Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Met and Photographed Koko Taylor - When She Was the Reigning Queen of the Blues

Sometime back in the early 1980s, I met Koko, her husband Pops and Koko's band when they were in a medium sized West Chester, Pennsylvania bar - The Cabaret Club - to do a live show there. I knew most of the people who worked in the club and having done some of them some good neighbor favors before we even knew each other, the club employees had repaid those favors by always allowing me into the club without paying the cover charge and sometimes I went in before and stayed after live bands played. I am a photographer, and was getting into some photography after I had lived in West Chester for awhile. So, I was fortunate to photograph Koko's live show that night.

I strolled into the Cabaret Club about an hour before Koko's show began. I went up to Koko, Pops and the band and introduced myself. We chatted for a little-bit about what I was going to do in the way of photography that night. Then the band and I moseyed on over to the other side of the club and hung out together at the foot of the stage so as to stay away from Koko and Pops, because it was obvious to us that husband and wife wanted to talk only amongst themselves for awhile. It thoroughly impressed me how much in love Koko and Pops had remained for so many years and while spending so much time together on tour - with all that stress of traveling for long periods of time and working hard for Koko's audiences. Pops and Koko were sitting on opposite sides of a small table that was placed against the far wall, and I can still see the loving intensity in their faces and how they leaned in towards each other across that table, as they conversed, with simmering passion for each others mind-body-and-soul. It was as beautiful and solid a love as ever was.

Very unfortunately, the photos and negatives from my photographing that live show were left behind when I moved from West Chester. That loss gives me more of the Blues to this day. I'm gonna go put some of Koko's music on my stereo.

Thank you Koko and Pops for showing me something of how a great love can last forever, through all kinds of stuff; maybe we'll meet up again on the other side.