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Dudley Taft - Left For Dead

Big Woody Music (BMI)

12 tracks: 52mins 43 secs

www.dudleytaft.com

Dudley Taft, born in the Mid west later moved to Seattle and took with him a love of the blues and some monster axe skills. Seduced somewhat by the delights of punk rock and grunge, Taft spent some time as a front man with Sweet Water, but now he has decided to return to what he sees as his roots: the blues.

One thing is clear, Taft is an excellent guitar player. He cites as his influences BB King, Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top, the last two of those band names clearly implying Jimmy Page and Billy Gibbons; there is much in his playing which reminds one constantly of those artists.

Nevertheless, please do not consider that to be a complaint. The music on this CD is of the highest quality and it is clear that as a consequence of his ventures into punk and grunge, the blues world has been deprived of a significant talent.

So to the music. The opener ĎAinít No Gameí written by Taft (as are seven of the other tracks on this CD) is a loping slow blues with some incendiary axe work. Taft is more than adequately supported by Evan Sheeley on bass, and Scott Vogel on drums. The first of the five covers on the CD is Back Door Man, written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Howling Wolf. Actually, even on the other tracks on this CD Taft has a voice which reminds me of Wolf (in his early recording days) is say nothing of a guitar style (particularly on this track) which demonstrates his debt to Billy Gibbons. But the other covers include. Have You Ever Loved A Woman, a song probably best known from the at least six recordings of it by Clapton, although of course the original was released by Freddie King in 1960, and somewhat surprisingly a version of Charley Pattonís song When Your Way Gets Dark (which comes with some nice slide work from Billy Stapleton) although it is doubtful that Mr. Patton would recognise his own song.

Taftís own songs are strong and with interesting lyrics and I for one certainly look forward to hearing more from him. In the meantime, welcome back to the blues Dudley, but please, please spend a little time trying to find your own voice and your own guitar style..

Review Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).

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