Cassie Taylor's Out of my Mind immediately, the moment the laser light sets down on this disc, brings to mind memories of a group which hadn't crossed my mind for quite some time: the Chambers Brothers. The Bros. are still famed for their classic 11-minute Time has Come Today chart hit, one of a number of defining moments in psych music, but they released 15 vinyl LPs altogether, among which was the very cool Love, Peace And Happiness / Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore East, a celebration of soul, blues, folk, and psychedelia. I dug the hell out of that twofer, and the feeling I got then is the same feeling I get in listening to Out of my Mind and especially Ol' Mama Dean (Parts 1 and 2), even though there are quite notable differences in the musics.
In fact, Taylor and John Black share the same label, the always excellent Yellow Dog, and John well reflects much the same unique era sound Taylor carries. Not content just to put forth sensually slinky vocals, Cassie also plies a bass and occasionally trots out a Hammond S6 and even one of those spacey Theremins (!!!), both of which thicken up the late night sound here appreciably. Ah, but then Steve Vidaic takes up the keys as Part 2 of the song erupts and really cuts loose, unleashing a miasmic swirling energized swamp sound that perfectly underscores and accompanies Steve Mignano's guitar work. And Mignano's particularly noteworthy among this tight ensemble because he exhibits a unique vocabulary, every note squeezed out of heart and soul rather than off the fretboard, harking back to the days when cats like Neil Merryweather, Kim Simmonds, Stan Webb, and others were working at taking the Chicago sound to new back alleys. More, Mignano's inflections shine a light on sensitivities all too often scamped in others' rush to trundle out torrents of powerhouse chops, forgetting where the real bottom line is. As he's playing, Big Steve is thinking as much as he's emoting.
But it's Taylor's vocals that hold sway here, and she cuts a well-honed figure half way between a restrained Etta or Janis and Gladys Knight, a mid-ground beautifully suited to both passion and elegance. Strikingly, Cassie wrote and arranged every song, from the slo-burn of Ol' Mama Dean to the rogue-ish street corner New Orleans to the whisperingly smoldering No Ring Blues, wherein she warns a certain lover boy that he better get off the dime and escort her to the chapel or risk missing all them good times he's been enjoying for so long. Hell, I don't even know her, and I was reaching to grab the phone and call the preacher myself! This woman has a way of getting under your defenses before you even know it. Then dig the Z.Z. Top riffs of No No, Mignano again showing his mettle, and re-trench into the psych-blues Fillmore once again, hoping to hide for a while in the smoke and honest sweat 'cause Lord knows if'n thet Taylor woman sidles up to you again and wraps herself around your unresisting body just one more time, it's good-bye freedom, hello priest-man, and hey-now-hallelujah to many delicious nights.
Hmmmmm, maybe I've been thinking on this bachelor stuff the wrong damn way.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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