Hound Dog Taylor

Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor was born in Greenville, Mississippi (or Natchez, Mississippi, growing around Tchule and Greenwood in the Delta), on April 14, 1916 (or 1915). First he tried piano, then a cigar box guitar, and got his first real guitar in his teens (or first took up guitar when he was twenty). His big influence was Elmore James. Taylor played all over the Delta, and worked on the legendary King Biscuit Flour program of KFFA in West Helena, Arkansas, with Robert Jr. Lockwood and Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller).

He moved to Chicago in 1942 and played semi-professionally at night, while working at various jobs during the day. Having garnered a huge local following, he became a full time bluesman in 1957. However he had only 3 unsuccessful singles released on local labels during the 1960's. His tunes have been borrowed by many other blues artists. His tune, "Hideaway", made Freddie King a star, while Hound Dog never received composer's credit. In the 1970's he attained national and international acclaim through extensive touring and three well-received albums on Alligator Records.

Hound Dog's bottleneck style was characterized by the non-stop energy of boogie and blues, humour, and raunch, played hard and loud. Taylor died on December 17, 1975 of lung cancer.

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Joel Snow
Created June 3, 1995
Revised December 26, 1996