96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; Inakustic Records INAK 9147 CD (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

For me, blues has become increasingly a turgid art form, endlessly regurgitating its past, rarely daring to look ahead. Chicago-born, but raised in Colorado, Otis Taylor is a glorious exception to the rule. As a child he focused on banjo, which very probably saved him from learning the same guitar cliches as most bluesmen, and this album is a joy from start to finish, as he explores the true potential of the music he clearly loves. It’s not just that his guitar and banjo playing is tight, precise and terse, but that each note is absolutely right for the space it occupies. Lyrically too, Taylor deals with themes – slavery, race relations, civil rights and the contradictions inherent in how white and black cultures cope with co-existing in today’s world – that usually remain untouched in the travesty of a once vital music which has come to be known as blues. Superb. JBk

Sound Quality: 90%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

There’s oodles of information available about Otis, but little about the origins of this ‘remastered’ 96kHz file. Analysis [see Graph] suggests it was a DSD2.8 file at some point, downsampled to 88.2kHz and then resampled to 96kHz. PM