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Ready For Eddie - Eddie (Playboy) Taylor

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Ready For Eddie (1974) - Eddie (Playboy) Taylor

    Featuring »

Eddie (Playboy) Taylor

    Tracklisting »

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Original Album Tracklisting:
I'm A Country Boy
  Running Time: 3:43
  Comments: (P) 1975
Seems Like A Million Years
  Running Time: 3:57
  Comments: (P) 1975
Gamblin' Man
  Running Time: 2:55
  Comments: (P) 1975 Credits for this album list "White" for the songwriting credit, but the composer's full name is unknown & other sources indicate Taylor as the writer.
After HoursInstrumental
  Running Time: 3:24
  Comments: (P) 1975
Sloppy Drunk
  Running Time: 2:41
  Comments: (P) 1975
Ready For EddieInstrumental
  Running Time: 3:26
  Comments: (P) 1975
You Don't Love MeLyrics available
  Running Time: 3:15
  Comments: (P) 1975
Too Late To Cry
  Running Time: 4:35
  Comments: (P) 1975
You'll Always Have A Home
  Running Time: 3:17
  Comments: (P) 1975
Playboy Boogie
  Running Time: 3:00
  Comments: (P) 1975
My Little Machine
  Running Time: 4:00
  Comments: (P) 1975
Cross Cut Saw
  Running Time: 4:34
  Comments: (P) 1975

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CD Bonus Tracks:
I Used To Have Some Friends
  Running Time: 5:05
  Comments: (P) 1974
I Know My Baby
  Running Time: 5:22
  Comments: (P) 1974
    Guest Appearances »

Bob Brunning, Graham Gallery, Bob (Robert) Hall, Roger Hill, Pete(r) York

    Released »


    Format »

Import Vinyl/CD Album

    Other Appearances »
Lucille Bogan (Anderson) (Bessie Jackson) (Songwriter), Willie Cobbs (Songwriter), Erskine Ramsey Hawkins (Songwriter), Tony Hollins (Songwriter), (Willie/William) Don(ald) Nix (Songwriter), Avery Parrish (Songwriter), Sam(uel) (Cornelius) Phillips (Songwriter), Eddie (Playboy) Taylor (Songwriter), Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson (Songwriter), Jim Simpson (Produced By), Vic Keary (Recording Engineer), Paul Bevoir (Artwork By), Paul Bevoir (Design By), Vic Keary (Mixing Engineer), Alan Johnson (Original Sleeve Photographs), Simon Murphy (Sound Restoration By), Roger Dopson (Co-Ordinated By), Mike Rowe (Original Album Liner Notes)

    Record Label »
Big Bear Records/Castle/Santuary

    Catalogue Number »

BEAR6 (Big Bear) CMRCD 629

    Running Time »


    Liner Notes »

Eddie 'Playboy' Taylor with The Blueshounds

Recorded and Mixed at Chalk Farm Studios, London, during Feb/March/April 1974.

Are you ready for Eddie? Because he's well ready for you. In fact, he's been waiting for you for something like forty years. Among the most respected of Chicago's guitar men, he has worked and recorded with all the big names, including B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker and T-Bone Walker. Up until now, similar success has eluded Eddie, probably due to a modesty and reticence bordering on shyness. We hope that this album will help to correct the balance and bring this unique talent to the notice of a wider public.

It's not difficult to make up an identi-kit of the modern Chicago Bluesman. He would have been born in Mississippi some time in the 20s, either in The Delta, or he would have moved there soon enough to have heard the great Delta Bluesmen in their heyday. And they would have inspired him to make a guitar by nailing a broom or bailing wire to a wooden plank. or, more elaborately, from a cigar box.

A few years of practice in between chopping cotton, hewing wood, and the thousand-and-one tasks that left little time for schooling, and then would come the first nervous appearance one weekend at a country supper or house party. The pay would be a fish sandwich and all the whisky he could drink, until he got better-known and could command a fee of $2 a night. Later would come the notion that a career as a musician offered escape, and with it the itchy feet which always pointed North, a stop here maybe in Memphis or there in St. Louis, but always ending up for keep in Chicago. To stardom? Rarely. To a steady living? Not often. To disillusion? Ah, that puts the final touch to the portrait!

Eddie Taylor's story contains elements of all these features, from his birth in 1923 in Benoit - a friendly little cotton town, twenty-five miles north of Greenville and only a few miles from the River itself to a precarious living as a professional Bluesman in Chicago some fifty years later. And there's much more besides, until we have too many pieces to fit into our jigsaw. Thus when he was a baby, Memphis Minnie used to dangle him on her knee, and after his parents separated before he was three years old, Robert Johnson's brother and a guitarist Bull Cow courted his mother. Little wonder he was obsessed with the music.

"You see. a guitar in the country don't sound good until late at night. It has a good ring to it at night, and when you get something in your head, ringing, it's hard to get it out."

When he was about seven or eight years old, Eddie got a bicycle and followed his idols through the Mississippi countryside, leaving home for three or four months at a time to go "Out everywhere they play guitars." He saw Charley Patton at Stringtown, Leland and Shaw, and Son House, at Robinsonville, Tunica and all the way down to Greenville. The young enthusiast had his problems, though: "I was a sneaky little guy, y'know. See, some places they wouldn't let me go in because I was so little. I used to go under the house so I could hear the music, y'see. And I'd sit until the sunrise. But I got the sound of that music in my head and when I went home I'd take my mamma's broom, tear the wire off it, and make me a guitar."

By the time he was thirteen he had his first guitar, a Sears Roebuck bought by his mother and tuned for him by a singer called Popcorn. From his travels and diligent listening to the radio, Eddie developed his style. The family moved to Clarksdale, and Eddie started playing along with Big Joe Williams and Son House, in and around Clarksdale and Leland. About that time, Eddie's long friendship with Jimmy Reed began, - diminutive Eddie is still reputed to be the only man who can keep Jimmy sober.

In the early 40s Memphis beckoned and Eddie responded, fitting easily into the musical environment, meeting and playing with guitarists like Little Buddy Doyle, Willie Tango, Jack Kelly, Willie B (Borum) and Joe Hill Louis, before teaming up with Big Walter Horton.

The move to Chicago came in 1949, where Sundays would find him on Maxwell Street along with the other newcomers to the city - Floyd Jones, Moody Jones, Snooky Pryor and Little Walter, among others, Eddie's first club date was at The Alibi with Jimmy Lee Robinson on bass, and Eddie's brother, the late Milton Taylor, on drums. He met up again with Homesick James, and also played regularly with John Brim and his wife Grace, at Club Jamboree. This was where he reunited with Jimmy Reed, and thus commenced one of the great partnerships of post-war Blues. Taylor supplied the rock-steady bass that was the unique feature of Reed's music and contributed largely to his success.

Eddie's own records were less successful, though musically nearly all are superb examples of the classic Chicago Blues. 'Big Town Playboy', for VeeJay, in late 1955, was a minor hit and Eddie's biggest to date, selling 37,000 copies. The association with Reed was not without its ups and downs, and several times Eddie split to try and make it on his own. For a time he joined the Elmore James band and recorded with Elmore for Chief and Chess, and also played on sessions by John Brim, Snooky Pryor, Floyd Jones and Willie Nix.

The depressed 60s found him working in a canning factory and leading a small group at the B&W Lounge on Ogden Avenue, but in demand for a lot of recording session work for pretty mediocre artists. All of which made Eddie understandably bitter about the music business.

He is still a fine guitarist and he could work steadily if he were satisfied with the small rewards as a sideman - and as a sideman he's about the best in the business, plucking those ringing bell-like sounds from his Gibson. Though his reputation is safe with the collectors, Eddie has missed out on the acclaim enjoyed by his ex-partner Jimmy Reed. The dreams of making it big are still there, so the current wave of European interest in Eddie means a lot to him. With a wife and seven children it's a constant struggle, and though there are times when he vows to give it all up and go back to the canning factory to work, it doesn't seem likely.

One can't help feeling that the music is still ringing in his head along with other echoes of his Delta childhood.

Mike Rowe

For CD Reissue:

Guitarist Eddie Taylor was one of the most experienced, respected sidemen in Chicago, his CV including stints playing alongside men like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. A regular visitor to Europe, where he was revered for his mecurial playing and powerful live presence, he cut the highly-regarded Ready For Eddie album in London, in 1974, backed by a crack session band, The Blueshounds.

THE BEAR remembers Eddie Taylor...

Eddie 'Playboy' Taylor was the man for whom the word 'underrated' was invented ... and didn't he know it! The anger and resentment had set in long before, as Eddie had stood by and watched lesser talents reap rewards that he could only imagine. At heart a modest, shy - if somewhat difficult - man, he was a brilliant guitarist, his downhome Blues feel combining with his uniquely modern sound. But he was not a comfortable man to be with, showing no patience to fellow musicians and little to other folk. It seemed that all he really wanted to do was eat, sleep and drink, not necessarily in that order of priority. Having to get onstage, play guitar and sing, he seemed to regard as something of an imposition on his private life. Nonetheless, once up there - always dapper in his silk jacket and patent shoes - he was an immaculate performer. His quicksilver, highly accomplished guitar work was a joy, his rhythmic drive irresistible, his singing passionate, moving, from another time.

Eddie was born on a share crop farm in Benoit, Mississippi on January 29th, 1923. As a child he would hang around outside the juke joints, listening to the greats like Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, before getting his first guitar at thirteen. Self-taught, he soon began playing fish-fries and house parties in the Delta, moving on in 1943 to live and play on Beale Street in Memphis. On to Chicago in 1948 and Eddie was working full-time in music, and by the following year he was playing on Maxwell Street with Floyd Jones and Snooky Pryor.

He teamed up with Jimmy Reed and put his unmistakable stamp on the vast majority of Reed's recordings between 1953 and 1964, pointing the way on all Jimmy's hits. He even had a regional hit of his own with 'Big Town Playboy', and accompanied other leading Vee Jay acts such as John Lee Hooker and Sunnyland Slim, as well as Blues superstars Muddy Waters and Elmore James. Fast becoming one of the most in-demand musicians in The City, he toured Europe in 1968 with John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed, and remained the driving force of many fine bands.

But, still any significant rewards seemed to elude him.

He came to Europe again with the Big Bear Chicago Blues Festival in 1973, and starred with the American Blues Legends 74 tour, cutting his Ready For Eddie album at Chalk Farm Studios. His modest, self-deprecating manner vanished onstage, where his blistering guitar playing set European audiences on fire. The chicken business won't forget him in a hurry either, scoffing as he did up to three or four fried chickens each and every day! In fact, I like to think that the scene in the Blues Brothers movie where Jake & Elwood order whole chickens from Aretha Franklin and Matt 'Guitar' Murphy, was inspired by Eddie. Certainly, his eating exploits were legend in that city, and I once saw him eat three whole chickens at one sitting!!!

Eddie Taylor was married to Lee Vera and had seven children. He died in Chicago on Christmas Day of 1985.

SOUNDS, 20th October 1973
"Taylor, who was joined by Big John Wrencher, provided the real highights. Taylor is enjoying somewhat belated success, having served his time with ALL the Chicago greats - notably Jimmy Reed..."

DAILY TELEGRAPH, 13th October 1973
"Legendary guitar player Eddie Taylor has a fine voice...his quicksilver guitar married to his powerful four-square vocals produce a stirring blend..."

"Eddie Taylor is one of the giants of The Blues - alongside Elmore James. Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Sonny Boy Williamson. The partnership of Eddie and Jimmy Reed ranks alongside that of Muddy and Little Walter, the merits of Reed's best sessions stem largely from Taylor's guitar work. Eddie sings fine modern Blues, retaining the best qualities of the Mississippi tradition."
Blues Unlimited

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A Big Bear Production for Castle Music, a label of Santuary Records Group Ltd.

Sound Restoration by Simon Murphy, SRT, St. Ives, Cambs

All rights of the producer and of the owner of the work reproduced reserved. Unauthorised copying, hiring, renting, public performances and broadcasting of this record prohibited.

The copyright in these sound recordings is owned by Big Bear Music Ltd, issued under exclusive license to Santuary Records Group Ltd.

(C) (P) 2002 Santuary Records Group Ltd. The copyright in this compilation is owned by Santuary Records Group Ltd.
Santuary House
45-53 Sinclair Road
London W14 0NS

Send 3.00 or $15.00, plus large SAE, for fully illustrated Sanctuary Castle Music catalogue

Telephone: (020) 7802 8351
Fax: (020) 7300 1380
E mail:

Made in England

Compact Disc Digital Audio

LC 6448

5 050159 1 25

    Reviews »
Add your review here.

Ready for electric Chicago guitar driven blues fans
Review written by John Fitzgerald, May 8th, 2005

On the exterior "Ready for Eddie" is a great electric Chicago blues outing which certainly doesn't disappoint in it's own right with lots of great guitar fills by Taylor and well picked material but at times such as the main highlight, the almost jazzy sounding bursting instrumental title track, it hints at going even deeper which really gives this album an edge over many other standard Chicago blues affairs. If only Brunning was playing on that track, that would have been the cherry on top as I think it would have suited his busy stylings very well but it was not to be. He does play on many fine tracks here though like the opening tumbling blues-funk of "I'm a country boy", the rumbling shuffle of "Gamblin' man", a meaningful slow blues instrumental called "After hours" (which one may recall from Brunning's De Luxe Blues Band album "A street car named deluxe"), a slow stroller called "Too late to cry", "You don't love me" (which here has the strong punch but not the roll needed to pull it off), another clucking rumble called "You'll always have a home" and the tough closing tumble of "Playboy boogie". The others do deserve attention though as the howling stroll of "Seems like a million years" shows Taylor's overlooked vocal abilities and his version of "Sloppy drunk" measures up very closely to Jimmy Rogers & Left Hand Frank's go. The CD edition has two bonus tracks taken from the "American blues legends '74" various artists project which I've already reviewed so I won't touch on those here but I still highly recommend this album if you enjoy the electric Chicago guitar driven blues like I do.

    Comments »

Castle/Sanctuary CD Reissue release date: February 4, 2003

    Last Modified »
    Tracklisting »
Discography entry submitted by Jeff Kenney & Marty Adelson.