Soul man 

Bobby Taylor
  • Bobby Taylor

Bobby Taylor a true old-school Motown performer with ties to some of the biggest names in music history

Who: Bobby Taylor

Where: Bearfoot Bistro

When: Wednesday-Sunday through the end of March

Say you want to hear some soul in this town.

How about a little Al Green for starters?

Well, since Rob Funk is capable of turning Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast into a chill-out coffee-shop tune, he could probably do most of Green’s catalogue.

Guitar Doug? He’s probably strummed an acoustic version of Let’s Stay Together during one of his many springtime patio apres-ski sessions.

Mat the Alien could probably mix Green into a deep drum ’n’ bass groove, and local band Truth Be Told could probably make it into a driving punk cover that would be over in about 45 seconds.

But if it’s the real thing you’re looking for, go see a man named Bobby Taylor.

You’ll find him at the Bearfoot Bistro five nights a week, belting out old school soul and R&B classics alongside piano-man Cameron Chu.

He’s the one in the dark suit and white shirt, longish hair tied neatly back, talking to the ladies over the instrumental bridges. He’ll have a microphone in one hand, handkerchief in the other, good for mopping the sweaty brow when his repertoire calls for a baby, help me please type of an effort.

You got that right, he can sing. He knows Let’s Stay Together . He’ll hit those high notes and he knows just how to emphasize "whether times are good or bad, happy or sad."

It’s likely he knows the good Reverend Green to boot. Familiarity with the biggest names in the music business comes with the territory when you get signed to the hottest record label of your era: Detroit’s Motown.

Taylor and his band The Vancouvers were a mainstay of Vancouver after-hours club The Elegant Parlour in the mid-1960s, when they were discovered by Motown label-head Berry Gordy Jr., in town on account of the Supremes.

The band included a pre-Cheech Tommy Chong on guitar and backing vocals. Taylor had met Chong and his cohorts in San Francisco a few years earlier while studying to become a music teacher at Berkeley. Discovering his distaste for the classroom, he turned back to singing, something he had been doing since the age of three years old.

Even though he considered Chong’s project at the time, Little Daddy and the Bachelors "godawful horrible," Taylor gave them a slot at the San Francisco jazz club where he was in charge of bookings.

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