As reported today by the Associated Press and other news outlets, blues "Queen" Koko Taylor died yesterday, Wednesday June 3rd, resulting from complications following surgery she underwent recently for gastrointestinal bleeding. She was 80 years old.
A sharecropper's daughter who grew up listening to B.B. King on the radio (he was a DJ) playing the blues, it was her powerful voice that won her the name "Queen of the Blues." The Tennessee-born Taylor first entered the music world in 1962, after Willie Dixon got her a recording contract with legendary blues label Chess Records.
Three years later she would score a mega hit with the single "Wang Dang Doodle" which would help catapult her career and ensure her longevity. Check out the video below of her with Little Walter back in 1967 performing this song and witness how the woman just belted the blues. What a voice!
After the Chess label folded, she signed with Alligator Records and remained a busy, hard working artist throughout her long, prolific career, performing an average of a hundred concerts each year. She performed up until about seven years ago. Nominated seven times for Grammy awards, Taylor won one in 1984. Look for Taylor's back catalog in the "blues" section of Amoeba Music.
Koko Taylor ft. Little Walter "Wang Dang Doodle" (1967)