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Published:June 5th, 2009 11:18 EST
The End of a Train Ride

The End of a Train Ride

By Avah LaReaux

Her sobriquet was "Queen of Blues" and indeed her voice announced its regality to the music world for more than five decades. Enchanting blues lovers with songs like, "I`m a Woman", "Spellbound", and "Blow Top Blues", Koko Taylor shared the joys and pains of a mighty blues era with authority and passion only possessed by nobility.

Beginning her singing career in Chicago blues clubs in the 1950`s, Koko was discovered by composer Willie Dixon in 1962, thus beginning her professional career. During her reign, "Queen" Koko was nominated seven times for her artist ability before winning the coveted Grammy award in 1984.

Born outside of Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee, Koko Taylor began her life as Cora Walton, the daughter of a sharecropper father who would have preferred to hear her sing only gospel music. However, Koko followed her heart into the blues world and ignited stages for 100 shows during most touring years.

Though she did not achieve the fame of many mainstream blues artists, those who know and love blues in its purest sense recognize the loss of one of the most powerful and prolific female vocalists in this musical lifetime.

On June 4, 2009, "The Queen of Blues" laid down her scepter and entered the eternal Blue Room after experiencing complications from surgery. Koko Taylor`s last performance was shared with the world on May 7, 2009 at the Blues Music Awards.


"My life is like a train ride in fields of blue."

~ 2003 Koko Taylor for Rolling Stones Magazine