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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sister Kate - Eva Taylor

Eva Taylor (January 22, 1895, St. Louis, Missouri — October 31, 1977, Mineola, New York) was an American blues singer and stage actress.

Born Irene Joy Gibbons in St. Louis, Missouri, on stage from the age of three, Taylor toured New Zealand, Australia and Europe before her teens. She also toured extensively with the "Josephine Gassman and Her Pickaninnies" vaudeville act. She settled in New York by 1920. There she established herself as a performer in Harlem nightspots. Within a year she wed Clarence Williams, a producer (hired by Okeh Records), publisher, and piano player. The newlyweds worked together on radio and recordings. The couple recorded together through 1930s. Their legacy includes numbers made as the group Blue Five in the mid-1920s, which included jazz clarinetist/saxophonist Sidney Bechet, trumpet virtuoso Louis Armstrong, and such singers as Sippie Wallace and Bessie Smith.

In 1922 Taylor made her first record for the African-American owned Black Swan Records, who billed her as "The Dixie Nightingale." She would continue to record dozens of blues, jazz and popular sides for Okeh and Columbia throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Although she adopted the stage name of Eva Taylor, she also worked under her birth name in 'Irene Gibbons and her Jazz Band'.

She was part of The Charleston Chasers, the name given to a few all-star studio ensembles who recorded between 1925 and 1930. In 1927, Eva Taylor appeared on Broadway in Bottomland, a musical written and produced by her husband, lasted for twenty-one performances. During 1929 Eva had her own radio show on NBC's Cavalcade, then worked for many years on radio WOR, New York (guesting on Paul Whiteman's radio show in 1932). Taylor stopped performing during the 1940s, but returned in the mid-1960s following her husband's death, touring throughout Europe.
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