Taylor Made Blues
- Baby Face Louise 3:03
- Taylor Made Blues 5:12
- Prison Song 4:16
- I’m Getting Late 2:52
- In the Day 3:47
- With Friends Like Mine 4:06
- Lungs 4:29
- Keep A Goin 3:07
- Left Too Soon 5:39
- Can’t Get Next To You 3:32
- My Hurry Done Broke 3:44
- Raul Was My Friend 4:22
Like my previous blues albums, Jeff Jensen produced Taylor Made Blues and sweat blood while coordinating the work. Also like my previous work, all the proceeds for the sales of this record will go to the Blues Foundation. This new record has even more variety than the previous ones. I called it Taylor Made Blues because living in Taylor Mississippi has allowed me to be more in touch with myself – to get a better handle on what’s important, and I wanted to share some of that with you. I have brought in some old friends to help out, especially Jeff Jensen and Bill Ruffino – who continue to be the musical backbone of my work, along with trusted allies James Cunningham, Chris Stephenson, Eric Hughes, Victor Wainwright, and Reba Russell, who have once again brought their special magic to my musical ideas.
I’m also joined by some other special friends on this album: “Long Tall” Deb Landolt and Colin John came to Memphis to spend a few days adding their immense talent to the mix; my “nephew” the Mississippi Blues Child Castro (Mr. Sipp) Coleman joined in to add some special guitar playing on a tune; and the amazing Tullie Brae stopped on her way through town to add some vocal help. That’s money no matter how you look at it, and I’m richer because of these great and talented friends.
The dozen songs that made the final cut for this record cover a lot of ground, from down home blues to ethereal jazzy blues to protest funk to songs that aren’t easily classified – but each is filled with emotion and feeling. This is the most deeply personal album I’ve done, reflecting the events of the past year and more.
Baby Faced Louise (Mick Kolassa)
Baby faced Louise is a down-home tune that started out to be a song about a fishing fly and ended up a love song about my wife, Molli, who has never really cared for things like diamonds or gold or fancy wardrobe. Her natural beauty and charm have kept me very satisfied and well-grounded for over 4 decades. Musically this song is a celebration, and Eric Hughes joins us for some great harp, really helping to make this a fun song!
Taylor Made Blues (Mick Kolassa)
Taylor Made Blues is about the place where I live, Taylor Mississippi. We have a post office, a restaurant, a gas station nearby and dozens of artists’ studios. The restaurant, Taylor Grocery, is only open on weekends, but whenever its open people line up to get in – they even have tailgating get togethers in the parking lot – so they can enjoy the hospitality, the music, and what Southern Living Magazine called “The best catfish in the south.” Yea, you could say I’m satisfied!
Prison Song (Graham Nash)
I have sung this song since the early 70s, it was a standard part of my acoustic sets for decades, but always in its original form, which was with a faster tempo. This arrangement takes Graham Nash’s song into the blues realm, and I just followed where it took me. I also did a little lyrical updating to make it more current. This is one of two songs that we spent a great deal of time in producing, bringing all the sonic colors we could to help tell the story. Colin John’s lap steel guitar brings a wonderful feel to this song.
I’m Getting Late (Mick Kolassa)
Victor Wainwright suggested that I write this song after he heard me use the tagline “It’s tired and I’m getting late,” something I have said for decades. I wrote it and asked Vic to stop by and play on it – and man did he! This number is pure fun, with a New Orleans twist, and one of a couple where I start to acknowledge that I am getting a bit older than I wish I was.
In The Day (Mick Kolassa)
This is a protest song, but I decided to channel 1970s funk to get the feeling and delivery right. When people tell me how good life used to be and how bad things are now in America I just have to scratch my head and wonder what planet they have lived on – this song expresses that thought. Backing vocals for this song were provided by Tullie Brae, Long Tall Deb Landolt and Reba Russell – that right there is enough to make you want to listen!
With Friends Like Mine (Mick Kolassa)
I’m one of the luckiest guys on the planet, with great friends that I can always count on. My blues family is amazing, and in this song I celebrate and thank all those amazing people.
Lungs (Townes Van Zandt)
Townes Van Zandt was simply one of the best songwriters who ever lived – regardless of genre. He once said “there are two kinds of song, blues and zippety doo dah.” Townes could write some downright tragic songs, and this is one of his best. Like The Prison Song I slowed this one down to drive the seriousness home. Chris Stephenson’s piano playing on this simply took my breath away, and Colin John’s musical additions – lap steel and baby sitar – allowed us to produce this song in a way that, I hope, brings new appreciation to the amazing talent of Townes Van Zandt.
Keep A Goin (Frank Stanton & Mick Kolassa)
Keep A Goin is an old poem, one I have heard my entire life. My mother read it to me as a child and Reba Russell’s mother read it to her. Reba joined Deb Landolt and me in singing this song and Colin’s slide work helps to make it even more fun. It’s a positive message that everyone needs to hear.
Left Too Soon (Mick Kolassa)
Last year I lost the best friend I ever had; Ted Todd was my brother in law, but also my brother in the blues. We hung out and hung on for 40 years, and this song is my reaction to losing him. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. Jeff suggested that the song should close in a very rocking way, because that’s what Ted liked best – and I think he would approve.
Can’t Get Next To You (N Whitfield and B Strong)
People who know me and my music know that I like to take songs from my teenage years and bluesify them. This great tune, written by one of the greatest songwriting teams of all time (check out what they have done, it will stun you), was and remains a favorite of mine. In slowing it down and making it into more of a shuffle than have others, I think I’ve made it bluesier than it has been before, and with Castro “Mr Sipp” Coleman joining in on guitar it gets even bluesier! Reba and Deb add backing vocals that are simply superb.
My Hurry Done Broke (Mick Kolassa)
This is another song about getting older, and it’s based on a true story – I really did have a guy come up behind me, while I was walking with a cane, and ask me to hurry up. And I told him “my hurry done broke.” After that I just had to write the song!
Raul Was My Friend (Mick Kolassa)
Raul Navarette was an amazing guy, a Belizean fishing guide and a dear friend. He died too young, and this is the song I wrote about him. In case you wonder, a “panga” is a Central American boat, and Raul poled his through the skinny waters of the Belizean coast as we fished, and talked and joked. He made me a better fisherman and more important, a better man
Mick Kolassa is a lifelong musician and hardcore blues fan who also happens to be on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation. Although Mick is principally the lead vocalist and songwriter on this album, his acoustic guitar work is featured on several of the songs on this album, especially The Prison Song, My Hurry Done Broke and Taylor Made Blues
Jeff Jensen worked with me to produce this record, and as should be expected he also played some stunning guitar. I’ve said this before, but once again this album is easily as much his as it is mine and I will be forever indebted to him for his work, support, guidance, and sense of humor throughout this process.
Bill Ruffino is simply a fantastic bassist and exceptional man – who keeps getting better. I’ve never met anyone with an equal level of determination to be sure that everything he does is as good as it can be – then he pushes to make it better. His contributions to this album are especially great and he really went all out to give the songs what they needed.
James Cunningham contributed to my previous albums but this time we managed to find him healthy and available for the whole thing. Jumpin James is an institution in Memphis music. I’ve known and played with James for a number of years, and knew that I could count on him to bring his percussion magic to this record. James is a seasoned drummer who can always be relied on, but his skill with the traps is equally great, and the little things he can add to a record turn into big deals when you listen.
Chris Stephenson is an unsung hero of Beale Street. A rock solid artist and true gentleman, Chris has shared his talent with me on all three of my blues records, but this time he went over the top. His piano work on Lungs still takes my breath away.
“Long Tall” Deb Landolt is a crazy lady with a fantastic voice and a heart as big as her home state of Texas. She joined up with us to add some of her great vocal work to this album, and I feel blessed for having her as a friend and contributor to the album. I look forward to making a lot more music, and trouble, with Deb!
Colin John has been playing blues guitar for a long time, and he just keeps getting better. He brought an assortment of stringy things to the sessions and added so much life to the songs that I still grin when I listen to them. He’s also a great guy to hang around with and with him and Deb I had one of the most enjoyable weeks of my life!
Reba Russell is a pleasure to be around and an honor to work with. She’s generous with her time and talent, and she holds nothin back! Once again she has stepped in to add a lot to my work, and I love her for it.
Eric Hughes is one of those people that you can always count on to help you out, to make you smile, and to just keep on keepin on. He’s one of the most entertaining performers you can see (and hear) and he can walk into a session and lay down some of the sweetest music you will ever hear!
Victor Wainwright is a dear friend, an amazing entertainer, and an all-around good person. I’m honored to have Vic as a friend, and thrilled whenever we can spend time together.
Castro Coleman (aka Mr. Sipp, the Mississippi Blues Child) is not only one of the fastest rising stars in the blues world, my “nephew” is also one of the nicest persons you could ever know. He had three days at home between two major tours, and took one of those days to play on this record, and I am so happy that he did!
Tullie Brea is a great singer and keyboard player and, as with many of my friends, is as sweet a person as you can find. Tullie stopped by while we were recording and added her sweet voice in some great backup work. I’m so glad she did, and you will be too.