Rendezvous With the Blues

Rendezvous With the Blues

by Melvin Taylor


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Rendezvous With the Blues marks another step in the normalization of Melvin Taylor. With Lucky Peterson on keyboards, Taylor is much more the featured lead guitarist in a straight-band context that too often finds him fighting for room to move in the full arrangements. He takes a jazzy lead on the opening "Coming Home Baby," but that runs counter to the measured, mid-tempo groove that dominates the first three tracks and seems like a move to court the contemporary rock-blues audience. So does some of the material -- no originals, with ZZ Top, Stephen Stills, and Carlos Santana's tribute to John Lee Hooker in the songwriter credits on one side and Charles Singleton and Prince for contemporary black funk
ock relevance on the other. Horns kick in to punctuate the slinky, clavinet-anchored funk on "I'm the Man Down There," but Taylor's solo gets cluttered up by a duel with Peterson (on guitar here). Taylor is better-served when he escapes the rock beat straitjacket on "Tribute to John Lee Hooker" -- the Latin-tinged rhythms give his guitar more freedom to float and sting. ZZ Top's slow "Blue Jean Blues" definitely picks things up with blitz distortion solos and nice dynamics, but "Help Me" leaves behind Sonny Boy Williamson's haunted train groove for a plodding mid-tempo blues that winds up anonymous. Eric Gales' instrumental "Eclipse" goes so far down the Wes Montgomery mellow jazz blues instrumental route it could almost be a quiet storm/fuzak format candidate. And Prince's "Five Women" sounds like disjointed parts with a group that never really coheres, while Stills' "Black Queen" is transformed into a rhythmic stomp that goes nowhere. Almost all the songs have moments, but Rendezvous With the Blues is spotty, mostly because Taylor seems to be struggling to force his way through busy arrangements and a less-than-inspired choice of songs. The disc wants to have it both ways -- to distinguish Melvin Taylor as a more versatile and contemporary bluesman, but then saddles him with a regulation-issue sound that reins in the freewheeling guitar solos that are his greatest asset.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/25/2002
Label: Evidence
UPC: 0730182612325
catalogNumber: 26123
Rank: 33695

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Melvin Taylor   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Lucky Peterson   Guitar,Keyboards,Hammond Organ
Brian Brignac   Percussion,Conga
Marshall Cyr   Trumpet
Dave Smith   Bass
Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band   Track Performer
Mato Nanji   Guitar
Steve Potts   Percussion,Conga,Drums

Technical Credits

Tony Daigle   Engineer
Jerry Gordon   Executive Producer
Steve Jensen   Art Direction
John Snyder   Producer
Dave Rubin   Liner Notes
Dave Smith   Arranger
Kevin Houston   Engineer

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