Taylored In Silk by Johnnie Taylor is the second of the three initial releases of the Concord Music Group’s new reissue series, Stax Remasters. They are focusing on individual releases rather than compilation albums.
Johnnie Taylor (1934-2000) began his career during the mid-1950s as the third of three legendary singers for the gospel group, The Highway HQ’s. He replaced Lou Rawls, who had replaced Sam Cooke. His big career break occurred when he signed with the Stax Records label in 1966. He would remain with the label until it ceased operation in 1975. During his time there, he created one of the best soul and R&B discographies of the era.
Taylor was a recognized star when he went into the studio to record 1973's Taylored In Silk. It would become one of his signature albums.
Taylor would depart from the norm at the Stax label and not record the album at their studios on McLemore Avenue in Memphis, TN. This would mean he did not use their noted house musicians as well. The majority of the album was recorded in Muscle Shoals with such musicians as keyboardist Barry Beckett, guitarist Jimmy Johnson, bassist David Hood, and drummer Roger Hawkins. The strings and horns were dubbed in at a later date. Taylor then added his smooth vocals. While the process was somewhat disjointed, it all added up to a smooth and polished album.
Taylor was able to appeal to a cross section of music fans. He placed dozens of singles on both the R&B and pop charts. “I Believe In You (You Believe In Me)” is a laid back, mid-tempo track. It combined flutes and strings with the lyrics of eternal love. “Cheaper To Keep Her” has a pulsating bass foundation and cynical lyrics, as the title would suggest.
“We’re Getting Careless With Our Love” contains an emotional and sexual vocal that translates the raw lyrics of cheating. Near the end, he slips in a clever mention of Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones.”