Friday, March 19, 2010
Koko TAYLOR - The Earthshaker 1978
1989 Issue. Al 4711
In the modern era of blues, mainly electric blues, say from the post-World War II period women blues singers, especially black women blues singers, are probably underrepresented. One thinks of "Big Mama" Thornton, Ruth Brown, Etta James, and the artist under review, Koko Taylor. There are other lesser lights but not nearly the numbers that I can, and have, recounted in this space from the 1920's and 1930's. Nevertheless for sheer energy, volume and flat out "good time" dancing blues Ms. Taylor will do quite well, against male or female. The title of this CD, "The Earthshaker" is not mistaken or out of place.
That said, I remember in one of the segments of Martin Scorsese six-part PBS tribute to the blues a few years back that when Ms. Taylor was interviewed concerning the influence that Chicago's Chess Records and its management, the Chess brothers (the guys that discovered her), had on the blues scene she was less that complimentary with the "shake" that that pair had given her. The whole question of the exploitation of black blues talent (and not only of that musical genre) deserves separate coverage and is beyond what I want to look at in this CD. However, I would point out, there is probably more truth that meets the eye concerning the Koko's gripes about proper promotion, accreditation and payment (in short, the correct distribution of the dough, okay) and that Koko was not just being abstruse in the matter. That may also explain, a little at least, the dearth of women blues singers that come readily to mind.
But enough of that, for now. Here Koko belts out her standards, accompanied by a fine back up band made up of well-known, and in the case of "Pinetop" Perkins on keyboards legendary, musicians including Johnny Moore and Sammy Lawhorn on the guitars. Nice right, for those who know those names? Hits here include the Willie Dixon classic "Spoonful" that Howlin' Wolf ripped up. Well, Koko does the same here. My favorite on this CD is the slow mournful blues "Walking the Back Streets" (needless to say crying in those back streets about a two-timing man). But so much for my favorite because the reason you get this CD is Koko's signature Willie Dixon classic "Wang Dang Doodle". Howlin' Wolf covered that tune as well. Koko wins that duel though. Listen up.
By Alfred Johnson.
Koko Taylor- (Bass,Vocals),
Cornelius Boyson- (Bass),
Vince Chappelle- (Drums),
Mervyn "Harmonica" Hinds- (Harmonica),
Sammy Lawhorn- (Guitar),
Abe Locke- (Saxophone),
ohnny B. Moore- (Guitar),
Pinetop Perkins- (Keyboards).
01. Let the Good Times Roll 3:00
02. Spoonful 3:00
03. Walking the Back Streets 6:45
04. Cut You Loose 3:24
05. Hey Bartender 2:51
06. I'm a Woman 4:36
07. You Can Have My Husband 2:45
08. Please Don't Dog Me 5:16
09. Wang Dang Doodle 4:51