Ted Taylor: It’s a Funky Situation
Houston Town
I Feel a Chill
From Taylor Made (Ronn, 1971)

I have to confess to being completely ignorant of Ted Taylor until I spied his album at Good Records but Ronn Records in this era had a grip of solid recordings and needle dropping across this LP, I was instantly struck at how Taylor’s blend of soul, blues and funk influences reminded me – in all the best ways – of Syl Johnson, especially that crying falsetto both men wielded.

However, while Johnson made his mark in Chicago and Memphis, Taylor’s early career took him to Los Angeles before he settled in during the ’60s through early ’70s at Stan Lewis’ Ronn Records in Louisiana. He was a contemporary there of Little Johnny Taylor (which seems apropos since I filed Ted’s album right after Johnny’s).

Of the trio here, “It’s a Funky Situation” is a bit of a slow burner, opening relativley quiet before ramping the energy up in time for the first chorus. “Houston Town” is the most striking (and the song that really made me think of the Syl comparison); I dig how the track keeps things subtle and lets the emotional force come through Taylor’s singing instead. That said, my personal favorite is “I Feel a Chill”; ya’ll know I’m a sucker for a good ballad, especially one with a bank of female back-up singers who pop in.