Friday, July 12, 2002
Koko Taylor ~ 2002
Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee in 1928, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 and in the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract.
In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records, for which her single "Wang Dang Doodle" and featured Little Walter on guitar. National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator.
Taylor influenced musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. In the years prior to her death, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago in Country Club Hills, Illinois. Taylor died on June 3, 2009. Her final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009.