Antique Blues Man

Veteran blues singer Otis Taylor is seasoned, but he won´t break

In fairness, before Taylor made a name for himself as a musician, he was a dealer in Native American artifacts, and he still collects antiques to this day. But luckily for the blues world, after a 19-year hiatus from the blues, Taylor started recording again in 1995. He quickly reestablished himself, recording unapologetically controversial material on albums like Blue Eyed Monster and When Negroes Walked the Earth. His music was ultrablack and not in the least bit fashioned for the white audiences who appreciated its honesty -- but that contrast is part of what makes Taylor who he is.

He´s been recording music with fervor and has put out eight albums since 1995, including his most recent, Definition of a Circle, on the famous Telarc label. The album is a bit more electric than most of his material but still dark and full of heavy topics. One thing that´s not heavy on Definition of a Circle is the album name itself. ¨I just liked it,¨ he says. ¨I could give you some jive answers about how the black man´s still in slavery...¨ and then he trails off and starts to laugh.

His wife, who´s sitting next to him in the car during the interview, finishes the sentence for him. ¨My wife says I´m not that deep,¨ he says as they share a chuckle. It´s the laugh of a man and a woman who are enjoying life, and Taylor seems to be worlds apart from the unhappy singer who quit music to deal in antiques.

Otis Taylor on the blues: ¨African-Americans are always playing second fiddle in our own genres.¨
Otis Taylor on the blues: ¨African-Americans are always playing second fiddle in our own genres.¨


Otis Taylor performs Friday, June 22, at Sunrise Civic Center Theater, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $8. Call 954-747-4646, or visit Taylor also plays Saturday, June 23, at the Bamboo Room, 25 S. J St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $22. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Call 561-585-258, or visit

Part of the reason he´s excited to perform in Florida this weekend, he says, is to see what goods he can find for his personal collection.

¨Florida has always been one of my favorite places to shop,¨ Taylor says with a laugh. ¨I´m always searching for old instruments, mandolins, banjos, guitars, paintings... I´m looking forward to loading up.¨

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