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Old School

Koko Taylor

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Album Review

Old School is Koko Taylor's first new album in seven years, and after a series of health issues that sidelined her for a while, it could be viewed as a comeback of sorts, but if so, there aren't any signs of rust here. She still belts out her trademark Chicago blues like she always has, sidestepping any 21st century recording tricks for a straightforward set that wouldn't sound out of place next to her classic Chess sides from the early '60s. It's also encouraging that she wrote nearly half the tunes here, while turning in solid covers of a pair of Willie Dixon songs ("Don't Go No Further" and "Young Fashioned Ways"), one by Magic Sam ("All Your Love") and a scorching performance of Lizzie Lawler's classic "Black Rat" that rivals Big Mama Thornton's version. A rendition of "Bad Rooster" is also top notch. Of the originals, the lead track, "Piece of Man," is the most impressive, setting the tone and feel for an album that clearly celebrates Taylor's unshakable Chicago blues roots. Old School isn't sleek, pretty, posed or polished, but is instead raw, ragged and as real as a biting winter wind off of Lake Michigan. Call it a comeback if you want, but this is the territory that Koko Taylor has lived in for nearly fifty years. She owns this stuff. Call it a continuance. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Customer Reviews

gettin' older is better

I first got turned onto Koko from some Blues complilation years ago. I have not bought a single album of her work since then. But tonight, on new music Tuesday, I stumble (thank you iTunes) on this release and I cannot contain myself. WOW. This is just an excellent example that as Blues singers age, they only get better. Life experience, effects of age on vocal cords....whatever it is....this collection is exceptional. LOVE IT! Thanks Koko. I"d kiss your hand if I had the chance. And then I'd kiss mine for buying this collection.

Love it! Love it! Love it!

I actually found this release by accident, and I'm sure glad that I did. It is fabulous. If you're a Koko Taylor fan, this is another MUST BUY.

You go KoKo!

I saw KoKo in the summer of 2006 at the RIchton Park Il." Blues and Bones fest" and I thought right there that" there's a women with a purpose in life. Plus this CD has definitely the Chicago Style of blues guitar slinging..." old school "

Biography

Born: September 28, 1928 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Accurately dubbed "the Queen of Chicago blues" (and sometimes just the blues in general), Koko Taylor helped keep the tradition of big-voiced, brassy female blues belters alive, recasting the spirits of early legends like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Big Mama Thornton, and Memphis Minnie for the modern age. Taylor's rough, raw vocals were perfect for the swaggering new electrified era of the blues, and her massive hit "Wang Dang Doodle" served notice that male dominance in the blues wasn't as exclusive...
Full Bio
Old School, Koko Taylor
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