Mama's Selling Heroin
5. 505 Train
6. Mandan Woman
7. Sounds Of Attica
8. It's Done Happened Again
9. He Never Raced On Sunday
10. Hurry Home
11. Reindeer Meat
12. Buy Myself Some Freedom


 

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Mike Doughty



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