Album Review: Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs by Otis Taylor
Very Good, Based on 3 Critics
Paste Magazine - 75 Based on rating 7.5/10
Listen to Otis Taylor on MySpace. Modern bluesman sidesteps nostalgia Otis Taylor’s challenge as a bluesman in 2009 is avoiding the treacherous pitfalls of archaism, a feat he usually performs gracefully. His answer on Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs is the same it’s always been: layers.
Otis Taylor doesn't suffer fools lightly, and his songs are full of defiant reclamations of history and tender vignettes of people struggling to survive in hostile cultural territory. Now he wants to talk about love. Taylor began his career playing bluegrass banjo, but switched to guitar (and the blues) in the late '60s, working in various bands and as a solo artist before walking away from it all 1978.
Otis Taylor’s earlier recordings derived their force from the rolling strength of a single performer. Not that Taylor couldn’t write lyrics or melodies, but he stood out by driving home his style of the blues, and simply impressing the power of his songs onto a listener. The last few years, he’s been expanding his sound, with mixed results. He hasn’t stumbled, but he hasn’t nailed it yet either.