Still looking like the lost fourth member of ZZ Top, Dudley Taft is following up last year's Deep Deep Blue (here) with Screaming in the Wind and not only hasn't he lost one iota of the bop, chunka, swing, sass, and hellfire he displayed therein but has augmented a good deal of it, especially in the incendiarily N'awlins swingin' Pack It Up, featuring the Muscle Shoals horn section. Man, that one needs to go straight into the charts! He follows it up with his trademark heavysiding bluesrock in Red Line, with plenty of wicked soloing, then slows things down in the title cut, preferring hog-butchering straightknife work calmly delineated, eerie but unruffled ('n when he gets dat pig BBQed, y'all can have a bite).
Taft notes that producer Tom Hambridge put a lot of work into the release, co-writing songs, playing a bit of drums, and so on. He also avers that a shift has occurred therefrom, and he's right, but Hambridge was wise in retaining that trademark raw edge Taft always displays—except in Pack It Up 'cause that's pure class right there (rough class, sure, but sweeeeet!). Dudley's vocals equally share in the trait, a one-man street choir from hard knocks and devil-may-care trailblazing. Tears in the Rain proceeds to dial things back, a ballad but one raised in Purgatory, lamentive with a laconic doom ever on its heels. The closer, Say You Will, follows suits but with a lot of Leslie West-ish riffs.
My fave cut? That last one, Say You Will, because it also reminds me of some of the stuff Mel Galley was turning out in Trapeze post-Glenn Hughes, not to mention a solo section Robin Trower will envy. The song's construction is perfect: spooky, tugging, affective. One of the things that more clearly emerges in this CD is that Dudley Taft surely has a heart, even amid all the dust, grit, snakebiting, booze guzzlin', and howling at the moon. The guy knows full well the value of loves past and present, and has had more than his share of pugnacities with this puzzling, frustrating, heart-rending, and often ridiculous world we live in while searching for whatever the hell it is we're supposed to be doing as we trudge through it. The blues, after all, is never about nihilism but always about hope held out against the madness and heartbreak of the human condition. And if events provoke us to every so often to pull our hair out, rant like madmen, go around biting the tires of parked cars, and maybe even, God help us, run for political office, well that's preeeeecisely why the mode exists: to chronicle our crazy-monkey frailties. We may roar like lions and bare our teeth, flash our nails like stilettos, perhaps even throw a few punches, but what we're really doing is protecting our hearts. 'At's what da blooz is all about, y'all.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles