Only a handful of the truly great blues performers are still around, and fewer still have as much left in the tank as Cora Walton "Koko" Taylor. Averaging about 100 concerts a year, the internationally celebrated Queen of the Blues comes to town this weekend, placing the crowning touch on Fat Fish Blue's fifth-anniversary celebration. Taylor was a mainstay of the Chicago blues scene during its '50s and early '60s peak, sharing stages with the likes of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. Her fierce, big-bellowed vocals rivaled those of her male colleagues and piqued the interest of Willie Dixon. The influential producer-songwriter landed Taylor a contract with Chess Records and produced a number of sessions, including her 1965 hit "Wang Dang Doodle." A worldwide club and concert star since the '70s, Taylor has garnered numerous Grammy nominations and more W.C. Handy Awards than any female blues artist.
While she hasn't added anything to her discography recently, the 2000 release Royal Blue is worth running down, and her volume in Alligator's 2002 Deluxe Edition series provides a tasty cross section of her catalog.