Ted Taylor – 1972 – Taylor Made
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Oklahoma-born Ted Taylor, the man with the haunting, gospel-inspired falsetto voice, had come a long way before cutting this exuberantly funky LP in 1972.
Having been a member of the Cadets (scoring a #4 R&B smash in 1956 with “Stranded In the Jungle“), Taylor had recorded proficiently as a solo artists since the early ’60s. After a stint with OKeh, Ted Taylor arrived at Shreveport-based Jewel Records in 1967 and began a lengthy recording career with its subsidiary Ronn.
A1 It’s a Funky Situation 3:10
A2 Something Strange Is Going On in My House 2:50
A3 Houston Town 3:38
A4 Who’s Doing It to Who 2:50
A5 Call the House Doctor 3:41
A6 (This Is A) Troubled World 2:40
B1 Papa’s Gonna Make Love 3:15
B2 How’s Your Love Life Baby 3:10
B3 Only the Lonely Knows 2:48
B4 Sweet Lovin’ Pair 2:50
B5 Can’t Take No More 2:55
B6 I Feel a Chill 3:50
Review by Soulmakossa
‘Taylor Made’ arguably is Ted’s greatest album: a powerful blend of raw Southern Soul, steamy funk and lowdown, dirty blues. You’re taken deeply into the Louisiana’s swamplands with the gritty opener “It’s a Funky Situation” (oscillating, snakey guitar lines and greasy horns further enhance the murky vibe) and there’s a rough rock edge to “Something Strange Is Going On In My House“, Taylor’s biggest solo hit.
“Houston Town” is a stellar example of the then burgeouning ‘soul-blues’ cross-breed popularized by Albert King and Little Milton: a decidedly blues-based, wailing vocal set to a loping, funky groove. Taylor’s gutsy falsetto is at its finest on this grand bit of ‘storystelling soul’.
The hyper funky and rockin’ “Who’s Doing It to Who” obviously is derived from his name-sake Johnnie Taylor’s huge 1968 hit “Who’s Making Love“, whereas the dirty, slow grinding blues of “Call the House Doctor” features some very B.B. King-styled guitar riffs.
“(This Is A) Troubled World” closes the A-side on a slightly political note, with Taylor lamenting over topics as Vietnam and racism, but he’s back in his love man bag with the vicious funk romper “Papa’s Gonna Make Love“… Big, blazing horn chart here, along with sassy backing vox and a swirling string arrangement that’s never over the top.
The blues pay another visit in the guise of “How’s Your Love Life Baby” (another Top 50 R&B hit), and Taylor pitches in a little pop flavour with the organ-heavy ballad “Only the Lonely Knows“. That poppy sensibility is spread more thickly on “Sweet Lovin’ Pair“, but here too the strings are gorgeously delicate and subdued.
“Can’t Take No More” gets the groove train rolling again, with slightly fuzzed guitars making it nice and raw on the edges.
The grand finale is reserved for the deep soul ballad “I Feel a Chill“, a lurching slowie drenched in churchy Hammond organ.
A fabulous, out-and-out sanctified vocal here…