Now in his 90s, ethereal gospel singer and pianist Theotis Taylor has lived in Fitzgerald, Georgia, some 20 miles northeast of Tifton, since 1943. He made a living following in his family’s footsteps as a turpentine farmer, but began singing professionally in 1946 as a member of the Georgia Harmoniers. By the early 1950s he was performing as a solo act, and recorded singles with Savannah’s Pitch Records in the ‘70s.
A 3-CD, 71-song compilation of various Southern gospel artists, including two sides from Taylor, was released by Big Legal Mess Records in 2010 as The Pitch/Gusman Records Story. Now BLM will be releasing an album of long-lost archival Theotis material with new musical accompaniment on June 29th.
Something Within Me is, in fact, the first time Taylor’s recordings have been assembled into an album. Featuring newly discovered tapes of Theotis’ voice and piano recorded in 1979, the ten tracks feature new studio accompaniment from Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers), Will Sexton (Amy LaVere), Liz Brasher and more, who diligently remained true to Theotis’ unique style.