MMMM – Monday May 10, 2010

Otis Taylor – Clovis People, Vol. 3 (Telarc)
Genre/Style: Blues, trance-blues, folk-blues
Website www.otistaylor.com
Notes: I’ve always had the hardest time classifying Otis’ vision of the blues.  Unlike the modern rockin’ blues influenced by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and others, Otis’ vision is a dark brooding iconoclastic view of the style. Otis calls it trance blues, and I suppose it you took the time to listen to it that way that might make some sense, as the rhythms do tend to fit the description.  Taken as a string of life and music, Otis’ follows a pretty specifically themed and well worn path musically and lyrically… a balance of 19th century negro spirituals and field music (replete with banjos and other period influences) combined with a much more austere contemporary life experience and storytelling than what we typically hear in the blues today…. and some smokin’ solos courtesy of the all-star players who sit in on each record… especially when it’s the likes of Gary Moore (guitar) and Ron Miles (cornet).

  • All songs written, arranged, and produced by Otis Taylor
  • Recorded at Immersive Studios, Boulder CO
  • Mixed by Matt Sandoski at Airshow Mastering, Boulder
  • Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Boulder

Recommended tracks (sampled)

  • Little Willie
  • She’s Ice in the Desert
  • Hands on Your Stomach
  • Harry, Turn the Music Up

The album title is based on the archaeological discovery of an ancient people near Otis’ Boulder home. Stories like Little Willie is about “a young boy is shot dead on the school playground and his mother is telephoned.”  The story is modern, the music and the voice feel as old as the Clovis people for whom the album is named.   The second sampled track is “She’s Ice in the Desert,” and according to Otis’ notes, “a man tells his love that he’ll be with her for just one day.” “Hands On Your Stomach” (sample track 3) is about the freedom inside the dreams of an enslaved person.  “Harry, Turn The Music Up” (sample 4) is a tribute to Denver Folklore Center founder Harry Tufts, who was often told to “turn the music up.”  All in all, this is vintage Otis Taylor — not a safe blues … not a party blues .. this is, as Mississippi Fred (RIP) would have called it, the “natchel blue.”

The Mighty Jivesters – Side One EP (self)
Genre/Style: Blues
Website: www.myspace.com/themightyjivesters
Notes: If Otis Taylor’s record is the anti-party record, the Mighty Jivesters capture the essense of the barroom and ski slopes.  I’ve known producer and guitarist “Jasco” for close to 20 years now… and he is undeniably one of the premiere blues guitarists you’ll find – here or anywhere else.  AC is more than capable as a blues harpist / lead vocalist.  This is a good solid ep demo for a young band, with remarkably skilled individuals driving their own parts.

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