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Reviews


Jon Worley
Aiding and Abetting
March 12, 2001


more reviews of White African
 
Otis Taylor plays the rural blues in the fashion of Robert Johnson, ringing out a lead line and a rhythm line at the same time on an acoustic guitar. He does dress up his songs now and again with some banjo, harp, bass, electric guitar or mandolin, but the power of this music comes from Taylor's picking and howling.

And can he howl. Taylor has a raspy, yet resonant voice. His guitar was recorded so as to emphasize the lower notes and the echo, and his voice rings out above the growl of his picking.

Taylor writes the blues. Songs about death, pain, suffering and the odd mystical experience. He brings his issues, his messages to the forefront without being preachy. Rather, he's just telling a story or few. Unpleasant stories, to be sure, but his presence compels attention nonetheless.

A testament of rage and anguish. Much like Patty Griffin's Living With Ghosts, Taylor doesn't shy away from heavy subjects. He leads with his playing and then follows with his voice, a vicious one-two punch. Few artists could match the power of Taylor's presence on this album. For once, the term "awesome" is an understatement.
 

"He leads with his playing and then follows with his voice, a vicious one-two punch. "