Sam Taylor Blues Band"I'LL PROBABLY DIE on stage somewhere," 61-year-old Sam Taylor says in his pleasant growl. He thinks about the preferred place of his demise for just a second and then admits there might be one other place he might want to go out with a bang.
Featuring Heather Hardy
"Waaaaaal!," he yowls. "There's only two ways I'm going and one of 'em is singing."
No one is suggesting Taylor is going anywhere for quite awhile yet. He has unfinished music business to take of first.
"Maybe my time is coming now. I'm not satisfied, I've still got my dreams. I dream of playing before thousands of people and walking down from the stage and walking through the crowd and singing to 'em. I truly do believe it's gonna come true.
"I'm hearing things, I'm playing things and I'm singing things better than ever," he says enthusiastically. "Music does something to people and I think the world needs to feel the kind of stuff that the music we play allows you to feel. I don't care how bad you feel when you come in to hear us play, you will feel better by the time you leave. That's a great feeling and a great gift to be able to do that."
Along with violinist and vocalist Heather Hardy, guitarist Ed DeLucia, bassist Mike Nordberg and drummer Jerome Kimsey, Taylor brings the offerings of his guitar, voice and songs to us on a regular basis in clubs around town and elsewhere in the Southwest.
"I still get them butterflies before I play," Taylor says of his 43 years of playing professionally. "My secret is I don't wait for you to enjoy my music to determine how well I'm gonna play. I'm already there. If you can sit there without tapping your foot or something while my band is playing there's something wrong with your soul apparatus."
There obviously isn't much wrong with the folks who get out to hear the Sam Taylor Blues Band. They dance and have a good time right along with the people on stage. They also pick up copies of The Weekly and vote for Taylor as their favorite blues artist year after year - he and his band have taken this Tucson Area Music Awards category all three years.
"I want to say something and I hope people won't misunderstand this, but I'm not going to run for the TAMMIES anymore," he says quietly. "I want to give some of them other kids a chance. Ain't nobody going to beat me playing the blues in this town. I don't want to sound egotistical or something, but come on, you ain't going to out-rock the old man."
He aims to prove that he can't be out-rocked on the new album he's currently recording (tentatively titled The Cats and The Fiddler). Until it's released later this year, we'll have to listen to Desert Soul (a compilation CD of his cassettes released a couple of months ago) and get out to hear the band live.
The Blue LizardsTHE HEART OF the Lizards still beats out Motown soul, but it skips to the rhythm of others now, too.
"We're all frustrated lead vocalists," guitarist Will Sams says. He sings the Lizards' version of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World." Sams also lays claim to being Tucson's only nose flute soloist. (When the TAMMIES expands to include that category, he'll blow the competition away.)
Saxophonist Mike Kuhn covers Joe Cocker; bassist Liz Fletcher sings songs by Bonnie Raitt and Koko Taylor; Paul Brown plays trombone and also does up James Brown tunes; drummer Ralph Gilmore sings Sam Cooke, Frankie Valli and Frank Sinatra songs and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Randy "Bueno" Lopez is the Lizardized Stevie Wonder and Van Morrison.
"At the heart of it is the baby boomer stuff, Big Chill, whatever you want to call it--stuff we all grew up on. But we've also branched out. Lately we've been doing " 'Guess The Drum Solo!'"
It's a game the fun-loving band plays with the audience. In the middle of a song, drummer Gilmore will break into the drum solo from "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" or Santana's "Soul Sacrifice."
"It keeps everybody guessing while they're dancing," Sams says with a laugh. "The whole idea is to have fun."
© 1995 Tucson Weekly