Taylor Scott Band – The Hang
This music is held together quite well with a distinctive variety of roots, folk, rock & lots of juicy soul grooves. Taylor Scott’s vocals don’t assimilate entirely into a fleshed-out Otis Redding or Percy Sledge medium, but he does cook on a low flame of throwback grooves.
The band’s arrangements are tight, the bass bellows & punctuated with horns. The song “Throwback Grooves” is wonderful. It isn’t Lionel Ritchie soul or R&B but a 60s deep dive that stirs with sensitive soul mischief & some reggae touches. Scott’s voice has the upbeat enthusiasm of Jimmy Soul (“If You Wanna Be Happy”) with its pop quality. Rich, fully realized & a pinch of Terence Trent-Darby, Marc Anthony Thompson (“Lullaby Drive”) & Angelo Bond.
A little rockier is “Dance All Night” where Scott’s vocal pushes the range with the support of the low rumble of bass. 10-cuts produced by Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), the 39-minute The Hang (Drops Aug 12–Shade Tree) is the 3rd CD by this unit. Scott a 4-year member of Otis Taylor’s band is distinctive with his roots-rock explorations, soul & troubadour-style Americana. There’s nothing new showcased but what the music provides are the possibilities that weren’t explored in the 70s. A retro feel but not a retro style. It’s done in the tradition of the past dressed up in today’s fashions.
“Bleeding Out,” burns bluesy the way the horn-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band had & as the Electric Flag & Elvin Bishop once powered. The Hammond organ flourishes are all zestful & vibrant but have a mainstream glow of Three Dog Night at their grittiest (sample their cover of The Band’s “Chest Fever”).
There are shades of Shuggie Otis as Scott (guitar/vocals) infuses his songs & lays down entertainment value (“Shade Tree American Dream”). There are some nostalgic melodies in their execution. Nothing more.
“Talk To Me,” is soaked in an old fashion pop-soul sauce, a little Marvin Gaye with borderline disco. But the lead guitar is well played in a vintage Chic manner. The song itself has good a dance groove but I’m not getting my white bell bottoms out of storage yet.
Players – Jon Wirtz (keyboards/bgv), Patrick McDevitt (bass), Brian Claxton, Larry Thompson (drums), Eric Benny Bloom (trumpet), Jesse Brooke (percussion) & Loren Dorland (bgv).
There’s a contagious rocker “Never Aim To Please” with driving rhythmic vocals & backup vocals that smoke without burning up the house. Nothing’s sugar-coated — it’s all played with skill & spirit. My fav is “Really Something” — original, vibrant & intense. Scott sings with muscle with a seductive punch. Scott closes with a straight-rocker on the title tune “The Hang.” Creedence Clearwater Revival ghosts hover over the charts. Fun stuff.
Photo courtesy of Taylor Scott’s website. CD @ https://www.taylorscottmusic.com/
Check out our premiere of Taylor Scott Band’s song “Leaning Tree,” here: Song Premiere: Taylor Scott “Leaning Tree”