The Rough Week That Was: KoKo Taylor and David Carradine

Though neither was particularly young, both were sharply talented, and so a week that takes both actor David Carradine and “Queen of the Blues” KoKo Taylor seems especially ugly.

When I heard Taylor had died, my mind went to a single song, though she performed many. Still, “Wang Dang Doodle” was somewhat anthemic in Taylor’s hands, a call to good times and living well and the sexual overtones never seemed accidental.

Born Cora Walton in 1928, Taylor was a sharecropper’s daughter from Shelby County, Tennessee. Her final public performance was just days ago at the Blues Music Awards on May 7th.

The Daily Telegraph offers up a royal obituary:
Famously capable of standing up for herself, and tolerating no nonsense from any of her male colleagues, she recently declared: "It's tough being out there doing what I'm doing in what they call a man's world." With her big, raw "blues shouter" of a voice, she took her cues from the likes of Bessie Smith, Big Mamma Thornton and Memphis Minnie, later influencing an entire generation of younger female blues artists.


John McFetridge said…
Yes, a sad week. I hadn't heard about KoKo Taylor. I'll put on a CD now, though.

Here in the Toronto TV world people have been telling David Carradine stories from his days on Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. He's still a legend in this town.
Clea Simon said…
Don't forget Sam Butera. Louis Prima's sax man made those songs with that brazen honking! Got to hear his band in New Orleans a few years ago. Great music and truly awful jokes - the man knew how to entertain.

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