From the Vault...


Koko Taylor
"The Earthshaker"

© Alligator Records


track listing
  • Let The Good Times Roll
  • Spoonful
  • Walking The Back Streets
  • Cut You Loose
  • Hey Bartender
  • I'm A Woman
  • You Can Have
    My Husband
  • Please Don't Dog Me
  • Wang Dang Doodle

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    Koko Taylor related sites:
    Koko Taylor Website
    Previous Review: #1185
    Carl Smith--The Essential Carl Smith 1950-1956
    Next Review: #1187
    Chuck Mangione--Fun And Games
    Koko Taylor
    "The Earthshaker"

    There are two genres of music I do not have enough of (as of this date). And that is Blues and Jazz. Sure, there are some basic Blues and Jazz in my collection, but it always leaves me wanting more, either more music by certain Blues/Jazz artists, and more of its popular albums that I may not know about. Take the case of Chicago's own Koko Taylor. I had known she was one of Chicago's greatest Blues singers, and like many other Blues artists, I only have ONE of her albums. The Earthshaker (on Alligator Records; a label known for containing many fine great Blues recordings) is one of those albums, where after listening to it (for this review) I wished I had more of Koko's albums, and more Blues in general.

    She was known as the "Queen of the Blues," and listening to The Earthshaker it proves it. (I'm sure there are some who say this album may or may not be her best.) In reading about her life, The Earthshaker was the second album (of nine) on Alligator Records. It's amazing to know she started on the Blues music scene in 1965, playing with the likes of Willie Dixon (who discovered her), Little Walter, and Hound Dog Taylor.

    The first track is "Let The Good Times Roll," a song that I remember (by a male artist) being played in one of the scenes of The Blues Brothers movie. "Spoonful" was a song I remembered by Eric Clapton and Cream. "Walkng The Back Streets" displays the slow, driven Blues. Gutsy Blues has "Cut You Loose."

    "Hey Bartender" is the classic, recorded by such artists as the Blues Brothers and Johnny Lee. (This song was the main reason why I purchased this album, listening to Chicago's WXRT.) Taylor's gutsy growl returns on the humourous "You Can Have My Husband," likewise on "Please Don't Dog Me." "Wang Dang Doodle" is the last track, as Taylor recorded another version of the song for this album that initially became her first hit in 1965/1966 on Chess Records.

    One of the best Blues artists of all-time, Koko Taylor indeed was. We lost Koko Taylor in June, 2009, as she passed away at age 80. Influenced by many artists to follow while she was alive, and there will be more to come. She leaves behind a legacy of great Blues music, and with my knowledge of her being very limited, it indeeds leaving me wanting to hear more, especially from her Alligator Records period.

    Being from Chicago, I immediately thought of Koko Taylor appearing in the Blues Brothers 2000 movie. Obviously, she was.

    One of many quotes from her website, this truly defines her: "Raucous, gritty, good-time blues... Taylor belts out blues in a gravel voice with ferocious intensity. Foot-stomping music thatí rough, raw and wonderfully upbeat." -- People Magazine. The Queen of the Blues was Koko Taylor, and still remains.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Alligator Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #1185
    Carl Smith--The Essential Carl Smith 1950-1956
    Next Review: #1187
    Chuck Mangione--Fun And Games