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Stepping out front, at last

Still Not Ready for Eddie
Still Not Ready for Eddie
By Eddie Taylor

Antone's Records: 1987

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This review first appeared in the San Diego Evening Tribune.

Eddie Taylor was the guitar sound behind Jimmy Reed's great Vee Jay recordings of the 1950s and '60s, and he also played rhythm guitar on many of John Lee Hooker's recordings. He recorded only sporadically as a leader, though, and passed away on Christmas Day in 1985, in his adopted hometown of Chicago.

"Still Not Ready for Eddie" was recorded shortly before his death during one of his many visits to Antone's, the blues oasis in Austin, Texas. Clifford Antone, proprietor of the club, used a 24-track recorder to capture Taylor jamming with such notables as fellow guitarists Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Rogers and Luther Tucker; pianist Sunnyland Slim; and harpist Snooky Pryor.

Tunes like "If You Don't Want Me Baby," with its catchy riffs and smooth vocals, show Taylor to be still in his prime right near the end, confident and in control.