Otis Taylor — Hey Joe Opus Red Meat
♠ A highly acclaimed Denver, Colorado–based blues guitarist and singer–songwriter.
Born: 1948 in Chicago, IL
Location: Denver, Colorado
Album release: March 10, 2015
Record Label: inakustik INAK9136CD
01. Hey Joe (A) 7:36
02. Sunday Morning (A) 6:46
03. Heart Is A Muscle Used To Play The Blues 4:06
04. Red Meat 4:19
05. Peggy Lee 4:18
06. They Wore Blue 3:33
07. Hey Joe (B) 7:38
08. Sunday Morning (B) 1:45
09. Cold At Midnight 4:29
10. Sunday Morning (C) 4:02
℗ 2015 in–akustik GmbH & Co. KG
(2015/in–akustik) 10 tracks.
♠ Otis Taylor's fourteenth album Hey Joe Opus Red Meat offers a meticulously crafted collection of songs and instrumentals. His earlier recordings but it approaches only in the sense that the music again escapes a simplistic categorization. Of course, blues and folk elements essential component, but also refers Otis Taylor psychedelic rock, jazz and Americana with a. The resulting therefrom hybrid he calls himself trance blues.
♠ The focus of Hey Joe Opus Red Meat Taylors are reflections on decisions about the changes to which such decisions in our lives — can lead — and that of our families.
♠ The overarching theme of the designed as a single piece in ten parts new album is the song Hey Joe, heard in two different contrasting versions. More songs, song forms and instrumental parts merge. Are often flavored airy musical fabric and the interlocking guitar structures through prudent interspersed violin and brass passages.
♠ In addition to his band distinguished guests are on Hey Joe Opus Red Meat represented: Guitar powerhouse Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, The Dead and Gov't Mule), acoustic guitarist Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), singer–songwriter and guitarist Langhorne Slim and guitarist Daniel Sproul, who has toured with Eddie Van Halen, Warren Haynes, the Black Crowes and Otis Taylor.
BY PETER BACON on 17 MARCH 2015 •
♠ A Tuesday afternoon is for me a likelier time for feeling blue than a Monday morning, say. So it’s time for a break from jazz and a little of that old blues music — or in the case of Otis Taylor what he calls “trance blues”.
♠ The only non–original, Billy Roberts’ tune, made famous by both Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix comes and goes through this album, acting as one of its themes alongside Taylor’s own Sunday Morning. Another fine title is The Heart Is A Muscle (Used For The Blues), while Red Meat, a lovely easy–rolling acoustic groove piece, completes the opus of the title.
♠ Some of the themes may be conventional blues meat — “A man believes his woman has left him and gone to Mexico” is the essence of Cold At Midnight — but others are less common fish — Peggy Lee is explained thus: “A man named Lee transitions to a woman called Peggy”.
♠ The presence of Anne Harris’s violin sliding in between the electric guitars reminds me a lot of Scarlet Rivera’s role in Bob Dylan’s Desire album, and Taylor also has the added instrumental colour of some–time Bill Frisell band member Ron Miles’ cornet on some tracks, although the dominant sounds are electric guitars, bass and drums.
♠ In the end though, Taylor’s music stands or falls on his richly layered voice and on the slow–build effect of his trance atmospheres. This is music that needs its full hour to do its work, and sure enough the boil of gloom feels well and truly lanced by the time Sunday Morning returns for a third and final time. :: http://thejazzbreakfast.com/
WORDS SIMON REDLEY, SCORE: 8
♠ Critically acclaimed, “Trance blues” artist Otis Taylor’s fourteenth album, “Hey Joe Opus Red Meat” is another very unusual and off the wall crafted collection of songs and instrumentals. Perhaps the only link to his preceding recordings is it too resists easy categorisation. Otis doesn’t do labels. Blues and Folk elements are a key part of this stuff, but Taylor’s cutting edge approach also draws on Psychedelic Rock, Jazz and Americana to create a hybrid that he calls “Trance Blues”. Central to “Hey Joe Opus Red Meat,” are Taylor’s musings on decision making and how these decisions can change all of our lives — and those of our families. Taylor says “Sometimes you win in life; sometimes you lose. You make a decision and learn what happens. We want the outcome to be good but sometimes it’s bad. That’s when the meat eats you!” The track “Heart is a Muscle,” is commentary on teenage pregnancy, “Peggy Lee,” is about a sex–change and “Cold at Midnight,” is a man’s reflection on his falling for a woman who may be unfaithful. Designed to be listened to as a single piece of music in ten parts, the new album has the song Hey Joe as its over–riding theme. Made famous by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but penned in the early sixties by Billy Roberts, performed in two different versions here, both with contrasting instrumentation. “Hey Joe,” is entwined with Taylor’s musical history and a staple of his live performances for eighteen years. Taylor jammed with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in his native Colorado and subsequently recorded shorter versions of the piece on both his first album, "Blue–Eyed Monster," and the celebrated "Recapturing the Banjo," from 2008 (with Alvin Youngblood Hart).
♠ Indicative of his artistic fearlessness, song forms move into instrumental sections entitled “Sunday Morning,” (in three versions) and “They Wore Blue.” Often incorporating spacey textures and interlocking guitars, further spice is added to these pieces via Anne Harris’ violin and Ron Miles’ cornet. Otis is joined by four notable guests, including powerhouse guitarist Warren Haynes (The Allman Brothers, The Dead and Gov’t Mule), acoustic guitarist Bill Nershi and singer/songwriter/guitarist Langhorne Slim. Also featured is guitarist Daniel Sproul who has toured with and been tutored by, Eddie Van Halen, Warren Haynes, The Black Crowes and Otis Taylor himself. The sound balances music of the modern world with echoes of ancient Africa, Appalachia and more. As I have said in previous reviews of Otis’ unique output; his music is an acquired taste. It is not something you may “get” instantly. But take your time, get to know the man and his music, soak it all up on all the different levels and depths, sooner or later you may well be adding his recordings to your “must have” and “essentials” list. I suppose if we were looking for the right category to file his stuff under, “World Music” is a big part of the story. “The world according to Otis Taylor,” that is! :: http://www.bluesandsoul.com/
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