The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, passed away Wednesday in Chicago due to complications following a May 19 surgery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed. She was 80 years young.
The woman born Cora Walton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997, was nominated for eight Grammys and one won in 1985. Her final show was May 7 in Memphis. If you've got to have a last performance, Memphis is a pretty damn good spot for that sort of thing.
I saw Taylor once. It was at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 2001. For a woman in her 70s, she was fired up. I mean, she wasn't young Mick Jagger fired up, but you know what I mean.
I have this cryptic urge to write about the passing of blues men and women because we are literally seeing the final chapter of a once great and important style of music. Yes, there are others who are younger (and whiter) who do a damn fine job of keeping the blues alive, but any new player worth checking out would tell you it's just not the same.
Services will take place Thursday and Friday in Chicago and a funeral will be held at 6 p.m. Friday.
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Hey Koko, if you're reading this, get Willie Dixon and start playing that "Wang Dang Doodle" one time for me, wouldya?