Blues DJs Henry Cheatham, WVON, left, and Lady Z Izola Wright, WCSU, join blog author Barrelhouse Bonni McKeown and Larry Taylor for the first "Talk n Listen" CD release and discussion at Ellie's Cafe in Beverly, March 5 2017.

In times like these, James Brown might say this:   “Get up offa that thing! Dance and you feel better!”   

But where’s that good old school stuff that puts us on the dance floor? In January, Crain’s business magazine published a story that showed Chicago is losing economic opportunities by failing to promote it’s world-known blues music.  Except for a few stars, today’s musicians are starving. And younger ones, seeing this, are not studying the art form.

Larry Taylor and the Soul Blues Healers have just the music to get us all dancing again.   Sharing real feelings about real-life blues, Larry wants his music to bring people together and pass the good stuff on to new generations.

Now that we’re here on the West Side again, Larry and I  are looking for places to host a series of “Talk’ n’ Listen” parties.  It’s a CD release party combined with a community discussion:

How can blues and soul music help heal and prosper our city, especially blues neighborhoods?

We’ve just created a EP-CD of four upbeat original songs called New Chicago Sounds of Larry Taylor.  The cover sports a striking photo of Larry outside the Garfield Park Fieldhouse Gold Dome, a West Side landmark. Larry produced the music in live Joyride Studio sessions, not far from the dome,  featuring the talents of his seasoned West and South Side bandmates including his brothers Eddie Taylor Jr. and Tim Taylor on guitar and drums.  

Larry’s songs come straight out of everyone’s blues lives: from “I Paid My Dues” to his tribute to African American women, “Jump Down American Queen;” the domestic tussle “She Treats Me Just the Same;” and obviously, “Penitentiary Blues.”

Our first Talk ‘n’ Listen party happened March 5 at Ellie’s cafe in the southwest Beverly neighborhood.  A variety of people, including blues DJs Henry Cheatham of WVON and Lady Z Izola Wright from WCSU, came to support  local Chicago biz and blues by picking up  New Chicago Sounds CD.  We ask a suggested donation for the CD of $10 or whatever you can afford. Most importantly,  please put in your 2 cents worth.  Don’t you think “Blues ‘n’ Soul” is a better brand name for the West Side than “guns ‘n drugs” ? 

 Would you like to help host a Larry Taylor Talk ‘n’ Listen somewhere in Chicagoland—coffee shop, church, classroom, record shop, bar, house party? Give us a holler!

CONTACT:  Bonni McKeown, publicist,  773-209-4712.  

More info: 


"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years.  She has led classes for young and old on...