This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
(September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009)
She was born Cora Walton, but she loved chocolate so much she changed her name to Koko. Growing up outside of Memphis, she and her husband “Pops” Taylor set off for the North to look for a new life. And boy did Koko and Pops Taylor find it.
We got on that Greyhound bus headed north to Chicago and the only thing we had was 35 cents and a box of Ritz Crackers between us. When we got to Chicago, I still loved music, I still loved the blues and I didn’t realize for a while that all of the blues people that I had been listening to on the records and hearing about, most of them was right there in Chicago. First somebody I met was the Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, you know. They had their band playing, and every weekend my husband and I would go out to these little blues clubs, and all of the guys got to know me and I wanted to sing. So they started inviting me up on the bandstand. “Hey, little Coke, you want to come up here and do a tune with us?” You know. That kept going on and on and on until finally, I met up with Willie Dixon. He came over to me and he says, he say, “I never heard a woman sing the blues like you.” He says, “and that’s what the world needs today.” He said, “We got a lot of men who sing the blues but no women.” – Koko Taylor