Below the Fold
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8
Written by John Metzger
Not surprisingly, Otis Taylor doesnít shy away from traversing the rough-and-tumble terrain of life on his latest effort Below the Fold. Much like his previous outings, he delves into the injustices of the world, setting to music his heartbreaking tales of sexual, familial, and political betrayal. On Your Children Sleep Good Tonight, he resurrects the spirits of those who were shot by the Colorado National Guard during the Ludlow Massacre; on Hookers in the Street, a man mourns the death of the wife he mistreated; and on Mamaís Got a Friend a young child grapples with the separation of his parents as well as the arrival of his motherís new female friend. In each case, the ghosts of those who departed haunt the songs from within, though itís here that Taylor also manages to turn his dark and dreary stories into pure gold. The agitated bluegrass instrumentation that drives Feel Like Lightning, the aqueous guitar that spins throughout Working for the Pullman Company, the pensively circular rhythms that fuel Boy Plays Mandolin, and the mournful fiddle that drifts over Government Lied all serve to frame his mordant lyrics and further accent the moody textures of his material. Yet, despite the heaviness of the affair, itís impossible not to be drawn into the fray simply because the emotional urgency of Taylorís delivery is too compelling to resist. Although he deservingly has been hailed by critics as one of the most extraordinary new forces to emerge from the blues scene in recent years, Below the Fold is his first true masterpiece. Not only does it stand as his finest work to date, but it also ought to extend his reach to a far wider audience.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box