Otis Taylor, Recpaturing The Banjo

Label: Newnote
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The Independent Culture

The title refers to the way that the banjo, originally anAfrican instrument, has become associated mostly with country music – a hijacking of cultural heritage that bluesman Otis Taylor seeks to redress here.

And given that he first learnt to play banjo whilst unicycling to school, he’s the right man for the job.

He’s brought along a posse of fellow blues banjoists to help him, including Keb’ Mo and Guy Davis, each demonstrating a different style.

Electric guitars make their presence felt occasionally, cutting into a desolate banjo rendition of “Hey Joe”, and weaving a Tinariwen-style trance-blues skein on “Five Hundred”; but the most effective track remains the opener “Ran So HardThe Sun Went Down”, an account of lynch-mob terror delivered in Taylor's haunting monotone: “Looked out the window, what did I see?/Tar and feather comin’ after me”.

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