Saturday, April 13, 2013

Koko Taylor - The Earthshaker

Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper.  She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor.  In the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract. In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records subsidiary Checker Records where she recorded "Wang Dang Doodle," a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf five years earlier. The song became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts and number 58 on the pop charts  in 1966, and selling a million copies.  Taylor recorded several versions of "Wang Dang Doodle" over the years, including a live version at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival with harmonica player Little Walter and guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Taylor subsequently recorded more material, both original and covers, but never repeated that initial chart success.

National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, 8 of which were Grammy-nominated, and came to dominate the female blues singer ranks, winning twenty five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist). After her recovery from a near-fatal car crash in 1989, the 1990s found Taylor in films such as Blues Brothers 2000 and Wild at Heart, and she opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, which relocated to Wabash Ave in Chicago's South Loop in 2000. (The club is now closed.)

Taylor influenced musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. In the years prior to her death, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service said that Taylor owed $400,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. Her tax problems concerned 1998, 2000 and 2001; for those years combined, her adjusted gross income was $949,000.

Taylor died on June 3, 2009, after complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19, 2009.  Her final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009.


Koko Taylor's Alligator encore harbored a number of tunes that still pepper her set list to this day -- the grinding "I'm a Woman" and the party-down specials "Let the Good Times Roll" and "Hey Bartender." Her uncompromising slow blues "Please Don't Dog Me" and a sassy remake of Irma Thomas' "You Can Have My Husband" also stand out, as does the fine backing by guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Johnny B. Moore, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and saxman Abb Locke. - Bill Dahl/AMG (4.5 / 5.0)

Alligator Records AL4711

Bass – Cornelius "Mule" Boyson;  Drums – Vince Chappelle;  Guitar – Johnny B. Moore, Sammy Lawhorn
Harmonica – Mervyn "Harmonica" Hinds;  Keyboards – Pinetop Perkins;  Saxophone – Abb Locke
Vocals – Koko Taylor

A1 Let The Good Times Roll    3:00
A2 Spoonful    3:00
A3 Walking The Back Streets    6:45
A4 Cut You Loose    3:24
A5 Hey Bartender    2:51
B1 I'm A Woman    4:36
B2 You Can Have My Husband    2:45
B3 Please Don't Dog Me    5:16
B4 Wang Dang Doodle    4:51

A superb album!!!  Ripped from minty vinyl at 24/44.1 wav and dithered to 16/44.1 FLAC... enjoy!!!


poppachubby said...

KingCake said...

for those who don't know, Sammy Lawhorn cut his teeth playing with Howling Wolf.

Anonymous said...

Et j'en étais là, lorsque je suis tombé sur un magazine-torchon: "Frères et Soeurs, apprenez à vivre ensemble", ou un truc du même tonneau.
Il n'y a ni confrérie, ni frères, ni soeurs: Tous ces enculés ne sont là que pour vous sucer votre fric... et plus encore!

poppachubby said...

Hey Serge, c'est quoi ce bordel que tu racontes?!?

wouter said...

really looking forward to this, Poppa!
thanks a lot for this treat!

fmules said...

The Chess compilation is a favorite so really interested to hear this. Thank you.

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