Dudley Taft is an intriguing blend of blues influences like Elmore James, and Lightning Hopkins and his early career as a rock guitar player in the Seattle grunge scene with Sweetwater and Second Coming. Combine that with Jason Patterson (Cry of Love, Chris Duarte and Corrosion of Conformity) on drums Reese Wynans (notably with SRV, Bonamassa, Mike Zito, and just anyone else you can think of) on keyboards and John Kessler providing the bass and you get something the ends up meeting in the middle to give us some ZZ Top and Skynyrd sounding blues rock of Skin and Bones.
Filled with Dudley’s growling guitar and vocals, this album delivers right from the opening track with the stair step chords of the title track “Skin and Bones.” “Lonesome Memphis Blues” allows Reese to really shine with a great organ solo which Dudley deftly appends his guitar to at the end and they build it up to main chorus. The rock is fully delivered in the simple riff of the hard driving “Aint’ Nothing Going to Stop Us Now.”
Texas blues is heavily represented in the descending chord driven riffs of Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” who is one of his influences and as he says happens to be “one of my favorite tracks to play live.” “One of These Days” has a tom-tom driven sluggish beat with a jazz chord progression that sets an atmosphere of melancholy and yearning and had me repeatedly hitting repeat.
“Fuzzy Dice” delivers the hard rock sound filled with fuzz driven guitar and a heavy pounding beat while Dudley sings from a WWII pilots perspective, which is the actual origin of the ubiquitous car rearview mirror decoration. Unique riffs that reach out and grab you are a cornerstone of Dudley’s writing and a little bit of Zeppelin influence makes its appearance on “Without You.” “Space Cake” is a tribute to that unique culinary confection.
“Aint About the Money” is another hard rocker with a heavy bottom end. He changes things up with a finger picked riff for most of “Coming Home,” but picks up the pic half thought the solo. Dudley wraps things up with “Mojo Woman,” which has a distinctly swampy roadhouse vibe to it and some excellent background vocals.
With Skin and Bones, Dudley delivers a raucous and engaging ride from the first to last track that is probably his best work to date. There is some southern country rock, Texas blues, Seattle grunge and even some hard heavy rock all of which Dudley mashes together to deliver a sound that is more than the sum of the individual components. While it is heavy on the rock there is plenty of blues emotion that comes through. This is an album that will have you jamming out and hitting repeat over and over again.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Lonesome Memphis Blues
– Ain’t Nothing Going To Stop Us Now
– One Of These Days
– Aint’ About the Money
– Without You
The Big Hit
– Lonesome Memphis Blues
Review by Kevin O’Rourke
Buy the album: Amazon