Dulcie Taylor- Will Porter and More
We listen to a great multiple artist collaboration, a reissue from Will Porter, an EP of reimagined tracks from Dulcie Taylor and a rerelease from Steve Strongman.
Dulcie Taylor - Rediscovered
This six song effort from Taylor finds her reimagining cuts from throughout the past 20-years or so, and begins with a stellar take on fan favorite "Woman I Used to Be," a slow cut with ominous sounding guitar about a woman who is not happy with what she has become. Taylor makes the confusion and yearning palpable on the cut and she is similarly evocative on "Watch Me Hurt," a tale of discovering that a love interest has been purposely toying with emotions. It's the opposite story on "First Kiss," a subdued look back at a great relationship that ended seemingly without reason. The arrangements on the half dozen songs included here are not at all boisterous; they're all mellow in order to allow Taylor's amazing voice to shine. "Better Part of Me," the title track from her album of the same name, is another song about searching for that thing that's keeping happiness at bay; fans can rest assured though that they need look no further than this EP to find some of the better parts of Taylor's work.
Will Porter - Tick Tock Tick
This album was first released in 2016 to great acclaim but it suffered from poor distribution; now the Gramofono Sound label has come to the rescue with this reissue. The album's title track was written by Dr. John and the Night Tripper sings on the track, which also features the Womack Brothers. Porter wrote about half of the songs here and his rich baritone voice shines on self-penned tracks like the slow and reflective "Why Do We Get Blue?," the smoky soul of "I Can Do Bad By Myself" (with Leo Nocentelli of famed New Orleans band the Meters) and the buoyant, horn-enhanced R&B of "Treadin' Water." Other guests here include Bettye Lavette who duets with Porter on Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" and bass man Jimmy Haslip (the Yellowjackets, extensive session work) who appears on two cuts. It's easy to hear why this effort is so cherished, and hopefully it will get the exposure it deserves this time around.
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers - Vol. 2
The artists that got together to cut this record certainly qualify as a "super group;" the band lineup includes Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers), Jim Dickinson and Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. They entered the studio with only a general idea of what they wanted to do but they came out with a gem that features a mix of covers and originals by various band members. The set opens with Musselwhite honking the blues harp on his own "Blues for Yesterday;" later in the set the guys perform another Musselwhite tune, "Black Water." Doug Sahm's classic "She's About a Mover" sounds great sung by Hart and Mathus gets the spotlight on two of his own tracks "Searchlight (Soon in the Morning)" and "Greens and Ham." A bit of a surprising choice of covers is a take on the Charles Mingus cut "Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me;" more expected would be the take on Jimmy Reed's "Can't Stand to See You Go" and the Junior Wells chestnut "Messin' with the Kid." Lots of fun here listening to these cats stretch out.
Steve Strongman - Tired of Talkin'
Here's a rerelease of Strongman's 2019 record that hopes to benefit from better distribution, this time on Stony Plain Records and distributed through MVD Audio. With the exception of a well-done set closing take on Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" everything here was written by Strongman or co-written with album producer Dave King. The effort begins with the title cut, a rollicking cut about sealing the deal with the evening's object of desire at the nightclub; the hour is getting late and the guy Strongman portrays in the song is ready to move the action from the dancefloor to the bedroom. "Paid My Dues" is a swinging blues where Strongman, guitarist, Dobro player and singer throughout, flavors the cut with some classic blues harp riffs. "Still Crazy about You" seems to be inspired by Randy Newman, frenetic harmonica pushes the speedy shuffle "Can't Have it All" along and the tender "That Kind of Fight" is the album's quiet moment. Clearly a very talented songwriter, Tired of Talkin'
is likely to widen Strongman's fan base considerably.