Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tasha Taylor - Honey For the Biscuit

2016 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; Apr 24, 2016

Tasha Taylor, daughter of Stax legend, Johnnie Taylor has found her sweet spot for making music.  Her latest and third album, Honey For the Biscuit, is a wondrous cache of rhythm and blues with a whole lot of soul.  The core band she has put together is quite the ensemble.  It includes bassist Nathan Watts (Stevie Wonder), guitarists John Notto and Jon Taylor, pianist/keyboardist Don Wyatt, percussionist Mujungo Jackson, and Gerry Brown, Ronald Bruner and Stanley Randolph on drums.  In addition, Taylor utilizes a full brass section. 

The retro Motown vibe and lush sound of the horns in “Wedding Bells” quickly grab my attention.  Taylor’s voice gets sultry while Wyatt and Watts keep the rhythm in a borderline trans-inducing state, keeping me hypnotized for the duration of the song.  Taylor draws me in deeper with “Places I Miss”, a song about yearning to break free from a harmful relationship. 

A song that puts a smile on my face is the light and bluesy “Family Tree”, with special guest Keb Mo appearing, guitar and microphone in hand.  This eloquent ditty gets stuck in my head every time I hear it.  Keb is not the only special guest who appears on this album.  Robert Randolph sits in on the spirited “Little Miss Suzie” livening things up with his unique style on lap steel guitar.  In “Leave That Dog Alone”, Taylor tackles the Blues with full force, enlisting the fiery Samantha Fish, who gives a ripping performance on guitar.  Then, Taylor also shakes it on down with Tommy Castro, who lends vocals to the funky “Same Old Thing”.

According to Taylor, Honey For the Biscuit was three years in the making, and I believe it.  The writing and composition of each of the thirteen tracks are reflective of a whole lot of heart and soul. Taylor shines as songwriter and singer both.   

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