Otis Taylor's Contraband

Otis Taylor's Contraband

Veteran bluesman Otis Taylor continues to explore subtle variations on the blues and other roots music with the epic reach of 2012's Otis Taylor's Contraband. His unorthodox backing band (featuring cornetist Ron Miles and djembe player Fara Toino alongside the more routine positions of drums, keyboards, and guitar) ensures that tunes like "The Devil's Gonna Lie," "Yell Your Name,” and "Never Been to Africa" emit a spooky, otherworldly charm. The obsessive, acoustic ramble of "Look to the Side" creates a sense of unease that's highlighted by Taylor’s muted but effective vocal. "Contraband Blues" creates a tortured electric blues that explores the awful fate of slaves during the Civil War. "Blind Piano Teacher" further highlights Taylor's impeccable storytelling abilities, depicting love between people seemingly too far apart in heritage and age. The blues is never far from Taylor's mind, and the scorched electric workout of "I Can See You're Lying" caps an album of strong, uncompromising conviction.

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