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Respect the Dead

Otis Taylor

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Album Review

Otis Taylor might well be the best and most inspired of contemporary bluesmen. His White African album was a masterpiece — which makes the task of following it doubly difficult. With Respect the Dead, however, he does a superb job — the man is still very much on a roll. Kicking off with the stark, banjo-led "Ten Million Slaves," the intensity level never dips. It doesn't matter whether he's basing a song around a single chord, as he does on "Hands on Your Stomach," or simply using voice and harmonica on "Baby So," there's a remarkable urgency about his singing and lyrics, never more so than with "Black Witch," a tale of the American South that goes right back to Africa — but the album returns and takes its tone to Mexico and racing for "Three Stripes on a Cadillac." The support, from Kenny Passarelli, Cassie Taylor, and atmospheric lead guitarist Eddie Turner, always serves to push the tension of the songs even higher. Taylor doesn't work within standard blues structures, and his lyrics stray far from the standard blues lines to encompass history and mythology. Where others seem content with the established limits, Taylor is pushing them further and further — and in doing so, he's making some of the most exciting music around.

Customer Reviews

Never heard blues like this before

The song, "Ten Million Slaves" kicks off this album, and you have to wonder, Why did they put the best song first? Then you get to "32nd Time" and you realize the album has just picked up a notch. This is one bluesman who know how to tell a story.. By the time "Black Witch" starts spinning you will be under the spell of a master musician. Just lay back and go with the flow. When the album ends, you will start it over again. An exceptional album.

Otis Taylor

Inspiring soundtrack, great time bluesman will never stop listening love this album.

Biography

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

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