Koko Taylor: Old School (Southbound)

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Koko Taylor: Better Watch Your Step
Koko Taylor: Old School (Southbound)

Some years back this fog-horn voiced blues singer released an album under the title Force of Nature: and that's what she is.

Now 71, Taylor can still drive in nails across the room with her gutsy blasts, and she has never shied away from having a beefy rockin' guitar-driven band behind her because she knows if they get too loud she can just bellow right across the top of them.

She is Chicago blues epitomised, influenced Janis Joplin, writes songs which sound like classic 50s material, and for this album goes right back to those clubland roots on the South Side: there are two Willie Dixon songs here (Don't Go No Further and Young Fashioned Ways), a roaring version of Memphis Minnie's Black Rat, and a beautiful slow burning ballad in Johnny Thompson's Money Is The Name of the Game.

Taylor is the real deal, and one of the few last links to classic Chicago blues. She's long been styled the Queen of the Blues, but "force of nature" still sounds about right.

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