Blues legend who was in Carrollton dead at 80

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By The Staff


Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues, died this week. She was 80 years old and performing right up to the end.

In 1997, she was the headliner at our own “Blues to the Point” festival here in Carrollton. Late Saturday night, following her blazing performance, she told me that she would really like a ride to Louisville’s airport the next day as she did not like to ride the bus with the band.

So early on Sunday morning, I picked her up at the Holiday Inn and off we raced, getting to the airport with minutes to spare. Koko didn’t walk too well, so I got a wheelchair and raced down the long concourses with her, smiling as knowing folks along the way pointed and said to others, “That’s Koko Taylor!”

Recognition may have come a bit easier as I was wearing a bright red t-shirt with her picture and “Koko” in very large letters that she had given me the night before.

Carrollton’s blues festival has drawn outstanding artists over the years and thousands of appreciative fans. I can’t begin to count the places I have been around the state and spotted “Blues to the Point” t-shirts. Once in Chicago, I talked to two men from Columbus, Ohio, both veterans of our festival and wearing their Carrollton shirts.

Mark Davis and Clayton Dermon are to be commended for their hard work in continuing the tradition of the blues festival and the tourism commission should be praised for sponsoring this special event right here on the banks of the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers.

My experience with Koko Taylor is just one of my special memories of the festival.

Jarrett Boyd