Another great Alligator offering
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 06/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Generally speaking, nobody but nobody should attempt to cover Chester Burnett, the mighty Howlin' Wolf. But the tough and gritty rendition of Wolf's "Evil" which opens this set shows that it can be done, and it is no surprise that it is Koko Taylor who comes as close as anyone to making one of Wolf's songs her own.
You can pick up any of Koko Taylor's Alligator albums and expect a good time, and this is not the least of them.
1985's "Queen of the Blues" anticipated a trend, if you will, featuring numerous guest stars. Frank "Son" Seals, Albert Collins and Lonnie Brooks play guitar on one song each, and they're all terrific, and harpist James Cotton lends his considerable talents to "Queen Bee" and the aforementioned Howlin' Wolf-cover.
But Taylor's regular combo is just as good, actually. Her excellent lead guitarist and occational producer Criss Johnson has delivered the goods for 35 years now, the rhythm section of Johnny B. Gayden and Ray Allison is rock-solid, and the late "Professor" Eddie Lusk plays terrific blues-n-boogie piano on songs like "Flamin' Mamie", the swinging "Beer Bottle Boogie" and the slow burner "I Cried Like A Baby".
Taylor has penned only one of these ten songs herself, but she is an excellent interpreter of songs, and her swaggering rendition of Ann Peebles' "Come To Mama" is one of the best songs on the disc. She subtly reinterprets "Money (That's What I Want)" as the driving "I Don't Care No More", complete with characteristic edgy lead guitar lines by Son Seals, and gets funky on the syncopated "I Can Love You Like A Woman", and let's not forget the production, which is uniformly excellent. Clear and uncluttered, but without being slick.
Fans of Koko Taylor will want this one in their collection. In fact, fans of genuine, rough n' tumble Chicago blues will want each and every one of Taylor's albums in their colletion. She has yet to make a bad one."
Go on Koko
Docendo Discimus | 11/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you think a bear is scary with its growls you shouls listen to this album. Koko has a fierce growl that will get you up off of your feet. Like in the song I Can Love You Like A Woman or I can Fight You Like A MAN. Oh BOY! She sounds like she can fight like a tiger. There is no other woman on this PLANET that can replicate a voice this good. Buy this album and I garantee you will not be dissapointed.I am only 12 years old and let me tell you I love her better than I love any other singer."
Craig Riecke | East Syracuse, NY USA | 08/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ms. Taylor rivals Howlin' Wolf in the terrify-ingness of her voice. So it's fitting she starts with the Wolf classic "Evil" here, and when she sings "Grab the first thing smokin'" my whole body tenses up. Yup, she's visceral. Unfortunately her backing band is up to the challenge, although guest star James Cotton redeems it somewhat (especially on "Queen Bee.") Oh well. Some say her voice is an acquired taste, but I don't understand why. If the gravelly goodeness that pounds "Flamin Mamie" into the wall doesn't speak to you ... you're probably dead!"