Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor
Fair Time!

Front Door Records

By A.J. Wachtel
April 2010

While one wouldn't normally associate Kate Taylor's music directly with the blues, behind every song on her latest release, Fair Time!, is a clear association with R&B. Kate's vocals, arrangements, and delivery bear more similarities with female blues icons like Shirley Lewis and Koko Taylor than differences.

The passion in Kate's voice is real and her ability to convincingly communicate lyrics and feelings adds to the authenticity of her message. Like all great blues music, her compositions are easily open to interpretation.

Her influences come more from Memphis and Nashville than from Chicago and Detroit—Kate is originally from North Carolina, and when the R&B emerges in her songs it is more Booker T than Freddy King.

“Fair Time” has a nice picking blues riff and “Make it Count” has guitarist Billy Derby showing his chops, doing Duane doing Elmore in the slide lead. “King Of The Pond” has a very bluesy/country & western feel to it and sometimes on “Make It Snappy” you can hear Kate's southern upbringing in a word or two.

The whole Memphis/Nashville audial aura is evident in how Kate and her band mates Billy Derby, Sam Zucchini and Dave Anderson arrange their work. The instruments both set the style and the groove down with a sparse, acoustic set-up, then Kate's expressive vocals take control and deliver the message. The combination results in music that indicates R&B/blues influences and is more representative of Capricorn than Tone-Cool Records. Many of these melodies could sound like great bar room music if horns and a rollicking piano were added, but the bar would be in New Orleans, not Faneuil Hall.

The acoustic, bluesy and minimalist arrangements of “Red Tail” and “Do-Daddy” are fine examples of southern acoustic blues with nice finger-picking that serves as good instrumental backing to Kate's vocals. This method is evident throughout the CD.

Is “Sun Did Shine” about her brothers? Two other tunes, the opening cut “Soap Opera Life” with Kate doing Dolly doing Hank, and the great rockabilly song “Brake Job” show just how talented and versatile Kate and her band really are. Did I mention that “Brake Job” really knocks me out? This CD should be in everyone's collection. Fair Time! is fairly great!


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