Otis Taylor is among the most ambitious blues performers on the planet, as Respect the Dead demonstrates. Rather than churning out good-timey blues for tourists or mimicking the styles of yesteryear, he uses his compositions to explore issues of love, history, race and justice. Songs like "Ten Million Slaves," "32nd Time" and "Jump Jelly Belly" may seem to be heavy sledding on the surface, but thanks to the conviction and talents of Taylor and collaborators Kenny Passarelli and Eddie Turner, they emerge as inspirational, educational and mysterious.
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