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Otis Taylor - Definition of a Circle

Definition of A Circle

Otis Taylor

Telarc - 83659

Available from Telarc International.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb
(taoboy@cox.net)

This new disc from this iconoclastic 'Blues Man,' is a series of explorations of the dark recesses of the blues, and bringing it closer to its African roots via the trance inducing spaces that he opens up and explores. Maybe he could be called a modern day version of master of the talking blues with hypnotic beat, John Lee Hooker. Yet his reach is greater because of the nature of music which also owes something to Sun Ra, and the lyrical content of his songs, that are more personal and sometimes much more political; They Wore Blue is an extended lamentation on who will help in the disaster that was caused by Katrina. Perhaps Black Mandolin Boogie, takes us to town on a mandolin and drum recurring combination riff that can induce hypnosis, and the song is about the predicament and difficulties of the Gypsies in Europe.

On this disc the innovative Otis Taylor shows his ability to stretch the definitions and expectations of what others want. Here he uses as his primary instrument the Ome banjo also contributing on guitars and slide guitar and piano. Josh Kelly handles the drums and with his daughter Cassie, bass, holds down a rock solid foundation. Cassie also does some stunning vocals on Few Feet Away, and Gary Moore, the English wizard handles the duties on guitar. There are strong contributions from Charlie Musselwhite, and cornetist Ron Miles and cellist Zach Miskin. Instrumentation alone on this disc is going to pop some eyeballs, let alone the tightness and playing on the disc. On this disc he is an assailant of the rigid form of the blues, a true destroyer of form to innovate new and larger boundaries.

Track List:

  • Little Betty
  • Black's Mandolin Boogie
  • Looking Over Your Fence
  • They Wore Blue
  • Few Feet Away
  • Something In Your Back Pocket
  • My Name Is General Jackson
  • Love and Hesitation
  • Maharaja Daughter
  • Long Long Life
  • Mexican Cowboy
  • Lifetime Of Freedom

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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