TAZ TAYLOR BAND – Straight Up [2012 Remix]
With the recent TAZ TAYLOR BAND album, one of you asked for his second record but in Taylor’s own version, remixed and with a new artwork. So here it is this very good CD , Taz Taylor Band’s “Straight Up [2012 Remix]“.
Taz Taylor is a British born guitar virtuoso who has now been based in San Diego for some while. His recording career started with a solo instrumental album, before forming The Taz Taylor Band and recording ‘Welcome To America’ with legend Graham Bonnet at the mic. This album generated great feedback and success and worldwide tours ensued.
A change of singer in the form of Keith Slack (Michael Schenker Group, Steelhouse Lane) was made in the follow up album, “Straight Up”, which was an European release only, in 2009.
Taylor says: “Straight Up was never properly promoted. It came out just when the economy went in the toilet. We abandoned our plans to tour Europe… it was terrible timing, really. It always kind of bothered us that it was an album that had been forgotten.”
Now, the recording is being re-released for the first time in USA as “Straight Up 2012 Remix”, rebuilt from the ground up.
“We were never 100 percent happy with the mix,” Taylor says. “Looking back, we felt that we really rushed it. So I spent a bit of time in the studio and remixed the album. It sounds 100 percent better.
We changed the running order as well and used new artwork.”
Ironically, the idea for the re-release first arose while demoing new material. “We’re working on some songs for possible future release, but we realized that we also had this album of music that never had a chance to be exposed to people the U.S.
In fact, we only played those songs onstage twice. So, we decided to do some shows playing the entire album all the way through. And if we’re doing that, it makes sense to make the album available with the sound we wanted originally.”
“Straight Up 2012 Remix” is a rockin’ album, with long time member Val Trainor on drums and Taz covering guitar and bass duties. The guest star 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.
But half of the success in this great collection of rockers is superb singer Keith Slack. He shined on both memorable Steelhouse Lane albums, and do so here.
Listening his close to perfection fully fledged raspy, blues drenched, (smooth when needed) performance in a similar timbre to David Coverdale, I wonder why this guy isn’t hired by other rock acts as frontman. What a waste of talent.
Anyway, Slack gives to these classic hard rock / melodic hard songs a special emotion, very much of a belter and growler which is a fantastic counterpoint to Taz’s meticulous and dexterous guitar work.
“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 ’80s song in the style of Journey’s “Stone In Love’ and it works flawlessly. Slack’s vocals excel in this mid tempo type of song.
The next track, “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. It’s quite unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time and is utterly captivating. The guitar playing is simply perfect and the singing is, if possible, even better.
The following numbers “The Fugitive” and “Bring It” increase the tempo, with the latter employing some classy hi-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 melodies before nicely being tied up by Airey’s closing piano passage.
The hard hitting “Information Overload” has a note-laden catchy riff and strong chorus, whilst in ‘Lock And Load’ Slack’s vocals really do go all Led Zepp.
“Straight Up Remix 2012” is a truly enjoyable Classic Hard Rock record plenty of great songs, a blazing guitar work and vocals to match.
Loose, pure rock ‘n roll full of inspired melodies, soaring melodic guitar leads anchored by an arsenal of catchy and memorable hard rock riffs. Performances are all A* rated.
The production and remix is very uncluttered and arranged so that you envisage the band playing the tracks live as a four piece.
Very, Highly Recommended.
01 – In Harms Way
02 – Never Letting Go
03 – One More Night
04 – The Fugitive
05 – Bring It
06 – Straight Up
07 – What You Need
08 – Information Overload
09 – Razor Tongue
10 – Wait No More
11 – Lock And Load
Bass, Guitar, Keyboards – Taz Taylor
Vocals – Keith Slack
Drums – Val Trainor
Keyboards, Piano – Don Airey
BUY IT !