Gypsy Soul (label)
10 August 2019 (released)
The Julian Taylor Band has been doing the rounds in Canada (based in Toronto) for years and are massive on the festival scene. This is the first I’ve heard of them but it won’t be the last.
There is a great sense of sincerity behind the music, that this is the music that they love rather than just playing the dots of what’s popular and the result is soulful and fluid with all sorts of sinuous rhythms. Taylor’s vocals are high – a little like Jamiroquai – and the band pitch up to his tone so there isn’t the deep bass in the music that would take it too far into the realms of funk but I found myself following the multiple rhythms and really digging his sense of groove.
Of the eight tracks on the album I would pick out three or four as real standout numbers.
‘Take What You Need’ is a beautiful number with whispering jeyboards, horns a plenty and a funky guitar and drum groove that is just irresistible. It has the feel of Steve Miller’s ‘Fly Like AN Eagle’ and the whole song develops around the central theme of not destroying the land we are living on.
‘Learn To Love’ starts with a blast, lots of strident riffs before Taylor’s sweet vocals come in, very much an urban soul song with tom toms in the back that reminded me greatly of Curtis Mayfield. A lovely song.
The album’s title track is simply a lovely soul song that just works on all sorts of levels. Soft and deeply emotive, just beautiful.
The closer is ‘Never Let The Lights Go Dim’. Back on the groove and with a delightfully rhythmic electric piano noodling away beside the main theme.
All in all, it’s an album I have really grown to enjoy. It isn’t earth-shattering but it is one of the best half hour’s I’ve heard in a while.