That Wang-Dang Doodle
Robert Downes 6/8/09
Tell Automatic Slim, to tell razor-totin Jim, to tell butcher-knife totin Annie, to tell fast-talkin Fannie,
We gonna jump and ball, down at the union hall,
...We gonna wang-dang doodle, all
-- Willie Dixon, Wang-Dang-Doodle
I saw Queen of the Blues Koko
Taylor about 10 years ago or more at the Turtle Creek Casino, with her band perched up in a corner window, playing behind a row of slot machines.
She could belt the blues to make your hair stand straight up, but even then, Koko looked like she had barely a shred of tread left on her tires. She appeared leathery inside and out, and possibly as old as the pyramids.
But you had to hand it to her, because Koko was still doing that Wang-Dang Doodle, her hit song from 1965, and reportedly she kept performing close to 50 concerts per year right up to the age of 80.
She died last week, one of the last of the Chicago blues musicians who still recalled the days of performing with Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, and the kind of sidemen who used to blow harp through the borrowed microphones of Windy City cabs, or pack .45s in their guitar cases.