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Any Lewis Taylor Fans Here?

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Any Lewis Taylor Fans Here?

Old 12-17-03, 04:43 PM
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Any Lewis Taylor Fans Here?

I haven't seen any mention of him around these parts, aside from the occasional plug from myself. I figured that given the, ahem, millitant nature of LT fans, if there were more of you out there, I'd know already.

Here's a (somewhat lengthly) quote from the "Boiling Bunnies" article in August, 2000's Guardian Newspaper:

"...Taylor has impeccable rock credentials. Small, frail, almost consumptive in pallor, the north London son of divorced Jewish parents was something of a guitar and piano prodigy who used the period of convalescence following a serious road accident to hone his skills. He spent his early 20s as a greengrocer before being invited to play guitar in a latterday incarnation of freaky prog-rockers the Edgar Broughton Band.

On the road with such grizzled veterans of the 70s underground circuit, he took every drug under the sun, LSD and heroin included. By 1986, he had hooked up with an eccentric fanzine writer who became his publicist, changed his name to Sheriff Jack, and released two LPs of melodic psychedelia. Comparisons with rock's lunatic fringe abounded.

By the time he was 30 and calling himself Lewis Taylor again, Island Records gave him the green light to make an album. It was a densely packed affair that reflected his intense personality and myriad obsessions. It featured enigmatic one-word titles (Track, Song, How, Right, Damn, Spirit) and lyrics about black moods and shattered dreams.

The songs themselves were so structurally convoluted that it would be minutes before the chorus would break in; crazed synthesiser and guitar passages regularly disturbed the flow. "I'm fascinated with the idea of art born of a disintegrated mind," he said at the time, hailing the visionary dementia of Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson as inspiration."

Though last year's Stoned, Part One failed to reach the dizzying highs of his self-titled debut, or his sophomore effort Lewis II, for my money, he's one of the most talented and exciting musicians working today, if not the most. Lewis Taylor the album easily lands in my personal top 5 of all time, and as he sang on the title track of Stoned last year: "I... am waiting for Part 2". Fortunately, I won't have long to wait, as he is currently putting the finishing touches on Stoned, Part 2, due out in January. He also plans to release an album of surf music late next year.

So what kind of music does LT play? Well, I'd broadly describe it as psychedelic soul, or as a friend and fellow LT fanatic put it when asked to pigeonhole his style: "It's Lewis Taylor. Nobody makes music like him. They should have a Lewis Taylor section in the record store, where you can get all of his albums, and put it between the Rock and R&B sections." Those who lament that there's no (or little) good new music owe it to themselves to check out Lewis I.

Like Joe Meek, he records everything in his home studio. He writes, performs and produces all of his tracks himself, multitracking his vocals to create Brian Wilson-esque harmonies, plays a mean guitar (comparisons to Hendrix are not uncommon) while his soaring lead vocal, dripping with pain and soul evokes Marvin Gaye's I Want You and Here, My Dear. His compositions are dense and moody (evoking the soundscapes of Radiohead, but influenced by prog-rockers like Yes), a wall of sound full of counter-melodies that often builds to a climax that is little more than white noise.

I think anyone with a relatively open mind who considers themself to be a music lover owes it to themself (what was that I wrote about LT fans being millitant?) to check out his first album. I know that sonically, MP3s are despised around here, but some of the b-sides from his first album have been posted at: http://lewistaylormusic.com/audibles.html if you'd like to get an idea of what he's all about.

Sorry for the length of the post, I've been holding back until such a time as I thought I'd be able to eloquently explain why (musically) he's the best thing since sliced bread.

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