Saturday, April 02, 2011

Take a Boogie Woogie Ride With Gene Taylor

Pianist/vocalist Gene Taylor may be best known for his stint in The Fabulous Thunderbirds, but before that he was an important component of that legendary roots rock band, The Blasters. Prior to that he had a stint with James Harman and according to Wikipedia he is currently living in Belgium. That perhaps might explain why the Spanish El Toro label has just issued his new recording Let Me Ride In Your Automobile backed by the Dutch band, CC Jerome’s Jet Setters with Nick Curran make a couple guest appearances.

The recording opens with some rollicking piano on
Evangeline Stomp with some ripping tenor sax from Martijn Van Toor and rocking guitar riffs with Taylor’s overdubbed organ adding to the full sound. He follows with some terrific Pete Johnson styled boogie woogie piano and a solid vocal on Rockin’ Little Honey,” with crisp rocking guitar added for a tough performance.” Just a Midnight Girl is a mid-tempo number with a rumba groove (like some of Tampa Red’s latter recordings) and a nice brief harp solo followed by “The Golden Rule,” a rocker with Nick Curran’s stinging guitar has a pointed lyric about he with all the gold makes the rules followed by a strong jump blues rendition of the classic hillbilly boogie, Moon Mullican’s Seven Nights To Rock, with a strong guitar solo from Jeroen Van Gasteren before Taylor’s fluid boogie playing. 

Never Took the Time, is a driving performance with a lyric about a faltering relationship with strong solos and ensemble playing, whereas The Blues For Me has a low-key, rustic feel in comparison with his lament about aspects of modern life. The Walkout has a bit of rockabilly flavor an insistent beat and is followed by three covers. First up is Big Walter Price’s Shirley Jean, which is a nice swamp pop performance. It is followed by a lively version of Johnny “Guitar’ Watson’s Motorhead Baby, greatly accelerating the tempo from Watson’s original into a rocking jump blues with plenty of boogie woogie blues. Let Me Ride In Your Automobile, which dates back to at least 1940 and Big Bill Broonzy. Taylor’s performance derives from Lowell Fulson’s recording (and Fulson receives the composer credit, and has a fine vocal that effectively highlights the wit of the double-entendre lyrics. Flying With Whitey is a instrumental that closes this recording on a hot jitter-bugging note.

Taylor’s originals are solid and idiomatic, his vocals are unforced and the Jet Setters know the difference between rock and roll and hard rock. I have enjoyed Taylor’s work when I have seen him play, so I am not surprised his has put out such a strong a strong blues and roots rock album. I bought it from, although it is available from amazon and cdbaby, so should be relatively easy to find.

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