June 4, 2009

I CRIED LIKE A BABY:

Queen of Blues Koko Taylor dies, aged 80 (AFP, June 04, 2009 )

Born Cora Walton on a sharecropper's farm outside of Memphis, Tennessee, she earned the nickname Koko for her love of chocolate.

She moved to Chicago in 1952 with her soon-to-be-husband the late Robert “Pops” Taylor and nothing but “thirty-five cents and a box of Ritz Crackers”.

Taylor settled on the city's south side, haunting blues clubs by night and cleaning houses by day.

Encouraged by her husband, Taylor soon began to sing and got her big break in 1963 when composer Willie Dixon came up to her after a particularly fiery performance and told her, “I never heard a woman sing the blues like you sing the blues”.

Dixon helped her land a recording contract with Chess Records, producing two of her albums and penning her million-selling 1965 hit “Wang Dang Doodle”.

She moved to Chicago's Alligator Records in 1975 where she recorded nine more albums, her most recent in 2007.

Taylor's final performance was on May 7 in Memphis, Tennessee, after receiving her 29th Blues Music Award.

She received the National Endowment for the Art's National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2004, which is among the highest honours given to an American artist, and won a Grammy Award in 1984.


I saw her in a little club on the Jersey Shore in the mid-80s and she was electric. Bought an album and had her sign it, but realized the next morning that she'd signed the cellowrap that we tore off and threw away. Idiots...

MORE:
-Remembrances: Blues legend Koko Taylor Dies (NPR)
-ARCHIVES: Koko Taylor (NPR)


Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2009 5:31 AM
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