Accurately dubbed "the Queen of Chicago blues" (and sometimes just the blues in general), Koko Taylor helped keep the tradition of big-voiced, brassy female blues belters alive, recasting the spirits of early legends like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton, and Memphis Minnie for the modern age. Taylor's rough, raw vocals were perfect for the swaggering new electrified era of the blues, and her massive hit "Wang Dang Doodle" served notice that male dominance in the blues wasn't as exclusive as it seemed. After a productive initial stint on Chess, Taylor spent several decades on the prominent contemporary blues label Alligator, going on to win more W.C. Handy Awards than any other female performer in history, and establishing herself as far and away the greatest female blues singer of her time. Collection includes: Koko Taylor (1969); South Side Lady (1973); I Got What It Takes (1975); The Earthshaker (1978); From The Heart Of A Woman (1981); Queen of the Blues (1985); Jump For Joy (1990).
Koko's only live album, recorded in front of a wild hometown audience. Grammy nominee. "Outstanding…sung with power, conviction and class. A winner."
The queen's first album for Alligator, and still one of her very best to date. A tasty combo sparked by guitarists Mighty Joe Young and Sammy Lawhorn and saxist Abb Locke provide sharp support as the clear-voiced Taylor belts Bobby Saxton's "Trying to Make a Living," and Magic Sam's "That's Why I'm Crying," her own "Honkey Tonkey" and "Voodoo Woman," and Ruth Brown's swinging "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean."
Blues on the South Side is probably the best album slide guitarist Homesick James ever laid down (originally for Prestige in 1964). The stylistic similarities to his cousin, the great Elmore James, are obvious, but Homesick deviates repeatedly from the form…
Old School is Koko Taylor's first new album in seven years, and after a series of health issues that sidelined her for a while, it could be viewed as a comeback of sorts, but if so, there aren't any signs of rust here. She still belts out her trademark Chicago blues like she always has, sidestepping any 21st century recording tricks for a straightforward set that wouldn't sound out of place next to her classic Chess sides from the early '60s. It's also encouraging that she wrote nearly half the tunes here, while turning in solid covers of a pair of Willie Dixon songs ("Don't Go No Further" and "Young Fashioned Ways"), one by Magic Sam ("All Your Love") and a scorching performance of Lizzie Lawler's classic "Black Rat" that rivals Big Mama Thornton's version.
Blues on the South Side is probably the best album slide guitarist Homesick James ever laid down (originally for Prestige in 1964). The stylistic similarities to his cousin, the great Elmore James, are obvious, but Homesick deviates repeatedly from the form. Tough as nails with a bottleneck, he goes for the jugular on "Goin' Down Swingin'", "Johnny Mae", and "Gotta Move", supported by pianist Lafayette Leake, guitarist Eddie Taylor, and drummer Clifton James.
Allan Taylor is one of England's most-respected singer/songwriters. His songs have been covered by artists on both sides of the Atlantic, including Don Williams, Frankie Miller, Fairport Convention, Dick Gaughan, the McCalmans, the Fureys, the Clancy Brothers, and De Dannan. Folk Roots praised him for his "ability to crystallize a mood and evoke an era with the ease of a computer memory access, crafting perfect songs with dramatic changes in the spirit of Brecht, Bikel, and Brel." The Oxford Book of Traditional Verse felt as strongly, writing that Taylor was "one of the most literate and sensitive of contemporary songwriters in terms of words and music and one who is capable of exploring more complex subjects than most of his contemporaries." (…)