Koko Taylor owns two Grammys and the baddest lungs in the business. Last year, Chicago's mayor proclaimed March 3 "Koko Taylor Day." But starting off a 9:30 a.m. phone interview from her Windy City home last week, the undisputed Queen of the Blues was out of breath from shoveling snow.
"There's just certain things I like to do myself. I'm just used to working, used to doing things. Like in the summertime I'll go out there and sweep the drive, or clean the windows, or do this or do that."
This or that presumably includes the 200-plus shows the singer performs every year, and the recent recording of Force of Nature, Taylor's seventh release on the Chicago-based Alligator label.
"I tell you, this album was rougher getting it done than some of the others, because I just kept touring and touring. But I'd rather be on the road than at home."
It's a good thing that she's keeping her chin up, because the sad fact is, with all those 200 shows, the last chance to hear her in the sort of intimate setting her voice deserves has probably come and gone. Last time Taylor came through town she was sandwiched into an Alligator-sponsored multi-bill at the Woodlands Pavilion, of all the un-intimate places, and this time around she'll perform at the equally distancing Bayou City Theatre.
Not that it's bothering her. "I enjoy what I'm doing, singing the blues, and if my fans are there and into what I'm doing, that's my favorite place in the world."
If Taylor can transcend the venue for the night, it could be yours too.
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Koko Taylor performs Friday, March 4 at Bayou City Theatre, 6400 Richmond, 977-5495.
* The Chieftains at Arena Theatre, Thursday, March 3
* Guy Clark at Rockefeller's, Saturday, March 5
* Archers of Loaf at the Shimmy Shack,
Saturday, March 5
* Green Day at Numbers, Sunday, March 6