While Ebo Taylor's name is not familiar to most as one of the pioneers of Afro-beat, it should be. Taylor, the Ghanian composer, arranger, guitarist, and vocalist has been making music since the 1950s, and studied with Fela Kuti at the Eric Guilder School of Music in London from 1962 until 1965. Rather than go the solo path, he opted instead for Accra's studio scene, where he appeared on dozens of singles and albums . He cut a self-titled solo album in 1977 on the local label Essiebons. Tracks from it, another album entitled Conflict, and various singles have appeared in recent years on various European compilations. The Strut imprint, not content to let Taylor's name languish in obscurity, put its money where its mouth was, and paired him with the Afrobeat Academy of Berlin, which includes guitarist J. Whitefield of the Whitefield Brothers and various guests from Europe and Africa.
When people use the term "singer/songwriter" (often modified by the word "sensitive") in praise or in criticism, they're thinking of James Taylor. In the early '70s, when he appeared with his introspective songs, acoustic guitar, and calm, understated singing style, he mirrored a generation's emotional exhaustion after tumultuous times. Just as Bing Crosby's reassuring voice brought the country out of the Depression and through World War II, Taylor's eased the transition from '60s activism and its attendant frustrations into the less political, more inward-looking '70s.
”Live at the Troubadour” is a live album by Carole King and James Taylor released in 2010. The album was recorded at The Troubadour in West Hollywood in November 2007 to celebrate the venue's 50th anniversary. It was also the first venue that King and Taylor played together in November 1970. The album debuted at #4 in the United States with first-week sales of 78,000. This gives James Taylor a top 10 album in every decade since the 1970s and Carole King her first top 10 album since 1976.
It is a well rehearsed story that some of the major innovators of modern jazz were, in the early 1960s, struggling to get recording contracts or gigs in America. This led players like Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor to try their hand across the Atlantic. These players found a particularly warm reception in Scandinavia, and live recordings from any of these in Sweden or Denmark are well worth looking out for. This nicely packaged reissue captures Taylor’s performances at Copenhagen’s Café Montmartre, with three bonus tracks recorded at Stockholm’s Golden Circle. For fans of Taylor, the material (with the exception of the bonus tracks which have not been previously released) will be familiar from the Live! At the Café Montmartre and Nefertiti: the beautiful one has come. This set comes with a booklet with the sleeve notes from these previous releases, featuring Erik Weidermann’s insightful comments on the performances and the developments of Taylor’s playing.
Another excellent album from the Chicago Queen of the Blues, this one from 1981 midway in her recording career which spanned from 1968 (aged 40) through to 2007, not far short of her eightieth birthday and her death. Koko Taylor is a remarkable blues singer with a very powerful voice edged with glass paper. She can "blow up a storm" or sing with deep emotion, as in her rendition of "I'd Rather Go Blind" (made popular in the UK by Rod Stewart). There are no Willie Dixon songs, nor covers of Muddy Waters or "the Wolf" on this album but that doesn't detract. This is an album of Chicago Blues performed by one of its greatest exponents along with her backing band which has supported her career for many years. They are a great team.
Although Chip Taylor is most famous for writing two especially iconic songs, that is only part of the story, as The New York Times wrote: “If you only know him as the as the guy who wrote ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Angel of the Morning’ — you don’t know him! Chip Taylor is making some of the most distinctive acoustic music around today.” With the release of Fix Your Words, he continues to create timeless, thought-provoking music.
:When I sit down to write an album I will usually come up with a technical and compositional concept to help focus my writing. Whether it is a restricted palette of instruments or a specific way of approaching the writing, this practice has helped me explore different processes and helps keep the album focused."