It’s Robert Taylor’s misfortune that the major part of his career has been spent after the Golden Age of Chi-town hard soul singers so his contribution to that genre has been pretty much overlooked. The fact that so many of his records have been versions of other people’s tunes hasn’t helped either. But his quality as a vocalist should have brought much greater recognition.
His first 45 was for Nat Meadows Al-Teen label in 1968 and featured a pounding double sider. “So Much Love” is the one the dancers enjoy, and as a devotee of hard edged bluesy singers, so do I. The flip “Packing Up Your Love” is almost as good.
At the end of the decade Taylor recorded for Ed Cody's Sonic label and almost all of his recordings after then appeared on it. He showed a great love of Sam Cooke’s music cutting fine versions of A Change Is Gonna Come, “Good Times” and “Bring It On Home To Me” all of which showed just what a class act he was. The former in particular is a personal favourite thanks to the lovely guitar fills, the horn section and Robert’s impassioned wailing. He recorded some R &B as well including the slow “Catch You On The Way Down” for Page and the sad tale of the “Race Track Blues” both of which are recommended listening.
The mid paced Let Me Love You apparently recorded several miles from the microphones, is a strong Tyrone Davis styled tune, and one of Taylor’s very best. The lively “Time Waits For No One” is in a similar vein and another one of my picks. Both sides of the LuTall 45 have considerable merit. The funky “Hot Lady” is insistent and irresistible dance music. The more restrained “Time Keeps Ticking By” is a mellow easy paced tune – sadly the female backing singers are a little too intrusive for my taste.
UPDATE ~ Experts Bob Abrahamian and Naoya Yamauchi have both written to say that the Robert Taylor on Lu Tall - a West Coast label not a Chicago one - is liely to be a different artist. I'm more than happy to take their view. He certainly sounds a different singer. Bob also says that the Robert Taylor on this page came from Milwaukee not Chicago, where the Page label also came from. He has corrected the fact that Sonic wasn't owned by Taylor but by Ed Cody.
I'm grateful to Bob and particularly to Naoya who took the trouble to identify the dates of several of Taylor's 45s by reference to their matrix numbers. The new dates are now in the discography.
NEW UPDATE ~ Mr Peter Klug who knew Robert "Mr Milwaukee" has very kindly sent me memorabilia about Robert, including sadly his Obituary Notice (left) which gives his dates of birth and death as well as a short biography. Mr Klug also sent me this pictire of Robert (above right) as well as the images below the discography. We have been discussing whether or not the Robert Taylor 45 on his eponymous label, recorded in Memphis, is the same artist. On the balance of probabilities we believe it is him, so the 45 has been added to the discography.
Packing up your love / So much love ~ ALTEEN 8624 (1968)
Let me love you / Race track blues ~ SONIC no# (1974?)
Time keeps ticking by / Hot lady ~ LU TALL 317 (1975)
Memories of yesterday / Pt 2 ~ SONIC 33075 (1975?)
Bring it on home to me / Somebody have mercy ~ SONIC 111776 (1976?)
Love lights / Catch you on the way down ~ PAGE 205029 (mid 70s)
Good times / God bless our love ~ SONIC no# (1977?)
Packin up your love / A change is gonna come ~ SONIC no# (late 70s?)
Time waits for no one / It's got the whole world shakin ~ SONIC 52878 (1978?)
How can you love me / Inst ~ ROBERT TAYLOR 205029 (late 70s?)
Note ~ It is almost impossible to date many of Taylor’s recordings so the dates shown here are pretty much my best guesses.