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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Koko Taylor RIP

Bad news, one of the last big icons from the glory days of Chess records has died. Koko Taylor the queen of the blues is gone. Bob Corritore has passed along the news from Tim Kolleth of Alligator Records.

Koko Taylor was one of the greats discovered by Willie Dixon, he introduced her to Leonard Chess and the rest is history. God bless you Koko! May you rest in peace.


Acording to Koko's website (click here) Koko died from complications of surgery. There is a nice short bio there as well.

From Bob Corritore

June 3, 2009

  • RIP Koko Taylor 9/28/1928-6/3/2009: This just in from Tim Kolleth of Alligator Records: "It’s with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I must inform you of the passing of The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor. There will never be another one like her. That’s all I can say right now except to thank all of you for playing her music all these years. I can only encourage you to keep her spirit, her voice and her timeless music alive. She will be missed forever here."
Update From Bob Corritore

  • Koko Remembrances: I first heard Koko Taylor's "Wang Dang Doodle" in the early 70s on the radio in Chicago. It knocked me out and I was a Koko fan from that point on. I first started seeing her perform live in 1974. She used to play regularly at a North side Chicago bar called Biddy Mulligan’s. She had a great band with Johnny Twist on the guitar, and later Johnny B. Moore. She would tear the house down regularly. I was just 18 and 19 at the time. I often sat with her and her husband Pops on the breaks. Such friendly, wonderful people! They used to let me play a number or two with the band before she hit the stage. One night Pops asked me to come to a band rehearsal to audition. He said that they were thinking about adding another piece to the band. I was still very young at the time, with plans for completing college, and my parents would hear nothing of this, and refused to lend me the car. I really would not have been of the level of playing needed to pass an audition at that point. I still have the torn note card with Koko's number that she gave me to set this up. I went to the 1975 PBS filming of the Blues Summit Concert with Koko, Muddy, Junior Wells, Willie Dixon, Johnny Winter, Dr. John, and others. Once at Biddy Mulligan’s, Paul Butterfield came by and sat in with Koko and her band for a set. Years later after I moved to Phoenix and opened up the Rhythm Room, I was able to book Koko a number of times. It warmed my heart to present her with a photo of her and her late husband that I had taken years before at Biddy Mulligan’s. In 2005, I had one of the greatest thrills of my life which was taking Koko into Rax Trax studio in Chicago and recording a song with her. I put together a great band that included Bob Margolin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Stroger, and Little Frank, and we knocked out a killer version of "What Kind Of Man Is This". I had arranged this recording session through my friend Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records who, knowing how important this was to me, was gracious enough to allow me this honor - with the stipulation that I not release the cut for 5 years (I hope to put it out next year). This recording session was a true satisfaction, because I always wondered what would have happened if years before I had gone to that rehearsal. I had this special time with Koko, and it produced a beautiful recorded cut that can live on forever. In the last 5 years, it seemed like I was regularly meeting up with Koko and her family. This would happen at a wide range of places: at the Chicago Blues Festival, where she would have a booth each year, the Blues Music Awards, the Scottsdale Music Festival, the Lucerne Blues Festival, the Grammies®, etc. One time (must have been 2006) at the Chicago Blues Festival, Cookie (Koko's daughter) had my lovely Kim and I stay with Koko for a few hours, and we had such a wonderful time in the green room of the Petrillo Bandshell as Koko sang us some of her favorite tracks from the then forthcoming Old School CD. Just a month ago, she was the highlight performance at the BMAs, as she sang "Wang Dang Doodle" with The Mannish Boys. Koko has been a constant in my life. She has always stood for the tough, real deal Chicago blues, while having a heart of gold, and a simple joy in performing her music. I will miss her greatly.

-Bob Corritore


From Bob Corritore

Koko Taylor Funeral Information: This year's Chicago Blues Festival will be one where Koko Taylor will be thought of by all who attend. Here is the funeral information which will happen in tandem with the festival:

Wake/Visitation (Lie in State)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

4:00pm - 9:00pm

RainbowPUSH Coalition National Headquarters

930 East 50th Street (at Drexel Blvd.)

Chicago, IL 60615

Funeral Services

Friday, June 12, 2009

6:00pm (4:00pm - 6:00pm visitation)

RainbowPUSH Coalition National Headquarters

930 East 50th Street (at Drexel Blvd.)

Chicago, IL 60615

You can post condolences to the family here.

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