Koko Taylor Biography

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Cora Walton, 28 September 1935, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Taylor is one of the few major figures that post-war Chicago blues has produced. Her soulfully rasping voice has ensured her popularity in the Windy City, and latterly further afield, for over 30 years, since she recorded her first single for the local USA label. Signed by the leading black music independent label Chess Records, she attained their last blues hit in 1966 with the Willie Dixon song ‘Wang Dang Doodle’, whose cast of low-life characters suited her raucous delivery (guitar work supplied by Buddy Guy). In the 70s and 80s a series of well-produced and sometimes exciting albums with her band the Blues Machine, as well as such prestigious gigs as Carnegie Hall and the Montreux International Jazz Festival, confirmed her position as the world’s top-selling female blues artist. She opened her own blues club in Chicago during 1995. Although Taylor admits that ‘It’s not easy to be a woman out there’, she has succeeded on her own terms and without compromising the raunchy, barroom quality of her music. Taylor married for a second time in 1996 at the age of 60, given away by Buddy Guy. She made a cameo appearance in the movie Blues Brothers 2000 in 1998. In 2003 she became seriously ill but recovered by 2004 to receive the National Endowment for the Arts award.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.