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Monday, March 16, 2015
Monday, March 2, 2015
Here’s a question for all you fuckin’ taint ticklers out there: who is your favorite vocalist? Who can really move you with their voice? I am not sure where you think I am going with this, but I have to say my absolute favorite voice out there is Koko Taylor. If you have never heard “Wang Dang Doodle,” do yourself a favor and google that motherfucker. If you don’t dig it, you are an absolute fucking jackass.
Over the past few years, my intolerance of intolerance has gotten me into quite the pickle. I work with an absolute fucking, pussy (as in infected wound) cunt (and I do not throw that term around lightly - I fucking hate it’s dehumanizing sexism, but it communicates the depth of this person’s bigotry). She has referred to one of our students as “the sick one” because she has an ongoing health problem. She told a student with disabilities, “Stop doing that. You’re creeping me out!” in a Mental Health course. In a search committee meeting, she joked, “if we cannot pronounce their names, we should throw them out of the pool.” My friend told me that she cautioned him not to hang out with the black people on campus. Her Latin American racial hierarchy brand of racism speaks loud and clear in her words and action. Not to limit her unethical behavior to bigotry, she claimed credit for a course I created in order to pad her promotion case.
You probably have two thoughts going through your head right now. Wow, what a fucking useless piece of shit, and what the fuck does this have to do with Koko Taylor? I’m getting there, just keep your fucking pants on — or not, this is Tickle Your Taint, you know. This fucking pussy cunt is good friends with people who make the decisions in our department and people in the administration. She is so tight with the powers that be that when she dumped her assistant for having a baby (illegal, by the way), it was chalked up to “cultural differences.” The fucking shit-stain shouldn’t be teaching in a subway toilet, let alone an institute of higher learning. Well, when you bring to light the actions of this individual as well as others (apparently, it is ok to make shit up to eliminate people of color from a hiring search), the folks in positions of power do not like being outed for their racism, sexism, and ableism. I have since been the target of a systematic program of harassment and retaliation - part of the reason my contributions have been pretty slim lately.
I have had more than my share of bad days over the past few years. Now, I understand that “bad days” is relative (during this period, my brother’s house burned down - see my October 2013 Lynyrd Skynyrd review, and one of my colleagues, lost his wife to a car accident), but each attack and bullshit racist incident is like a fucking punt to the gonads. So, I was in one of those moods as a result of the crap going on, but I made one of my increasingly rare stops at the record shop. Koko Taylor tends to be an exceptional find at most record stores in my area. The blues section is limited to B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. I happened across a Koko Taylor cd I did not recognize, From the Heart of a Woman. The first song kicked off as we left the parking lot. It took a few beats for me to ratchet up the volume on the stereo. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Mother fucker.
“Something Strange is Going On” does not have any direct connection to my own experience, but that first howl just sends shivers down my spine. The beat and the intensity of that voice just resonated with the anger and disgust I was feeling for the way things were going down. Koko was fucking killing it. Funky as shit. “I never heard a whispering cat.... I am going to play big bad bulldog, catch that two-legged cat.” Son-of-a-bitch. It has been a while since I played a song over and over and over and over again. This was one of those. Fuck yea, Koko. Kill that mother fucker.
What really troubles me about Koko Taylor is that fact that she has so few albums over her career, and she seems so under-appreciated. She really should be as well known as B.B., Muddy, Howling, or John Lee. I would understand it if she had a lackluster band backing her, or she only really delivered on one or two songs on her albums. Not the case at all. Her band fits her raucous style. From the Heart of a Woman is pretty indicative of her range. Her songs are heartfelt ballads and boogie woogie attacks on your booty. She inserts her visceral vocal rattle at that crucial emotional moment in the song. I listen to a Koko album, and I am ready to conquer the world. All the shit I have had to endure during the week transforms from shotgun-sucking depression to fuel for a fire-breathing assault on the powers that be.
From the Heart of a Woman is a foot-tappin,’ finger snappin’ mother fucker. I am not sure if it is her best album overall, but my head is shaking to the time of “It Took a Long Time.” I need to get to bed so that I can get my ass up tomorrow morning, but Koko made me run back to the fridge for a beer to enjoy just a little more of her wailing, bluesy goodness.
All the shit going down has really fucked with my shit. I sat in my kitchen with a friend of mine trying to explain to him that he was not going to get hired by my department, not because he was not qualified, but because he was too good at mentoring students, especially students of color. He questioned his own ability. This is someone who I recognize as, easily, a better teacher and communicator than myself, and I am known campus-wide for my courses (humility is not my strong suit). He was recognized in a year what took me half a decade to develop as a reputation. The fact that these racist fucks, from useless fucking faculty who hand out grades with whoopie-cushion content to administrators promoted above their level of incompetence, make this superior teacher question himself makes me physically ill.
Each injustice and bullshit “ism” have moved me from general thoughts of suicide to concrete contemplations of the least traumatic ways to leave my body for those who will find it. The best I have felt recently was in a dream where I was handed a gas mask that would dispense a life-ending gas. I breathed heavily as a feeling a peace washed over me. I can’t even explain how exquisite this feeling was. It would soon be over. All the shit was behind me, and then I realized all the obligations that I had to others - what financial and other suffering would be imposed by my loss. I removed the mask, and the stress and angst returned as I was jolted awake from the dream.
Koko Taylor is a bit of defense against tide of ignorance and hate that is my workplace. We all have demons, some self-imposed and some from those around us. Music is the palliative against the worst vagaries of the brutality of our world. She delivers a blues that, instead of sinking in self-wallowing pity, is a punch in the throat against the barriers that are thrown in our way. A recent fortune cookie advised, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” This review is for all you mother fuckers who have gotten up eight, nine, ten, fifteen, twenty, two hundred fuckin’ times. Keep getting up. If you have some trouble, put in some Koko Taylor. I will try to get up right along side you.
Koko’s From the Heart of a Woman gets three sweet sticky balls.
Sweet dreams mother fuckers,