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 guitar. Bringing with him a style deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta tradition, in 1949 Taylor moved to Chicago.
While Taylor never achieved the stardom of some of his compatriots in the Chicago Blues scene, he nevertheless was an integral part of that era and is especially noted as a main accompanist for Jimmy Reed as well as working with John Lee Hooker, Big Walter Horton, and others. Taylor's own records "Big Town Playboy" and "Bad Boy" on Vee Jay Records became local hits in the 1950s.
Taylor's son Eddie Taylor Jr. is a blues guitarist in Chicago, and his stepson Larry Taylor is a blues drummer and vocalist. Taylor's wife Vera was the sister of bluesmen Eddie Burns and Jimmy Burns.