Album Reviews

Roger Taylor – Best

(Omnivore Recordings)

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Tayor_Roger_Best_OV-105Freddie Mercury gave Queen its majesty, but Roger Taylor gave the band its edge.

Seated behind the drums, Taylor would usually get one opportunity per album to sing his heart out and the results never disappointed us. Just listen to “Tenement Funster,” “I’m In Love With My Car” and “Rock It (Prime Jive)” if you need proof.

Three-quarters of Queen would dabble in solo outputs throughout the band’s history, yet Taylor’s respective offerings stood out for the grit he put into his vocals and music. While Mercury would pen Noel Coward-esque solo romps like “Mr. Bad Guy,” Taylor would unleash fits of rock and power such as “Man on Fire,” one of the standout tracks included on the drummer’s new “hits” compilation, Best.

With Taylor being identified solely for his tenure with Queen, people tend to overlook the fact he has at least five solo albums to his name, not to mention another band he fronted  about 25 years ago. Unfortunately, nothing from that band, The Cross, made it on this compilation, which is a shame because that group did manage to record a couple of decent ditties in its time.

That’s not to say Best doesn’t have its catchy listening moments. There’s the radically different take on Parliament’s “I Wanna Testify;” the rockabilly delight “Let’s Go Crazy;” the tender “Everybody Hurts Sometime;” and “Foreign Sand,” which has Mercury written all over it even though Freddie had nothing to do with the track.

Taylor could never match up to the regality of his late bandmate, but then again, he never wanted to. That’s why Best does a fine job of showing off Taylor’s own creative range outside one of the world’s biggest quartets.

– Ira Kantor

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4 Responses

  1. Every day of my life is sealed with the magic of your music.Queen is a world of special feelings and your music unveils the beauty of your souls Your music has inspired me to do more with my life,i love your music and always will i love you,you are much more than the best. x and you are the best drummer on the plane of earth,by the way “Happiness” is the best thing I’ve ever heard
    God bless you! Love Always

  2. Roger could have made it as a frontman in his own right, his voice is fantastic. But I think we should be eternally grateful that he met Brian May

  3. I started to love Queen many years ago, but recently I tried to know Roger works. It’s amazing! His voice, velvet and sand paper at the same time, made chills on skin. And the sophisticated harmonies he uses are incredible. Thanks, Roger, your energy flowing to me!

  4. I love Roger. Watching him on this last tour in US with Adam Lambert, both at shows I attended and 100s of videos, you can see how dynamic he is at his craft as well as how much he is engaged in everything happening on stage. To be playing with his son, Rufus, must have made the whole experience even more special. Those of you who have a chance to see the show, do it. You will leave full of joy both from incredible music AND the fun emanating from the stage.