2004 Downbeat Critics' Poll Blues Album of the Year
Otis Taylor's newest recording, Double V will be his most intimate recording to date. The album marks his sophomore effort for the preeminent blues/jazz/classical label.
Double V comprises a dozen songs written, arranged and produced by Taylor. Demonstrating a deep connection to his heritage, the title is symbolic of the civil rights movement. "After World War II, the black soldiers would hold up their hands and make a 'V' out of their middle and index fingers," Taylor explains. "This stood for victory at home and in Europe. The 'V' is also indicative of the blacks unremitting fight for the right to vote."
On an even more personal level, the record is a collaboration between father and daughter. Seventeen-year-old Cassie Taylor, who has performed live and in studio with her father since age 12, plays bass on the entire disc, provides back-up vocals on several tracks, and steps into the spotlight for the first time by singing lead on one song, "Buy Myself Some Freedom."
"It's always challenging to work with my dad" says Cassie, "but this time it was us, being really together on something. I guess before I felt like I was working for him, and this project was an opportunity to work with him."
From the vibrant grooves of the opening cut, "Please Come Home Before It Rains" to the aggressive intensity of "Mama's Selling Heroin" and the spiritual warmth of "Buy Myself Some Freedom," Otis Taylor takes listeners on an aural excursion greatly inspired by an unconventional childhood. "On all my records, the subject of struggles is often discussed from a historical perspective. But on Double V, a lot of the songs take an internal approach and reveal some of what I experienced as a kid." He muses, "See, now you'll know why I am the way I am."
Since Taylor's return to music in 1995, he has released five CDs, earned a slew of W.C. Handy awards and/or nominations (the blues equivalent of the Grammy), and garnered international acclaim from media and audiences worldwide. Thus, he has carved a unique niche as a blues artist whom USA Today calls, "One of the genre's most original practitioners in years." And 2003 ended on an equally high note. The New York Times ranked his first Telarc CD, Truth Is Not Fiction, among their picks for "Albums and Songs of the Year," while online retailers Amazon and Borders Books & Music named it one of the Best Blues CDs of the Year.