|The Taylor family stands treetop tall as a fully-fledged and remarkably enduring Chicago Blues dynasty. That’s never been more apparent than with the release of Larry Taylor and the Taylor Family: Generations of Blues on Nola Blue Records.
In 2015, vocalist/drummer Larry Taylor assembled his brothers and sisters at Chicago’s Joyride Studios to pay loving tribute to their late father, Eddie Taylor, Sr., and the West Side blues tradition that so deeply influenced all of them. Its set list combines fresh and invigorating versions of their dad’s classic blues compositions and newly created themes illustrating the Taylor family’s unshakable dedication to the idiom. In addition, the collection now pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of their father’s birth in 1923.
The story begins with legendary Benoit, Mississippi-born guitarist Eddie Sr., who arrived in Chicago in 1949 and quickly carved out a sterling reputation as one of the city’s top bluesmen. He made seminal mid-‘50s sides as a leader for Vee-Jay Records (“Bad Boy,” “Ride ‘Em On Down,” “Big Town Playboy”) and served as blues immortal Jimmy Reed’s impeccable accompanist, his dazzling guitar technique influencing countless younger bluesmen including Freddie King. Eddie Sr. and his wife, singer Vera Taylor, were prime inspirations to their offspring as they grew up, instilling a tradition that they proudly carry on to this day.
The eldest brother, Larry Taylor, the instigator of this project, boasts his own impressive blues legacy with the acclaimed 2004 recording, They Were in This House, on AV Records (later reissued on the Wolf label). His eldest sister, singer Brenda Taylor, issued her own 2021 Wolf album, Buggy Ride, while her younger sibling Demetria Taylor has toured the globe repeatedly, her powerful vocals showcased on two Delmark discs, 2011’s Bad Girl and last year’s Doin’ What I’m Supposed To Do.
Prior to his tragic passing in 2019, vocalist/guitarist Eddie Taylor, Jr. had taken his place as a leading Chicago blues traditionalist, releasing a half-dozen Wolf albums as a leader beginning with 1998’s Lookin’ for Trouble. Taught the rudiments of his instrument by Larry, drummer Tim Taylor has kept rock-steady time on over forty blues discs as well as touring with the bands of Maurice John Vaughn and the late saxophone great Eddie Shaw.
That’s a whole lot of Chicago blues talent in one family, and it’s all on glorious display throughout Generations of Blues. Larry does the vocal honors on six tracks, including his own “She Treats Me Just The Same” and “Penitentiary Blues” as well as “Feel So Bad,” the title track of his father’s 1972 album for Advent. Brenda roars “I Found Out” and “Talk To Your Son,” the latter adapted from a J.B. Lenoir classic; Demetria offers sizzling reprises of “Bad Girl” (a gender-switched treatment of her dad’s “Bad Boy”) and Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me.” Eddie Jr.’s powerful pipes sparkle on a reprise of his father’s “Big Town Playboy.”
The Taylor legacy now extends to a third generation as Larry’s teenaged son, rapper Liljet2x, brings his contemporary sensibilities to the equation. There’s just no end to this family’s talent, as Larry Taylor and the Taylor Family: Generations of Blues so powerfully illustrates.