Taking Sides, the latest release by the Terry Quiett Band features twelve scorching, soulful originals, along with one classy cover, range from raw country blues to grooving R&B driven hard by bassist Nathan Johnson and drummer Rodney Baker and augmented by “Mississippi” Hal Reed (harp), Scott Williams (keyboards and tenor sax), Brad Turgeon (trumpet) and Jordan Northerns (trombone).
The stomping “Come the Morning” with Quiett ripping on his resonator guitar and Reed matching on “Mississippi Saxophone” contains the sly demand “Be gone come the morning, mama, don’t call my bluff. Oh, but before you take off and start your new life, I need to get me your jelly roll for one more night.” “Nothing At All” continues the musical onslaught, revealing Quiett as the new “King of the Slide,” with chilling commentary: “Down to the ground in a fiery rain, some live a lie, others kill for nothing.” The dark remake of his earlier “Cut the Rope” finds Quiett employing a wah pedal and his slashing slide to intensify the stinging confessional lyrics “My lies are growing quite thin, you see right through each of them.”
“Wheelhouse Blues” sports a sinewy shuffle under Quiett’s burning vocal passion “Well, I walked out of my wheelhouse and I won’t back down…stepped up on a new road, put my feet back on solid ground,” his soaring slide expressing his resolve. The heavy rocking “Voodoo Queen” hypnotizes with a guitar/bass “spell” and the lyrics “Waiting for the voodoo queen to make her move and turn this heart to clay. Waiting for that conjurer to pull my pin and siphon off this pain” while building drama to the uplifting choruses. Johnson and Baker provide unexcelled support and a groove that will not quit on “Weak-Minded Man” that warns “Weak-minded man, you worry too much about ‘bout your pride. Weak-minded man, you’re taking too long to decide” with uncommon harp accompaniment.
Quiett bares his naked soul on the broken-hearted ballad “A Fool Should Know” with “The moment you left, I knew I’d regret every word I said to you. The instant I heard that old car in reverse, I feared the worst had come true” in a stunning vocal and guitar benchmark. The gently shuffling minor key “Two Hearts” produces an aural dreamscape with the highly creative, intelligent lyrics “Can’t you see what the problem is? The quantum mechanics of love can’t be solved with your formula. Some mysteries just don’t add up.” The strutting, horn-inflected R&B “Gimme Some” drips eroticism with “I been thinking a long time about how good it must feel to have your legs wrapped around my neck, Long slow kisses along those thighs” in a vocal tour-de-force.
The undulating, funky “I Come Running” highlights the poetic vocals “You can’t wait for tonight, well watch me pull down the sun. You ask for a pound, well watch me bring back a ton.” Dramatic stop-time and snappy syncopation in the defiant “Get Back On” features the witty lyric “I’m your right hand man playing a left hand lead. Oh, but don’t get me wrong, there ain’t no discouraging me” and a razor-like solo. “You Can’t Come Back” uses rocking R&B for Quiett to accuse “At last woman, I can see what all the trouble’s about. I see the stains on your skirt, I see the rip in your blouse,” his spectacular, unleashed, extended solo a centerpiece speaking wordless volumes about loss and regret in a devastatingly emotional performance about which other musicians can only envy. Closing the set soothingly is Marvin Gaye’s classic “Let’s Get It On” with Quiett making the sensuous lyrics ring as true as his velvety guitar licks.
On Taking Sides, Terry Quiett has created a modern masterpiece of scarifying, testifying, exulting blues, every track an exciting, inspiring musical statement that embeds itself in the mind and body. Talent this extraordinary only comes along every so often.