Jan 19, 2018

RhoDeo 1802 Grooves


Todays Artist was accurately dubbed "the Queen of Chicago blues" (and sometimes just the blues in general), she 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. Her 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, she 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. . ........ N'joy

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Koko was born Cora Walton on September 28, 1928, on a sharecropper's farm in Memphis, TN. Her mother died in 1939, and she and her siblings grew up helping their father in the fields; she got the nickname "Koko" because of her love of chocolate. Koko began singing gospel music in a local Baptist church; inspired by the music they heard on the radio, she and her siblings also played blues on makeshift instruments. In 1953, Koko married truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor and moved with him to Chicago to look for work; settling on the South Side, Pops worked in a slaughterhouse and Koko got a job as a housemaid. The Taylors often played blues songs together at night, and frequented the bustling South Side blues clubs whenever they could; Pops encouraged Koko to sit in with some of the bands, and her singing -- which reflected not only the classic female blues shouters, but contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf -- quickly made a name for her. In 1962, Taylor met legendary Chess Records songwriter/producer/bassist Willie Dixon, who was so impressed with her live performance that he took her under his wing. He produced her 1963 debut single, "Honky Tonky," for the small USA label, then secured her a recording contract with Chess.

Taylor made her recording debut for Chess in 1964 and hit it big the following year with the Dixon-penned "Wang Dang Doodle," which sold over a million copies and hit number four on the R&B charts. It became her signature song forever after, and it was also the last Chess single to hit the R&B Top Ten. Demand for Taylor's live act skyrocketed, even though none of her follow-ups sold as well, and as the blues audience began to shift from black to white, the relatively new Taylor became one of the first Chicago blues artists to command a following on the city's white-dominated North Side. Eventually, she and her husband were able to quit their day jobs, and he served as her manager; she also put together a backing band called the Blues Machine. With the release of two albums -- 1969's Koko Taylor, which featured a number of her previous singles; and 1972's Basic Soul -- Taylor's live gigs kept branching out further and further from Chicago, and when she played the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, the resulting live album on Atlantic helped bring her to a more national audience.

By the early '70s, Chess Records was floundering financially, and eventually went under in 1975. Taylor signed with a then-young Chicago-based label called Alligator, which grew into one of America's most prominent blues labels over the years. Taylor debuted for Alligator in 1975 with I Got What It Takes, an acclaimed effort that garnered her first Grammy nomination. Her 1978 follow-up, The Earthshaker, featured several tunes that became staples of her live show, including "I'm a Woman" and "Hey Bartender," and her popularity on the blues circuit just kept growing in spite of the music's commercial decline. In 1980, she won the first of an incredible string of W.C. Handy Awards (for Best Contemporary Female Artist), and over the next two decades, she would capture at least one more almost every year (save for 1989, 1997, and 1998). 1981 brought From the Heart of a Woman, and in 1984, Taylor won her first Grammy thanks to her appearance on Atlantic's various-artists compilation Blues Explosion, which was named Best Traditional Blues Album. She followed that success with the guest-laden Queen of the Blues in 1985, which won her a couple extra Handy Awards for Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year (no "female" qualifier attached). In 1987, she released her first domestic live album, Live in Chicago: An Audience With the Queen.

Tragedy struck in 1988. Taylor broke her shoulder, collarbone, and several ribs in a van accident while on tour, and her husband went into cardiac arrest; although Pops survived for the time being, his health was never the same, and he passed away some months later. After recuperating, Taylor made a comeback at the annual Chicago Blues Festival, and in 1990 she issued Jump for Joy, as well as making a cameo appearance in the typically bizarre David Lynch film Wild at Heart. Taylor followed it in 1993 with the aptly titled Force of Nature, after which she took a seven-year hiatus from recording; during that time, she remarried and continued to tour extensively, maintaining the stature she'd achieved with her '80s work as the living Queen of the Blues. In 2000, she finally returned with a new album, Royal Blue, which featured a plethora of guest stars: B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnnie Johnson, and Keb' Mo'. Health issues forced another seven-year hiatus before she returned with the album Old School in 2007. Koko Taylor died in Chicago in June 2009 after experiencing complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old.

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A solid contemporary blues album that ranges from Koko Taylor's own "Spellbound" and "Put the Pot On," a rendition of Toussaint McCall's tender soul lament "Nothing Takes the Place of You," and a saucy revival of the old Ike & Tina Turner R&B gem "If I Can't Be First." Gene Barge once again penned the horn charts, Carey Bell contributes his usual harp mastery to Taylor's remake of Little Milton's "Mother Nature," and only Buddy Guy's over-the-top guitar histrionics on "Born Under a Bad Sign" grate. Long may the queen reign!

Koko Taylor - Force Of Nature    (flac  397mb)

01 Mother Nature 4:41
02 If I Can't Be First 3:40
03 Hound Dog 5:33
04 Born Under A Bad Sign 6:22
05 Let The Juke Joint Jump 6:08
06 63 Year Old Mama 4:29
07 Don't Put Your Hands On Me 2:53
08 Bad Case Of Loving You 4:23
09 Fish In Dirty Water 5:45
10 Tit For Tat 4:31
11 Put The Pot On 3:48
12 Nothing Takes The Place Of You 4:41
13 Spellbound 4:07
14 Greedy Man 3:27

Koko Taylor - Force Of Nature  (ogg  142mb)

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Koko Taylor left Chess Records in 1973, as the company was heading towards its demise, and joined up with Bruce Iglauer's brand-new company Alligator Records in 1975. She has remained there ever since, but between her leaving Chess and her singning with Iglauer, Taylor recorded this little-known long player.

There are couple of old warhorses here, somewhat superflous re-recordings of a handful of Taylor's 1960s Chess singles, but there is also a lot of good stuff which you won't find anywhere else. Koko Taylor's own "What Kind Of Man Is This" makes it debut on this album, a grinding mid-tempo blues and one of her best original songs, and she does well by Lillian Offitt's "Wonder Why" and Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man" (which is mysteriously credited to Al Smith and Luther Dixon).

"Big Boss Man" would show up a year and a half later on her first Alligator album as well, however, as would "I Got What It Takes", so you might be asking yourself at this point: Why would I buy this?
Well, maybe you won't. But judged on its own merits this is a fine album, not least because of the excellent band. Koko Taylor is backed by the Aces (drummer Fred Below and brothers Lou and Dave Myers on guitar and bass), and by none other than Muddy Waters' former guitarist Jimmy Rogers and stylish pianist Willie Mabon, both of them frequent bandleaders themselves. Mabon's elegant playing is particularly delightful, and Taylor's voice is, of course, made to sing the blues.

An uncredited harpist shows up on "I Love A Lover Like You", by the way, or maybe it is one of the two guitarist performing that duty. Jimmy Rogers used to play the harp in the very first Muddy Waters Blues Band, and Louis Myers of the Aces could play it as well.

The last five songs were recorded live on December 1st, 1973, in Amstelveen in the Netherlands. Koko Taylor is backed by the same band that recorded the studio tracks with her. The 1973 studio rendition of "Twenty-Nine Ways" doesn't quite match Taylor's Willie Dixon-produced Chess version, mostly because of a more "ordinary" and less charming arrangement, but this live version is very nice, and Taylor also interprets Preston Foster's "Got My Mojo Working" during the live portion of the disc, and performs a six-minute rendition of her R&B hit single "Wang Dang Doodle". It is a bit of an oddity, "South Side Lady", but it's not half bad. Not at all.

Koko Taylor - South Side Lady   (flac 410mb)

01 I'm A Little Mixed Up 3:39
02 Wonder Why 3:20
03 What Kind Of Man Is This 4:53
04 Black Nights 3:56
05 Love Me To Death 4:08
06 I Got What It Takes 4:26
07 Big Boss Man 4:58
08 I'm Gonna Get Lucky 5:23
09 Twenty-Nine Ways 3:51
10 I Love A Lover Like You 2:47
11 Wonder Why II 4:54
12 Wang Dang Doodle 6:43
13 I Got What It Takes 5:32
14 Twenty-Nine Ways 4:51
15 I Got My Mojo Working 3:41

.Koko Taylor - South Side Lady  (ogg  168mb)

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Royal Blue is the first Alligator release from Koko Taylor since 1993's Grammy nominated Force of Nature. This is a mainly up-tempo set with excellent support from several guest appearances by B.B. King, Johnny Johnson, Ken Saydak, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd who contributes some scorching guitar on the Melissa Ethridge-penned hit "Bring Me Some Water." Taylor not only co-produced this release but wrote four of the 12 tracks, including the acoustic "The Man Next Door." On this track, the combination of Koko's passionate voice with Keb Mo's gritty Delta slide guitar makes you wish she would move further in this direction on future releases. Royal Blue proves Koko Taylor is still the undisputed queen of the blues.

Koko Taylor - Royal Blue    (flac 374mb)

01 Save Your Breath 4:11
02 Hittin' On Me 3:32
03 Bring Me 5:21
04 But On The Other Hand 4:43
05 Don't Let Me Catch You With Your Drawers Down 4:12
06 Blues Hotel 4:23
07 Fuel To Burn 3:51
08 The Man Next Door 5:15
09 Old Woman 4:31
10 Ernestine 5:04
11 Keep Your Booty Out Of My Bed 4:38
12 Keep Your Mouth Shut And Your Eyes Open 3:48

Koko Taylor - Royal Blue  (ogg  123mb )

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Between 1993 and 1997, Orbis Publishing released a partworks series entitled "The Blues Collection". The series comprised 90 fortnightly issues, each including a thin magazine-sized biography (each 12 pages long) and an album on CD or cassette tape.

To sum things up a remastered sampler containing early singles from Koko Taylor:
I Got What It Takes / What Kind of Man Is This (1964)
Don't Mess With the Messer / Whatever I Am You Made Me (1965)
Wang Dang Doodle / Blues Heaven (1966)
Good Advice / Tell Me The Truth (1966)
Fire / Insane Asylum (1967)
Egg or the Hen / Just Love Me (1967)
(I Got) All You Need / All Money Spent (On Feeling Good) ‎(1967 )
I Don't Care Who Knows / Separate or Integrate (1968)
and another song from 1965: I'm a Little Mixed Up
four tracks from the debut album Koko Taylor] (1969)

Koko Taylor - Wang Dang Doodle   (flac 270mb)

01 What Kind Of Man Is This? 3:03
02 Don't Mess With The Messer 2:44
03 I Got What It Takes 3:03
04 Whatever I Am, You Made Me 2:25
05 I'm A Little Mixed Up 2:39
06 Wang Dang Doddle 3:00
07 Blues Heaven 2:21
08 (I Got) All You Need 2:13
09 Good Advice 2:27
10 Egg Or The Hen 2:28
11 Just Love Me 2:41
12 Insane Asylum 4:20
13 Separate Or Integrate 3:07
14 I Don't Care Who Knows 2:10
15 Yes, It's Good For You 2:41
16 Twenty-Nine Ways 3:12
17 Nitty Gritty 2:41
18 I Love A Lover Like You 2:44

. Koko Taylor - Wang Dang Doodle  (ogg  116mb)

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