Otis Taylor might well be the best and most inspired of contemporary bluesmen. His White African album was a masterpiece -- which makes the task of following it doubly difficult. With Respect the Dead, however, he does a superb job -- the man is still very much on a roll. Kicking off with the stark, banjo-led "Ten Million Slaves," the intensity level never dips. It doesn't matter whether he's basing a song around a single chord, as he does on "Hands on Your Stomach," or simply using voice and harmonica on "Baby So," there's a remarkable urgency about his singing and lyrics, never more so than with "Black Witch," a tale of the American South that goes right back to Africa -- but the album returns and takes its tone to Mexico and racing for "Three Stripes on a Cadillac." The support, from Kenny Passarelli, Cassie Taylor, and atmospheric lead guitarist Eddie Turner, always serves to push the tension of the songs even higher. Taylor doesn't work within standard blues structures, and his lyrics stray far from the standard blues lines to encompass history and mythology. Where others seem content with the established limits, Taylor is pushing them further and further -- and in doing so, he's making some of the most exciting music around.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson