Otis Clay review…August 22, 2017….

OTIS CLAY

TRUTH IS (PUTTING LOVE BACK INTO THE MUSIC)

ECHO RECORDS  ECCD 358

LOVE’S AFTER ME–EVEN NOW–I THOUGHT YOU KNEW–ALL THAT IS MISSING IS YOU–WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES–TRUTH IS–I KNOW I’M OVER YOU–EVEN WHEN I WIN (SEEMS LIKE I LOSE)–STEAL AWAY TO THE HIDEAWAY (FEAT. UVEE HAYES)–I KEEP TRYING (NOT TO BREAK DOWN)–THAT’S WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO–THE ONLY WAY IS UP–ALL THAT’S MISSING IS YOU (EPILOGUE)–MESSING WITH MY MIND (BONUS TRACK)

Otis Clay may best be known for recording the original version of “Trying To Live My Life Without You,”  for Hi Records in 1972, and brought to the national spotlight by Bob Seger’s 1981 cover.  But, blues and soul-blues fans knew that Otis Clay’s roots ran much deeper.  Like many of his contemporaries from the Sixties and Seventies, Otis had a strong gospel background that served him well in his secular career.

For his Echo Records release, “Truth Is (Putting Love Back Into The Music),”  Otis combines soul and blues with all the fire and passion that he can muster over these fourteen cuts.  An extra added attraction is sax icon Gene “Daddy G” Barge as guest saxman.

There are highlights aplenty.  The set starts with the smooth midtempo groove of “Love’s After Me,” even tho our hero has trouble finding the words to tell his paramour his true feelings.  A man that has it all–“a nice house, swimming pool, and stacks of cash” realizes that “All That’s Missing Is You.”  A little later, the staccato guitar lines and punchy horns spice up the tale of a couple who hit rock bottom, but, thru their love, they know “The Only Way Is Up.”

We had two favorites, too.  Otis and Uvee Hayes revisit the classic Mr. And Mrs. Untrue theme, as these two  lovers head to the dark end of the street to “Steal Away To The Hideaway.”  And, a man hittin’ in bad luck is the theme of the most straight-blues cut on the album, the funky “Even When I Win (Seems Like I Lose),” with a shout-out to and subsequent fine guitar solo from Paul Richmond.

Sadly, this legendary soul man passed away on January 8, 2016, but his memory will live on in our hearts as long as good music is played.   Plain “Truth Is,” Otis Clay was one of the greats!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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