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Austin Weekly News:  Larry's West Side Blues Quest:  2022

Francia Garcia Hernandez of" Austin Talks" interviews Larry about his efforts to revive the local music in community festivals

Larry Taylor leads the Soul Blues Healers in bringing blues to the Austin Town Hall Park on Chicago's West Side, August-Sept. 2022, in partnership with CAYTA.

Larry Taylor leads the Soul Blues Healers in bringing blues to the Austin Town Hall Park on Chicago's West Side, August-Sept. 2022, in partnership with CAYTA.

...The West Side has been left out, agreed Janice Monti, a blues tour organizer who hosts blues symposia at Dominican University, adding the city has invested little, if anything, in showcasing the area as an arts and culture destination.“It’s really important to understand right now that Chicago has taken its time to get on the blues tourism,” she said. The West Side has never lacked blues musicians. But they have fewer opportunities to perform and make money, partly due to insufficient community support, said Larry Taylor, 62, a blues singer and drummer.“There’s a lot of great musicians right over here,” Taylor said, referring to the West Side. But many of them feel discouraged because it’s hard to get by."Monti, who’s been doing field research in Memphis, where the economy was turned around by its blues tourism over the past decade, said the approach of combining arts and business is what communities like Austin could replicate. “They built a museum complex in the most economically blighted area in Memphis,” she said. “They turned rundown houses into a community center that is enriching the streets there, not downtown.”Memphis’ museums and entertainment district have attracted tourists all over the world, Monti added.Crystal Dyer, owner of Gone Again Travel & Tours, said it’s necessary to rebrand the entire West Side in a more positive light. “I lost my grandson to senseless gun violence right here in this community five years ago,” said Dyer, who’s lived in Austin more than 30 years.She founded the first black-owned travel agency on Chicago Avenue – three blocks from where her grandson was fatally shot.Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, vice chairman of the Illinois House Tourism and Hospitality Committee, said the cure to the crime and violence on Chicago’s West Side is to support the communities that are trying to make a difference.“Once you bring in the vibrancy, crime goes down,” Ford said. “You fight it by replacing it.”Taylor, the musician, hopes the group’s efforts will pay off. “The blues is the roots of all of music, from hip hop to gospel,” he said. “I want to see the communities more evolved with the arts, and I want to see more works for our musicians.”  ” - Xueer Zhang

Austin Talks, 2017

British music fan Tony Moore, currently in Indianapolis, interviews Larry Taylor and Barrelhouse Bonni about the history and sounds of Chicago blues.” - Tony Moore, 2017


In the Chicago music community,WestSide singer and drummer Larry Hill Taylor is a crowned prince, the son of noted blues singer VeraTaylor and stepson of guitarist Eddie Taylor. In Stepson of the Blues, Taylor (with blues pianist Bonni McKeown) tells his story of strife and survival in Lawndale during the wild 1950s and 60s. A must-read for anyone, anywhere, who has a love and appreciation for the Chicago blues scene.” - Zondra Hughes, editor

— N'digo, 2011

..." an expressive, convincing vocalist who has no problem getting his emotional points across on either hardcore electric Chicago blues or hardcore soul. ” - Alex Henderson

All Music Guide

.."Taylor's own "Blues, Hard Luck & Trouble" has a Wolfish lope that showcases his rhythmic sense and quivering down-home vibrato, but he's most interesting on modern fare; while many soul and blues singers today smooth the edges off their songs, Taylor revels in the aggression and unbridled sensuality that infuses classic R & B and soul...” - David Whiteis

Chicago Reader

Co-produced by Taylor, keyboardist Barrelhouse Bonni, and Steve Wagner of Delmark Records,  They Were in This House is one of the best-sounding blues albums of the year. And the material is well-chosen, particularly “Jody Got Your Girl and Gone,” a funked-up military cadence, and “Last $2,”, both by Johnnie Taylor (no relation).  Taylor covers Howlin’ Wolf as well, and his no-nonsense original tunes sound like they, too, could be taken from the Wolf’s songbook...” - Jeff Johnson

— Chicago Sun-Times

Larry Taylor is a strong vocalist who is at home covering Johnnie Taylor’s “Jody Got Your Girl and Gone” (in 2 parts) as he is reviving Howlin’Wolf…Taylor’s originals, “Blues, Hard Luck & Trouble,” and “Green Line Blues” (inspired by Chicago’s mass transit) are solid songs and like the rest of the album, nicely played… He sings with plenty of soul which is matched by his backing band. This is well worth checking out and giving a listen to.” - Ron Weinstock

DC Blues Society news

Larry is now on Chicago's Cultural Asset Map!