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The Blues and Soul of Little Johnny Taylor

The Blues and Soul of Little Johnny Taylor

Somewhere down the line you find some excellent blues and soul musicians of the 1950s and 1960s. There were a lot of stars in the Chitlin’ Circuit of the deep south and they all made their mark. You might not know them all.. because blues and soul was mostly played in small music clubs . Not every song became a hit, but they were all played by remarkable musicians. Like the songs of Little Johnny Taylor from Arkansas who moved to California to start a career at the West coast combining southern Soul with the Blues.

The Three Taylors: Little Johhny


Little Johnny Taylor is one of the three Taylors of the blues and soul scene of the 1950s and 1960s. Like the Kings of the Blues, Albert, BB and Freddy, the Taylors made also fame as excellent Soul and Blues singers. Starting with Johnny Taylor the Stax musician nicknamed “the Philosopher of Soul” was mostly known for his work at the Memphis label alongside Booker T and the MG´s. Next Ted Taylor, the “Do You Wanna Dance”-singer of the fifties recorded for Duke and Okeh. He died unfortunately in a car crash in 1987. This article is about the third Taylor: Little Johnny Taylor.

Little Johnny Taylor Chitlin’ Circuit

Why Little Johnny Taylor didn´t made the fame he should have is for me incomprehensible. He was a star in the Chitlin´ Circuit and in California he made fame in the music clubs. His songs contain a mix of blues and soul. The stuggle of a relationship, love and woman all mixed into southern blues style. His voice is able to make people swing and dance. At the same time is soulfull songs have the ability to convey emotions.

Somewhere Down the Line

It is always difficult to describe a musician in a few songs. But I think everyone should listen to `Somewhere Down the Line` a perfect combination of blues and soul. This song is more blues, because of the fantastic harmonica intro. But Johnny´s voice is the perfect complement, and mainly the reason this song swings.

Zig Zag Lightning

In `Zig Zag Lightning` Little Johhny can be compared with a musician as Little Milton. A songs that is at best in the car or later at night in the bar, a true song. Little Johnny Taylor´s songs are still for sale, and online you will find a lot of enthusiast about his music. At that point I´m very happy Little Johnny´s music is still alive. A great soulful musicians we all should listen to!

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