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More El Toro Records

Gene Taylor With CC Jerome's Jet Setters (USA / HOLLAND)
Let Me Ride In Your Automobile
© El Toro Records 2010

Hello, everyone...

I'd like to take a moment to tell you a bit about the music on my new CD -- "Let Me Ride In Your Automobile" -- which is coming out on El Toro Records.

When label founder Carlos Diaz came up with the idea of me recording a disc for El Toro, he suggested that I use CC Jerome's Jetsetters as the backing band. I had known the accomplished roots-rock guitarist CC Jerome for about ten years or so and, since I was in Belgium at the time and he and the Jetsetters (bassist Deon Buck and drummer Coen Molenschot) were right over the border in Holland, it seemed like a cool idea. El Toro is a label which is well known for spotlighting American-style roots music, rockabilly and rhythm & blues, so I figured that's the kind of direction we would take. I tried to focus on the type of musical material somewhat similar to what I used to play with The Blasters during our 1980's Los Angeles heyday and maybe throw in some ideas from my later years with The Fabulous Thunderbirds down in Austin, Texas.

Anyway, I'd written some rockers, a couple of different-sounding grooves, plus two instrumentals, while also selecting four songs by others to cover, including the title track. I wanted the sound and feel of the music to be live and spontaneous and Jerome and the guys all agreed. Our producer/engineer Roel knew exactly what we were looking for and we were able to record each song in either one or two takes with a minimal amount of overdubs. As luck would have it, a good buddy of mine, Nick Curran, was gigging around Holland and Belgium and he contributed some smokin' guitar on a couple of these tracks. On "The Golden Rule" Nick's guitar is on the left stereo channel while Jerome's guitar can be heard on the right and they each take blistering solos on this cut. "The Walkout", has Nick handling all the lead guitar with Jerome playing a ferocious backbeat along with Coen's snare drum throughout the song. Listen to the dueling bass lines, a combination of the left hand of the piano and Deon's upright bass, which occur at various times on this one. Thanks, Nick…killer, bro!

The opening instrumental, "Evangeline Stomp", features Jerome's guitar laying down a solid rhythm as the piano and Martin "Tinez" Van Toor's tenor sax battle it out. Flat-out rockers such as "Rockin' Little Honey", the hillbilly boogie classic "Seven Nights To Rock" and a souped-up version of Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's "Motorhead Baby" are the kinds of upbeat, jump-style, boogie-woogie vocal numbers that I started out playing as a youngster. The guitar, piano and tenor sax absolutely wail on these cuts. The rhumba-flavored "Just A Midnight Girl" (a cool bridge section and check out Jeffrey Thielens' fine harmonica solo), the funky "Never Took The Time" (lots of instrumental fireworks and a nice back-up vocal chorus by Holland's Birgit Wijdemans) and the gospel-inspired "The Blues To Me" (a really good horn arrangement by Martin and some soulful guitar by Jerome here) were all written especially for this CD and each one goes off in a bit of a different direction. I'm also pleased that I was able to record a song which I often play live, the swamp-pop favorite, "Shirley Jean". The title cut, "Let Me Ride In Your Automobile", was recorded in one take with no overdubs whatsoever and is the type of West Coast-cool blues that I heard and played growing up in Los Angeles. We loosely follow Lowell Fulson's arrangement on this song, which I occasionally played live with him back in the early 1970's. The closing instrumental, the up-tempo "Flying With Whitey", is a boogie-woogie which I composed as a tribute to the Air Force squadron commander of a friend of mine back in the United States and it wraps up the disc with some wild guitar, saxophone and piano.

So there you have it. That's my new disc on El Toro Records and, on behalf of everyone who helped make it happen, I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed playing this music.

Thanks and warmest regards,

-----Gene Taylor

Gene Taylor is an extraordinary blues piano-player and singer, born in Los Angeles, California, in 1952. At the age of eight, he came under the influence of a family of blues and boogie-woogie players who moved in next door to his house. After starting out with the drums, he switched to the piano and the guitar at age ten. He learned very quickly playing by ear and, at age 11, he began performing in a 'family band' with his best friend Jim Payne and Jim's parents. They worked occasional neighborhood functions, giving Gene his first experience as a 'paid musician'---playing and singing country music.

Having lost both his parents and brother by the age of 15, Gene was firmly committed to the life of a musician. After obtaining his driver's license at age 16---and looking much older, thanks to an already-receding hairline---he started finding local work with such L.A.-based blues legends as Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, and Pee-Wee Crayton. In his own words, "Well, I was playing good boogie-woogie and pretty fair blues at this point, and going to blues jams with my fake ID (identification). The word got out that I wanted to work! Since I was young and would work cheap, I was hired by these guys sometimes as a 'fill-in' on local gigs for the older piano players who weren't available or wanted too much money!" (laughter) "But I was a quick learner and I had a car---all the better to drive the older guys around!" (more laughter) This experience was invaluable to Gene's musical foundation. And during this period, he met both James Harman and Phil and Dave Alvin---who later formed The Blasters.

After working for James Harman during most of 1974, Gene was asked to join Canned Heat. He was a member of this legendary band from November, 1974 until June, 1976---giving him his first international exposure.

After leaving Canned Heat, Gene worked as a solo performer around Long Beach, California. He had a 2-year 'house-gig' at a notorious Long Beach bar called the Falcon's Nest, owned by a now-deceased gangster. At this lively spot, Gene's audience occasionally included various Los Angeles-area celebrities---most notably, actor Robert Blake and poet Charles Bukowski.

In 1978, Gene immigrated to Toronto, Canada, to play music with his friend Morgan Davis, a well-known Canadian bluesman. He was based in Canada from 1978-1993---though he continued to perform with other artists world-wide. During his years in Canada, Gene found time to play and record with the Downchild Blues Band, Chris and Ken Whitely, and the one-and-only Ronnie Hawkins (founder of The Band). During this period he also was a member of The Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor Band---releasing a Juno Award-winning album, "The Return Of The Formerly Brothers" (1987) and another recording, "Live In Japan" (I990).

While working with his good friend James Harman again, in 1981, Gene was asked to join the Blasters---a band comprised of four friends from his teenage years (Phil and Dave Alvin, John Bazz, and Bill Bateman). He played with The Blasters for 4 1/2 years, recording four critically-acclaimed albums for Warner Brothers records and appearing on every important music television show of the period. In 1984 The Blasters were also featured in Walter Hill's major motion-picture, "Streets Of Fire", for Universal Films. Gene also released his first solo record, 'Handmade', in 1986. If this wasn't enough, he also toured with the late Rick Nelson, between Blasters engagements. After leaving the Blasters at the end of 1985, and recording 'Handmade', Gene worked around Canada as a solo artist and with the Downchild Blues Band---a band that, years before, had inspired their fellow-Canadian Dan Akroyd to create the "Blues Brothers". In 1992 Gene played on the live Red Devils recording, "King King" (produced by Rick Rubin for Def American records)---since this band was founded by his old friend Bill Bateman, the drummer with the original Blasters. He also did 2 more Blasters tours in 1991 and 1992.

In 1993, Gene relocated to Austin, Texas, and joined The Fabulous Thunderbirds, remaining with this internationally-acclaimed band until September of 2006. During his almost-14 years with the T-Birds, he toured the world constantly and recorded two studio albums and one live album with the band---plus, a live DVD! He also played on 2 of T-Bird leader Kim Wilson's solo CDs. In 2003, Gene released a self-titled CD on the Pacific Blues label and participated in all the tours and recordings of the 'Original Blasters Reunion' from 2002-2003. He has also appeared on a recording (2006) with his dear friend, legendary L.A. bluesman, Carlos Guitarlos---and of course, Gene continues to record and perform with his friend of over 35 years, 'Icepick James' Harman (13 records and counting!).


1. Evangeline Stomp
2. Rockin' Little Honey
3. Just A Midnight Girl
4. The Golden Rule
5. Seven Nights To Rock
6. Never Took The Time
7. The Blues To Me
8. The Walkout
9. Shirley Jean
10. Motorhead Baby
11. Let Me Ride In Your Automobile
12. Flying With Whitey

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