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Melvin Taylor – Sweet Taste Of Guitar

Self Release 2012

10 tracks – 40.18 minutes

This album came as a real surprise. I saw Melvin many years ago at the now defunct San Francisco Blues Festival and subsequently bought a couple of his CDs. Those CDs struck me as OK but lacking in original material, but I retained fond memories of his live performance. I know that he has played regularly in Chicago for years and I was expecting some Chicago blues with a touch of rock. However, this CD (his first for some years) is not that at all.

First of all this CD is entirely Melvin who plays all the instruments; second it is all instrumental; and third we are in jazz rock territory with barely any blues in sight. Opening track “Back In Action” sets the tone with a pleasant but repetitive riff played over some routine backing. It sounds a little like Al Di Meola in the mid-70s but with less going on musically. Several tracks follow a similar pattern. “Spanish Flavor” sounds like it should offer something different but is very similar except that the guitar refrain is played on a Spanish acoustic rather than an electric guitar.

Three songs contain the word blues in the title. “Remembering The Blues” has a pleasant guitar refrain but the background wah-wah effect did nothing for me. The immediate next track is “So Long Blues” but this one seemed to differ very little from earlier material. “That’s My Blues” gets the closest to what I would call blues and is a decent track. The final track is entitled “Smooth Situation” which sums up the album nicely. This CD will get some play on smooth jazz stations. Throughout the album Melvin Taylor demonstrates that he is a clean picker of notes and can play in a blues and jazz style. I would like to see Melvin return to real blues; perhaps that will be his next project, having got this one out of his head..

Reviewer John Mitchell is a Blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and recently enjoyed the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

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