Larry Taylor

They Were in This House

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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

If you're going to have a career in music, it's important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Being great at one thing doesn't automatically mean a person is great (or even competent) at another; the history of music is full of excellent guitarists, bassists, drummers, and horn players who turned out to be mediocre or lousy vocalists when -- for whatever reason -- they decided to take up singing. But Larry Taylor has no problem making the transition from drummer to singer on They Were in This House, the Chicago blues/soul veteran's first album as a leader. Taylor, who was 48 when this release came out in 2004, is no newcomer; he has been around the Windy City blues scene a long time and has played the drums for a long list of blues heavyweights over the years. But as a recording artist/singer, he was a late bloomer -- and while Taylor doesn't have a huge vocal range, he is an expressive, convincing vocalist who has no problem getting his emotional points across on either hardcore electric Chicago blues or hardcore soul. Taylor handles himself pleasingly well on blues items like Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," Elmore James' "Knocking at Your Door," and Jimmy Reed's "Signals of Love" as well as on two songs that are associated with the late soul man Johnnie Taylor: "Jody Got Your Girl and Gone" and "Last $2." They Were in This House (which Larry Taylor produced with his manager Bonni McKeown, aka Barrelhouse Bonni) isn't groundbreaking -- no one will accuse Taylor of being innovative -- but it's a solid, enjoyable demonstration of the fact that the Chicagoan made a wise decision when he decided to start recording as a singer.

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