Otis Taylor: Recapturing The Banjo

The magnificent Recapturing The Banjo features Otis Taylor, Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb’ Mo’, Cassie Taylor, and Don Vappie. The awe-inspiring all-star album is an ode to the progressive past of banjo playing from its African origins to its Mountain string band and bluegrass evolution through the jug bands of the 1920s and the blues-rock of the 60’s up to the twisted folk-blues of modern artists like Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

The opener “Ran So Hard The Sun Went Down” has shades of Rev. Peyton‘s plucky banjo thump courtesy of Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart, though Otis Taylor’s vocals are a tad impassive for a song that follows a Southern black man on the run from the KKK in the 1930s. Guy Davis plays mandolin and Keb’ Mo’ plays bass while Hart sings on “A Prophet’s Mission”.

Its “Absinthe” that really gives the album a kick, as Otis’ voice reaches into a bluesier depth. Keb’ Mo’ takes lead vocals on the inspirational “Live Your Life”, which features a robust cornet garnish.

Corey Harris and Guy Davis duet on a glorious, jolly rendition of Gus Cannon’s “Walk Right In”. The cover of “Hey Joe” is solid, but doesn’t stray far enough away from the Hendrix version to really stand on its own.

The delightful Guy Davis delves into a traditional clawhammer banjo playing style on “Little Liza Jane”. “Five Hundred Roses” and “Ten Million Slaves” quake with Otis’ bluesy growl and electric banjo as well as his daughter Cassie’s thundering bass.

Otis Taylor Official Site

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  1. Pingback: Cassie Taylor: Out of My Mind | Muruch

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