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Slaves to the Rhythm,
This review is from: Otis Taylor's Contraband (Audio CD)
Nobody, but nobody, sounds like Otis Taylor. So much so that he has an entire genre named after his distinctive style. With his eclectic and unusual band back in harness, Taylor's latest eponymous trance blues outing is probably his most consistent set yet.
Opening with the gospel-backed "The Devil's Gonna Lie", Taylor settles quickly into that familiar hypnotic single-chord groove which sets the tone for much of what follows. Alternating between vigorous electric work-outs and more reflective acoustic musings, this is an effective and engaging collection that holds its own alongside Taylor's best work. In general, the up-tempo offerings are the more memorable.
Along with the opening track, "Romans Had Their Way", "Contraband Blues", "Banjo Boogie Blues" and "I Can See You're Lying" are immediate highlights.
Taylor writes with a remarkable economy that can sometimes be mistaken for over-simplicity. On tracks like "Blind Piano Teacher", he reveals disconcertingly little in the way of actual information - "She was a blind piano teacher, he was an older man. And they lived by the sea" - leaving the listener to imagine and fill in the rest. It might not work elsewhere, but in Taylor's hands it somehow does.
A return to form.