Born Edward Taylor in Benoit, Mississippi, as a boy Taylor taught himself to play the guitar. He spent his early years playing at venues around Leland, Mississippi, where he taught his friend Jimmy Reed to play the guitar. With a guitar style deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta tradition, Taylor moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1949.
Taylor never achieved the stardom of some of his contemporaries in the Chicago blues scene, he was nevertheless an integral part of that era. He is especially noted as a main accompanist for Jimmy Reed; he also worked for John Lee Hooker, Big Walter Horton, Sam Lay, and others. Earwig Music Company recorded him with Kansas City Red and Big John Wrencher for the album Original Chicago Blues. He later teamed up with Earring George Mayweather, and they jointly recorded several tracks, including "You'll Always Have a Home" and "Don't Knock at My Door". Several of these were released as singles, of which "Big Town Playboy" and "Bad Boy", issued by Vee Jay Records, were local hits in the 1950s, but Taylor's singles generally were not commercially successful. Later, in "semi-retirement", Taylor was the regular lead guitarist with Peter Dames and the Chicago River Blues Band, later known as Peter Dames and the Rhythm Flames.
Taylor played lead guitar on several songs (including the title track) on the album "Be Careful How You Vote" by Sunnyland Slim, and played live with Sunnyland Slim on some tour dates in the 1980s.
Taylor's son Eddie Taylor Jr. is a blues guitarist in Chicago, his stepson Larry Taylor is a blues drummer and vocalist, and his daughter Demetria is a blues vocalist in Chicago. Taylor's wife, Vera, was the niece of the bluesmen Eddie "Guitar" Burns and Jimmy Burns.
Taylor died on Christmas Day in 1985 in Chicago, at the age of 62, and was interred in an unmarked grave in the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1987.
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