Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor (April 12, 1915 – December 17, 1975) was a Chicago blues guitarist and singer.
Taylor was born in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1915, though some sources say 1917. He first played the piano and began playing the guitar when he was 20. He moved to Chicago in 1942.
Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers is the 1971 (see 1971 in music) debut album of Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor.
“Wild, raucuous, crazy music straight out of the south-side clubs”
Cub Koda, writing for Allmusic, described it as “wild, raucous, crazy music straight out of the South Side clubs”, and called it “one of the greatest slide guitar albums of all time”. The Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings describes its sound as “loud, harsh, boxy and exciting”
Taylor was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984.
In 1997 Alligator Records released Hound Dog Taylor: A Tribute, a 14-track tribute album in which Taylor’s songs are covered by Luther Allison, Elvin Bishop, Cub Koda (with Taylor’s band, the HouseRockers), Gov’t Mule, Sonny Landreth, and others. A “Deluxe Edition” series compilation album followed in 1999.
George Thorogood dedicated “The Sky Is Crying” to “the memory of the late great Hound Dog Taylor” on his album Live (EMI America CDP 7 46329 2). Thorogood also recorded a cover version of “Give Me Back My Wig” on his album The Hard Stuff in 2006.
The 2011 film The Rum Diary includes a loose depiction of Taylor performing at a raucous concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the 1950s. William H. Macy’s character, Frank Gallagher, on the Showtime TV series Shameless is often seen wearing a Hound Dog Taylor T-shirt.
In 2017, Eastwood guitars launched the SD-40 Hound Dog guitar; a modern adaptation of the Teisco/Kaway SD-40, which was favoured by Taylor. The guitar is named in his honour.
Compiled by SHARON QUIGLEY
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