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Melvin Taylor: Dirty Pool

Another fretboard scorcher from the under-40 club is Melvin Taylor. On his fourth album as a leader-a stripped down guitar-bass-drums affair called Dirty Pool (Evidence ECD 26088-2; 45:22)-Taylor shows that he is a part of the Albert King-Jimi Hendrix-Stevie Ray Vaughan continuum. He affects a gruff SRV attitude on the wah-wah laden opener “Too Sorry” and on the title track, a menacing slow blues co-penned by Stevie Ray and Doyle Bramhall. Elsewhere, he tips his hat to Jimi on distinctly Hendrix-flavored arrangements of “Kansas City” and “I Ain’t Superstitious,” to Albert on “Born Under A Bad Sign” and “Floodin’ In California” and to SRV once again on the funky, upbeat “Telephone Song.” While Jimmy King wows with his gargantuan string bending prowess, Taylor’s weapons are his dizzying speed, his sweeping runs, his wildman abandon and his trusty wah-wah pedal. He stuns with both on this explosive collection, and throws in a hip rendition of the Charles Brown signature piece “Merry Christmas Baby” to boot.

Originally Published