Little Johnny Taylor | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Little Johnny Taylor

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Blues vocalist Little Johnny Taylor has built a long-running career out of a handful of hits, several of which have become contemporary classics. "Part Time Love," from 1963, remains a perennial favorite among cover bands; in the early 70s "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" was one of the few blues songs to become a staple on black pop radio. It's a wry recitation of a hapless cuckold's humiliations: "I was talking to the postman and he mentioned your name /...You must have a lot of children because the milkman is always there...I was talking to the butcher, he said you always look neat / I guess that's why my box always be filled with meat / Call the plumber, darlin' / There must be a leak in my drain." The hard-edged sweetness of Taylor's voice, honed during his youthful gospel career with the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Stars of Bethel, is as captivating as ever. It can kick, tickle, and even thrill you when you least expect it. Also on the bill is Vernon Garrett, a gravel-voiced soul man who can coax more tenderness from his ravaged-sounding throat than most honey-voiced crooners. Saturday, 10 PM, East of the Ryan, 914 E. 79th; 874-1500.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Robert Barclay.

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