Friday, May 2, 2014

Koko Taylor - Southside Baby

Koko Taylor left Chess Records in 1973, as the company was heading towards its demise, and joined up with Bruce Iglauer's brand-new company Alligator Records in 1975. She has remained there ever since, but between her leaving Chess and her singning with Iglauer, Taylor recorded this little-known long player.
There are couple of old warhorses here, somewhat superflous re-recordings of a handful of Taylor's 1960s Chess singles, but there is also a lot of good stuff which you won't find anywhere else. Koko Taylor's own "What Kind Of Man Is This" makes it debut on this album, a grinding mid-tempo blues and one of her best original songs, and she does well by Lillian Offitt's "Wonder Why".
Well, maybe you won't. But judged on its own merits this is a fine album, not least because of the excellent band. Koko Taylor is backed by the Aces (drummer Fred Below and brothers Lou and Dave Myers on guitar and bass), and by none other than Muddy Waters' former guitarist Jimmy Rogers and stylish pianist Willie Mabon, both of them frequent bandleaders themselves. Mabon's elegant playing is particularly delightful, and Taylor's voice is, of course, made to sing the blues.
So, let's sum it up. This is not an absolutely necessary purchase. Not as necessary as Taylor's classic Chess sides or the best of her Alligator sides, certainly. But there is a lot of good stuff here nevertheless, and serious fans will definitely want a listen. It is a bit of an oddity, "South Side Lady", but it's not half bad. Not at all.
(original Southside Lady CD with 6 extra tracks review by D. Discimus, edited to fit the LP)

It's a shame that Black&Blue couldn't find/use a more flattering photo of Koko for the cover.



Gerard Herzhaft said...

Although those French sessions have been published several times on LP and CD, this very LP with this cover is in fact extremeley rare. For Koko discovering that the Black & Blue label titled her "South Side Baby" was very mad against us for that and taking the word "baby" as a kind of an insult. So, very quickly, the label replaced "Baby" by "Lady", a term that Koko found more suitable to her personnality

Xyros said...

Thank you Gerard for the reason why the lp title was changed. Koko was most defiantly a Lady and not some baby.

George said...

I don't believe it's too easy to find flattering photos of Koko - on the other hand, looks don't make a great voice, do they?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, a good album. Surely must be one of the worst covers in history! thanks again.

liam23 said...

Just discovered you, some fantastic music, many thanks

Xyros said...

Welcome Liam23 and I hope that you find more to your liking.