Otis Taylor Double V

On his second outing with Telarc, Otis Taylor continues his groundbreaking trend to scare the bejesus out of most people with his minimalist, menacing approach to country blues. Nor does he shy away from anything considered socially uncomfortable, to say the very least. "Please Come Home Before It Rains” initiates an uncharacteristically jaunty song with a Calypso feel, augmented by electric mandolin, before "Took Their Land,” chronicling the social injustice of America (a recurrent theme) brings things back to an angry, embittered reality. A blend of history meets horror as Taylor mutters and moans his way through such choice cuts as "Mama’s Selling Heroin” and "505 Train” in his uncommonly dark style that is instantly bewitching and eventually beguiling. His gruff, unsettling voice rises like a spectre over hypnotic, rhythmic patterns to create an eerie, haunting effect. Instrumentation is still drum-free, simple and sparse as repetitive hints of banjo, mandolin, guitar and washes of cello invoke chilling results. The only misstep might be an over-reliance on daughter Cassie’s vocal contributions. Her lead on "Buy Myself Some Freedom” veers off into new turf that might be better left unturned (just don’t tell her father I said so). (Telarc)