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Otis Taylor's Contraband

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iTunes Review

Veteran bluesman Otis Taylor continues to explore subtle variations on the blues and other roots music with the epic reach of 2012's Otis Taylor's Contraband. His unorthodox backing band (featuring cornetist Ron Miles and djembe player Fara Toino alongside the more routine positions of drums, keyboards, and guitar) ensures that tunes like "The Devil's Gonna Lie," "Yell Your Name,” and "Never Been to Africa" emit a spooky, otherworldly charm. The obsessive, acoustic ramble of "Look to the Side" creates a sense of unease that's highlighted by Taylor’s muted but effective vocal. "Contraband Blues" creates a tortured electric blues that explores the awful fate of slaves during the Civil War. "Blind Piano Teacher" further highlights Taylor's impeccable storytelling abilities, depicting love between people seemingly too far apart in heritage and age. The blues is never far from Taylor's mind, and the scorched electric workout of "I Can See You're Lying" caps an album of strong, uncompromising conviction.

Customer Reviews


A really great album.


Born: 1948 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Bluesman Otis Taylor never skirted tough subject matter in a career that took him from the Folklore Center in Denver to a brief stay in London, England, to retirement from music in 1977, to being a successful antiques broker and, since 1995, back again to the blues. Taylor's 2001 CD White African (Northern Blues Music), featuring Kenny Passarelli (bass, keyboards) and Eddie Turner (lead guitar), became his most direct and personal statement about the experiences of African-Americans. He addressed...
Full bio
Otis Taylor's Contraband, Otis Taylor
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Customer Ratings