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July 13, 2024

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Otis Taylor
Truth Is Not Fiction (Telarc)

By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV

I have walked dark streets, the stark eyes of night staring back, eyes that have seen things I have only witnessed in nightmares. This is the thick heaviness of Otis Taylor. Like men buried under a mountain of coal, where the simplest things like breathing, have their own complexity. The simple sparseness of songs like "Rosa, Rosa" and "Kitchen Towel" have a different kind of complex structure that rises from the contrast between what Taylor includes and what he leaves out. The imagery created is so vibrant you can almost touch it and so haunting it sends chills running up your spine. The way he works his deep voice, pulling emotions raw from the pile of life experience, effectively capturing the weight of subject matter as heavy as suicide, murder, and the harsh prices of freedom. Otis Taylor not only makes music, he creates an atmosphere that is living and breathing in you mind where his songs come to life. There is always a question of where styles of music like blues will evolve. Taylor gives a positive answer in the continued progression of the blues, with respect to the traditional in instrumentation and strong story elements in the lyrical structure, while adding the unique studio effects and Hindrix style guitar on "Pat Times," that pushes the music off toward new vital horizons. Otis Taylor is quickly becoming a new blues favorite of mine and his new CD Truth Is Not Fiction is an outstanding product of true art from an awesome craftsman that is sure to gain a large following and much deserved coverage. Rating: A
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