Tasha Taylor is bearing her heart and her love of soul and blues in her third album Honey for the Biscuit. Daughter of American vocalist Johnnie Taylor, Tasha released her third album in February 2016. The 13-track disc infused with soul and blues, funk and pop, is the perfect vehicle for Tasha’s powerful yet measured vocals and instrumentation.
“It’s soulful blues and good storytelling, but it also has something you can shake your butt to here and there,” said Tasha.
Honey For The Biscuit features a star-studded line-up. Tasha is joined by Keb Mo on Track 03 “Family Tree,” Robert Randolph contributes to Track 06 “Little Miss Susie” and Tommy Castro lends his vocals for Track 13 “Same Old Thing.”
“I think being on tour and doing so much live music with these blues artists inspired me on Honey for the Biscuit to find my own blues,” she said. “Most of the songs I wrote on my guitar. I felt inspired by these guys. If I heard something I thought they’d be perfect for, I’d call them up and ask them if they had time.”
Track 10 “Leave That Dog Alone,” features a sultry and salty duet with Samantha Fish about kicking a man to the curb.
“Had a Sweet Talking Man. Had to let him go. He wouldn’t leave other women alone. He wouldn’t stop, messing round on me. I had to throw his stuff out on the street. Better leave, better leave, cause his back, his back, his back ain’t got no bone.”
Nathan Watts, best known as Stevie Wonder’s bassist for 30 years, helped produce the album, pulling together a band for the studio recording including Tasha’s brother John Taylor on guitar. Tasha also collaborated with Richard Flemming and Grammy award-winning Buffalo native rock, country and blues artist Tom Hambridge on the songs “Weatherman,” “How Long” and “Leave that Dog Alone” during a traditional Nashville songwriting session.
A fireball of energy, actor/musician, Tasha is fresh off a European tour promoting her album and from starring in “The Heart of Soul…The Stax Musical,” about the record label with which her father recorded with Booker T. & the MG’s.
Tasha rolls into Rochester with the Blues Caravan at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19 at Abilene’s Bar in Rochester along with fellow Ruf label artists Ina Forsman and Layla Zoe. Click here for information and advance tickets.
Key Tracks: Little Miss Susie, Leave That Dog Alone, Family Tree, That Man
6:30 Tonight! Featuring guests: Tasha Taylor, Shawna Caspi & Rex Fowler
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Sometime, back in the 80s or 90s, and without a referendum, ‘R&B’ took on a new meaning. Where the term had always meant Aretha Franklin and James Brown, Donny Hathaway and even the ‘maximum’ stuff pumped out by a pilled-up Who or The Downliners Sect, the R&B charts gradually became dominated by acts alternatively termed ‘urban’ or ‘nu-soul’, where beats and samples predominated, and with mangled sub-Whitney chart-friendly melisma out front. Although much of it sounded studio-sterile and shorn of essential soul emotion, the class of fellow travellers like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Lauryn Hill shone through as they mastered technology rather than being driven by it.
Tasha Taylor has done even better on this, her third album. Honey For The Biscuit’s thirteen songs are defiantly Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Detroit-derived R&B, but infused with the best elements of contemporary soul. Ms Taylor’s mission, “bridging the gap between one generation and another…it’s my family business”, is fulfilled. The late Johnnie Taylor would be proud of his daughter.
‘Family Tree’ reverberates with a joyous swinging pop soul chorus and ‘How Long’, a boiling up-tempo 12-bar blast of brass-laden testifying, reminds us that soul has always been dance music, as do the more easy-grooving Hi! backbeat and hot horns of ‘Feels So Good’. The combination of brassy funk, with soaring and sassy vocals of ‘Weatherman’ and ‘Leave That Dog Alone’ are mellowed in ‘That Man’ to a smooth clipped Muscle Shoals groove and Aretha-like phrasing.
Production-wise, the album’s ballads come complete with perfectly-judged phrasing and soul dynamics. On ‘One And Only’, longing is beautifully articulated, especially in the climactic coda, and where ‘Wedding Bells’ has a laidback blue jazz feel, ‘Places I Miss’ is languorous, mellow soul.
And those more contemporary touches? ‘Little Miss Suzie’ is more minimalist in its funk syncopation, carried by the rhythm section with patina added by horn, guitar and organ stabs, and ‘I Knew’ has a rhythmic nu-soul beat-heavy drive enlivened by old school singing, electric piano, horns and backing vocals.
Tasha Taylor’s songs, three years in their gestation, are strong and meaningful, delivered with passion and never over-wrought, on a smartly-paced album. This is versatility at its best, which will delight fans of soul, R&B, urban, nu-soul or any such label listeners care to attach.
Unlike many recruits to Thomas Ruf’s label and Blues Caravan tourers, Tasha Taylor is not really a newcomer to the blues scene. Her father was Stax star Johnny (sic) Taylor, she has two previous albums, featured on Tommy Castro’s album The Devil You Know, and performed on the road with the Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi tours as The Blues Brothers. Recorded in Los Angeles with a big band and a corner of full brass, Honey For The Biscuit doesn’t hold back and confidently puts her at the front throughout.
Whilst it is most definitely Taylor’s album, self-produced and penning most of the song on her own, there are treats aplenty as she brings in Keb’ Mo’, Robert Randolph, Samantha Fish and Tommy Castro to guest on tracks. These collaborations add to the flavour of the album and in no way diminish Taylor’s soulful signature.
Randolph’s lap steel on ‘Little Miss Suzie’ and Fish’s guitar and vocal on ‘Leave That Dog Alone,’ serve to accentuate the seamless connective roots across such diverse American blues. It’s a bright and highly polished album, which some may have wanted a little rougher round the edges, but it certainly portrays Taylor’s presence in the blues playground with some assertion.
TUNE IN TO BLUES MOBILE ON May 21-22, 2016
Blues giant, Johnnie Taylor’s little girl has grown up to become a conqueror of the blues world in her own right. Tasha Taylor is a go-to vocalist for folks like Tommy Castro and the Blues Brothers. She has been an actress, guest starring in many television programs, and her original music has been used in many teevee shows as well. And rhythm and blues is her true love. Which leads us to her solo career. Ms. Taylor’s latest soul explosion is called HONEY FOR THE BISCUIT, which would be a worthy addition to any Stax/Volt Library. From that release here is Tasha Taylor with a musical lament, about a perfectly nice doggy, with only one thing missing. “Leave That Dog Alone.”
With her third solo record the singer from Dallas, Texas continues in her path as a rhythm and blues artist. As the daughter of Stax records artist Johnny Taylor who had several hits in the 60ies/70ies she grew up with the black music of the south and she continues with this tradition on her new record. Tasha has a warm, soulful voice, but she can also really turn it up. Fortunately, she does not do the annoying ad-lib screaming that many others of this genre do. All thirteen songs from this record are self-penned and qualitatively in the upper segment of current blues/soul productions. There are highs and very few lows – but all songs show Tasha’s feeling for the music of her father and her vocal competence. The production itself is also more traditional, with harmonious brass parts and Hammond organ. Honey For The Biscuit is a solid although not spectacular record but it is still highly recommended to all fans of traditional rhythm and blues because Tasha still has the edge over most of her competitors.
With these musicians backing her we knew already what to expect from Tasha Taylor’s third record: Honey For The Biscuit gets sweetened by guests like Keb Mo (voc and guitar on Family Tree) or Robert Randolphs (Lap steel guitar on Little Miss Suzie). Samantha Fish (ex Blues Caravan) makes wonderful sweet soul music on Leave That Dog Alone (Guitar and vocals). It ends with a duet with Tommy Castro on Some Old Thing. Résumé and quote of Tasha which her father would have liked: “I’m carrying on the next generation of rhythm, blues and soul. (…) It’s my family business – as well as my passion.”
Tasha Taylor, daughter of soul and blues singer Johnnie Taylor, feels like she is bridging the gap to the next generation of rhythm and blues. On Honey For The Biscuit she does not just cover tracks but creates own songs with a lot of soul. Those got also published in the booklet. Keb Mo, Robert Randolph, Samantha Fish and Tommy Castro join her as guest.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tasha Taylor was born in Dallas and raised on a tour bus. Her promising 2008 Revival debut preceded 2011’s Taylormade on which she covered her daddy’s “Who’s Makin’ Love.” Her third CD, Honey For The Biscuit (Ruf Records), makes your mouth water. She wrote all 13 tracks, plays a mighty fine guitar, sings like an angelic devil-girl—or a devilish angel—and has some kind of band pumping away behind her: bass, two more guitars, keyboards, percussion, three drummers and a full section of scintillating brass. Ooh, I do loves me some brass!
Her father, Johnny Taylor not only thrilled my 17-year-old soul in 1968 with “Who’s Making Love” but also my 22-year-old soul in 1973 with “Cheaper To Keep Her.” By the time his “Disco Lady” was the #1 song in America in 1976, I had moved on. Taylor became a popular Dallas discjockey in the 1980s before I rediscovered him as a stone cold bluesman in the 1990s (his Good Love topped the Billboard blues chart for a few weeks in 1996.) He died of a heart attack at the age of 66 16 years ago.
Tasha has a smooth vocal delivery that takes the rural out of the blues and injects it with some uptown funk. She studied drama at Boston University before co-starring on TV shows like “Ugly Betty” and “House.” It took her three years to write these songs on her guitar. She has a lot of friends. Some of ‘em show up here like Keb Mo on “Family Tree,” Robert Randolph on “Little Miss Suzie” (who provides some lap steel on this little country gem) and red hot mama Samantha Fish sings and stings her own damn guitar (“Leave That Dog Alone”) on a song about some no-good cheatin’ fool. Died-in-the-Wool bluesman Tommy Castro sings “Same Old Thing.” It’s a party.
– Mike Greenblatt
02 Weatherman – Tasha Taylor (from the album Honey for the Biscuit on Ruf Records) – Tasha Taylor knows that when storms rage on the inside she can count on her “Weatherman” for some sunshine. She recorded her recent release, Honey for the Biscuit, in Los Angeles for Euro-Roots label, Ruf Records. All trails lead back to Memphis with soulful Blues, and Tasha Taylor traces personal history back to Tennessee where her dad, Johnnie Taylor, recorded his Rhythm and Blues on the Stax label. – See more at: http://thealternateroot.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4987:alt-root-top-10-songs-of-the-week-04-30-16&catid=208:what-s-trending&Itemid=268#sthash.0b7hSEsM.dpuf
Tasha Taylor, daughter of Stax legend, Johnnie Taylor has found her sweet spot for making music. Her latest and third album, Honey For the Biscuit, is a wondrous cache of rhythm and blues with a whole lot of soul. The core band she has put together is quite the ensemble. It includes bassist Nathan Watts (Stevie Wonder), guitarists John Notto and Jon Taylor, pianist/keyboardist Don Wyatt, percussionist Mujungo Jackson, and Gerry Brown, Ronald Bruner and Stanley Randolph on drums. In addition, Taylor utilizes a full brass section.
The retro Motown vibe and lush sound of the horns in “Wedding Bells” quickly grab my attention. Taylor’s voice gets sultry while Wyatt and Watts keep the rhythm in a borderline trans-inducing state, keeping me hypnotized for the duration of the song. Taylor draws me in deeper with “Places I Miss”, a song about yearning to break free from a harmful relationship.
A song that puts a smile on my face is the light and bluesy “Family Tree”, with special guest Keb Mo appearing, guitar and microphone in hand. This eloquent ditty gets stuck in my head every time I hear it. Keb is not the only special guest who appears on this album. Robert Randolph sits in on the spirited “Little Miss Suzie” livening things up with his unique style on lap steel guitar. In “Leave That Dog Alone”, Taylor tackles the Blues with full force, enlisting the fiery Samantha Fish, who gives a ripping performance on guitar. Then, Taylor also shakes it on down with Tommy Castro, who lends vocals to the funky “Same Old Thing”.
According to Taylor, Honey For the Biscuit was three years in the making, and I believe it. The writing and composition of each of the thirteen tracks are reflective of a whole lot of heart and soul. Taylor shines as songwriter and singer both.
– Phillip Smith
“Honey For The Biscuit” from @TheTashaTaylor is an outstanding collection of soulful blues! And Tasha’s voice is absolutely transcendent. – @Lazlo_BUR
There’s nothing “rough” about Tasha Taylor, except, maybe, for her record label (Ruf Records). Everything else about here is smooth. As smooth as… well, as smooth as honey. Tasha Taylor was born to sing and play the blues; a daughter of Stax soul legend Johnnie Taylor, Tasha grew up surrounded by some of the music around. In her latest album, ‘Honey For The Biscuit,’ she offers 13 songs full of nuanced emotion and stellar musicianship.
Credit must be given to Taylor— a vocalist of supreme talent and power—for singing all original material on this, her third impressive album. While it would be great to hear her take on any number of classic soul numbers, her devotion to sustaining the ongoing story of the genre is even more rewarding. ‘Honey For The Biscuit’ is an album that benefits from putting your setting on repeat. The songs are of such quality that they grow more familiar with each listen. Some of the songs Taylor has written suggest that finding the honey in life is not always possible without encountering a few bees along the way. Still, the notes themselves (and her clear delivery) are satisfyingly sweet.
With high heels, a short skirt and her Gibson SG Tasha Taylor presents herself on the cover of her third studio record. She just toured through Europe with the Blues Caravan and her special mix of blues and soul. The super talent has music in her blood, as she is the daughter of Johnnie Taylor aka “The philosopher of soul” (how his label named him). His daughter is doing a very good job by transforming the traditional sound into the presence. Ten out of 13 songs are self-penned, sometimes romantic-sweet, sometimes energetic-hearty, all convincing with emotional depth and her sense for melodies and grooves. As guests appear Keb Mo, guitarist Samantha Fish and lap-steel ace Robert Randolph.
If somebody has the knack for songwriting and also has a fantastic voice, then these are already two good conditions for a successful record production. And as Tasha Taylor definitely is that kind of person, Ruf Records did everything right by adding the US-American singer (and actress) and thereby also a new timbre to the label portfolio. Even if it is said in the release info that this record is very close to the Blues, its main genre is the soul – which might be because Tasha (according to her own words) kind of grew up in the tour bus of her father Johnnie Taylor. Recorded in Los Angeles Tasha had illustrious guests (including a three piece horn section) supporting her on her third studio record that is groovy, fresh, modern and that is deeply rooted in the traditions of the Memphis-soul: Keb Mo, sacred steel master Robert Randolph, label colleague Samantha Fish and Tommy Castro.
Tasha Taylor explores her FAMILY TREE with this great new album
I’m a big fan of Samantha Fish (please check her out too!) so when I heard that Ms Fish contributes her guitar & vox on “Leave That Dog Alone” on HONEY FOR THE BISCUIT I bought the track. After hearing Tasha Taylor I bought the whole album. Now I admit that I am too young to have listened to Tasha’s dad Johnnie Taylor but this wonderful mix of soul and blues made me listen to his hit songs. Tasha captures the feeling with the tune Family Tree (with guest Keb Mo’) Blues fans will enjoy Same Old Thing featuring Tommy Castro & Little Miss Suzie (Robert Randolph on lap steel) The album also has a shot of Nashville with songs co-written by Grammy winner Tom Hambridge & Richard Flemming (the aforementioned “Dog” plus Weatherman & How Long.
Tasha produced HONEY FOR THE BISCUIT leading her stellar band Nathan Watts (bass), John Notto (guitar), Jon Taylor (guitar), Don Wyatt (piano/organ), Munjungo Jackson (percussion) and drummers Gerry Brown, Ronald Bruner, and Stanley Randolph. Tasha plays guitar and percussion (in addition to her amazing vocals) The sound of a full brass section (Jamelle Williams, Matthew DeMeritt, and Lemar Buillary) adds that Southern Soul sound making HONEY FOR THE BISCUIT a sublime listening experience.
Kendra J. Long
The note of « Paris on the move »: 3/4 (GOOD)
The least we can say is that the little newcomer in the German label is starting very strong! Of course it is her third album, after Taylormade, in 2011, and Revival, in 2008, but, coming from the Rhythm and Blues and Soul scene, her quite new foray in the Blues world appears surprising and delightful! Tasha is one of the four children of the great Johnnie Taylor (19342000), the very one who, for a long time with Stax, recorded about 20 albums for the famous label, but for Columbia Records or Malaco Records to. The one who was billed as «The Philosopher of Soul» has been given a Pioneer Award by The Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1999.
More often close to Soul Music than to Blues, Mrs Taylor’s album can delight a lot of Blues fans, because she has talent to spare. Singer, songwriter and musician, she composed ten songs of this Honey For The Biscuit and worked with Tom Hambridge and Richard Fleming for the three others.
The first one, Tom, producer, songwriter, musician, and singer, composed Rock, Country, and Blues titles for more than 40 albums, and the second one, Richard, managed to produce for Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, George Thorogood or Devon Allman, no less, and not including the pieces he composed.
Tasha Taylor performs, accompanied by an 11 musicians band, no less, in which one of Robert Randolph’s sons his on drums and herself on guitar and keyboards. Four prestigious guests joined them: Keb Mo on Family Tree, Robert Randolph on Little Miss Suzie, Samanta Fish on Leave That Dog Alone, and Tommy Castro on Same Old Thing.
A great discovery like all those Thomas Ruf allowed us to make!
ParisMove & Blues Magazine (Fr)
CURRENTLY BEING PLAYED ON “BIKER STREET RADIO SHOW” #556
Tasha Taylor (Vocals, guitar, percussions),
Nathan Watts ( bass), John Notto ( guitar ), Jon Taylor ( guitar ), Don Wyatt (keyboard) and Munjungo Jackson ( percussions), Gerry Brown, Ronald Bruner, and Stanley Randolph (drums), and Jamelle Williams, Matthew DeMeritt, and Lemar Buillary ( horns )
Guests: Keb ‘Mo’, Robert Randolph, Tommy Castro and Samantha Fish)
We had the opportunity to hear and see Tasha Taylor during the New Blues Generation Tour (in France) and some people had been a little bit disappointed. It is important to say that being the daughter of a star of Soul Music such as Johnnie Taylor, creates expectations that are doubtless a burden when you have to give way in the job.
Her new CD allows us to review this artist who seems to have widely progressed and who takes place among the singers we have to reckon with today.
Admittedly this music is for entertainment and for dance, according to her own words ; on the whole, a pleasant and light music, in which blues is never far off.
Tasha also have the benefit of a musical accompaniment (which doesn’t mean “heavy”) and of the presence of efficient distinguished guests.
The directory includes various aspects of the African-American music and shows Tasha’s implication in the long history of Great Black Music. As far as I’m concerned, this album is a real success and you will certainly listen to it several times, especially if you are not exclusively interested in Blues.
I loved « Leave That Dog Alone », in which Tommy Castro, magnificent, and Samantha Fish both support the singer on a fascinating rhythm. Another love story which turns out badly: « He wouldn’t stop messing around on me … I had to throw is stuff out on the street ». I also loved the sensual « Wheaterman » which incredibly swings, with Tasha’s singing « rambling with ease » in a background of riffs and choruses, or also the dynamical « How Long » able to make a paralytic get up and dance. And, as an added bonus, a beautiful guitar part…I don’t forget « Wedding Bells » with a very nice sax …
The CD ends with a « Same Old Thing » shared with Castro.
A CD recommended to all Soul, RnB and Blues lovers.
Translated by Jean-Loup Guillot
Red Hot and Blue Sisters
“Texan girl Tasha Taylor had the roots of her Soul star father Johnnie’s sound to draw on”
Tasha Taylor Interview
“I’m always getting mixed up by people with Cassie Taylor who think my father was Otis. I’m Johnnie Taylor’s daughter, so please don’t get mixed up!”