Okay, so there I was, for FAME reviewing some really cool samba in a recent CD from a dreamy romantic female singer, me going all misty-eyed and gooshy when the disc wound down. Then Dudley Taft's Deep Deep Blue turned up in my Review-It-and-Right-Goddamned-Now! backlog and, whew!, woke my ass right back up, I'm tellin' ya. Funky and chunky in the old school Chickenshack/ZZ Top/Groundhogs/Jim Suhler & Monkeybeat/70s school with a lot of solid stompfootin', Taft first slo-mo's the blues in a complete turn-around of Dylan's Meet Me in the Morning, then pulls a righteous speed-up in The Waiting, a cross between Turbine, Dire Straits, Les Dudek, Gary Moore, and Frank Marino in a bouncy zipalong burning with a middle eight illuminating the smokin' rhythms. Nice start, and my bossa nova mindset had fled to Acapulco to down a few mojitos.
And Taft keeps it up as the disc progresses, embodying a mid-point between that deep confidence Billy Gibbons so sedately pinpoints and a more slippery grinning mid-West salubriousness combined with a glowering hippie ethos which prompted him into a set of cool-ass Leslie West/Mountain riffs in Satisfy You and then the Eric Gales-ish Bandit Queen. Feeling Good Now popped up, and it carries the jazzy swing of the old Edgar Winter Band circa the Jerry LaCroix era, a place where rock and soul met to knock back a few and then hit the butt boogie dance floor for a few turns and tailshakes.
Taft's been around the block a few times, earlier having formed the band Sweet Water, which opened for acts like Alice in Chains and Monster Magnet. He moved on to helm Second Coming for a year or so, an ensemble that snagged a #10 chart position with one cut and saw another placed in a Bruce Willis movie, and thus the grizzled string-wrangler knows how to put a tune together. His milieu starts in the Delta tradition, travels to Chicago to pick up its modernizations, and kinda hops over to London for a short extension course, but ends up sprinting back to Texas and getting to work. Yep, Texas 'cause that IS the last stop on the busline in American blues, whether other critics want to acknowledge it or not, and Mr. Taft is most sincerely a practitioner just as much as Johnny Winter was, along with quite a few cowboy-hat-wearing mojo men 'n wimmens. But he's also putting a few tricks of his own in, and if you'll jump straight to my fave track, The Waiting, you'll see exactly what I mean.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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