|Floyd Jones and Eddie Taylor|
|Floyd Jones with Big Walter Horton and Sunnyland Slim|
The 60's were a lean time for recording blues, at least compared to the 50's and many of these artists were happy for the opportunity to be heard and made the most of it. There were four volumes of Masters of Modern Blues (we'll look at the rest in the future) with other sets from J.B. Hutto, Johnny Shines, Robert Nighthawk, and Houston Stackhouse in the collection. Others who recorded for Testament included Honeyboy Edwards, Sleepy John Estes, Otis Spann, Big Joe Williams, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Big John Wrencher. Testament also released some marvelous collections focusing on slide guitarists, harmonica players, fife and drum bands, and topical albums.
Volume 3 of Masters of Modern Blues features eight sides from Floyd Jones and eight from Eddie Taylor recorded in 1966. Both artists sound like they are making up for lost time on these tracks. Jones has two versions of "Dark Road" on this set (one previously unreleased) as well as new versions of "Hard Times" and "Stockyard Blues." His other sides are pretty much in keeping with his usual approach, although "Sweet Talkin' Woman" is fairly upbeat. Taylor also reproduces his two favorites, "Bad Boy" (also with an alternate take) and "Big Time Playboy," while turning in splendid performances on other tunes like "Train Fare Home," "Feel So Bad," and "After Hours."
As noteworthy as these two artists' performances are, they are enhanced by the performance of their backing band. Jones played bass and Taylor guitar on each track, and they are supported by an all-star trio - Otis Spann on piano, Big Walter Horton on harmonica, and Fred Below on drums. One couldn't ask for a better band playing behind them.
This was a fantastic set of blues from a couple of artists who didn't really get the opportunities that they deserved during their lifetimes. In fact, I was so excited to hear this set that I ended up ordering the other three volumes of the series and pulled out a couple of other Testament recordings I've picked up over the years, Down Home Slide and Down Home Harp. There's great listening ahead!!