The Taz Tailor Band - 'Straight Up (2012 Remix)' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 10, 2012    
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I recommend you re-visit this album.

Taz Taylor is a UK born guitar virtuoso who has now been based in San Diego for some while. His recording career started with a solo instrumental album, ‘Caffeine Racer’ before forming The Taz Taylor Band and recording ‘Welcome To America’ with fellow ex-pat Graham Bonnet. This album generated great feedback and success and worldwide tours ensued. A change of singer in the form of Keith Slack (Michael Schenker Group) was made in the follow up album, ‘Straight Up’, which was released in 2009. The album has now been remixed by the band and Richard Livoni and repackaged ready for a re-release. The artwork in the form of looking ‘straight up’ a block of flats is certainly more eye-catching than the original cover, so it was with great promise I listened to the remixed album.

The album is very much a rocker, with long time member Val Trainor on drums and Taz covering guitar and bass duties. The guest star on the album is Don Airey who got to know the band in the Graham Bonnet period. As for the tracks, Taz’s distinctive style is much brighter in the new mix and his lightness of touch and feel is very present. Keith Slack´s vocal style is very much of a belter and growler which is an interesting counterpoint to Taz’s meticulous and dexterous guitarwork.

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‘In Harms Way’ starts off the album straight into a class riff and upfront drums leading to a trademark Taz Taylor solo. ‘Never Letting Go’ is a retro Eighties’ song in the style of Journey’s ‘Stone In Love’ and it works! Slack´s vocals excel in this mid tempo type of song. The next song, ‘One More Night’ is probably the most memorable on the album with a slow build up to a long hook into a very catchy and commercial chorus. The following tracks, ‘The Fugitive’ and ‘Bring It’ increase the tempo, with the latter employing some classy high hat work from Trainor.

Don Airey appears on the title track which is an instrumental commencing with a classical piano prelude before Taz lets loose with a masterclass of neo-classic melodies before nicely being tied up by Airey’s closing piano passage. If the album was a baseball match, that was very much the seventh inning stretch as the next tracks launch straight into the hard hitting rock formula. In particular, ´Information Overload´ has a note-laden catchy riff and strong chorus.

The closing salvo album cements Taz reputation as a Rainbow/Schenker styled riff-meister with some great novel takes and twists of the genre but with his unique guitar solo style bringing the songs up to date

The production and remix is very uncluttered and arranged so that you envisage the band playing the tracks live as a four piece. I recommend you re-visit this album and check out the band next time you are down San Diego way.

Rob McKenzie

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