Truth Is Not Fiction
First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2003, Volume 10, #8
Written by John Metzger
Since the release of White African, critics have been fawning all over Otis Taylor. For certain, the album was a solid effort, full of dark songs about the inequities of life, and his emotive vocals conjured spirits that haunted the atmospheric echoes of his stark, minimalist accompaniments. The problem, however, was that the bleakness of both the words and the music made the album inaccessible to all but the most diehard of blues fans.
Subsequently, Taylor has been shifting ever so slowly from blues to rock terrain, and this transition culminates ó at least for now ó with the release of Truth Is Not Fiction, his fifth outing. Make no mistake, Taylor hasnít abandoned his penchant for crafting topical songs full of sorrow and pain ó not by a long shot. Kitchen Towel follows a Native American family as they choose to die rather than return to a reservation after failing as farmers, while Past Times eavesdrops on a man in his final hours. Likewise, Taylorís songs are still firmly rooted in the droning Mississippi Delta sounds of John Lee Hooker and Big Joe Williams. However, thereís also a bit of Jimi Hendrix that seems to be bubbling to the surface on Truth Is Not Fiction, reverberating through Taylorís powerfully soulful vocals as well the screaming, screeching electric lead of guitarist Eddie Turner. This new dimension isnít likely to catapult Taylor into the mainstream, but because of it, more folks undoubtedly will find Truth Is Not Fiction to be a more compelling listen. Ĺ
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box