Koko Taylor, I Got What It Takes

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 07.27.11 in Reviews
Updating the swagger of classic blues with a massive, scarifying voice

From this, her 1975 label debut, until her death in 2009, Taylor personified the label’s aesthetic as well as anyone. Updating the swagger of classic blues singers like Bessie Smith to the postwar sound, her massive, scarifying voice made her something like the female Howlin’ Wolf on the likes of her own “Voodoo Woman.” Nearly everything she sang was uptempo (or at least midtempo) and she made it all pure Koko, even a country song like Webb Pierce’s “Honkey Tonkey.”