Bluesman Otis Taylor weaves spell on ‘Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat’

Otis Taylor Edinburgh Jazz And Blues Festival‘Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat’
Otis Taylor (Trance Blues Festival)
3.5 stars out of 5

I’ve never been able to fully embrace the self-professed “trance blues” of veteran songwriter/bandleader Otis Taylor. While 14th album “Hey Joe Opus/Red Meat” isn’t enough to bring me around completely, I did find myself enjoying the slab more than Taylor’s previous offerings.

Otis Taylor CD“(The album is) about how decisions and the actions that result can change our lives, the lives of our families and the lives of people we don’t even know,” Taylor notes. “Sometimes you win in life; sometimes you lose. You want the outcome of your decisions to be good, but sometimes it’s bad. And that’s when you don’t eat the meat. The meat eats you.”

The songs on the album comprise a 10-part suite and feature a host of first-rate guest musicians. The classic “Hey Joe” is featured twice — first with Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes and backup vocals from Langhorne Slim — and a trio of “Sunday Morning” instrumentals tie everything together. Additional standouts include “Peggy Lee,” featuring String Cheese Incident axe man Bill Nershi, “Red Meat” and “Cold at Midnight.” This one merits your attention — especially if you dig guitar blues. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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