Tag Archives: otis taylor

The Weekend’s Highs and Lows

The Highs: – Otis Taylor’s version of “Hey Joe” during the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival Saturday. Don Vappie played banjo with Taylor throughout the set and played a fevered, rhythmic solo when his turn came. Alvin Youngblood Hart followed him on guitar with a solo that was so thoroughly inside the blues idiom [...]

Americana and Canadiana

Some recent Americana releases and one Canadiana album: Like the equally understated and private Tony Joe White, Otis Taylor‘s quiet authority draws listeners in. He keeps his blues tight, using as few words and chords as possible, and creates a musical whirlpool without ever seeming to try. He’s slightly more expansive on Clovis People Vol. [...]

Otis Taylor, Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs (Telarc)

Typically, I’m suspicious of the humorless and literal. More often that not, the combination leads to well-meant but obvious art. In the liner notes to Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, hypno-bluesman Otis Taylor explains that “Lost My Guitar” is about losing a guitar, and that “Mama’s Best Friend” is about mama leaving dad for another [...]

He Means it, Man

  Typically, I’m suspicious of the humorless and literal. More often that not, the combination leads to well-meant but obvious art. In the liner notes to Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs, hypno-bluesman Otis Taylor explains that “Lost My Guitar” is about losing a guitar, and that “Mama’s Best Friend” is about mama leaving dad for another [...]

Don Vappie: Give Me Back My Banjo

In 2007, the Folk Alliance hosted a concert by three banjo players at Memphis’s Marriott Hotel. The three men sat in a semi-circle of chairs, the drum-like bodies of the banjos in their laps, the thin sticks of their fretboards pointing to two o’clock. It was a historic occasion, for all three men were African-American, [...]

Taking Back the Banjo

If there was a moment where the banjo was branded with a stereotype, it would have to be when Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight went on a canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River in the film Deliverance. Years later, the banjo cannot entirely shake the associations, so it’s thought of first and foremost as a [...]