Blues Visionary Otis Taylor




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Laurence Washington

Boulder, Colo. blues guitarist Otis Taylor's brand of bone-hard blues has been heralded by national music critics as raw, honesty gritty, hypnotic, harrowing and haunting.

Not bad for a Chicago kid who moved to the Mile-High city in the '50s and in the 1960s bummed his first blues lesson with a second-hand ukulele at the eclectic Denver Folklore Center.

Since his come back in 1996, (Taylor had retired from live performances in 1977) the Colorado blues master has cut four CDs: "Blue Eyed Monster," "When Negroes Walked The Earth," "White African" and his latest "Respect The Dead," to the delight of critics and blues festival fans from the Rocky Mountains, to the famed Martha's Vineyard in New England, to the jamin' San Francisco Blues Fest.

Taylor garnered the 2002 W.C. Handy Blues Award for Best New Artist of The Year with his "White African" CD and has several songs featured in the Starz movie "The Badge" starring Billy Bob Thornton.

Now signed with Shoelace Records, Taylor penned his first contract in 1969 with London's Blue Horizon Records. However, the Brits and Taylor's brash blues wasn't a good fit. So he returned to Colorado in the early '70s and played with several bands before dropping out of sight for two decades.

It wasn't until Taylor was jammin' with future band members Eddie Turner and Kenny Pasarelli in the basement of a Boulder bar that he says the rhythm of the three started to gel, and that he felt the time was right to play publicly again. Enter the Otis Taylor band and blues extraordinaire.



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