R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Silky Sounds

20 MAY 11 JOHN C. BRUENING

Following up on the success of the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series, Concord launched its Stax Remasters series this month with the release of (among other titles) soul blues singer Johnnie Taylor's 1973 recording Taylored In Silk. The reissue captures the newly expanded arrangement style that Taylor had been exploring -- with the help of producer Don Davis -- since he signed to the label in 1966.

Davis had been brought in to establish a sound for Taylor that would combine elements of northern and southern soul. "He certainly hit a home run in his work with Johnnie Taylor, especially on this album," says Nick Phillips, Concord's VP of Jazz and Classical Development and co-producer of the series.

The eight tracks on the original album generated three hits on the R&B and/or pop charts, including the churning "We're Getting Careless With Our Love," which includes a clever nod to Billy Paul's similarly themed "Me And Mrs. Jones" (a chart-topper just a year earlier); the sly and cynical "Cheaper To Keep Her," a consistent concert favorite for Taylor for the remainder of his career; and the melodic and impassioned "I Believe In You (You Believe In Me)," which lays strings on top of a simple but infectious soul groove.

The reissue nearly doubles the length of the original album with six bonus tracks, including the swaggering "Shackin' Up" and the bluesy, laid-back "Doing My Own Thing."

The Taylored In Silk reissue includes new liner notes from music historian Bill Dahl, who sums up Taylor's career in simple terms: "Blues wailer or soul philosophizer, silky or gritty, Johnnie Taylor will always be revered as one of the greatest southern soul singers of 'em all."