Larry Taylor has something rare in tough, windy Chicago these days: soul. In a town bursting with guitar players of every hue, battling over who is the fastest and loudest, Larry is a drummer and vocalist who digs deep, unrelenting grooves and sings real, traditional blues and soul songs from the gut. Larry’s songs reverberate with the good times and the hard times he has known in his 49 years.
Larry’s stepfather, the late Eddie Taylor Sr., is known for the insistent boogie-woogie style guitar licks that distinguished Jimmy Reed’s sound. Migrating to Chicago from Mississippi in 1949, Eddie Sr. and Larry’s mother, singer Vera Hill Taylor, ended up moving their eight children many times around the city, sometimes living in dangerous housing projects.
But also, born in 1955 and growing up in a blues family, Larry experienced “things that kings and queens will never know about” (to quote one of his favorite tunes, JB Oden’s “Going Down Slow”, as sung by his hero, the late Howlin’ Wolf.). At 1131 S. Mozart off Roosevelt Road, his parents played host to such founding fathers of Chicago blues as guitarists Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf (who used to eat plates full of Vera’s home cooked greens), and Jimmy Rogers, and piano man Sunnyland Slim. The title of Larry’s CD, They were in This House, on his own AV label, pays tribute to these elders.
As Larry picked up drumsticks in his five year old hands, he had the guidance of drum masters like Fred Below, Earl Phillips, S.P. Leary, Chicken House Shorty, “Wine Head Willie” Williams, Odie Payne Sr., Cassell Burrows, John Riley, and, later, Sam Lay. Larry then taught his brother Tim to play drums. Younger brother Eddie would follow in his father’s footsteps with electric guitar.
For the next 30 years, he drummed and sang professionally behind blues stars and soul such as, Luther Allison, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, Albert King, BB King, Carey and Lurie Bell, The Holmes Brothers, Otis Clay, Big Walter Horton, John Lee Hooker, Syl Johnson, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Jimmy Rogers, Memphis Slim, Sunnyland Slim, and of course Eddie Taylor Sr. Larry toured Europe in 1987 with Willie Dixon’s “New Generation of Chicago Blues,” just as the Berlin Wall was starting to be torn down. ~larrytaylorbluesnsoul.com/