We worked the Copacabana in New York, and at that time they didn’t allow coloured people to come into the club. In fact, we didn’t have any dressing rooms: I had to dress at home, do my show, then get out of there between shows, go round the corner, and have a few drinks. And what I like about that is: the Copacabana went through the Frank Sinatras and the Nat Coles; then business got bad, and they had the rock’n’rollers, who tore the place up; but, as they’re just going out, they always end up getting some jazz people. So, just recently, I returned to the Copacabana. It was a thrill, because it was us at the last thing that they had to relate to, to keep the club going. Soon after that, they went boom-boom and I was glad. I’m sorry it lasted that long! You wonder why those things went on like they did. I don’t know what music has to do with colour, but it does. I can even remember when they had Race records; we had a hit, and then you had a hit—it was a separate thing. Yeah, it’s a dumb world we live in, I think.
more, from 1972.
art: Vaughan and Bob Shad, 1950