Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
What It Takes: The Chess Years
Genres: Blues, Pop
Listen to Samples
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On the Edge
Beth Johnston | 08/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like Etta James, you should love Koko Taylor. Taylor's fierce growl and profound feel for the blues make even Etta look timid. This is a fabulous record, and one that consistently provides the "Fire" that track 10 promises. As with the blues in general, these songs are about love and loss--people who done other people wrong. But between Koko Taylor's not-so-subtly threatening delivery and the dramatic lyrics to many of the songs, the album gives a coherent impression of a woman on the edge. When Koko points out that she's "A Little Mixed Up," when she tells a lover that "Whatever I Am, You Made Me," and when she warns him not to "Mess With the Messer," we believe her. She sounds serious. At the same time, the songs have plenty of humor, mixed with a good dose of the blues' frank sexuality, in songs like "[I Got] All You Need" and "Twenty Nine Ways [To My Baby's Door]" That last song always makes me laugh--the number's so much more precise than Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover," and as Koko points out, even though, "I got twenty nine ways to get to my baby's door . . . if he needs me bad I can find 'bout two or three more." As if this weren't good enough, I should add that the music is the kind that makes you want to get up and move. While it probably does great music like this a disservice to advertise it as a fitness product, the truth is I used to listen to this album on long walks and it really got me going. I gave it to my mother one Christmas and with it in her CD player (and with the help of a rowing machine) she transformed her physique from that of a 50-year-old to that of a 15-year-old. Terrific stuff."
What comes first the egg or the hen
Beth Johnston | 11/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my goodness. I am only 12 years old and when i heard this album I got up and starting singing which come first the egg or the hen. Koko and Willie Dixon together makes a great duet. The song Love me and uh huh my baby are classics as well as wand dang doodle. I reccomend to buy this album."
Why the...... is this CD out of print?!
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 05/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"More comprehensive than Koko Taylor's eponymous Chess LP (which is essentially a compilation as well, bringing together a dozen already issued singles), "What It Takes" is an almost perfect collection of Taylor's Chess sides.
It's only almost perfect, because "Love You Like A Woman" and "I Love A Lover Like You" are missing, but look at what is here! "Don't Mess With The Messer", "Whatever I Am You Made Me", "Wang Dang Doodle", and four killer tracks from Koko Taylor's hard-to-find second Chess album, 1971's "Basic Soul", including "Bills, Bills & More Bills".
Bassist, composer, arranger and allround blues treasure Willie Dixon is everywhere, and the great Lafayette Leake plays the most irresistable blues-n-boogie piano you'll ever hear on "Um Huh My Baby" and "I Need More And More".
This is Chicago blues at its very, very best, right up there with Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Sonny Boy, and the Wolf. It is tough and gritty, yet accessible, soulful and supremely melodic. Koko Taylor displays the versatility of her amazing voice, and Willie Dixon supplies a slew of songs of incomparable quality. And just check out the personnel on this ultimate 1969 recording of "Twenty-Nine Ways To My Baby's Door": Fred Below keps the beat going behind guitarists Buddy Guy and Matt 'Guitar' Murphy, bassist Jack Meyers, pianist extraordinaire Sunnyland Slim, and harpist Big Walter Horton.
There is barely a single weak track here, and the arrangements are flawless (with the exception of the hideous choir on "Love Me"). "What It Takes - The Chess Years" is the ultimate collection of Koko Taylor's classic 60s recordings, and any semi-serious blues fan needs to find themselves a copy of this CD. And diehards will need this one even if they already have the aforementioned "Koko Taylor" album too, I'm afraid, since some of these recordings differ from the ones on "Koko Taylor". Oh, and the latter includes three or four songs not found on "What It Takes".
Yeah, it's tough ;o)"