Another excellent album from the Chicago Queen of the Blues, this one from 1981 midway in her recording career which spanned from 1968 (aged 40) through to 2007, not far short of her eightieth birthday and her death. Koko Taylor is a remarkable blues singer with a very powerful voice edged with glass paper. She can "blow up a storm" or sing with deep emotion, as in her rendition of "I'd Rather Go Blind" (made popular in the UK by Rod Stewart). There are no Willie Dixon songs, nor covers of Muddy Waters or "the Wolf" on this album but that doesn't detract. This is an album of Chicago Blues performed by one of its greatest exponents along with her backing band which has supported her career for many years. They are a great team.
A slightly slicker Koko Taylor than we've generally been accustomed to, with nice horn arrangements by Gene Barge that farme the blues queen's growl effectively. A Taylor duet with Lonnie Brooks would normally be something to savor, but they're saddled here with an extremely corny "It's a Dirty Job" that's beneath both their statures. Taylor wrote four of thet disc's best numbers herself, including "Can't Let Go" and the title cut.
Co-producer Bruce Iglauer anticipated a future trend by making this a set filled with cameos – but the presence of Lonnie Brooks, James Cotton, Albert Collins, and Son Seals is entirely warranted and the contributions of each work quite well in the context of the whole. Taylor's gritty "I Cried like a Baby" and a snazzy remake of Ann Peebles' "Come to Mama" are among the many highlights.
Koko Taylor's Alligator encore harbored a number of tunes that still pepper her set list to this day – the grinding "I'm a Woman" and the party-down specials "Let the Good Times Roll" and "Hey Bartender." Her uncompromising slow blues "Please Don't Dog Me" and a sassy remake of Irma Thomas' "You Can Have My Husband" also stand out, as does the fine backing by guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Johnny B. Moore, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and saxman Abb Locke.
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".
Straight digital reissue of Taylor's debut Chess album from 1969. Produced by Willie Dixon (who can intermittently be heard as a duet partner), the set is one of the strongest representations of the belter's Chess days available, with her immortal smash "Wang Dang Doodle," and the chunky "Twenty-Nine Ways," "I'm a Little Mixed Up," and "Don't Mess with the Messer." Top-flight session musicians on Taylor's 1965-1969 output included guitarists Buddy Guy, Matt Murphy, and Johnny Shines and saxman Gene "Daddy G" Barge.
Following on from the latest album The Road Part 1, James Lavelle brings UNKLE to the stage of Camden’s Koko on September 26th 2017, with the show being recorded by Live Here Now for release as On The Road: Koko. Available on limited edition CD and Vinyl, alongside a selection of limited edition merchandise, the show features guest signers Fran Lobo, Callum, Elliot Power, Dorian Lutz an ESKA who featured on The Road part 1.
Cut during the period when she was between Chess and Alligator, this 15-song selection, cut in a French studio and live in the Netherlands in 1973, is a potent set that finds Koko Taylor ably backed by the Aces, guitarist Jimmy Rogers, and pianist Willie Mabon. Lots of familiar titles – a live "Wang Dang Doodle," studio remakes of "I'm a Little Mixed Up" and "Twenty-Nine Ways" – and a few numbers that aren't usually associated with Chicago's undisputed blues queen.