Thursday, November 24, 2011

With Eddie Taylor Jr, Blues Runs In The Family

A second generation bluesman of note is Eddie Taylor, Jr. One of several children of the late Eddie Taylor, best known as Jimmy Reed’s guitarist, but also an unheralded and under appreciated Chicago blues artist on his own whose music never lost its delta roots. Eddie Jr. has a new CD on the Austrian Wolf label, I Got To Make This Money, Baby. On this his brother Tim handles the drums and sister Demetria (who recently released a well received album on Delmark) sings one song while Harmonica Hinds is present with Greg McDaniel on bass and Anthony Palmer on second guitar.

Its a pretty straight Chicago blues album with Taylor performing several songs in homage of his father, other classic Chicago blues numbers and others in this style. On the opening title track, there is an opening quote of Lester Leaps In, before Taylor and the band launch into a Shake Your Moneymaker groove and sings about playing his guitar and playing the blues. This selection has him playing some nice controlled slide in the vein of Elmore James mixed with Homesick James. Hinds wails in support in support on harmonica here. Echoes of his father’s “Bad Boy,” as well as the lazy Jimmy Reed shuffle groove, are heard in his loving Salute to Eddie Taylor. Hinds is particularly outstanding on this track. 

There is a nice mix of songs including his father’s Train Fare Home, John Lee Williamson’s My Little Machine (from Jimmy Rogers rendition), and a slowed down rendition of Tommy McClennan’s Whisky Headed Woman. There are also a few other originals like his salute to the late bass player and vocalist, Goodbye Willie Kent,” where he notes Willie was a blues solider, a blues soldier going home.” Sister Demetria handles Ruth Brown’s big fifties smash, Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean, with the band providing solid support and an arrangement that does not slavishly copy the original. Similarly the interpretation of Rosco Gordon’s Just a Little Bit, makes that number a walking Chicago shuffle.

This isn’t the first record by Eddie Taylor, Jr. I heard. His earlier recordings had me wanting more and I purchased this. This is a solid, traditionally oriented blues recording. He sings from the heart and plays the old school style of Chicago blues guitar that fewer and fewer still play.

Here is a video of Eddie Taylor Jr, performing Jimmy Rogers' "You're the One."

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