The late Vera Taylor (wife of Eddie "Playboy" Taylor) never set out to be a singer. In fact she almost happened into singing, initially by getting up to do one or two songs when her husband was gigging in Chicago. "You Better Be Careful" is her first full length CD, and very good it is too.
Backed throughout by her sons Eddie Junior (guitar) and Tim (drums), Vera Taylor commanded enough respect to also attract the services of Johnny B. Moore, Willie Kent, Eddie Shaw and Ken Barker. The end result is a sound that bears the Chicago Westside hallmark of an earlier era, but without ever sounding tired or anachronistic.
Taylor was a very good singer, with a voice that portrays an element of nonchalance about the whole thing. She obviously did care about the music, though, and takes songwriting credits for all bar one of the tracks here. The lineage of some of the songs is pretty apparent, but that is no
surprise in the blues.
There is bags of good stuff here, from the opening "Ain't Gonna Cry" (from Eddie Taylor Junior's album "Lookin' For Trouble") through to the closing cut of "Why Do Everything I Do Go Wrong." Most of the tracks were recorded in 1999, with the exception of the opener, and two very distinctive-and excellent-tracks from her husband's last recording session in 1983 ("I Found Out" and "I Have The Blues"). It is "What Is Wrong With You"-from the same pedigree as "Help Me"-which just about comes out on top as the best track, however.
"You Better Be Careful" is a very good album, which shows just how good a singer Vera Taylor was. It is tremendously sad that she did not live to reap the rewards that she richly deserved. A very good singer, backed by a set of crack Chicago bluesmen, all armed with a set of fine tunes all adds up to making "You Better Be Careful" a recommended purchase. More details can be found on the Wolf Records web site (www.wolfrec.com or www.onstage.at/wolfrec).
This review is copyright © 2000 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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