NO FLUFF-Otis Taylor: My World Is Gone, Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers

Here are a couple releases that cut to the marrow of music. Earthy blues, smoky blues, churchified blues with no swagger, not attitude no gimmicks. Real people with real stories and delivery. No junk pitchers here-it’s all fastballs.

Blues man Otis Taylor has never been one to hold back, and this latest disc, which emphasizes the plight of the native Americans, is no exception. Stories about a lost lifestyle, the assimilation of Indians into American society and daily life on the reservation are mixed in with traditional bluesy themes like booze, broads and bucks. Taylor’s despairing and weary voice is set in various environs that mix variations of guitars, fiddles, horns, organs and drums. Sort of like a South Dakota version of Tom Waits, Taylor gets to the heart of music, which is telling a story, while Ron Miles’s cornet, Todd Edmunds’ bass and tuba, Larry Thompson’s drums and Taylor’s own banjo spins a yarn about an Indian chauffer or a mother’s murder. Stark tales, as if you’re around a campfire .

Consisting of Aubrey Ghent/g-voc, Calvin Cooke-voc, Chuck Campbell/steel g and Derick Campbell-lap steel g, the Slide Brothers are a group of gents that got their chops from the local church, and bring that gospel spirit of faith, hope and love to a collection of tunes from the pews and the streets. Backed by a rotating group of guys that sound just as sanctified, the band grooves through a take of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” that sounds like they mean it, without the  original version’s yeast of pan-religiousity. A humorous “Sunday School Blues” gets you in the mood for a riveting instrumental take of “Wade in the Water,” while Gregg Allman’s “Don’t Keep Me Wondering” kick out the jams on a story of love lost and maybe found between man and woman. A rousing closer of “No Cheap Seats In Heaven” captures the joy of being on the right side of the cross. Pass the plate and get this cooker!

Telarc Records

Dare Records

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