JD Taylor – The Coldwater Sessions
Harp player JD Taylor picked up a harp at thirteen back home in Tennessee and went on to lead the band Little Boys Blue for over 25 years. With 5 albums under his belt, he has gone solo and remains with Vizztone. This album showcases him with some all star associates including singers from Southern Avenue and The Reverend Charles Hodges on B3 organ from Hi Records. This is a blues and soul fest for the listener’s pleasure.
Taylor wrote all the songs but one. He sings and plays harp. The guitar work is split in various pairs with John Hay, Landon Stone, John Holiday, Joe Restivo and Zack Lees. Matthew Wilson is on bass and Danny Banks is on drums. Hodges is on B3 and backing vocalists are Tierini Jackson and Tikyra KhamiirJackson. Mikey Junior plays harp and sings on Anastasia . The horn section is provided by Marc Franklin on trumpet and mellophone and Art Edmaiston on the saxes. This was recorded at Zebra Ranch Studios in Coldwater, MS, along with some work in Memphis.
“Got Me Where You Want Me” opens the CD. Taylor blows some mean harp and sings with forceful passion and the ladies back him nicely. Up next is “Ooh Wee” which reminds me a little of Otis Rush and his “Ooh Wee Baby.” A nice pair of back to back guitar solos gives this a cool, retro feel, too. Taylor later gives us a nice solo on harp for good measure, too. “Nothing Left To Say” is the following cut and JD takes us down soul street on this slow and mellow number. He lays out some dreamy lyrics and the organ supports the feeling as do the backing vocals. The first guitar solo is vibrant and cool and the latter one reprises the feeling and takes us all the way home. The horns do a fine job here, too. “Cocomo” is up after that, a bouncy little number that shimmies and shuffles in a sweet way. Mid song we get another restrained guitar solo and some harp punctuates things later on. “At First Glance” is the following cut; it’s got a churchy organ vibe and mellow horn arrangement that leads into Taylor’s impassioned vocals. Taylor rings us home with some slick harp. “By All Means” bounces back with a mid tempo rocking blues. Taylor sings and the guitar responds with it’s own prolonged solo. After another verse and chorus Taylor gives us another solo on his harp and then finishes us with some more cool singing.
The band funks it up in “It Ain’t Good.” The guitar, organ and horns lay out a good groove and carry the song along as JD and the women deliver another fine performance. We get another well done guitar solo here, too. The harp opens up the jumping cut “Hanging On” and Taylor jumps and jives fronting the band. Another guitar solo and then a later the harp mixes it up for the listener. “Honey Honey Baby” is the next song as Taylor asks his honey what’s on her mind. He squeaks out a neat harp solo and backing vocals are again in fine support. The guitar solos are thoughtful and back to back as earlier, a nice touch. “Anastasia” features Mikey Junior and is the only non-Taylor cut; no credit is listed for writing the song. Mikey sings and plays with grit and the guitar laments along with him. Harp leads the charge for the last third or so of the song as the angst filled song concludes. The concluding track is a jumping instrumental called “The Coldwater Swing” The guitar is slick, the organ is effusive and things rock and jump along nicely. It sounds like Taylor gives us some low harp tones and the pair of guitar solos are great. Taylor then lays out his last solo on the harp before switching back to the chromatic and he and the organ and band takes us to the album’s finish.
The CD travels some familiar sonic paths but Taylor makes the songs fresh and slick. I thoroughly enjoyed the CD and fans of soul blues, jump blues and a little R&B will also get a boost from this record. It is well worth many a spin!