Melvin Taylor - Dirty Pool
Review Published Feb 23, 1998
Artist Spotlite on Melvin Taylor
Sound Clips, Discography
1 Too Sorry
2 Dirty Pool
3 I Ain't Superstitious
4 Kansas City
5 Floodin' In California
6 Born Under a Bad Sign
7 Right Place, Wrong Time
8 Telephone Song
9 Merry Christmas Baby
EB Rating - 5.0
Melvin Taylor has serveral CDs out, but Dirty Pool was my first
exposure to this incredible guitarist. I had some idea what to expect, because I had heard one
of the songs on Sunday Blues, but I was still blown away by this CD.
It's easy to imagine what it must be like for the first-time listener. Cueing up the first
cut, Too Sorry, you are first presented with a catchy beat,
and light, crisp, chord riffs. Next you hear Melvin's smooth, somewhat reserve vocals, and soon settle
into a positive frame of mind about the direction of the song. Then it happens. Mr. Taylor steps on the
switch, and comes out blazing. It is a most enjoyable turn of events.
Melvin Taylor's technical prowess is quite amazing. He can play with
amazing speed and clarity. He makes extensive use of the wah-wah pedal, and also incorporates other
Hendrix style effects, to create some very powerful solos. This is in direct contrast to the lighter
soul/jazz fusion (but not simple) chord riffs he plays while singing. This contrast persists throughout
the CD, and is one of my favorite aspects of Melvin's playing. The reserve nature of his vocals adds
even more emphasis to this conflict.
There are two
Stevie Ray Vaughan songs on the CD, the title cut,
Dirty Pool, and Telephone Song.
Melvin does them in his own style, and does them well. There are a couple of blues standards,
Albert King's Floodin' In California,
and Born Under a Bad Sign, in which Melvin pulls out all the stops.
Soul is loosely represented on the CD too, with Right Place, Wrong Time,
and I Ain't Superstitious.
Then, just to insure good variety, he works over Kansas City.
I doubt you have ever heard the song done quite this way before. Another unusual selection is
Merry Christmas Baby, which is one of my favorites on the CD.
This CD is not for the weak of heart. If you don't like too much guitar, there's a good chance
you may not like this CD. I like LOTS of guitar with my blues, and there were a couple instances where even
I felt he could've said "more with less", as the old blues saying goes. If, on the other hand, you can
take heavy doses of guitar, this is a "must have" for your collection.