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One Track Mind: Koko Taylor “Merry, Merry Christmas” (1992)

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This week's choice for OTM was dictated by two considerations: it needed to have a holiday theme and if it could continue the spirit of Blogcritics' ongoing Blue Bash, so much the better. With potentially so many Christmas albums to comb through, I soon honed in on Alligator Record's fine 1992 blues-themed holiday compilation The Alligator Records Christmas Collection and it's lead off track, "Merry, Merry Christmas". And why not? After all, this song was composed and sung by the reigning Queen Of The Blues herself, Koko Taylor.

Chicago's own Taylor has been a fixture in that city's unmatched blue scene since her fiery rendition of Willie Dixon's "Wang Dang Doodle" back in 1964. That big, saucy voice of hers makes Koko the modern incarnation of classic lady blues belters like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. She can lift any tune solely on the attitude she brings to it.
2000-koko-taylor

And so is the case for "Merry, Merry Christmas." This song won't ever become quite as memorable in the holiday season as, say "Bells Will Be Ringing." That doesn't matter, though, because with Koko's sassy wailing, it provides a great excuse to sway to some prime, funky electric Chicago blues done right by one of its living legends whilst chugging egg nog and positioning yourself under the mistletoe.

As this is my last entry before Christmas, I hope you find the track below makes your holidays rock a little bit harder. Merry, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Listen: Koko Taylor "Merry, Merry Christmas"

"One Track Mind" is a weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too. Downloads are low quality rips available for only about a week.

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  • http://www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    I’ve always had a hard time measuring contemporary blues singers with past masters. I’ve seen Taylor’s name over the years in the blues section of a record store but never thought to dive in and buy a record.

  • http://daslob.blogspot.com/ Pico

    Koko IMO is actually sort of a bridge between the past masters and the contemporary blues singers. The Chess label’s last big hit was her “Wang Dang Doodle” single during a time when Muddy and Wolf were still dominating the Chicago blues scene.

    If you ever further explore Taylor and find you like her stuff, check out her heir apparent, Shemekia Copeland. That gal can rock the blues!

    -P

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