Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Death Of A Queen/The Days That Used To Be

I received word today that Koko Taylor, the Queen of the Blues, passed away. She was a great blues singer who I had the good fortune of seeing live on three occasions. The first time was the most memorable. I saw her in a very small, hole in the wall, blues club called "The Cherokee Blues Club" here in Louisville. It was everything a blues club should be. It was dark, smoky, and full of people drinking. Koko's band was hot and she was great. When the performance was over she walked through the crowd and when she got to me I lifted my hand and she gave me a high five. She continued right out the front door where her husband waited in a van. Koko could "Wang Dang Doodle" and sing the blues with the best of them. I saw her one more time in a small club but my final time seeing her was at a large outdoor concert on the 4th of July under a blazing hot sun. She was the opening act for Joe Cocker. She was quite a lady. Rest in peace, Koko.

I just finished watching a DVD I bought on my trip. It was a film of the original Moody Blues recorded live at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. It's a minor miracle that it even exists, much less released in a 5.1 Surround Sound edition. I absolutely love the Moody Blues and I have seen them many times. I still consider myself a hippie, albeit an aging one. The music of my youth, and the memories associated with it, fill me with warmth and a little sadness for all that has passed away. In general I find myself more emotional, sensitive, and sad as my life goes on. We are all so full of promise and hope when we are young. As we age life often forces us to do much that is contrary to who we are or who we want to be. Most get quickly trapped into responsibilities and obligations that consume much of our life. As adults we long for the freedom we had in our youth. Looking back, my youth, and the youth of my friends, seemed like a time that was truly lived with zest and adventure. As an adult I know much of the past is viewed with rose colored glasses. However, looking through the bi-focals I am wearing now, so many of us seem to live in small worlds. In those days of old I was part of a like minded group of fellow travelers. Today I am part of a family who do not seem like minded on any level. Though part of a family, these days I feel like I travel mostly alone except on the rare occasion when I am with fellow travelers of similar mind. Watching the youthful Moody Blues, and seeing the 600,000 people in the audience, reminds me how far we have traveled from the those days. In those times I was more in the moment than I can ever hope to be now. Yes, we have traveled far from those days in ways we don't even know. Neil Young wrote a great song about these days. Read these lyrics carefully. How far away are you from the days that used to be?

Days That Used To Be
People say don't rock the boat,
let things go their own way
Ideas that once seem so right,
now have gotten hard to say
I wish I could talk to you,
you could talk to me
'Cause there's very few of us left
my friend
From the days that used to be.

Seem like such a simple thing
to follow one's own dream
But possessions and concessions
are not often what they seem
They drag you down
and load you down
in disguise of security.
But we never had
to make those deals
In the days that used to be.

Talk to me, my long lost friend,
tell me how you are
Are you happy with
your circumstance,
are you driving a new car
Does it get you where you wanna go,
with a seven year warranty
Or just another
hundred thousand miles away
From days that used to be.

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