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Reviews


Holler, the Bimonthly newsletter
of the Colorado Blues Society
March/April 2001



more reviews of White African
 
White African is like a landscape of music. This CD paints a picture. Taylor is depicting Afro-American life - about the only way it has successfully been told throughout history - in song. He continues on his third CD (his first for NorthernBlues Records, an up-and-coming new label out of Ottawa). Hop aboard the train in the beginning, close your eyes, let your backbone slip, catch the groove, and enjoy the ride. The multi-layered music is deep and dark. Make no mistake: the Blue-Eyed Monster's lyrics will make you think, feel, hurt and care simultaneously -- just like all good stories do.

Eddie Turner's soaring guitar lends an eerie feel to Taylor's emotive vocals and basic one-chord story-songs, which are propelled by Kenny Passarelli's rhythmic bass. Taylor wrote the whole collection. Songs of oppression, strangers, injustice, hunger, mutilation, prejudice fear, drunkeness, loss of one's mind, killing, dying, suffering, hanging, conflict, and sex -- themes African griots have been using for centuries. These are not comfortable subjects, but that's what the Blues is all about. White African is not small-talk, everyday happy Blues. This stuff is serious business. Some of us are captivated by Otis' hypnotic groove. Some of us don't seen able to let loose of the comfort of musical structures enough to listen a little bit differently, but these songs are well worth the effort.

The stories are what's important here and the sound effects, young Cassie Taylor's heart-wrenching back-up vocals, Turner's haunting guitar work and Passarelli's framework all add to the portraits. This CD is where it all seem to come together for Otis. If you are ready for music capable of grabbing you by your soul and heart put Otis Taylor in your player.
 

"Songs of oppression, strangers, injustice, hunger, mutilation, prejudice fear, drunkeness, loss of one's mind, killing, dying, suffering, hanging, conflict, and sex -- themes African griots have been using for centuries."