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Taylor, Koko

Koko Taylor

Singer

Musically Self-Educated

Signed to Chess Records

Personal Tragedy

Maintains Enthusiasm for the Blues

Selected discography

Sources

In 1963 Koko Taylor was discovered by renowned bluesman Willie Dixon in a Chicago nightclub. Decades later, as a Grammy Award winner and the undisputed holder of the “Queen of the Blues” title, Taylor has achieved legendary status. An accomplished vocalist known for her hard-driving style, she is one of but a handful of women to receive widespread recognition in the male-dominated blues profession. The key to her success, Taylor admitted in an interview with Contemporary Musicians, is her adherence to traditional style. “I’m about the only woman out there singing the old, traditional Mississippi blues,” she said. “Guys like the Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters … this is where I got my inspiration from. This is where I got my courage and strength. I would think that’s what caused me to be where I am today.”

Born Cora Walton in 1935, Taylor grew up on a cotton sharecropper’s farm near Memphis, Tennessee. The youngest of six children, she was raised by her father following her mother’s death in 1939. “He would make everybody in the household work,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “When we weren’t in the fields working, we would cut wood for our cooking stove and we’d pick up our kindling. I didn’t get a chance to go to school a lot,” she continued, “so I didn’t get a big education or college degree. What I know, I taught myself.”

Musically Self-Educated

Taylor’s musical self-education came from two sources: the gospel music she sang in her church choir and the blues she heard on celebrated bluesman B. B. King’s radio show. “He used to play blues records by Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, and Mathis James ’Jimmy’ Reed,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “The first blues record I ever heard was ’Me and My Memphis Blues,’ by Memphis Minnie. I was 12 or 13, and just loved it.”

Weekdays, while they picked and chopped cotton, Taylor and her family would sing their own blues. “So what it amounted to,” she explained to Contemporary Musicians,”was we would sing gospel on Sunday and blues on Monday. That’s the way I was raised up.”

When she was 18, Taylor met her soon-to-be husband, Robert “Pops” Taylor, a trucker who hauled cotton. “Sometimes I would go in the truck to make extra money picking cotton,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “He would buy me bologna sandwiches. The next thing I knew, I ended up being his girlfriend.” When Pops went to work in a Chicago slaughterhouse, Taylor married him and went along. “I figured going to Chicago would be like going to heaven,” she recalled.

Cleaning houses in Chicago’s wealthy northern suburbs by day, Taylor took advantage of the city’s vibrant South Side blues scene by night, frequenting clubs where prominent bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy

For the Record…

Born Cora Walton on September 28,1935, in Memphis, TN; given nickname “Koko” as a child; married Robert “Pops” Taylor, 1953 (died, 1988); married Hays Harris, 1996; children: Joyce.

Performed in Chicago nightclubs, early 1960s; discovered by blues great Willie Dixon, 1963; signed with Chess Records and recorded million-selling single “Wang Dang Doodle,” 1964; signed with Alligator Records, 1974; made film debut in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, 1990; released Force of Nature, 1993; hiatus from recording, mid-to late 1990s; opened Koko Taylor’s Chicago Blues club, 1999; released Royal Blue, 2000.

Awards: Blues Foundation W.C. Handy Blues Awards, Contemporary Female Artist, 1980-91, 1994, 1996, Traditional Female Artist, 1992-93, 1999-2002, Vocalist of the Year, 1985, 1995, Entertainer of the Year, 1985; Grammy Award (with others), Traditional Blues Album for Blues Explosion, 1984; Chicagoan of the Year, 1998; induction, Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame, 1999.

Addresses: Record company —Alligator Records, 1441 Devon St., Chicago, IL 60660, phone: (773) 973–7736, website: http://www.alligator.com.

Guy, and Junior Wells were regular acts. “All of the guys got to know me,” she told Contemporary Musicians. “My husband let all of them know that I was little Koko—you know, my family named me ’little Koko’ because I always loved chocolate. He told them that I loved to sing the blues.” It wasn’t long before Taylor was invited to accompany them. “The first time I got on stage,” she revealed in the Chicago Tribune,”I did a tune by Brook Benton called ’Make Me Feel Good, Kiddio.’ Tina Turner had a song out called ’I Idolize You.’ I would sing these [two] over and over because they were the only ones I knew.”

Signed to Chess Records

It was during one of these sessions that Willie Dixon first heard Taylor perform. Following a set with the Howlin’ Wolf band, as she recounted in the Contemporary Musicians interview, “Dixon came down and said, ’My God, I never heard a woman sing the blues like you sing the blues.’” Inspired by Taylor’s gusto, Dixon wrote three songs for her—”Don’t Mess with the Messer,” “Which Came First, the Egg or the Hen?” and “Wang Dang Doodle”—and introduced her to Chess Records, where she signed her first contract. In 1964 “Wang Dang Doodle” was released. An immediate hit, it sold a million copies. “I didn’t know if that was good or bad because I was just happy to be singing,” Taylor told the Washington New Observer. “Now, today if I sold a million copies, I’d be saying something.”

The popularity of “Wang Dang Doodle” provided the boost that Taylor’s performing career needed. Bookings from local clubs increased, and she was developing a following. Encouraged by her success, Taylor quit her day job, organized her Blues Machine band, and hit the road with husband Pops as manager.

While her performing schedule grew, Taylor began to write her own songs. Her first, “What Kind of Man Is This?,” was written with Pops in mind. “Because—going back in time—that’s how I felt,” she told Contemporary Musicians. “He was like a great big bundle of joy.” By the 1990s Taylor had become a proficient songwriter, penning many of the tunes that would become her standards. One, “Jump for Joy”—featured on the 1990 album of the same title—was conceived while Taylor was on tour in Japan. “It was five minutes before time for me to go upstage,” she said. “I’m backstage and all the guys are calling me up and everything and all of these youngsters are saying: ’Koko, Koko, Koko, we gonna jump for joy!’ Oh, man, that sounded like a song to me.” Following the concert, Taylor returned to her hotel and wrote the lyrics: “It makes no difference if you’re big or small/Take off your shoes and leave them at the door/If you ain’t too drunk, you’ll get ’em when you go.”

After Taylor was with Chess Records for nine years, the company folded. The singer was without a contract until 1974, when she signed with Alligator Records. A small studio at that time, Alligator became a major blues label as Taylor’s popularity increased.

Personal Tragedy

In 1988 Taylor’s career was interrupted by personal tragedy: her muse and longtime companion Pops Taylor died as the result of injuries sustained in a car accident. “A lot of people wonder what keeps me going,” Taylor told Contemporary Musicians. “It’s for the love that I have for my music. This is my first priority: just to stay out here and sing the blues, make people happy with my music all over the world.”

In the years following Pops’s death, Taylor did not relax her ambitious pace. In addition to maintaining a rigorous performing schedule of 200 concerts per year, she made her film debut in director David Lynch’s Wild at Heart in 1990. That was followed in 1993 by Force ofNature, which earned another Grammy nomination. To the singer, however, the highlight of the year was “Koko Taylor Day,” March 3, 1993, declared by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley at which time he presented her with a “Legend of the Year” award.

For the next seven years, Taylor took time off from recording, but continued her national tours. She also remarried in 1996 to tavern owner Hays Harris. She was named Chicagoan of the Year in 1998 and was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame in 1999. Taylor opened her own blues club that year, now used only for private functions, in the Rush Street area, called Koko Taylor’s Chicago Blues. Taylor went back to recording with Royal Blue, released in 2000. The songs include four Taylor originals and an assist from guest B.B. King joining Taylor with “Blues Hotel.”

Early in 2000 while performing at the club, Taylor fainted and later underwent successful angioplasty to unclog her heart arteries. She stopped performing for a time but returned to recording with Alligator Records. The subject of a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary, she has appeared on television several times.

Taylor’s efforts have not gone without recognition. In addition to popular acclaim, her work has received rave reviews and honors. Of the 12 albums she had recorded by the early 1990s, seven were nominated for Grammy Awards. (Blues Explosion, recorded with then-up-and-coming bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan, was the recipient of a Grammy in 1984.) Taylor has also received the prestigious W.C. Handy Award several times.

Maintains Enthusiasm for the Blues

Taylor’s enthusiasm, she noted in Michigan’s Ann Arbor News, is sustained by the renewed popularity of the blues. The audience for the blues has grown, she said, due to the success of white musicians like the late Vaughan. “A lot of people thought the blues was an ancient kind of history. Today, there are audiences everywhere I go.” When asked what venues she favors, Taylor told Contemporary Musicians,”Wherever my fans are having a good time, ’jumping for joy,’ pitching a ’wang dang doodle,’ is my favorite place to work.”

Taylor’s voice is full, vibrant, and powerful. Onstage she is a compelling personality. Offstage, she is a cheerful woman who delights in making people happy with her music. She is compared to the big blues shouters like Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton. Whether live or on records, that rough, raw talent with its blustery swagger still marks the undisputed Queen of the Blues.

Selected discography

Koko Taylor, Chess, 1968.

Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, Atlantic, 1972.

I Got What It Takes, Alligator, 1974.

The hat It Takes, Alligator, 1974.

(With Stevie Ray Vaughan) Blues Explosion, Atlantic, 1984.

Montreux Festival: Blues Avalanche, Chess, 1984.

Queen of the Blues, Alligator, 1985.

Live From Chicago: An Audience With the Queen, Alligator, 1987.

From the Heart of a Woman, Alligator, 1989.

Jump for Joy, Alligator, 1990

South Side Lady, Evidence, 1992.

(Contributor, with the Blues Machine) The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour, Alligator, 1993.

Force of Nature, Alligator, 1993.

Royal Blue, Alligator, 2000.

Sources

Periodicals

Ann Arbor News (Michigan), June 20, 1992.

Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1990; February 24, 1992.

Entertainment Weekly, May 4, 1990.

Metro Times (Detroit), November 18, 1992.

People, June 25, 1990.

Rolling Stone, August 23, 1990.

Variety, November 5, 1990.

Washington New Observer, May 7, 1992.

Online

Blues Foundation, http://www.handyawards.com/2000/nominees/kokotaylor.html (March 19, 2003).

Fourth Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards, http://www.blues.org/laa/1999/kokotaylor.html (March 19, 2003).

“Koko Taylor,” Centerstage, http://centerstage.net/music/whoswho/KokoTaylor.html (February 20, 2003).

“Koko Taylor,” Fat Fish Blue, http://www.fatfishblue.com/kokotaylorprofile.htm (February 20, 2003).

“Koko Taylor, Red Hot Blues,” http://home.bluemarble.net/”jjperry/features/koko.html (February 20, 2003).

Additional information was obtained from an interview with Koko Taylor on November 21, 1992.

Nina Goldstein and Corinne Naden

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Taylor, Koko

Koko Taylor

Singer, songwriter

Gospel on Sunday and Blues on Monday

Signed With Chess Records

Love of Music Helped Her Through Tragedy

Selected discography

Sources

In 1963 Koko Taylor was discovered by renowned bluesman Willie Dixon in a Chicago nightclub. Decades later, as a Grammy Award winner and the undisputed holder of the Queen of the Blues title, Taylor has achieved legendary status. An accomplished vocalist known for her hard-driving style, she is one of but a handful of women to receive widespread recognition in the male-dominated blues profession. The key to her success, Taylor admitted in an interview with Contemporary Musicians, is her adherence to traditional style. Im about the only woman out there singing the old, traditional Mississippi blues, she said. Guys like the Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters . . . this is where I got my inspiration from. This is where I got my courage and strength. I would think thats what caused me to be where I am today.

Born Cora Walton in 1935, Taylor grew up on a cotton sharecroppers farm near Memphis, Tennessee. The youngest of six children, she was raised by her father following her mothers death in 1939. He would make everybody in the household work, she told the Chicago Tribune. When we werent in the fields working, we would cut wood for our cooking stove and wed pick up our kindling. I didnt get a chance to go to school a lot, she continued, so I didnt get a big education or college degree. What I know, I taught myself.

Taylors musical self-education came from two sources: the gospel music she sang in her church choir and the blues she heard on celebrated bluesman B B Kings radio show. He used to play blues records by Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, and Mathis James Jimmy Reed, she told the Chicago Tribune. The first blues record I ever heard was Me and My Memphis Blues, by Memphis Minnie. I was 12 or 13, and just loved it.

Gospel on Sunday and Blues on Monday

Weekdays, while they picked and chopped cotton, Taylor and her family would sing their own blues. So what it amounted to, she explained to Contemporary Musicians, was we would sing gospel on Sunday and blues on Monday. Thats the way I was raised up.

When she was 18, Taylor met her soon-to-be husband, Robert Pops Taylor, a trucker who hauled cotton. Sometimes I would go in the truck to make extra money picking cotton, she told the Chicago Tribune. He would buy me bologna sandwiches. The next thing I knew, I ended up being his girlfriend. When Pops went to work in a Chicago slaughterhouse, Taylor married him and went along. I figured going to Chicago would be like going to heaven, she recalled.

For the Record

Born Cora Walton in 1935 in Memphis, TN; given nickname Koko as a child; married Robert Pops Taylor, c. 1953 (died 1988); children: Joyce.

Performed in Chicago nightclubs, early 1960s; discovered by blues great Willie Dixon, 1963; signed with Chess Records and recorded million-selling single Wang Dang Doodle, 1964; signed with Alligator Records, 1974. Made film debut in David Lynchs Wild at Heart, 1990.

Awards: Grammy Award for best blues recording, 1984, for Blues Explosion; recipient of annual W. C. Handy Award, 1983-1992.

Addresses: Management Alligator Records and Artist Management Inc., P.O. Box 60234, Chicago, IL 60660.

Cleaning houses in Chicagos wealthy northern suburbs by day, Taylor took advantage of the citys vibrant South Side blues scene by night, frequenting clubs where prominent bluesmen like Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, and Junior Wells were regular acts. All of the guys got to know me, she told Contemporary Musicians. My husband let all of them know that I was little Kokoyou know, my family named me little Koko because I always loved chocolate. He told them that I loved to sing the blues. It wasnt long before Taylor was invited to accompany them. The first time I got on stage, she revealed in the Chicago Tribune, I did a tune by Brook Benton called Make Me Feel Good, Kiddio. Tina Turner had a song out called 1 Idolize You. I would sing these [two] over and over because they were the only ones I knew.

Signed With Chess Records

It was during one of these sessions that Willie Dixon first heard Taylor perform. Following a set with the Howlin Wolf band, as she recounted in the Contemporary Musicians interview, Dixon came down and said, My God, I never heard a woman sing the blues like you sing the blues. Inspired by Taylors gusto, Dixon wrote three songs for her Dont Mess with the Messer, Which Came First, the Egg or the Hen? and Wang Dang Doodleand introduced her to Chess Records, where she signed her first contract. In 1964 Wang Dang Doodle was released. An immediate hit, it sold a million copies. I didnt know if that was good or bad because I was just happy to be singing, Taylor told the Washington New Observer. Now, today if I sold a million copies, Id be saying something.

The popularity of Wang Dang Doodle provided the boost that Taylors performing career needed. Bookings from local clubs increased, and she was developing a following. Encouraged by her success, Taylor quit her day job, organized her Blues Machine band, and hit the road with husband Pops as manager.

While her performing schedule grew, Taylor began to write her own songs. Her first, What Kind of Man Is This?, was written with Pops in mind. Because going back in timethats how I felt, she told Contemporary Musicians. He was like a great big bundle of joy. By the 1990s Taylor had become a proficient songwriter, penning many of the tunes that would become her standards. One, Jump for Joyfeatured on the 1990 album of the same titlewas conceived while Taylor was on tour in Japan. It was five minutes before time for me to go upstage, she said. Im backstage and all the guys are calling me up and everything and all of these youngsters are saying: Koko, Koko, Koko, we gonna jump for joy! Oh, man, that sounded like a song to me. Following the concert, Taylor returned to her hotel and wrote the lyrics: It makes no difference if youre big or small/Take off your shoes and leave them at the door/If you aint too drunk, youll get em when you go.

After Taylor was with Chess Records for nine years, the company folded. The singer was without a contract until 1974, when she signed with Alligator Records. A small studio at that time, Alligator became a major blues label as Taylors popularity increased.

Love of Music Helped Her Through Tragedy

In 1988 Taylors career was interrupted by personal tragedy: her muse and longtime companion Pops Taylor died as the result of injuries sustained in a car accident. A lot of people wonder what keeps me going, Taylor told Contemporary Musicians. Its for the love that I have for my music. This is my first priority: just to stay out here and sing the blues, make people happy with my music all over the world.

In the years following Popss death, Taylor did not relax her ambitious pace. In addition to maintaining a rigorous performing schedule of 200 concerts per year, she made her film debut in director David Lynchs Wild at Heart in 1990.

Taylors efforts are not without recognition. In addition to popular acclaim, her work has received rave reviews and honors. Of the twelve albums she had recorded by the early 1990s, seven were nominated for Grammy Awards. (Blues Explosion, recorded with then-up-and-coming bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan, was the recipient of a Grammy in 1984.) Taylor has also received the prestigious W. C. Handy Award a record ten times.

Taylors enthusiasm, she noted in the Ann Arbor News, is sustained by the renewed popularity of the blues in the 1980s and 1990s. The audience for the blues has grown, she said, due to the success of white musicians like the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. A lot of people thought the blues was an ancient kind of history. Today, there are audiences everywhere I go. When asked what venues she favors, Taylor told Contemporary Musicians, Wherever my fans are having a good time, jumping for joy, pitching a wang dang doodle, is my favorite place to work.

Selected discography

Koko Taylor, Chess, 1968.

Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, Atlantic, 1972.

I Got What It Takes, Alligator, 1974.

The Earthshaker, Alligator, 1978.

(with Stevie Ray Vaughan) Blues Explosion, Atlantic, 1984.

Montreux Festival: Blues Avalanche, Chess, 1984.

Queen of the Blues, Alligator, 1985.

Live From Chicago: An Audience With the Queen, Alligator, 1987.

From the Heart of a Woman, Alligator, 1989.

Jump for Joy, Alligator, 1990.

South Side Lady, Evidence, 1992.

(Contributor, with the Blues Machine) The Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour, Alligator, 1993.

Sources

Ann Arbor News, June 20, 1992.

Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1990; February 24, 1992.

Entertainment Weekly, May 4, 1990.

Metro Times (Detroit), November 18, 1992.

People, June 25, 1990.

Rolling Stone, August 23, 1990.

Variety, November 5, 1990.

Washington New Observer, May 7, 1992.

Contemporary Musicians spoke with Koko Taylor on November 21, 1992.

Nina Goldstein

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Taylor, Koko 1935–

Koko Taylor 1935

Singer

At a Glance

Selected discography

Sources

Koko Taylor earned the title Queen of Chicago Blues from her intense live work on the South Side of the Chicago in the early 1960s. She has won a record 22 W.C. Handy Awards, scored a Grammy Award in 1984, and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1999. In 1965 Taylor recorded Wang Dang Doodle for Chess Records, a million-copy seller that became her theme song. Her popularity even stretched to the white-dominated North Side of Chicago, and she proved to audiences that a woman could shout and sing the blues as well as any man. Taylor is that rarity, noted Dave Marsh in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide, a contemporary female Chicago blues performer. Although blues music began to decline in popularity during the 1970s, she maintained an active touring schedule and recorded several well-received albums. In 2000 she recorded Royal Blue with the help of a number of young musicians like Keb Mo and Shemekia Copeland, blues players who had been influenced by her career.

Taylor was born Cora Walton on September 28, 1935, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was a sharecropper, and she grew up with her siblings working on the family farm. It was a difficult environment. The family had no electricity or running water, and Taylors mother died in 1939. It wasnt an easy life, she told Mark Guarino in the Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, but it was a good life. Young Cora earned the nickname Little Koko because of her love of chocolate. She started singing in the choir at the Baptist church her family attended, and broadened her musical education by listening to a disc jockey named B.B. King on the radio. The songs of Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, and Memphis Minnie introduced her to the blues, and she mimicked their songs, while her brothers backed her up with a makeshift guitar built out of bailing wire and a harmonica fashioned from a corncob. My father, if he catch us singing the blues, she told Marty Racine in the Houston Chronicle, wed get a good beatin. He said that was the devils music.

In 1953 Walton married Robert Pops Taylor, a truck driver. The couple boarded a Greyhound bus to Chicago, and he went to work in a slaughterhouse while she worked as a domestic servant. I raised their children, washed their clothes, ironed, cooked, did everything, she told Paul De Barros in the Seattle Times. In the couples spare time they played the blues

At a Glance

Born Cora Walton on September 28, 1935, in Memphis, TN; married Robert Taylor (deceased); married Hays Harris, 1996.

Career: Discovered by Willie Dixon, 1962; signed with Chess Records, 1964; recorded signature song, Wang Dang Doodle, 1965; released Koko Taylor, 1969, and Basic Soul, 1972; appeared at Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, 1972; released first album on Alligator Records, Got What It Takes, 1975; appeared at Chicago Blues Festival, 1990; released Force of Nature, 1993, and Royal Blue, 2000; opened Koko Taylors Celebrity, a blues club, 2000.

Awards: Blues Hall of Fame, inductee, 1999; Grammy Award, 1984, for Best Traditional Blues Album; received 22 W.C. Handy Awards between 19B0 and 2002.

Address: Record labelc/o Alligator, P.O. Box 60234, Chicago, IL 60660.

together and attended nightclubs on Chicagos South Side. With encouragement from her husband, Taylor began to sit in with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Howlin Wolf. Soon Taylor began to achieve a reputation in the world of blues music as a woman with a powerful set of pipes and a gravelly voice.

In 1962 Taylor met songwriter and bass player Willie Dixon, and he produced her first single for the U.S.A. label. He secured her a contract with Chess in 1964 and the following year wrote her most popular song for the label, Wang Dang Doodle. At first, Taylor was reluctant to sing it: the song seemed silly to her. However, after the racier lyrics had been toned down she recorded it, and Wang Dang Doodle, rose to number four on the R&B charts and sold over a million copies. Jim Mcguinness noted in the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, Besides being her signature tune, the songs dance beat helped define Taylors uplifting take on the blues that she characterizes as foot-stomping music.

Even though Taylor never had another big hit, her reputation as a live act guaranteed that she had steady work. She also secured a job at the Wise Fools Pub, a club located on the white-dominated North Side of Chicago. Her popularity eventually allowed Taylor and her husband to quit their day jobs, and he became her manager. In 1969 she released Koko Taylor, an album that collected previous singles, and followed it with Basic Soul in 1972. Taylor also ventured outside Chicago, performing at the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival in 1972. In the early 1970s Chess Records began to have financial difficulties, and in 1975 they went out of business. Taylor then signed with the fledgling Alligator Records, released Got What It Takes in 1975, and received her first Grammy nomination. Her follow-up in 1978, Earthshaker, included Hey Bartender and Im a Woman, two songs that became staples of her live repertoire.

In 1980 Taylor won her first W.C. Handy Award for Best Contemporary Female Artist and in 1984 she won her first Grammy Award, for her work on the compilation Blues Explosion. In 1988 tragedy struck when Taylors touring bus missed a turn and rolled down the side of a mountain in Tennessee. Although Pops Taylor survived the accident, his health remained frail and he died of a heart attack a year later. The last thing he told me, Taylor recalled to Racine, was Ill be dead and gone, but I want you to keep on doin what you doin. You love what you doin too much. Dont give it up.

Taylor made her comeback in 1990, appearing at the Chicago Blues Festival. She also made a cameo appearance in David Lynchs movie, Wild at Heart. She continued to spend a great deal of time touring, playing as many as 100 dates a year during the 1990s. Its not a bed of roses being out here, she told Madelyn Rosenberg in the Roanoke Times. The roses come so far as Im enjoying what Im doing. I look forward to performing. Thats the reason Im out here. In 1993 Taylor recorded Force of Nature and returned in 2000 with Royal Blue, featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnnie Johnson, and others. She also opened a blues club called Koko Taylors Celebrity, on the revitalized South Loop of Chicago. While Taylor sometimes speaks of slowing down, she usually dismisses her own suggestion. Why should I? she asked Mike Boehm in the Los Angeles Times. I mean, [with] all the fans I got out there enjoying what Im doing? I got fans like that all over the world. Now why should I retire?

Selected discography

Wang Dang Doodle, Chess, 1965.

Koko Taylor, Chess, 1969.

Basic Soul, Chess, 1972.

I Got What It Takes, Alligator, 1975.

Queen of the Blues, Alligator, 1975.

Earthshaker, Alligator, 1978.

(Contributor) Blues Explosion, Atlantic, 1984.

Force of Nature, Alligator, 1993.

Royal Blue, Alligator, 2000.

Sources

Books

Marsh, Dave, and John Swenson, eds., New Rolling Stone Record Guide, Random House, 1983, p. 505.

Periodicals

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 9, 2000, p. 4.

Houston Chronicle, November 5, 1998, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1996, p. 6.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), March 9, 2001, p. 14.

Roanoke Times, October 29, 1998, p. 1.

Seattle Times, November 15, 2002, p. H6.

On-line

Koko Taylor, All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com (April 3, 2003).

KoKo Taylor, Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (April 14, 2003).

Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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