Born Cora Walton, Koko Taylor was the other ‘The Queen of the Blues.’ Even among the illustrious talent assembled for this feature Koko was special.
Inspired by blues pioneers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, Koko ripped into songs like Wang Dang Doodle with abandon and she knew the blues inside out (click here for proof). Koko began her career singing in Chicago blues clubs in the late 50s. Spotted by blues performer, and prolific songwriter, Willie Dixon in 1962, she would eventually sign to Chess Records in 1965.
Up to her death in 2009 at the age of 80 Koko was still playing 70 gigs a year. Among her many great achievements in her later career was a cameo in David Lynch’s warped 1990 classic Wild At Heart.
Listen: Koko Taylor with Little Walter - Wang Dang Doodle (live, 1967)
Listen: Koko Taylor - I Cried Like A Baby (TV documentary rip)
Listen: Koko Taylor - Up In Flames (taken from Wild At Heart)