New Chicago Sounds of Larry Taylor
Larry Taylor & The Soul Blues Healers
Dance to these hard-driving, soulful, crisp and funky original blues and soul tunes conjured by the real, seasoned West and South Side cats. Clean, true-blues guitar; real horns and harmonica.
What comes out of the toughest hoods on Chicago’s West and South Sides?
Blues, funk, and soul!
Larry Hill Taylor—band leader, singer, drummer—is a master of this American roots sound. His songs tell the truth about life on the hard city streets, while the rhythms of the Soul Blues Healers get people out on the floor dancing. With drums, bass, guitar, keyboard and horns, they dig deep into the Delta roots of blues and shovel up rhythmic chunks of Howlin’ Wolf, Tyrone Davis, James Brown and more.
For those less familiar with blues and African American traditions—you should know that this band matches the upbeat energy of the rock icons Rolling Stones, and the vicious backbeat of the Kentucky Headhunters from the world of country-rock. So Larry has followers around the world. You WILL be dancing to this music, even while the words reflect on deep personal stories.
Both sides of Larry’s family migrated from Mississippi to Chicago, where he was born in 1955. He is the son of singer Vera Taylor and stepson of master guitarist Eddie “Playboy” Taylor Sr., VeeJay recording artist and Jimmy Reed's music partner, who relentlessly drove the boogie and “lump.” Fascinated by drummers playing at the outdoor market on Maxwell Street, five-year-old Larry picked up sticks and fixed up his own drum set of cardboard boxes. As a youth, he watched through a hole in the roof as the Wolf howled on stage with his parents— giving him many stories to tell. His mentors included Wolf's drummers Cassell Burrow, S.P. Leary
As the oldest of his musical brothers and sisters (Tim on drums, Eddie Taylor Jr. on guitar and vocals, and singing sisters Brenda, Edna and Demetria), Larry was the first to play on stage with his stepfather Eddie Taylor Sr. He toured Germany with the 1977 New Legends of Chicago Blues, with Jim O’Neal of Living Blues Magazine and Chess producer Willie Dixon, along with other promising bluesmen such as Billy Branch, Johnny B. Moore and Lurie Bell. This tour paved the way for today's blues generation.
For the next 25 years Larry, “the Little Man with the Big Voice,” performed everywhere—from Maxwell Street and tiny lounges on his own West and South Side of Chicago, to the Chicago Blues Festival to the West Coast, Canada and Ireland. He played with John Lee Hooker, Hubert Sumlin, Albert Collins, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards, Junior Wells, A.C. Reed, Big Moose Walker, Little Milton, Artie “Blues Boy” White, Johnnie Taylor (no relation), Eddie Shaw, Killer Ray Allison and many more.
He plays drums on several Wolf Records CDs featuring his parents Eddie and Vera Taylor, and on guitarist Johnny B. Moore’s Wolf album Born in Clarksdale, which Larry helped arrange. Larry also is recorded drumming on Delmark record albums with his two uncles, Eddie Burns (Snake Eyes) and Jimmy Burns (Back to the Delta). See discography on his website.
Forming his own band in 2004, Larry produced a CD on his AV label, They Were in This House, (also here on CDBaby) honoring his parents’ famous generation of blues musicians. In this House was re-released in 2011 with additional songs by Wolf Records.
In 2017 Larry released, on his own AV label, this EP-CD of four original tunes: New Chicago Sounds of Larry Taylor, featuring the talents of his two musical brothers, Eddie Taylor Jr. on guitar (track 3) and Tim Taylor on drums (tracks 1, 3), plus a host of his longtme West and South Side bandmates: .Michael "Sleepy" Riley and Abraham Avery Brady on bass; Killer Ray Allison and Joe B on guitar; Duke Harris and Barrelhouse Bonni keyboard; BJ Emery Trombone; and Ronnie G, alto sax. Larry provides the singing, bandleading, also drumming on tracks 2 and 4.
“People of all ages and backgrounds get into the rhythms of our music,” says Larry. “It makes me happy to honor the blues ancestors and share my feelings in a way that brings people together.”