Once upon a time this music was all over Chicago. Going out to hear this guy, for instance, was about as hard as going out for a hamburger.
replay: clips too good for just one day
The first time I stood before a judge at Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California—this was back in the ’70s (when I was working at Alligator Records)—it was to speak on behalf of this man, Hound Dog Taylor. The day before, during a drunken argument at his apartment, he’d shot his longtime guitarist Brewer Phillips (who survived). In his own way, Hound Dog was a pretty canny guy. When he told me about this incident over the phone, shortly after it happened, he put it this way: “Richard, they say I shot Phillip . . .”
(No, don’t touch that dial; these stills are way out of focus—which, for Hound Dog, seems just right.)
Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers, live, Ann Arbor Blues Festival, 1973
“Wild About You Baby”
“I Held My Baby”
Hound Dog . . . . [would] play things that are technically wrong, and [he’d] . . . make people like it. . . . [He’d] just get up there and go for it.—Elvin Bishop
When I saw Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers as a three-piece, I said, ‘There it is. There’s your future right there.’—George Thorogood
Hound Dog Taylor is one of my favorites. He used this raw dog blues, you know.—Vernon Reid
A Facebook page devoted to Hound Dog, who died over 30 years ago (1975), currently lists 434 “Fans” (now over 1,000) who come from, let’s see, Orlando and Indonesia and Cedar Rapids and Sweden and Austin and Australia and . . .
When I die, they’ll say ‘he couldn’t play shit, but he sure made it sound good!’—Hound Dog Taylor
(Originally posted on 10/30/09.)