Recapturing The Banjo
 : Recapturing The Banjo

by: Otis Taylor

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Binding: Audio CD
EAN: 0089408366727
Item Dimensions: 3957122512
Label: Telarc
Languages: EnglishPublishedEnglishOriginal LanguageEnglishUnknown
Manufacturer: Telarc
Model: 3867288
MPN: 83667
Number Of Discs: 1
Number Of Items: 1
Publication Date: February 05, 2008
Publisher: Telarc
Release Date: February 05, 2008
Studio: Telarc

Disc 1:
  1. Ran So Hard the Sun Went Down, written by Otis Taylor
  2. Prophet's Mission, written by Alvin Youngblood Hart
  3. Absinthe, written by Otis Taylor
  4. Live Your Life, written by Otis Taylor
  5. Walk Right In, written by Gus Cannon
  6. Bow-Legged Charlie, written by Otis Taylor
  7. Hey Joe, written by Billy Roberts
  8. Little Liza Jane, traditional
  9. Five Hundred Roses, written by Otis Taylor
  10. Les Ognons, traditional
  11. Deep Blue Sea, traditional
  12. Simple Mind, written by Otis Taylor
  13. Ten Million Slaves, written by Otis Taylor
  14. The Way it Goes, written by Keb' Mo' and Lisa Linson
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Editorial Review:

Product Description:
The concept of America as a great melting pot is a double-edged sword. In the great sweep of cultural evolution over the past two and a half centuries, certain lines of connection and distinction have been obscured. American popular music, a hybrid and distillation of sources too numerous and diverse to mention, is perhaps one of the best examples of the difficulty in determining exactly what came from where.

The banjo, for example, is an instrument whose historical roots dig much deeper than the American folk and bluegrass traditions with which it is commonly associated. The banjo ultimately originated in Africa, and made its way to America with the African slaves who were brought to the fledgling colonies as early as the 1700s.

Bluesman and multi-instrumentalist Otis Taylor, who shatters the illusions of the status quo time and again via his uniquely haunting songcraft and musicianship, sheds new light on this centuries-old instrument with his new Telarc recording, Recapturing the Banjo. The album includes riveting performances by Taylor along with some of the most accomplished banjo players on the current roots mus"The banjo has become so closely associated with folk singers and bluegrass players," says Taylor. "Over the years, the instrument just lost touch with its roots, and I'm just trying to re-establish that connection." ic scene: Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb' Mo' and Don Vappie - a group that collectively boasts an impressive array of GRAMMY Awards, Handy Awards, Blues Music Awards, a MacArthur Fellowship and numerous other accolades.

The musicians on this recording utilize a variety of banjo styles, notes music historian Dick Weissman, author of the album's liner notes. Guy Davis' version of "Little Liza Jane," which showcases the clawhammer picking style, is probably the closest thing contemporary audiences will hear to a traditional banjo performance. Alvin Youngblood Hart performs "Deep Blue Sea" in a modified traditional style, using the sort of syncopation that's reminiscent of Dink Roberts. Keb' Mo' plays with finger picks in a style reminiscent of the period where mountain banjo turned into bluegrass, while Don Vappie plays tenor banjo in a more modern version of what St. Cyr and Scott were playing in New Orleans during the 1920s. "Walk Right In," originally penned by banjoist and jug band musician Gus Cannon, recaptures the vintage jug band feel that Cannon helped define.

Other tunes on the recording utilize contemporary blues banjo interpretations that pay homage to the work of such seminal mid-20th century blues musicians as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Even Jimi Hendrix fans will find a familiar touchstone in the banjo rendition of well known "Hey Joe."
As the title indicates, this release attempts to "recapture the banjo" as an integral part of the African-American musical tradition from its more familiar associations with country radio appropriations of bluegrass and folk music. Far from an exercise in academic anachronism or nostalgic purity, the results bristle with vitality. Among the banjo buddies recruited by bluesman Taylor are kindred spirits Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Keb' Mo'--all of whom sing and write material for the album--along with virtuosic banjoist Don Vappie. Amid the inspired arrangements, the harmonious call-and-response vocals of Taylor's daughter, Cassie, and the judicious employment of Ron Miles' cornet contribute to a musical interplay that is rooted in time and place--the deep South, in general, and New Orleans in particular--but not confined by them. Taylor's rendition of "Hey Joe" evokes an aura of Jimi Hendrix, while "Five Hundred Roses" and "Ten Million Slaves" channel the spirit of John Lee Hooker. "Les Ognons" transforms a Haitian children's song into a communal romp, and "Absinthe" conjures musical madness that predates psychedelia. The rendition of "Walk Right In" restores the jug-band raucousness to a song that has been a pop hit and a commercial staple. --Don McLeese

Average Rating: none

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