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Release the Hound

Hound Dog Taylor

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Album Review

As the debut act on the fledgling Alligator label, Hound Dog Taylor obviously holds a hallowed place in owner Bruce Iglauer's heart. That has resulted in more posthumous albums (three) from the raw boogie-blues man than "official" ones (two) released in his lifetime. And that's not including the Alligator tribute disc. Iglauer has returned to raid what must be some pretty threadbare vaults by now, to cobble together this 70-minute collection of live tracks, outtakes, and general leftovers. Fortunately, this barrel-scraping has turned up some real gems, although they are far rougher than what is already in Taylor's gritty, gutbucket rocking catalog. Certainly existing fans won't mind. The rawer than raw — but still far better than bootleg — quality tapes are only for those already in Hound Dog's house. Versions of "Sadie" and a wild, half-drunken ten-plus minute romp through a slow and bluesy "Things Don't Work Out Right," complete with a rambling soliloquy, guitar buzz, and feedback in all the right places, have to be heard to be appreciated. Experiencing Hound Dog at his loosest is a fly-on-the-wall proposition as he seems unaware tapes were rolling for many of these tracks. That makes for some wonderfully open and uninhibited music from the bassless Taylor trio, playing with the usual reckless abandon. The music teeters on the brink of unraveling, but never does, adding a tightrope-walking edge to this already precariously loose sound. In other words, this may not be the place to start for the uninitiated, but for existing fans this is nowhere close to a money-cashing ripoff. It is a justifiably crude closing to the catalog of one of Chicago's most enigmatic and legendary figures.

Biography

Born: 12 April 1915 in Natchez, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Alligator Records, Chicago's leading contemporary blues label, might never have been launched at all if not for the crashing, slashing slide guitar antics of Hound Dog Taylor. Bruce Iglauer, then an employee of Delmark Records, couldn't convince his boss, Bob Koester, of Taylor's potential, so Iglauer took matters into his own hands. In 1971, Alligator...
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Release the Hound, Hound Dog Taylor
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