Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"The Curse of Stevie Ray Vaughan" Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band

Artist: Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band
Title: Rendevouz with the Blues

England's Hammer Studios shoulda shot a movie called,'The Blue Curse of Stevie Ray Vaughan.' Guaranteed to shorten any promising career, the "curse" is used by the clueless to infer speed and rocking tunes: the 'curse' in invoked by those in the know to infer drool clone-like artistry.

When listening to the current recordings of Chicago's Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band, including his latest, Rendevous with the Blues' on Evidence Records, Taylor no longer needs to fear an invocation of 'the curse.' Taylor has clearly risen above the ebbing rip-tide of Vaughan's legacy and introduced a unique blend of Chicago blues and George Benson's jazz to the lexicon of modern music. Daring to go where no one has gone before, with rich full tone and a texture all his own, Taylor is embarking on career where few have the chops to follow.

According to Rolling Stone Magazine's website, Melvin Taylor is "One of the most exhilarating blues guitarists to emerge in the past decade, Melvin Taylor is more a blues innovator than a purist, mixing jazz chords and rock influences into his tapestry of electric blues. Born in Mississippi in '59, Taylor's family moved to Chicago when he was three. By age 12, the young guitarist had started jamming with his uncle and friends. In the early '80s, Taylor was asked to join the Legendary Blues Band (following the departure of Muddy Waters). In early 1995, Taylor signed with Evidence Records and released his first album in 11 years, simply titled Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band. The record began to turn heads and soon became the best-selling title in Evidence's catalog. Dirty Pool followed in 1997, further increasing his reputation as one of the best blues guitarist on the scene."

Seeing Taylor perform his defying over-the-necks lighting quick melodic runs live leads the listener to question why the artist has not quickly risen to the upper echelon of the club circuit. Being signed to an independent label, rarely playing clubs outside the Chicago area, and a history of substance abuse in the past have plagued his career. Taylor also asserts that racism has put hurdles in his path. With the past fading away, on his latest album, Rendezvous With the Blues, Taylor shows his skills as an truly gifted guitar player and song interpreter. Performing songs by John Lee Hooker, Herbie Mann, Gregg Allman, Sonny Boy Williamson, Prince, and ZZ Top, Taylor makes the songs his own by adding his jazzy touch and rock-hard riffs. Of special note is the guest appearance by Mato Naiji of Indigenous on two tracks including, 'A Tribute to John Lee Hooker.' The cultural clash between Naiji's Austin-bend playing and Taylor's Benson-bend highlights just how far Taylor's sound and playing is from 'the curse.'

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