Dudley Taft "Left For Dead" Album Review

Goatee-bearded Dudley Taft, 44, has learned his trade with great observation and dedication during spells with Sweet Water and Second Coming, and it's paid off handsomely.

Dudley Taft, 44, has learned his trade with great observation and dedication during spells with Sweet Water and Second Coming, and it’s paid off handsomely.

‘Left For Dead’ is not only a showboating exercise it is jaw-droppingly awesome, particularly if you like your licks with touch and finesse. In my opinion he has the touch of say Paul Kossoff / Jimmy Page and the blues sensibilities of Stevie Ray Vaughan, so that, by definition, places him in great company. Technically, Taft is nigh on perfect. Stylistically he is mightily impressive. At no stage do get the feeling that his sojourns are gratuitous, because everything you’d expect is in the right place, and time. Taft writes great originals such as thrusting opener ‘Ain’t No Game’ which sets the tone perfectly. Skip one, and we get to ‘Broken Down’ a thumping rocker with splashes of nifty brass dressing and a guitar solo that’s on fire.

‘On long Way Down…’ he opts for a more bluesy effect with sharp wiry licks, and should he choose a single to promote the album, then this is it. ‘For Blue Lady’, he’s gone for a lazy template on this mid-paced ballad with very subtle solos a la Gary Moore.

In addition, he has masterfully chosen some excellent cover versions to add to his arsenal of tricks, particularly Charlie Patton’s ‘When Your Way Gets Dark’, treating it with great sensitivity and respect, dropping in exquisite bottleneck and acoustic flourishes. Billy Miles’ ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’, (a slow ballad spanning over 7 minutes,) showcases his finely-honed skills, and when the laidback licks kick in, they are simply breathtaking, with his rustic voice only adding to the thrill of the listening experience.

Ex-Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green’s ‘Drifting’ is truly dusted down and given a new lease of life, but once again, the original’s sensibilities are kept intact with some dazzling solos, par excellence, with blues bassist Willie Dixon’s ‘Seventh Son’ brought bang up-to-date (and virtually unrecognizable) in a rock format, minus the original’s honky -tonk piano tinkling and rhythm and blues shuffle. Again Dixon’s Back Door Man is more aggressive, but sadly missing the original’s harmonica breaks, though it remains a blistering cover, nevertheless.

The verdict – Stunning!

Left For Dead Track Listings

  1. Ain’t No Game
  2. Back Door Man
  3. Broken Down
  4. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
  5. Left For Dead
  6. When Your Way Gets Dark
  7. Devil’s Crown
  8. Long Way Down
  9. Blue Lady
  10. Drifting
  11. Seventh Son
  12. If You’ll Come Home


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