The Coldwater Sessions
Vizztone Label Group
JD Taylor is the harmonica ace, vocalist and front man for the Tennessee based blues band “Little Boys Blue”. Originally formed in 1993 they’re popularity continues to grow. In 2016 they released their fourth album, and first for Vizztone, “Tennissippi”, and followed up with 2018’s “Hard Blue Space”. This new release is the debut solo album from Taylor.
Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Kevin Houston at Luther and Cody Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch Studios in Coldwater, Ms. the album is appropriately titled the Coldwater Sessions. Houston and Executive Producer Taylor have assimilated an all-star ensemble including guitarists John Hay; Landon Stone (from The Tony Holiday Band), and John Holiday a.k.a. Kid Memphis (first introduced on “Hard Blue Space”). The Memphis based rhythm section includes bassist, arranger and co-producer Matthew Wilson, and drummer Danny Banks; both from John Nemeth’s Blue Dreamers. Also from Memphis is the illustrious horn section of Marc Franklin, trumpet and arrangements; and Art Edmaiston, saxophones. The backing singers are Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson from the Grammy nominated “Southern Avenue”. Guesting is the legendary Hi-Records organist Reverend Charles Hodges; guitarists Joe Restivo and Zack Lees; Philadelphia harp ace Mikey Junior, and Houston on percussion.
Ten of the eleven tracks are Taylor originals. Guitarists Hay and Stone open “Got Me Where You Want Me”, featuring Hodges on the B-3. Taylor sings “You got the kids in the house babe, your lovin outside the door, well one of these days’ pretty mama, I ain’t gonna be lovin you no more”, before he takes his harp solo, as the Jackson sisters chime “you got me where you want me”. “Ooh Wee” features some excellent rhythm guitar and an extended harp solo. My favorite “Nothing Left To Say” is a wonderfully styled Memphis soul tune featuring the horns, the Jacksons, excellent rhythm and lead guitar, and Taylor’s fabulous vocal.
Guitarist Holiday (Kid Memphis) joins Stone on guitar for “Cocomo” featuring the lyric “here we go, whoa-oh, here we go, here we go, goin back to Cocomo”, while the rhythm section lays down the foundation that enables another Taylor-made harp solo. Holiday and Stone are featured again on “At First Glance”, another great vocal from Taylor on a soulfully styled Stax-like tune that reminds me of Bobby “Blue” Bland.
Guitarist Restivo sits in on “By All Means”. A spectacular horn arrangement highlights the funky “It Ain’t No Good” with a fabulous guitar solo from Holiday. On “Hanging On” Taylor sings “I got my grip tight as I can”. “Honey, Honey, Baby” features the lyric “tell me what’s on your mind, I ain’t had no lovin’ from you in a long, long time” as Taylor goes for that high-reedy sound. “Anastasia” is a wonderful song written by Mikey Junior and featuring them both. The closer “The Coldwater Swing” is the album’s only instrumental featuring Taylor on multiple harps, Hodges on organ, the tight rhythm section, and Lees on guitar.
It just doesn’t get better than this. This is a highly recommended release that should elevate Taylor to the upper echelon of soul singing harp players. I can listen to him all day. Thank you JD.