Late Blues Great Koko Taylor Gets Musical Sendoff

Late Blues Great Koko Taylor Gets Musical Sendoff

Credit: Marc Norberg

The late legendary blues singer Koko Taylor is set to receive a musical tribute fit for a queen.

Denise Williams, Otis Clay and other musicians in town for this weekend's Chicago Blues Festival are scheduled to perform Thursday at a memorial service for Taylor. Her funeral is Friday.

The sharecropper's daughter, who earned the nickname "Queen of the Blues" during a career that stretched more than five decades, died June 3 at age 80 about two weeks after having surgery because of gastrointestinal bleeding.

While Taylor didn't have widespread mainstream success, she was revered and beloved by blues aficionados. Her work included the best-selling song "Wang Dang Doodle," and tunes such as "What Kind of Man is This" and "I Got What It Takes."

Taylor made numerous national television appearances, was the subject of a PBS documentary and had a small part in director David Lynch's "Wild at Heart." She earned seven Grammy nominations and won in 1984.

Taylor last performed on May 7 in Memphis, Tenn., at the Blues Music Awards.

The Chicago Blues Festival Web site on Thursday featured pictures of Taylor performing and a note that read, "A voice that will be missed; a presence that will never be gone."

Her Thursday afternoon wake will be followed by the musical tribute. Another visitation will be held Friday afternoon, followed by her funeral with a eulogy to be delivered by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. All events will be held at the headquarters of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on Chicago's South Side.

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