TASHA TAYLOR "Honey For The Biscuit", Jazz & Blues Review

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TASHA TAYLOR | Honey For The Biscuit

Given the fact that much of the Ruf Records catalog is oriented towards blues-rock, one is very surprised by the label’s new release by Tasha Taylor, “Honey For The Biscuit,” a record that is in the soul-blues vein. Taylor, the daughter of the legendary Johnnie Taylor, produced this recording and wrote all the songs (a few in collaboration with Tom Hambridge and/or Richard Fleming). Tasha (Vocals, guitar, percussion), was joined in the studio by Nathan Watts (bass), John Notto (guitar), Jon Taylor (guitar), Don Wyatt (piano/organ), Munjungo Jackson (percussion) with the following on drums; Gerry Brown, Ronald Bruner, and Stanley Randolph along with a full brass section with Jamelle Williams, Matthew DeMeritt, and Lemar Buillary. There are special guest appearances from Keb’ Mo, Robert Randolph, Samantha Fish and Tommy Castro.

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A big influence was her father. “He was an inspiration and a special talent.” “I remember being on the road with my dad and if I was worn-out or sick, he’d say, ‘You don’t have to sing if you don’t feel good – or you can be a trouper.’ I guess I always choose to be a trouper.” About the music on this, her third album, Tasha says “I always bring a soul element, and this record also has a touch of Nashville, which was a new thing for me to explore. ...and overall this record has more of my blues side exposed, from subject matter to musicianship. It also inspires some dancing, so be ready for that!” Tasha sings with a voice that is soulful, yet soothing as honey as she launches into a solid dance groove with full brassy horns backing her vocal on “Feels So Good” when a relationship is over, and followed by “Wedding Bells,” set against a Stax type backing with an insistent groove as she keeps hearing wedding bells yet wondering when they will be for her, while guitar and tenor sax helps frame the vocal. Keb’ Mo adds backing vocal to “Family Tree,” with a loping groove and a vocal plea for a relationship to grow.“One and Only” is a terrific soul ballad that evokes classic Otis Redding in the manner of the performance and Taylor’s singing. Robert Randolph’s stinging lap steel enlivens Taylor’s story telling on “Little Miss Suzie,” while “How Long” is a rocker where she sings about this gentleman “how long are you gonna wait, if you wait to long, you just might be too late. A hint of reggae is present on ”That Man,“ as she sings about dancing too slow and if Tasha does it wrong, he’ll be the first to let her know. Samantha Fish guests on ”Leave That Dog Along,” adding her guitar (including a fiery guitar solo) and supporting vocal on this blues.

Tasha Taylor’s vocals are like “Honey on a Biscuit.” It says so much about her as a vocalist and producer of this remarkable recording that the guests are simply seasoning to the robust and soulful musical stew here. Certainly this is a name that we will be hearing much more of.

Keep up with Tasha Taylor here


 
Ron Weinstock