Friday, March 7, 2008

REVIEW: "Recapturing The Banjo" Otis Taylor

Can I tell you something? I have to admit that for a long time in my younger days I believed comedian Steve Martin's adage "you can't play the blues on the banjo." Steve, I'm sorry, but you were wrong. Exhibit A is this new cd by Otis Taylor "Recapturing the Banjo" (2008, Telarc) Please don't pass this up because you can't get your head around blues and banjo at the same time. It's loaded with good music, good BLUES music, good banjo music and guitar and mandolin and harmonica and everything else--just good music. Otis brings in Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Keb Mo, Don Vappie and Alvin Youngblood-Hart and they all let it rip. It's a cornocopia of joys--if you like Keb Mo he's in here. If you like Alvin Youngblood-Hart he's in here. If you like Guy Davis, he's in here. Everybody takes a turn at lead, everybody plays banjo, everybody plays guitar. There are places on this cd where you'll hear 4 banjos playing great at the same time--and if you can stay seated you ought to check your pulse. You might be dead! Included here is a great version of Gus Cannon's "Walk Right In" and what I think is THE best version of "Hey Joe" since Hendrix or Roy Buchanan strapped on a guitar.

I'm feeling a bit hesitant--I've written 4 or 5 rave reviews in a row. I can hear one of you saying "But Bruce, help me out here. What should I get if I can only get ONE?" Well, there are stacks of cds in the world and I know everybody has a limited amount of disposable cash, but hey, skip a meal and buy something, ok? You won't be disappointed with anything I review.

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