Friday, April 11, at the Grand Emporium.

Koko Taylor 

Friday, April 11, at the Grand Emporium.

Even in the veteran-venerating blues world, longevity alone does not guarantee legendary status. Koko Taylor earned her accolades both by maintaining her tenacity over a forty-plus-year career and by holding her own when standing toe-to-toe with her male blues-belting counterparts. Born in Memphis to a poor sharecropper family, Taylor moved to Chicago's rough-and-tumble South Side at age eighteen. She quickly became immersed in the scene, catching the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and Junior Wells on a nightly basis while slowly finding the courage to take the stage herself. It wasn't long -- 1962 to be exact -- before years of playing back-porch blues with her siblings in Memphis translated into a recording contract with Chess Records. Aside from a brief flash in 1965 with her hit "Wang Dang Doodle," the transition from South Side curiosity to mainstream notoriety would come slowly over the course of the next decade. Since then, her achievements have become too numerous to list. Although James Brown once declared that "it's a man's world," Taylor is the type of talent who proves that "it wouldn't be nothing without a woman."

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