Kirk Taylor

This interesting artist recorded a good double handful of 45s in the 60s and 70s but has escaped the attention of all soul writers – until now. Kirk started recording in Chicago at the end of the 50s before moving to Memphis and setting up his own labels. Some of Taylor’s tracks are difficult to date owing to their obscurity and lack of documentation but this page lays out his career in as best an order as I can judge.

Taylor’s first couple of discs were doo wop and they are well worth seeking out ListenBeen So Long is a very melodic ballad based on the “Your Precious Love” chord changes on which Taylor expressive tenor is very much to the fore. Really nice. ListenFrom Out Of This World another achingly slow ballad benefits from the Majestics’ harmonies and the occasional sax – but I could do without the pedal steel (?) guitar. The gospely “This World” adds a string section to the mix, but as before Taylor’s beautifully modulated tenor is the best thing about the track.

Both sides of the Salem 45 are very much gospel based with “Got To Have Somebody” slightly the better song with just a hint of Billy Stewart in the treatment. Taylor’s first attempt at running his own label came around 1967 with the only release on Tailor Maid. This was to be his last Chicago 45 and it easily his most obscure 45. The credits read “Buddy Beason Presents Kirk Taylor” and it may well be that Beason, a Chicago Heights DJ at KCOH may well have put up the money for the single. I can find no other 45 that Beason was involved in. The uptempo “Another Day Another Dollar” is too messy for my taste, but the flip ListenNo Love Like Mother Love is back to Taylor’s best on this gospel number. A lovely demonstrative vocal is complemented by a couple of horns and some fine quartet styled harmonies.

By the mid 70s Kirk Taylor was in Memphis recording for his own KT & Co (or “Company”) label. The first release coupled the lively ListenI’m The One That Needs You with “I’m Fixin’ To Start Somethin’”. The top side is a version of a tune first recorded by the excellent Pep Brown for Polydor some years previously. I don’t think Taylor quite captures the essence of the track like Brown did – despite the presence of the redoubtable “Bowlegs” Miller on the production team. The “Fixin’” side is a fine slice of southern funk with some country overtones in the piano – very nice especially the horn charts and Taylor’s “hokey” delivery.

This track also appeared on the back of an excellent piece of social comment called “American Bicentennial”. This plea for racial tolerance is at least as relevant today as it was in 1976, as is “These Are My Roots” Taylor’s hymn to the influence of Alex Haley’s Mini-TV series of the same name. And that seems to have been the last thing that Taylor recorded – and a fine personal way to bow out.




My Rosemarie / ListenBeen so long ~ TEK 2634 (1958)


ListenFrom out of this world / You didn’t learn that in school ~ BANDERA 2502 / BANDERA 2507 (1960)


This world / Your love ~ MISS 118 / TERRY 810/1 (1961)


Got to have somebody (to call my own) / It’s so hard ~ SALEM 11864 (1964)
Another day another dollar / ListenNo love like mother love ~ TAILOR MAID 6267 (1967?)
ListenI’m the one that needs you / I’m fixing to start somethin’ ~ KT & CO 295 (1976)
America bicentennial / I’m fixing to start somethin’ ~ KT & CO 001 (1976)


These are my roots / Pt 2 ~ KT & CO 7701 (1977)



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