Personalities | Koko Taylor | Seventies | Jazz & Blues

(Vocals, b. 1935)

Singer Koko Taylor (née Cora Walton) earned the title ‘The Queen of Chicago Blues’ due to her no-nonsense, brazen vocal style. She writes much of her own material, songs that resonate with womanly power and assert her claim to blues royalty. Taylor grew up singing gospel in Memphis and switched to the blues after moving to Chicago in 1953. Bassist Willie Dixon signed her to Chess Records and wrote her big hit ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ in 1964.

After Chess folded in 1975 Taylor moved to Alligator, becoming one of the label’s biggest stars. She was managed by her husband, Pops Taylor, who died in 1989 after an car accident in which Koko was also severely injured. Since her comeback in 1990 Koko Taylor has toured the world constantly, appearing at all the major blues and jazz festivals. Her later bands have often included a number of relatives.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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