Johnnie Taylor | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Johnnie Taylor 

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Johnnie Taylor is probably best remembered as the steamy soul stylist who set the R & B world afire with "Who's Making Love" back in 1968. According to today's relaxed genre boundaries, his deep-soul track record makes Taylor a bluesman; his Saturday appearance is being promoted as a "Battle of the Blues" between him and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Bland's easygoing warmth may win the hearts of his audience, especially when juxtaposed against Taylor's somewhat wooden stage presence. But Taylor's voice--supple and muscular, still capable of seductive tenderness on ballads and the sensual ecstasy that that drenched 60s-era soul--should ultimately win out. "Disco Lady," for instance, may have offended purists when it hit the charts in 1976, but it married the passion of Taylor's Stax days to the slickness of disco. His ability to bring soul-baring honesty to blues, R & B, and urban-contemporary stylings makes his shows both rich in history and up-to-date. Chicago vocalist Artie "Blues Boy" White is also on the bill. Saturday, 8 PM, Saber Room, 8900 W. 95th, Hickory Hills; 247-6514.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.

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