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Melvin Taylor

Chicago-based guitarist Melvin Taylor is a star in Europe, but it may take some time for U.S. audiences to catch on to just how phenomenally talented a bluesman he is. Part of the problem for Taylor may be his own natural eclecticism. He's equally adept playing jazz or blues, but in the last few years, he's forged a name for himself as a blues guitarist with a slew of releases for Evidence Music. Taylor may well be the most talented new guitarist to come along since Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Taylor was born in Mississippi but raised in Chicago after the family moved there in 1962. He learned guitar from his mother's brother, Uncle Floyd Vaughan, who jammed to tunes by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, and Howlin' Wolf with his buddies. By the time Taylor was 12, he was sitting in with his uncle and other grown-ups at those sessions. Almost entirely self-taught, the young Taylor learned slide playing, fingerpicking, and flat-picking styles from his favorite recordings by B.B. King, Albert King, and Jimi Hendrix.

In his teens, Taylor joined the Transistors, a group managed by his future father-in-law, and they made their mark playing popular music of the '70s at talent shows and night clubs. After the Transistors broke up in the early '80s, Taylor again devoted his full attention to playing blues in the Windy City's West Side clubs. Shortly after, pianist Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins came looking for a guitarist for a string of European dates. Taylor joined the Legendary Blues Band for a year and made such an impact in Europe that several club and festival bookers wanted him back with his own group. Since the late '80s, he's been making regular tours of Europe, often backed by former members of the Transistors, where they opened for the likes of B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Santana, George Benson, and Canned Heat.

Aside from taking his musical inspiration from guitar heroes like Albert King, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Taylor also became enamored with the jazz stylings of George Benson and Wes Montgomery, incorporating their styles into his playing.

Taylor's recordings include two he first recorded for a French label that have since been reissued on the Pennsylvania-based Evidence Music: Blues on the Run, originally recorded in 1982, and 1984's Melvin Taylor Plays the Blues for You. Back in the U.S., Taylor continued to build a buzz around the strength of his marathon live shows at Rosa's Lounge and other venues in Chicago. Several small labels tried to sign Taylor, but they weren't successful. In 1995, Taylor was signed to Evidence Music and entered the studio with blues impresario John Snyder to record his debut for the label, Melvin Taylor and the Slack Band, which showcased his original songwriting. He returned in late 1996 to record his second U.S. album, Dirty Pool. Taylor's debut remains the Evidence label's best-selling release ever. Both records showcase Taylor's awe-inspiring guitar playing and original renderings of classic Chicago blues tunes. Bang the Bell followed in 2000, featuring racy cover art and a somewhat funk-influenced sound, but it was his teaming with Lucky Peterson and Mato Nanji on 2002's Rendezvous with the Blues that cemented his reputation as a mainstay in the American blues and roots rock scene. ~ Richard Skelly
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Bang That Bell

1. Bang That Bell

2. Love Is A Gamble

3. Another Bad Day

4. It's Later Than You Think

5. My Life

6. Trick Bag

7. If You're Goin' To The City

8. Don't Cloud Up On Me

9. A Quitter Never Wins

10. Even Trolls Love Rock & Roll

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Track List: Dirty Pool

1. Too Sorry

2. Dirty Pool

3. I Ain't Superstitious

4. Kansas City

5. Floodin' In California

6. Born Under A Bad Sign

7. Right Place. Wrong Time

8. Telephone Song

9. Merry Christmas, Baby

x

Track List: Melvin Taylor & The Slack Band

1. Texas Flood

2. Depression Blues

3. Grooving In New Orleans

4. Talking To Anna Mae

5. Tin Pan Alley

6. All Your Love (I Miss Loving)

7. Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong

8. T-Bone Shuffle

9. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

10. Tequila

Comments

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If you have not sung the blues, you ain't lived.
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Smooth like silk blue like midnight, kicking light like a star filled night. Yeah.
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Come by
david...radi o
sometime.
david...
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For me, when you Feel the instrument talk to you, that's when they have me hooked!!
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beb301
This dude is awesome!
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I have always loved SRV, but he never changed his tone. That's fine as all but I think MT explodes with tone and fantastic abilities. I am definitely a big fan!
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shreeead monster go see him live wow!!!!
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May be he is a part 9f the rest.
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Can't find better
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Tin Pan Alley is a pretty sweet tune!
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Deep in the alley blues
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AWESOME!!!!
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poppa_bear49
HAVE MERCY!!!, HAVE MERCY!!!...W h e r e have you been hiding this MAN!!! Talk about cookin'....D O N ' T POUR NO WATER ON HIM...LET HIM BURN....LOVE IT. Somebody wakeup SRV and tell him he's got some heavy competition.
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Never would have found M.T. were it not for Pandora!! New fan for sure
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he really has some great talent and I truly enjoyed listening to this song just played on Pandora! You rock the blues buddy!!! Regards, Thereze Grahn USA !!!
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Yes
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By far the best!
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twotimes2man y 2
Light it on FIRE bad azz
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Awesome
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Totally dig his style
New fan for sure
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I am a fan,as of now.
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Probably the best alive
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This is some off the best guitar playing I've heard dince SVR.
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poppa_bear49
Back it up and PLAY it again....thi s guy can COOK!!!
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lumurumid
I love my Stevie..I want to never let him go.. But this is fantastic..a n d so fitting. Good s**t!
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Love Eric gales on this track
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James Frank Wonzo, you said it.
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This is why I don't listen to top 40 Radio anymore. They wouldn't know what to do with music like this!!!!
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coleman3.edw i n
Melvin's a bad man!
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Melvin, is another picker!!
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Smoking
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I hear Stevie Ray in his music!!!
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jkruegs713
am now a Melvin Taylor fan....this guy is awesome!
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That's all right.
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tfq1
Blues Afficianados can appreciate this guy. He is very good.
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johnmtill
Love this guys playing. Wish he would get some more recognition.
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GREAT !!!!!!
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Love his style!! Not unlike mine......Ye a h Rite!!! OUTSTANDING! ! ! ! I'd give up my 1st born girl to play like that!! We'll maybe not but he smashes that fret board!!!!!
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Loved him since I heard him for the first time. Still though, Quitters Never Win, my first, is still my favourite.
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Great playing. Smooth and slick,but rocks
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rhouse3300
Melvin Taylor ROCKS!!!
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dawgwoodawg
Wow! Very impressive!
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smooooth.... l o v e it!!
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Thanks Pandora for turning me on to Melvin Taylor, love Groovin' in New Orleans!
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Go Melvin!
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my first time to hear him. Love IT
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Smooth, instinctive licks
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Love Taylor rendition of this Tune. Love Gary Moore and as far as I'm concerned he is my favorite and my choice as the greatest guitarists ever
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Bad to the bone!!!!
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First time i see somebody give Gary Moore credit for being one of the great blues players. I consider him just as good or better than some. One thing about Gary is that when most of the blues players were playing their hits and establishing their trademark, Gary was performing with different bands and showing his versatile talent. A guitarist with blues roots, that could easily could play Heavy Metal, Acoustic, Flamenco, Pop & anything you put in front of him. Truly a prodigy.
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