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One year ago: Koko Taylor

June 3, 2010 |  6:10 am


Today we revisit Koko Taylor, who died one year ago, on June 3, 2009. A blues singer and Chicago icon, Taylor was best known for her hits "Wang Dang Doodle," "I'm a Woman" and "Hey Bartender." Her death from complications of gastrointestinal surgery came less than four weeks after she performed at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, where she was honored for a record 29th time.

Bruce Iglauer, her producer, manager and friend, was at her side when she died, and he remembered her this way:

"She was of the same generation as Muddy [Waters] and [Howlin'] Wolf, she had those [Mississippi] Delta roots," he said Wednesday. "Even though she had been living in Chicago since the '50s, her music was still deeply rooted in the South. She had that rhythmic sense, that sense of where you lay the words and how the band locks in around the singer, that intensity of people who have lived that life."

Click here to read the rest of the story by Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Koko Taylor sings the blues at the 1999 Long Beach Blues Festival. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times