Archive for June, 2010

Subaqueous Ambition…………#112 (the 60’s)

June 29, 2010

 

Lockheed Electra

Lockheed Electra

   Braniff Airlines commissioned eleven,  providing an opportunity to soar among the condensing vapors,  to experience a boundless vault poised above the earthen firmament.  Presenting their relevance for disposition,  a synoptic extension of advancing ambition enabling transposition.   The adroitly accommodations providing complacency of presence,  ensuring all an accomplished terminus.   The Lockheed Electra 188 Turbo Prop,  one of the eleven,  awaiting Gary and Kaye at the Oklahoma City International Airport.
   A delivery by the contemplative communion, Gary’s mother-in-law Helen Street and Kaye’s grandmother Sarah  would be the guardian of the couple’s 7 month old son Scott while they venture on a belated vacationing journey.   The couple  arriving at the air marshaling Portland Ave entrance to board the Lockheed Electra,  embarking on a well deserved excursion  to New Orleans.   The late February winter dampness embracing the two on the tarmac before  mounting the steps of entry of the Braniff flight to Dallas Love Field.   Once aloft in the turboprop transient of the sky it seemed like it wasn’t long before the first officer announced an early arrival in Dallas.   The early advent of arrival finding an unexpected flight of an Eastern Airlines, 727 Whisper Jet about to depart for New Orleans.  A hurried rush to the departure gate,  the couple able to  preclude a scheduled layover,  the travelers once again air-borne.

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

   The No Smoking and Fasten Seat Belt insignia was illuminated,  the aircraft buffeting,  followed by the captain’s announcement,  “the weather conditions are for scattered thunderclouds with minor turbulence on our approach to New Orleans and for all passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fasten.”   The buffeting continued,  the silhouetted darken clouds convening an invitation,  the streaking lightning lashing downward like an illuminated spear,  the craft seeming to shudder with the looming sound of thunder.   Gary senses heightened,  breathing the ferment of the consequence that were,  immanent among the vociferous aura of the heavens,  knowing that this flight an experience to be remembered.    The arcadia darken zenith miraculously parted,  bestowing a sun adorned tinsel blue sky,  the Whisper Jet descending on its terrestrial approach across the brackish water of Lake Pontchartrain.   The airborne craft achieving New Orleans International Airport,  the couple disembarking,  discovering their French Quarter Hotel a distant ten miles from the airport and a shuttle service non-existent.   The cab excursion was more heroine that the buffeting aircraft,  the extreme narrow passages supplanting as streets, the cab darting in and out, their host being  very vocal with the horn,  the couple finding the driver  to be native of New York City,  giving credence to the experience.

The Monteleon Hotel

The Monteleone Hotel

   The couples lodging destination finally attained,  Gary discovering the Monteleone  a very capacious hotel with many luxurious rooms and suites,  but with the couples limited budget their reservations only provided for a diminutive quarters in the stately Hotel.   The Monteleone known for its exclusive roof top dining area, accompanied with a separate aquatic natatorium,  a swimming area high above the French Quarter.  The downstairs cocktail lounge with its highly ornament bar and decor premiered  illustrious past.  Gary soon finding that the novelty of the lounge was not only its decorative past, but incorporating some very modern attachments.   Upon waiting for his wife he seated Seating himself at the bar to observe  the highly anticipated televised fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston.   His ascertainment for viewing  was short-lived,  turning from his view to order a beverage and resuming,  finding  the television had altered  positions,  only then,  he recognized the area the television  occupied hadn’t changed,  it was the bar that had moved,  realizing he was seated at a carousel bar.

Preservation Hall Jazz

Preservation Hall Jazz

    The nocturnal hours  finding the  Willson’s  on a discovery venture of the French Quarter, dining at the   Vieux Carre’ on St. Charles St. in the French Quarter.   The inaugural of a linen draped arm of a maitre’ attentive for service during the repast and when questioned suggesting an impressionable cuisine and a introduction to a new frontier in white wine,  the respected German Liebfraumilch,  labeled Blue Nun,  the dining regalment was complete.   The later hours finding the couple  continuing their exploration,  a musical haven , the dixieland and jazz interpretations featuring the trumpet of Al Hirt famed by the hit  song Java, the Clarinet of  Pierre Dewey LaFontaine Jr.,  better known as Pete Fountain, both having secured their own night clubs.  A visit to Preservation Hall,  the home of the Old Preservation Dixieland Band,  Gary surprised that structure looked to be in a state of disrepair,  the musician somewhat resembling the building, but their music proving otherwise,  discovering it was all part of retaining the anastomotic appearance.

The Natchez on the Mississippi

The Natchez on the Mississippi

   The following morning found the Mississippi calling the inquisitive to bestow her portion of ambiguity and to demonstrate her warranted endowment.  The couple boarding the Natchez,  witnessing the churning of the steam-powered paddlewheel,  the reflection of a past era crested with the ambiance of the river breeze.   The overwhelming nostalgic presence  interrupted by the motorized sound of the modern water craft passing  by,  their trailing wakes cascading shoreward.    An inspection tour of the riverboat’s dance hall,  the decorative pavilion parading the revelations of an accomplished generation,  nostalgia represented by the fruits of their labor and the simplicity of life found in a bygone era of the paddlewheel riverboat.  The Mississippi,  the longest navigational  waterway in North America was contagious,  pocessing a beckoning aura,  its wandering way and  display never-ceasing and on occasion unveiling a hidden  aspect, the bayou’s.  The Delta humidity was first welcomed,  a contrast from the cold  February weather of Oklahoma,  but soon compounded its fame of notoriety as the couple embarked aboard another  vessel.   Gary  was taken back with the bayou cruise craft,  expecting an open air pontoon boat for the two-hour tour,  but discovering a vessel equipped with an air-conditioned cabin.  The tour craft exiting the river, entering what seemed to be the uncharted passages that make up the bayou, the tour guide reiterating that strangers to the waterway have been known to never find their way out, all said with a folklore hint.   The visitor finding the  denseness of the foliage,  the non flowing water with its green look of  heaviness adding to a cloaked  landscape presenting a life forbidding picture,  except for the sounds of the wilderness habitat,  yet as they continued deeper coming into view  a ramshackle  building,  a residence for those accepting these cloaked  surrounding as home,  a bayou dweller.

Bayou Country

Bayou Country

    This renown New Orleans restaurant displayed a commanding cuisine  with a pristine reputation,  finding habitué ‘ journeying  from around the globe to savor the applauded ambrosial subsistence.  The baroque atmosphere, the attired attendants,  the baronial wine list,  all gave presence to its celebrated name.  The Oklahoma City couple seated in this historic room once enhanced with the carriage of the prominent,  an expectation of grandeur waiting to be served  but soon discovering a discord of sound,  the bustle of commercialism, the waiters scurrying in this hurried realm to render a menued selection,  because their table was situated near the kitchen entrance,  the world-famous acclaimed and highly promoted Antoine’s was a disappointment.

Grayline tours New Orleans

Grayline tours New Orleans

   The Grayline tour stops among others provided for the investigation of  the above ground tombs of the departed,  the burial aspects holding little interest to group.  The tour continuing to the non-affiliated  residence outside of the French Quarter and an exploratory example of antebellum citadels,  the Grayline group assembling to absorb the essence of the historic marvels, the ascending pillars echoing the aristocratic chateaus of the expired south.   A departure from Grayline, the two visitors from Oklahoma in a self-administered tour of  Jackson Square,  entering  the famous St Louis Cathedral,  the inlaid  sculptor and paintings,  although under going several renovations throughout the past two centuries,  remains an icon in  New Orleans history.   The evening hour, the two strolling through the French Quarter , a  dining opportunity at The Court of Two Sisters,  a gated period decorated establishment with an impeccable reputation.  The evening about to culminate, a last accommodation,  a beverage  from Pat O’Brien’s,  Gary acknowledging,   a visit to  the French Quarter wouldn’t be  complete without an O’Brien’s famous Hurricane cocktail.   The Hurricane,  a rum and fruit juice mixture served by the green and white attired waiters in a hurricane lamp shaped souvenir glass, endowed with a logo and the Pat O’Brien name.

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

    The morning before leaving New Orleans Gary having to quell this beckeoning to visit the riverfront and judge if the atmosphere he read about or witnessed on the big screen as a young boy was true.  Asking his wife even though he knew she would decline,  if she would care to join him in experiencing the real life on the riverfront.   Gary walking the four blocks to Front Street then north along the river acknowledging the sound of the Mississippi lapping against the demonstrative ocean-going vessels,  moored and awaiting their significance,  the longshoremen allotting its station.   These massive commodity transports displaying the flags of innumerable nations finding  relief on this delta waterway,  their labor emissaries,  the vessel crew member and longshoremen commissioning  the local beverage establishments on the dock,  as customers  to partake of the available alcohol nectar.    Gary without hesitation entered the rustic riverside beverage oasis’, noting the  long counter with placement stools,  the tap handles protruding above the bar,  their decorative emblem  proclaiming an identity of what beer was on tap,  the rise of smoke from a workers leveraged cigarette and a gruff looking personality,  a fixture behind the bar.   The patrons,  longshoremen,  seaman,  the accents,  brogue,  broken english and foreign tongues,  all partakers of  beverages to quench a workingman’s’  thirst.   Behind the bar rested the  gallon containers of condiments,  pickles,  hard-boiled eggs,  pigs feet,  assorted dried editable assemblages and stacked on a bed of ice,  the premium delicacy, oysters on the half shell.  Gary’s entrance to the waterfront bar was purposeful,   a brief interlude to experience the surroundings of the seafaring workers,  the  smoked ambiance permeated with the odor of the river,  the sweat of the occupants,  the atmosphere issuing a scene from a long forgotten seafaring movie.   The Oklahoma visitor  seated himself at the bar,  ordering a mug of dark German beer,  savoring the event,  proceeding to order and  slurp-down a half-dozen raw oysters from their placement on the shell,  savoring this moment in time,  thus fulfilling a once in a lifetime experience,  a subaqueous ambition to close his New Orleans experience.

Oysters on the half shell

Oysters on the half shell

 

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Another Affliction……………..#111 (the 60’s)

June 27, 2010
Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

.  It was 12:30 p.m. November 22, 1963,  the television was channeled to WKY in Oklahoma City awaiting the Tom Paxton Show to begin, today’s guest,  the renown piano duo Ferrante and Teicher.   Gary was attentive as Tom Paxton started his opening,  but coming into view walking towards Tom with his back to the camera was Ernie Shultz the stations news director.   Turning, facing the camera, a hesitant voice making an announcement,   “We have just received a call from our Dallas affiliate,  President Kennedy has been shot, the network will be interrupting momentarily.”
.  Gary’s first reaction was one of  unwarranted disbelief but then the network broke in.  The tragic event of President Kennedy’s death traumatized the nation,  the impact of his death would not only affect the national scene, but the personal one too.  Gary’s  immediate concern was the effect this grievous event was having on his wife who was visiting his parents,  Kaye having flown to California earlier in the week with their  four-month old son Scott.   A California phone call confirming the turn of events  was affecting the normative of the elder Willson residence, one that wasn’t a to pleasant to begin with as Kaye wasn’t accustomed to the proclivity of Gary’s family.  Gary suggestion that it would be best to fulfill her round trip reservation rather than the hassele contingency of an early return.  With her arrival Gary’s wife not looking forward to returning to work, aware of the prospect of despondent co-workers at the Federal Aviation Agency.  Besides the national tragedy another affliction had come to fruition,  the federal government inaugurated a thirty-day moratorium on all  celebrating events including live entertainment at all military installations.   The proclamation having an immediate effect on the band, the moratorium depriving the Untouchables of several crucial military base engagements.  Gary recognizing the detriment, an arduous  struggle to find alternative bookings  on such a short notice would have to commence immediately.
.  The sudden demise of scheduled bookings finding Gary on the phone reaching out for booking opportunities,  the initiative providing results not only from Oklahoma City  but engagements from outlying  clubs in Harrah,  Seminole and even the Midwest City Country Club, the financial situation  not up to military standards but satisfactory.  Gary receiving an unexpected call from the owner of a club in Seminole, an oil boom town of 25000 in the 1920’s but now a rural community of five thousand.   The Untouchables fulfilling a weekend booking,  venturing the one hour drive southeast to the family owned Iwana club. The clientel resembling that of a VFW or AmVets club,  middle-aged community folk, the band  targeting a variety of old  40’s standards   a flavoring of country western and pop hits from the 50’s including  rock n roll to an appreciative crowd.  The Untouchables with their piano, bass, guitar, two tenor, alto sax and clarinet variations of  sound providing a music arrangement change from the monolithic sound  of the guitars, drums and bass groups that normally inhibited the nightspots bandstand.

Greeting a new friend

Greeting a new friend

Hammond F100 Extravoice

Hammond F100 Extravoice

.  The pianist road weary Wurlitzer 112# model electric piano was succumbing to primordial demise,  the internal action having attained a halting deposition, the Pianist discovering his the friend was tired.   Gary was cognizant of a Wurlitzer dealership  on N.W. 23rd,  less than a block from the larger Hammond Organ Studios and acquainted with Larry Flowers who’s  family owned the Hammond Organ Oklahoma City franchised.   Gary conversing with Larry inquiring if he might be able to accomplish a Wurlitzer but to no avail,  Larry mentioning a fairly new Hammond product that was on the market called The F100 Extravoice.   The single keyboard 52 key appliance with a one octave bass pedal  administered the ability to incorporate the sound of other instruments, but contradictory to a normal organ which proclaimed musical instrument impersonations, this reproduction of instrumentation was similar to a synthesizer.  Larry affording the Hammond to Gary on a trial without assumption and if not captured by its performance,  just return it.  The Extra Voice was put on trail with the band and it was  discovered the Hammond offspring was dismal substitute for the wurlitzer, but in all fairness Gary wasn’t an organist. Feeling somewhat apologetic when returning it, especially knowing that in all probability he would purchase a new Wurlitzer from Larry’s down the street competition.  As in the past the first alteration Gary performed on his recently acquired Wurlitzer  #120 was to remove the sustain bar from the lower two octaves to allow it to  perform simultaneously as a keyboard bass and a sustainable piano  something he rendered to his previous Wurlitzer.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Wichita Falls Tx.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Base  Wichita Falls Tx.

.  With the year coming to close,  the future once again looking promising with  the return of principal military installations at Tinker, Vance, Ft. Sill, Shepard,  the ten-hour excursion  to the West Texas  array af Abilene, Big Springs ,San Angelo, including the Texas Towns towns of Wichita Falls, Midland and Odessa.    A New Years Eve booking was traditionally the “il numero uno” night of the year,  a band compensated three times the normal booking fee for this festive occasion,  The Untouchables having booked  the prestigious Midwest City Country Club,  the patrons all nonpareil in their  attire,  the tables lavished with hor ‘d vor’s,  the band welcomed to partake of the surroundings.   Upon conclusion of the nights musical interlude,  Gary accepting the gratuity for the bands labor, the clubs management paying in cash as was the accepted means of transaction,  unlike the Military Bases who paid by government issue check,  but willing to  cash it.  The club requiring  no documentation or  signature of acceptance,  Gary always suspicious that the declared amount of the bands fee was amplified by the club for tax write-off purposes.   Gary recalling the statement “nothing ventured,  nothing gained”  the band gladly accepting the undocumented  cash donation for its labor.

ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn109213.html#cs2SkyxoKdtRhzew.99

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

.  The assassination of President Kennedy having a grievous effect on the nation,  Gary like many other young adults struggling with an introduction to the political arena discovering the paladin of leadership abruptly removed  having the door of their  acknowledgement slammed shut.  Overcoming the thirty-day moratorium on federally sponsored entertainment was of little consequence compared to overcoming the  political vacuum left by John F Kennedy,  concluding that adversity breeds character.

 

 

 

 

Never Say No To Opportunity……..#110 (the 60’s)

June 26, 2010
Backing Roy Clark

Backing Roy Clark

.  “Lightning fingers,  fastest guitar in  the west” was the statement.  “who are you talking about Ruth?” was the reply.  Gary didn’t aspire to resonate with skepticism,  but these were her accolades and that was his response.  Ruth Sallee, the bands booking agent venturing a name, Roy Clark,  but it still didn’t register with the musician until she mentioned a song title, a current caption on all the juke boxes,  a country song,  ‘The Tips of my Fingers’.   “Yes”,  he was familiar with the song and “yes” the Untouchables could be available to back Roy Clark for his appearance at the Bamboo Club in Enid.   Gary having concluded long ago,  never say no to opportunity,  especially from an agent.  The Bamboo Club was no stranger,  the Sallee Agency having booked the band on prior occasions in Enid.  In reality it resembled a large barn with a stage and dance floor rather than a private club,  its demur essentially exhaling country music.  A typical weekend night finding a nominal cover charge instilled at the door, the patronage bringing their own indulgence, purchasing the accompaniments,  soft drinks, water and the always invariable bucket of ice.  The amenities and decor was non-existent, but what it lacked was over shadowed by the hospitality and flavor of the local Oklahoma residents in attendance.

Glenn's 1954 Cadillac Limo

Glenn’s 1954 Cadillac Limo

Common sight approaching Hennesy

Common sight approaching Hennessy

.  It never failed to amaze Gary of the perplexity of Glenn, still having an affinity for Cadillac Limousines that was insatiable, trading his 52 Limo for the wrap-around windshield 1954 model.  The Enid excursion finding Gary and Jerry with Glenn the piloting chauffeur traversing north on highway 81 thru the towns of Okarche,  Kingfisher.  On the horizon the ever-present glow from the refinery gas burn off and the numerous wild cat oil-rig companies encrusting both sides of the  roadway approaching Hennessey, Enid being the next stop.  The three disembarking at the Club, saxophone and clarinetist Larry already present, the posters advancing the appearance of Roy Clark donning the clubs entrance.   The group having just finished setting up the band equipment when they were joined by the reason for their appearance, Roy Clark with a guitar case, amp and a bottle of scotch.  The congeal star introducing himself,  setting up his equipment, then entreating a table in front of the four-foot high stage.  Gary questioning as to what degree the band would have in his show, discovering he and Jerry were familiar Roy’s show selections and all that was needed was for him to give the key they were played in.

Roy on stage

Roy on stage

.  The band taking the stage, Gary’s first annotation to Jerry during their first song was  “the crowd knows who Roy Clark is”,  both observing the number in the audience as more and more arrived, the club filling rapidly.  Roy was scheduled to perform two shows,  the first at 10:30  the second at 12:00,  the entertainer at the front stage table kept continually occupied by a parade of fans wanting to visit and seeking autographs.  From the bandstand the pianist recognized a problem when steady group of ladies continued to advance on the celebrity, Roy’ seated directly below Gary motioning at him trying to get his attention.   Gary responding, Roy had a request, asking if he could join the band on stage as a rhythm guitar player until his scheduled show time,  asserting that some the ladies had  escorts and he would feel more secure on stage with the band.   Showtime,  Roy Clark stepping forward to center stage addressing the applauded crowd,  his first words being an acknowledgement of Oklahoma and its citizenry, then showcasing his fast as lightning reputation with the guitar. His presentation continuing,   highlighting  his vocal artistry with his current hit,  The Tip of my Fingers.  Gary very much impressed with the laid back professional,  his sitting-in on guitar with the band was something to be remembered.

Roy 'lightning finers' Claark

Roy ‘lightning fingers’ Clark

.   With the conclusion of Roy’s 12:00 o’clock show, the band finishing the night, a curiosity arose,  Gary inquiring about Roy’s transportation back to the City, finding that he had flown from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, rented a car and would be returning to L. A. in the morning.   Gary thanking Roy for the opportunity to back him, but it was Roy who was appreciative thanking the band for an excellent job.  All agreed that working with Roy was an enlightening experience,  the character of his person, his showmanship and his amazing guitar dexterity left a lasting impression.  A questioned did  remain unanswered,  why would a relatively unknown booking agent,  fly a relatively unknown artist, to appear at a relatively unknown club,  backed by a relatively unknown band?   Gary having already answered his own question earlier,  never say no to opportunity.

A Focus On Travel………….#109 (the 60’s)

June 25, 2010
Welcome to Texas

Welcome to Texas

.  It was late afternoon,  the 1961 English 39 horsepower Triumph Herald Sedan was directed south towards Dallas,  seated beside Gary in the small arrayed transport was Glenn Froman. Booking agent Ruth Sallee having acquainted the Untouchables to a parade of financially charged engagements, the most prominent  being Military Installations.   Although unable to post the group outside of Oklahoma,  she nurtured a list of contacts with many of the uniformed establishments determined in west Texas  and encouraged the exemplary musicians to explore the ramifications.  The two musicians having decided to initiate their pursuit of appropriation in Dallas before striking westward.   It wasn’t the best of decisions to drive the Triumph on this prolonged expedition,  considering the early summer temperatures in Texas, especially without  air conditioning,  but the economics of the four cylinders was a factor.   The Dallas city limits finding the two struggling with the city map,  attempting to locate prospective opportunity facilities.   Completing their prospectus with a final stop,  discovering a familiar group performing, the Night Beats.   A visit with the members of the band confirming what the two had ascertained,  unlike Oklahoma City,  the night-club circuit was closed to engaging diverse nightly entertainment,  preferring to employ a steady house band.  The Dallas initiative proving interesting but uneventful.

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

.  The two musicians realized they were in trouble  when they passed the same Dallas landmark for the  second time,  finally deciphering the meaning of the word loop when posted on a highway sign.   The late hour entertaining a discussion about lodging for the night, the two already having exit Fort Worth on highway 108,  traversing  their way to Abilene.   Gary suggesting they stop at the first available accommodation  considering  it would be another 2 1/2 hours before reaching Abilene having no desire to prosper after 3:00 a.m. in the morning;.   A compendious time later the two discovering a sign posting an auto-court ahead, upon approaching they viewed a closed roadside cafe-station and  a row of small individual cabins residing adjacent to the highway with      the illuminated presence of a sign designating an office.   The facility wasn’t a motel,  but resembled the cabins portrayed from the grapes of wrath era, the ringing of a door bell arousing the manager.   Inside their one one-room edifice were two inner-spring mattress laden beds resting on a very uneven wooden floor,  adjoining was a bathroom with a wall fastened sink and toilet.  The weary travelers calling it a night when the room began to shake similar to an earthquake, the startled two sitting up in bed, awaken from their slumber.  It was a deja vu moment,  for some reason Gary remembered a  “I Love Lucy”  episode where the Ricardo’s  and Mertz’s stayed at a motel and every time a train passed,  the furniture would shake.   True to the television series,  every time a 18 wheeler on the highway would pass the room and   beds would  shake.   The two musicians didn’t repose well that night.

Traveling thru West Texas

Traveling thru West Texas

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

.  A late start finding the two once again proceeding to Abilene and an introduction to Dyess Air Force Base.   On arrival the MP’s at the main gate directing the musicians to office of  the Post Information Office who in turn explained the Service,  NCO, and Officers Club managers booked their entertainment .   The afternoon meeting with the respective managers was successful with  three-days of bookings,  Thursday at the Service Club,  Friday the NCO and Saturday the Officers Club.  The engagements would commence in three weeks and if satisfactory could repeat again in the upcoming months.  Their first assignment accomplished,  San  Angelo and Goodfellow Air Force Base,  a two-hour southwest journey was the next objective.

A unbelievable sight

An unbelievable sight

.  An hour southwest of Abilene on 277,  the afternoon attaining lateness,  the sun dipping lower on horizon casting shadows on the rising rolling mesquite covered hills.  The two musicians both noticing some sort of small dark patches blanketing the highway ahead,  Gary immediately slowing the car almost to a halt.  Before them  was the most unbelievable sight  he or Glenn had ever come upon.   Traversing the road were hundred of the largest tarantula spiders the two have ever seen, their size encompassing over six inches in diameter  if not larger, the arachnids were not scurrying in all directions,  but were focused on their goal all traveling in the same direction across the roadway.  Gary finally stopping the car to give testimony to this incredible event,  regretting not entertaining a camera to document this once in  a lifetime experience.

San Angelo - Goodfellows Air Force Base

San Angelo – Goodfellows Air Force Base

.  A good nights rest in San Angelo, the morning  discovering booking success anointing the two at Goodfellow Air Force Base.   Upon conclusion,  it was passage Northwest to Big Springs and the opportunity of  Webb Air Force Base.   Webb presenting a problem,  a Thursday at the Service Club and a Friday night  at the NCO Club was available,  but the Officers Club was previously booked  for Saturday Nights.  The NCO club manager suggesting they might be accorded in Midland,  a booming oil town thirty minutes from Big Springs, the NCO also mentioning  the Whiskey-A-Go-Go  at the Midland Country Club.  The Midland Country Club was luxurious beyond imagination, upon entering the foyer of the large complex you were greeted with a decorative lighted large rock  pond, only instead of the usual gold-fish this rock pond enclosure was host to small alligators.  The Whiskey-A-Go-Go Club was encompassed the second floor, the entrance hewed with glass walls.  The two inquiring and directed to the Managers office of this Pavillion size country club, the manager saying that he didn’t book the entertainment for the Whiskey A-Go-Go, but it was his understanding that they were all booked up.  Glenn relating the bands situation at Webb about having a Saturday night free, the manager cordially mentioned that the country club formal ballroom engaged  entertainment on a Saturday Nights.   Their timing paid off,  with the addition of the Midland Country Club Ballroom,  Gary and Glen were successful in fulfilling their three night combination for the Big Springs area.

Webb AFB - Big Springs

Webb AFB – Big Springs

.  A restful night in Midland,  the Triumph preparing for the 10 hour return to Oklahoma City, the two occupants satisfied with their accomplishments.  Gary concluding,  if the Room shaking experience at the auto-court and the road crossing tarantula encounter was any indication of Texas,  the age-old appellation “Wild West”  was apropos.
.  The financial compensation from the United States Air Forces  in Texas more than made up for the effort and time consuming journey, but unusual circumstances did arise.  A trip to Abilene,  Gary driving his 63 Comet with Glenn aboard, the band equipment all stowed with the exception Jerry’s and Larry’s instruments, the two following in Jerry’s Ford.  Having left Oklahoma City in morning Gary’s Comet leading the two car caravan, but once crossing into Texas, the cars becoming separated.  Gary and Glenn arriving at Dyess at 6:30 p.m., the two surveying the bandstand in no hurry to unload the equipment deciding to wait on the trailing Jerry and Larry.  About 7:30 Gary and Glenn beginning to have a concerns about the two being late and the possibility of Jerry having car trouble.  With their concern growing,  having set-up the band equipment,  they inquired at the bar about being paged for any phone calls.   Thirty minutes before starting time in walks Jerry and Larry, the two relating a movie scripted incident.  Unknowingly,  after stopping for gas, they somehow managed to get turn around and on the wrong highway leaving town and then were pulled over for a violation.  When the local representative of the law asked where the came from and  where they were headed, it was then that they discovered they were going in the wrong directions. The suspicious Officer telling the two to follow him back to town for an appearance before the Justice of the Peace.   Arriving at the small rural city hall & police station, the two being told to sit and wait until the Justice of the Peace could be located.  Two hours late the justice of the peace arrived,  the officer returning Jerry’s wallet that have been conveniently confiscated, the two standing as the justice issued a fine that for some strange reason corresponded to the amount that was in the billfold.  Gary was certain the event was scripted and it was Jerry and Larrys turn to star in the role.

 

A Celebrated Arrival………….#108 (the 60’s)

June 24, 2010
Never to young to start - Dorson Scott Willson

Never to young to start – Dorson Scott Willson

.  Expectation with the Untouchables coming to fruition and as the month of July arrived  another celebrated event would be coming to fruition, the Willson’s expecting an addition to the family.  On Saturday July 11 1963, giving a mother notification the celebrant arrived, Kaye giving birth to a 6 lb. 8oz. boy name after his great-grandfather Dorson Willson at Mercy Hospital. The couple agreeing on a middle name having taken notice of one of the seven mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter.  With the arrival of Gary’s mother having flown in from Oakland and Kaye’s mother Helen at the hospital, Scott the center of  the grandma’s attention.   On their way to the hospital they surviving a five-inch downpour and when exiting the Exchange Avenue bridge in the rain, Helen was unaware of  the standing high water the car coming to an abrupt halt.

Dads 56 Plymouth with its swamp cooler

Dads 56 Plymouth with its swamp cooler

Mom, Dad, baby Scott, Kaye & Gary

Mom, Dad, baby Scott, Kaye & Gary

kaye and scott

Mom and Scott at bath time..

.  Gary’s father and sister Nancy, having braved the July heat crossing the Mojave, Arizona, New Mexico and the humidity of Oklahoma to retrieved his mother.  His dad experimenting with a new novelty, a window swamp cooler for his 56 Plymouth but soon discovering that it was no match for the desert or the high plains southwest.  Gary’s family having departed and with Scott came a new realm of responsibility, the couple soon discovering the proximity Kaye’s Mother and Grandmother living just four doors away was  to a blessing.   With the  family expansion and Kaye’s return to work, Gary continuing to pursue his night-time musical ambitions, but finding it necessary to entertain a new daytime schedule to  accommodate the new commitment.   A learning experience was enhanced,  a 2:00 a.m rocking chair and bottle feeding when coming home from the club,  an early morning wake-up call, rising to fashioning twelve bottles of formula from condensed milk and corn syrup in a sterilized,  but drawing the line with washing diapers,  placing a call to  employ a scheduled diaper service.  Adjusting to life’s new atmosphere,  thankful for the willingness of Grandma Sarah to attend to Scott when needed, allowing Gary to pursue his avocation  and retain a measure of diversified activity.

The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers

The amphitheatre at Springlake

The amphitheatre at Springlake

.  A lull from the newly acquired road trips finding the The Untouchables engaged at  Gene’s Spa-Yen Club at the corner of S.E. 29th and Air Depot Blvd.  in Midwest City,  the crossroads ascertained as the northwest boundary of  the prestigious Tinker Air Force Base.   William Eugen Anthony’s  enterprising business was circuitous,  a private club, a  restaurant – bar and liquor store all  encompassing this paramount location.    Gary finding Gene and his  wife Ruby very affable and their business practice somewhat anomalous, the clubs distinctive clientele adhering to strict procedures and dress code. Non members desiring to secure club admittance were required to sign in as guest and a policy that all male customers entering after 8:00 p.m.were required to address a dress code that included a tie, which could be borrowed from an ample supply held in custody at the entrance.   During an evening performance, Gary became aware of an inquisitive person giving his Fender Rhoades #112 the once over.  During a fifteen minute break, the  person approached Gary, introducing himself as the pianist with the Righteous Brothers and that the touring recording artist would be performing tomorrows afternoon and evening  at the Spring Lake amphitheatre.   He related that after  arriving in Oklahoma City he called several  music stores in search of replacement reeds for his Wurlitzer electric piano,  only to discover none were available. but a person at the Hammond Organ Store mentioned that Gary had the only Wurlitzer electric in the City and that he was playing at the Spa Yen.  Gary having discovering long ago from experience, to keep a supply of the hard to find Wurlitzer replacement reeds. Without hesitation he offered and in exchange the Righteous Brothers pianist issued an invitation for Gary and his Wife to attend the matinée as his guest and a introduction to Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield.  The following afternoon, Gary and Kaye arrived at the amphitheatre,  Gary mentioning the situation at gate, the two waiting but apparently the pianist was too involved with the show to give Gary the promised recognition.  The couple  remained seated enjoying the show, Gary giving thought at its conclusion about approaching the pianist once more, but deciding  it wasn’t that important.

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

.  An unexpected phone call from Ruth Sallee Productions inquiring if the Untouchables would be available for a private engagement two weeks from Saturday at the Sportsman’s Country Club at  N.W. 39th and Meridian Ave.   Ruth then extended a question to Gary that had never before been imposed,  ”would you have problems playing a Gay function?”   Gary hesitated,  speaking for himself,  saying that “he didn’t having a problem with the clientele but would like to confer with the other member of the band”.  Gary never having been in the Sportsman’s Club asking about the facility. Ruth explaining,  the Sportsman’s Country Club was located on a large gated estate with on-ground parking and for this booking, off duty Oklahoma City Police officers would be present for security. Then adding,  payment would be made the following day by Robinson Janitorial Service, a downtown company that serviced high-rise business offices.
Gary placing calls to the other members of the band relating the  particulars of the engagement.  When they were explained  Glenn’s reaction was one of curiosity as was sax player Larry Burns.   Jerry never questioned or commented when told of a Gay booking.  Ruth was correct about the security,  an uniformed officer was at the entrance gate directing passage to the parking area  where another officer stood watch over the parking that was rapidly being consumed with luxurious Lincolns and Cadillac’s.   Upon entering,  the Untouchables finding the stage addressing a large dance floor and banquet area, the participants already beginning to encompass the ballroom.  Gary’s curiosity was fastened,  having faltered about groups such as this  but never acquiring an association.   Surveying the assembly,  discovering the men outnumbering the women,  four to one,  which for a dance wasn’t  unusual,  the well attired age grouping covering a wide spectrum,  giving an appearance of normalcy.   The first songs finding a listening audience,  but when the dancing commenced,  Gary immediately recognized something was amiss with guitar playing Jerry,  he seemed to be paralyzed,  his expression was one of perplexity,  trying to make sense of the scene before him,  the couples on the dance floor all dancing with like genders.   It was obvious,  Jerry failed to comprehend, it became apparent when  being informed he mistaken the meaning of the work Gay as denoting happy.  During an intermission,  Gary making the acquaintance of the custodian of the gay groups association, finding the steward and his wife participating only as administrators and organizers for the activities of the gay alliance.  It became very apparent that many prominent business celebrities were active member of this shadowed community.   The band concluding their engagement to a very divergent but appreciative audience,  discerning their first exposure to a new culture diversity and an experience of empathy.

 

A Game of Nisus Formativus…#107 (the 60’s)

June 23, 2010
2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

   It was a favorable circumstance,  the couple discovering a house for sale but at the same time a very grievous event for the present owners.   The residence,  a modern brick two bedroom single car garage house on S.W. 46th Terrace, just four doors west of Kaye’s mothers house.   In addition to the sale of the house, most of the furnishing would also available with the prospective buyer given first option to purchase  the household goods.  Upon meeting the seller Gary became aware of  the circumstance causing the elderly owner to part with the property, his wife was in the final stage of a terminal illness.  Gary visiting with the owner to finalizing the transaction discovering there was a problem,  the owners wife signature would be required for the deed transfer and her present medical condition was best described as one of low asymmetry consciousness.  The owner called asking the couple to meet with him and his attorney at Mercy Hospital to witness what amounted to a hospital death-bed signature.  Gary and Kaye present for the heartfelt event as the tearful husband manipulating his wife’s hand placing the needed signature on the document.  The $10,500 mortgage secured the couple purchasing all the furnishing except for one bedroom,  including the tv, stove and refrigerator all for $250 plus another $250 for the 3/4 ton Carrier window air conditioner.  Gary and Kaye’s five months  residency with Deana coming to a close,  their new acquired residence was a blessing  because a prime new representative would soon  be anointed to compensate the Willson ancestral history.

Former member of the NiteBeats Larry Burns

Former member of the NiteBeats Larry Burns

   A consensus was made by many of the nocturnal private club patrons that the NiteBeats were considered one of the best versatile Oklahoma City five piece bands.   The combo having a well established sound utilizing a B-3 Hammond, drums, bass, guitar and a tenor sax player doubling on alto and a Acker Bilk clarinet.   Their repertoire was similar to the Untouchables, catering to a mature audience, but where the Untouchables leaned toward country,  the NiteBeats contemplated modern jazz.   Larry Burns exhibiting an exceptional musical talent with the NiteBeats since the groups conception, but the contemporary maestro from Burns Flat Oklahoma was given his liberty by the group, no longer welcome on the bandstand.   The reason remained unanswered, Gary suspected a disagreement about the possibility of the NiteBeats going on the road may have contributed to it,  but their loss was the Untouchables gain, the band seizing upon Larry’s new status,  offering him posture with the group.   His accession to the combo,  bringing the additional saxophone’s and clarinet gave the band greater instrumentation versatility,  Gary able to enhanced the arrangement capability and greatly expanding their repertoire and engagement prospects.

The Untouchables

The Untouchables

    The band was now ready to expand their sphere of music engagements, included in the formula was the acquisition of an agent and a venture into the realm of recording.   Gary and Glenn discovering a new prospect, Ruth Sallee the owner of Sallee Productions, a booking and talent referral agency.  The two finding Ruth’s North Shartel Ave office most entertaining,  the walls adorned with posters and pictures of various groups and artist,  especially the exotic dance performers, once referred to as vaudeville strippers.   Ruth was found to be very affable lady, astute in character, and very much aware of the music character of Oklahoma City and also of the Untouchables, willing to accept the group, drafting a concept to extend their recognition.

Staff Studio in the windowless upper-reaches of the Municipal Auditorium

Staff Studio in the windowless upper-reaches of the Municipal Auditorium

    Staff Recording Studio was situated high atop the municipal auditorium in a windowless room on the southeast corner of the complex and was accomplished by owner and technician Larry Frazer.   Larry having wired the stage of the concert hall for recording, able to cataloging the audio of all performances of the symphony,  stage production and concert performers.   Staff studio was  compact in size but in addition to recording auditorium performances,  the studio recorded  piano recitals,  vocals,  providing musical background tapes and recording for funerals and weddings.  Another source of income for Larry was the audio monitoring of television and radio commercials for time consistency,  his result petitioned by the sponsors to verify they were getting what they paid for.  Unlike the two other studios in Oklahoma City which were endowed with a larger recording area and utilized eight and sixteen track recording capabilities,  Staff Studio’s size was limited be ample but only advanced four track recorders.  Staff’s biggest asset was the difference in recording cost, Gary’s train of thought was,  it’s wasn’t so much the studio size or the equipment as it is the caliber of the music and performers. 

Seeburg the Cadillac of Jukeboxes

Seeburg – the Cadillac of Jukeboxes

   Gary and Glenn were amazed at the opportunities they discovered behind closed doors, the two having made the acquaintance of Keith Philips,  Oklahoma City’s seeburg juke box and record distributor.  Keith’s business ventures and enterprises encompassing all of the Oklahoma City metro area and a good part of the state.  His behind the scene influence of the city’s night life abounded,  for the most part an unseen participant in the realm of  entertainment.  The two musicians discovering that Phillips had an ongoing interest in producing recordings,  his knowledge of the processing aspects, the actual pressing expenditure  distribution outlets bartered  him an insight that most sponsors advocating a recording never acquired.

Glenn and his Cadillac addiction

Glenn and his Cadillac addiction

    The two continuing to explore all the avenues of entrance to the recording world including their own record label.   Glenn having become addicted to Cadillac Limousines, making another Oklahoma City acquaintances when soliciting for an oversized Cadillac.   It was when Les Hoffman, the used car dealer asked the drummer about the his need for a  limousine,  Glenn responding,  “to transport band equipment”,  then explaining about the band.    The dealer in return  volunteering,  he was the proprietor of Hit-Way Publishing Company and if there was ever a need for publishing or securing a copyright for a song or recording he would be more than happy to accommodate the band.   The two musicians amazed at the coincidences, but accepting the  visit to the car lot as just another card  dealt in the game of Nisus Formativus,  if effort was an indication of ambition,  success would be a measure of fruition.

 

Precept of History……………..#106 (the 60’s)

June 22, 2010
Gary and Kermece exchanging vows

Gary and Kermece exchanging vows

    The celebrated time  having arrived, Gary Willson and Kermece Rice having announced their engagement on September 10th, setting October 18th as the day to be joined in matrimony.   Gary having been introduced to his bride eight months prior to the day on February 18th, the date firmly imbedded because it was the birthday of Jay, a friend and employee of the Horseshoe Club where the band performed.   The wedding ceremony to take place in the judges chambers at the Oklahoma County Court House at 11:oo a.m..  The couple and the wedding entourage was well represented, Kaye’s mother and grandmother, Helen Street and Sarah Jones in attendance, along with band members  Glenn Froman, his wife June and daughter Kim, Jerry Willis serving as Best Man and of course Close friends Deana Bray and Billy.  Never having attended or been party to a wedding, Gary  remained confident but unsure of the addendum and proceedings,  hoping the suspiring ceremony would remain indelibly inscribed,  not fleeting like so many celebrated memories.  In the Judges Chambers the rush of reality setting in, a tidal wave of meaningful consciousness,  sensing the presence of mind and surroundings, but for a brief moment, a pause.  Gary beholding the captivation of his bride standing beside him, Kaye emanating an inner essence of serenity, fulfilling the warm glow of completeness.  Once again the quickening,  the judge’s oratory “Do you take” and “I now pronounce you husband and wife”  the visual happening whisking to conclusion, it was over,  the ceremony becoming a precept of history.   The congratulations, the pats on the back, the hugs,  traversing from the courthouse a whirling vision of recollection,  already the past and yet a future to be realized.

You may kiss The Bride

You may kiss The Bride

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

Glenn, June and daughter Kim

Glenn, June and daughter Kim

Mr & Mrs Willson

Mr & Mrs Willson

The newly weds at Kips

The Newly Weds at Kips

    The nuptial cascade all journeying to N.W. 32nd and May Ave.,  the established edifice for the celebrated dispatch of  dietary wedding compliments.  The stewards of service acknowledging the acclamation of festivities, providing recognition and extending congratulatory applause from all the representatives of Kips Big Boy Hamburgers.   The exclamatory endowed event coming to closure, the ritual of employment asserting its call with the band fulfilling it obligation.  The Untouchable playing a thursday, friday and Saturday at a relatively new place mark with the unseemly name of The Bongo Congo Club.  The new establishment was an addition to an old establishment The Lakeview Club, operated by a Jacque Lacotte, a renegade Cajun from the bayou  better known as the Crazy Frenchman, his advertising colloquialism “chicken today, feather tomorrow”.   The couple settling-in with Deana awaiting an opportunity to present itself enabling that first big step in a marriage, a home of their own.

1957 DeSoto

A friends departure Gary’s 1957 DeSoto 

A new family member - a 1963 Mercury Comet

A new family member – a 1963 Mercury Comet

    Gary perceived this day would finally come, he had provost a commitment and it was time for closure,  the day of reckoning having arrived.  To Gary the DeSoto wasn’t transportation,  it was affirmation of accomplishment,  a publication of success,  a symbol of stature.   With Kaye seated at his side,  the intrepid DeSoto traversed north on May Ave. towards an assimilating Ford Mercury dealership.   The musicians propensity for a transaction was debilitating,  but he had commissioned a prospective of availability concerning their financial sphere and was prepared to negotiate.   A final despondent adieu to the credulous DeSoto,  finding the couple sporting a new 1963 Mercury Comet,  a fitting adjustment for the petite lady whose disposition was honored and  the new accommodation  providing  for her daily journey to work.

Boss Speaker Systems column speakers

Boss Speaker Systems column speakers

    Glenn and Gary ascertained the public address systems found in most of the Oklahoma City Night Clubs to be inadequate to compliment the vocal aspirations of the musicians,   discovering most of the in-house P.A. Systems were  generated by the Juke Box Venders.   The engaging musical groups using a variety of systems,  ranging from a single guitar amplifier to outdoor Altec-Lansing voice of the theater units.   A new system having been  developed  and had yet to be recognized in the City,  it was the column speakers.   It operated on the principle of distance,  a column of six eight inch speaker would provide an expanding assembly of sound coverage as the distance  increased, simply stated. the further away, the more speaker you heard.   An acknowledged account with McGee  Audio Wholesale in Kansas City  finding the two promoters envisioning Boss Speaker Systems and assembling column PA speakers systems for retail sale, attempting to embark orders  with numerous Oklahoma City Clubs and performing ensembles.   The first group, other that the Untouchables to activate a Boss Speaker System proved to be the celebrated Night Beats,  their nightly appearances displaying a live demonstration for future prospects.   The business struggled to prevailed on a local scale,  but couldn’t compete with the national trends and improvements  but the two entrepreneurs having expanded  their horizons and  were already having thoughts of  venturing into a larger sphere of the musical domain, recording and distribution on their own  record label.

Fulfilling Desires…………#105 (the 60’s)

June 21, 2010
Kermece's 61 - 39 horsepower Triump

Kermece’s 1961 – 39 horsepower Triumph

The sanctions of wedlock October 18, 1962 for Gary and Kaye was imminent,  Gary was without doubt his future bride was a sterling treasure,  a paragon of identity,  complementing and fulfilling all that makes one’s  cup runneth over.  The subject of residency being discussed, whether to seek a place of their own or wait and see what the future holds.  Their understanding with Deana was congruous,  the couple seeing no reason to advance permutation, Deana’s hospitality was prevalent, animosity was nonexistent, the relationship thrived.   Kaye being slight in stature , all of 95 lbs. and  her automotive choice reflected her proprietorship, the proud owner of a 1961 Triumph Herald.   A four passenger, two door,  4 speed,  39 horsepower British model with a top speed of 70 mph, very befitting her countenance.   She was vocal in informing Gary that she found it very uncomfortable ensconced in the driver seat of Gary’s demonstrative sized push-button drive DeSoto.   Gary could identify with her reasoning, having listening to Glenn in jest referring to the specious two-tone, swept fin Chrysler product as a carriage befitting a hustler, a perfect pimpmobile.   Gary having never thought of his prodigious car in that light but accorded to his bride-to-be that the hallmark DeSoto would soon find another to christen its protocol.

Kermece Rice

Kermece Rice

From a musician’s perspective Oklahoma City was a boom-town,  not fired up by the colossal oil industry,  but displayed by a bustling commerce produced by a product from the fermentation and distilling of certain agricultural commodities.  Gary without cogitation  could ascribe twenty-five liquor accommodating private clubs that engaged in providing live music, and that’s excluding taverns,  hotels,  motels,  veterans and civic organizational facilities.  The competition between these enterprising aggregations was intense, management discernment was ascertained by the financial  bottom line at the conclusion of the evening.   The bands prodigious appearance, sporting formal array and socializing with the  audience during intermissions provided entertainment both on and off the bandstand..  Gary concluding that arrangement could sell a song,  but actions and presence embolden a performance.

The private clubs marshaling a 2:00 a.m. closing time as prescribed by the City,  but a persistence prevailed,  there were several unincorporated areas beleaguered by Oklahoma City and like earthworms after a rain, unregulated after-hour clubs began to surface.   After an appearance at the Excuse Club on South Pennsylvania Ave., the combo following the owner Hobart and his bi-speckled manager Don to a surreptitious after-hours attraction just south of the North Canadian River and east of Eastern Ave in a secluded no mans land  between OKC and Del City.  The band turning off Eastern Ave onto a ill-kept two lane road arriving and an almost windowless building surrounded by an array of cars on a make shift parking area.  Mary’s Hideaway  flourished with after-hour patrons, the already induced partying fray finding the indifferent opening hours with great satisfaction.  In addition to the blaring jukebox,  Mary accomplished a 24 oz. charred sirloin with fries for a reasonable gratuity,  complimenting the unmitigated inducements served from the bar. Glenn and Gary soon realized, this early morning rendezvous could model as a supplementary income provider.  Gary and Glenn approaching Mary,  the Untouchables finding an added after hours weekend  engagement.

Oklahoma City Civic Auditorium

Oklahoma City Civic Auditorium

Ray Charles at the Civic Auditorium

Ray Charles at the Civic Auditorium

Gary recognized few as true Icons in the music world, but one such Icon was making an appearance in Oklahoma City.  Ray Charles and his orchestra was to perform at the Civic Auditorium and the band just happen to be off that night,  the pianist suggesting to Kaye that they attend.  The soon to be united couple looking forward to a live performance of  ‘What I Say’, I can’t stop loving you, Georgia on my mind, Ruby, Born to lose, a never-ending list of current gold record songs.  Gary purchasing advance tickets for seating in the lower part of the Mezzanine Section the two looking forward to the coming event, but then someone brought up the subject of going to an all black performance. Most everyone in the country was aware of the ongoing civil rights demonstration, with Martin Luther King organizing marches throughout the south.  Gary having never correlated skin color with music, the performer wasn’t black or white but a musician and those in attendance weren’t there to patronize the color of skin, but to absorb the ambiance of the performance.  The night of the concert having arrived, Gary and Kaye both dressed for the occasion as were almost all those in attendance.  The musician was aware from the continuous plays on the juke box at work, Ray Charles’s country songs were well received in his all white nightclub environment and  taking notice before Ray was introduced, half of those in attendance were white.  Ray Charles was unbelievable, the only two downsides that only a musician perceived was his use of a Concert Grand piano in playing  ‘What I Say’ instead of the  wurlitzer electric as on the recording, but it was probably because it was what Gary used on the bandstand.  The other somewhat disappointment was the prominent string sections that set the artistry for his country ballets but then again it was understandable as he traveled with the Raelets and an Orchestra minus the string section..  Gary having witnessed the first of two iconic events,  the second awaits on October 18th.

Prelude To A Command Performance..#104 (the 60’s)

June 19, 2010
A Bobby Vinton clone

A Bobby Vinton clone

   Bobby and the Runaways,  a Chicago combo,  dressed in tuxedo’s, black or powder blue, an impressive group with Bobby,  the lead guitar and featured vocalist,  a Bobby Vinton clone.   Gary was first aware of the Runaways arrival when Kermece Rice,  a young lady of interest whom Gary approached after discerning her mothers accolades at the Horseshoe Club.  Kaye, as she was known, acknowledging  her friend and co-worker Deana Bray was smitten with the bands drummer.   The Runaways, a four piece band from Chicago entertaining several nights at the Embers Club at N.W. 10th and N. May Ave for an extended engagement, Gary somewhat curious about a Chicago based band playing at Embers rather than the Copa, or one the other large motels that highlighted established out-of-town bands.

Kermece and her familie's S.W. 46 Terrace residence

Kermece and her families’ S.W. 46 Terrace residence

Helen, Sarah and E.W.

Helen, Sarah and E.W.

   An attentive relationship was building between Gary and Kaye, finding the two bestowing their leisure hours together.  An introduction to her kindred history,  discovering the delicate lady was an only child,  as was her mother,  the grandmother Sarah although a quiet person was  the luminary in the family.   Gary feeling very comfortable with Kermece’s family,  a mutual regard especially for Sarah the grandmother, her being  the matriarch and responsible for rising her granddaughter.  Also in the home was Sarah’s elderly ill husband E.W. Jones, Gary recognizing his onset of diminished mental capacity.  A vibrant Helen having experienced the concave of being married several times, knowing the value of employment security having been in government service since World War II, still retaining an important  civilian position at Tinker Air Force Base.  Her daughter  following suit with government service,  retaining a position with the FAA shortly after graduating from High School.  Gary’s financial situation having suffered with the bands decline, his DeSoto  payment in arrears.  Sharing his problem with  Kaye,  her immediately reaction was to help,  inquiring about his account then discerning she would like to compensate for the late payments and to his consternation taking it upon herself to discharge the entire remaining quantum without reservation..

The steward of the house - Dean Bray

The steward of the house – Deana Bray

   Kermece or Kaye as she was perceived by non-family,  endured with her mother and grandmother on  S.W. 46 Terrace, her good friend Dean Bray extending an invitation for Kaye to move in with her.  Deana, a widow with a young daughter, occupied a very spacious three bedroom home just east of May Ave on S.W. 53rd St. and after  considerate contemplation Kaye acknowledged her  acceptance to the invitation.  The incinerate summer heat found Gary and the air-conditioned DeSoto journeying to and from the Federal Aviation Agency record division office in the Home State Life building at 6th and Robinson,  ferrying the work empowered Kaye and Deana.  The affinity between the musician and his new-found Desire endured and Deana recognizing the contingency, espousing  the musician with a like invitation to reside at her residency.  Gary tarried with the offer, but his concern was for Kaye and the impression it would have on her family.  After considerable deliberation, leaving the final decision up to Kaye, Gary giving W.E. Curry, his Reality friend his notice of vacancy having accepted Deana’s offer of residency on S.W. 53rd St.

The Embers Club - NW 1oth & N.May Ave.

The Embers Club – NW 1oth & N.May Ave.

   Glenn, The Untouchables drummer was under stress with financial and  family matters,  accepting part-time employment with his father in-law in Lawton through the week, without a drummer the bands engagements were reduced to week-ends status.  Guitarist Jerry Willis  establishing a serious relationship with Darlene Philips, her position as a full-time employee at Cattlemen’s Cafe finding the musician occupying his off nights minding her three young siblings during her employment hours.   Gary recognizing the bands situation with Glenn and Jerry somewhat preoccupied, the incentive to progress and give the band direction was stymied.   The pianist desiring a more fruitful source of income  and with a personal introduction to the Runaways by Deana, discovering that the group having heard the Untouchables and Gary’s piano and to his  surprising asking if he would be interested in joining their group.  Hesitating the pianist acknowledged the offer, replying he would give it some thought,  Gary visiting with Glenn and Jerry both leaving it up to him to decided.  With the current lack of enthusiasm and the defection displayed and if nothing else it would be a learning experience, the keyboard musician accepting The Runaways offer.  The Embers Club making an exception in their booking schedule for The Runaways, the band featured five nights with an almost capacity crowd, but as the weeks progressed as did the nightly visitors to other live entertainment clubs.  Gary could see the handwriting on the wall, Bobby and the Runaways tarry in Oklahoma City would be short-lived.  Bobby giving Gary notice of their intension to move on,  a previous booking the reason for their departure. With the notice was an offer for him to join them on the road, but the Pianist declining,  there being a far better inducement to remain in Oklahoma City,  in the person of Kaye.
The keyboard musician was always somewhat suspicious of the Chicago group, still having the two tuxedo’s issued to him,  discovering the inner  label bore the registration of a Chicago uniform rental company.  Gary having talked with Glenn and Jerry about resuming his association with the band and to his surprise discovering a renewed purpose with added resolve,  a new horizon  Glenn moving his family from Lawton to Oklahoma City enabling the added productive weekday engagements.  The pianist to rejoin the Untouchables, the guitar and bass players employed to replace him were novice and like many that addressed  a bandstand,  just instruments on a stage.   Gary’s keyboard bass and piano once again initiating a semblance of arrangements  instilling the enthusiasm and avidity to a composition and highlighting the  bands presence.

Gary & Kermece (soon to be the Willson's)

Gary & Kermece (soon to be the Willson’s)

   It was a Sunday evening, September 16th,  the time having arrived, having visualized this moment more than once,  wanting to express himself in some poetic way.  Looking at Kaye having expressed his love for her he finally  just said it, “will you many me” and then adding a gesture,  he kneeled down, “I’m on bended knee”  the prelude to their command performance accomplished.

Perception of Liberation…………#103 (the 60’s)

June 17, 2010
The Horseshoe Club_SW 29th & Kentucky

The Horseshoe Club_SW 29th & Kentucky

Oklahoma City proving to be complementary,  the Untouchables fostered an entourage that insured the commission of engagements.   The financial countenance being minimal,  but enabling two members of the musical  escapade,  Gary and Jerry,  in developing a savings curriculum,  Glenn the being the exception,  a good portion of his income consumed by his frequent visits to Lawton and his family.   A farewell to the blue roach rental behind the Horseshoe  Club , the three discovering a residence  on S. Barnes St. the owners having converted part of their home into a small  two room rental with stove, small refrigerator and  separate street entrance.   The band’s new-found lodging providing  a suitable shelter, an adequate station for meals and a restful night’s lodging, but its size was somewhat claustrophobic and lacked any privacy for after work entertaining.  The rule of thumb unless prior notification was given,  if the light is on and the door is locked,  knock three times then return in twenty minutes.  It was soon discovering the knocking rule was never needed as the musicians were normally the recipient of the invitations.

The rental on S. Barnes with on street entrance

The rental on S. Barnes with a street side  entrance

The accumulation in a savings account,  empowering Gary to fulfill a long desired aspiration, the acquisition of a car.  S.W.  29th St. was a main east – west thoroughfare on the south side connecting Highway 62 from Lawton to  U.S. 77 and Interstate 35,  on the east side of  the City.   Many of Oklahoma Cities pre-owned car enterprises finding this roadway very profitable with many  locations.  Once having accumulated a sufficient amount of funds, Jerry supplying the transportation, the Pianist began a car shopping endeavor discovering his long desired  avidity for a certain genus on the used car lot,  a 1954 Oldsmobile Convertible.

Gary's first car - A youthful fulfillment come to life

Gary’s first car – A desire come to fruition.

A certain stature evolves with the purchase of your first automobile,  a perception of liberation,  knowing you are the publisher of your purpose and have the capability to pursue your quest.   The  remembrance from his early teen years surfacing again, the fragrance of mowed hay,  the damp moist aura,  the open air carriage bathed by a moonlit effervesce,  the recollection of Mountain Blvd all associated when cruising after work at the Signal Station in Ted Riley’s  1950 Olds convertible.  The airings of the convertible conveyed a license of deliverance,  but the vivacity of ownership began to wane in proportion to the automotive number  faults that soon materialized from purchasing an inexpensive used car.   The presence of reality never wanes, a bargain is not always a bargain,  the new auto owner discovering that brake master cylinders do cost.  Driving down Classen Blvd., he impinged the brake pedal in anticipation of stopping, the pedal depressing to the floorboard with no effect but finally managing a  successful stop.  Upon examination, ascertained brake fluid present on the firewall below the master cylinder,  a good indication of  a of the problem.   After refilling the cylinder, Gary progressed the Oldsmobile to Brotherton’s Garage on S.W. 29th and Agnew.  He was acquainted with  Hap and Ronnie Brotherton, both members of the Oklahoma Stock Car Racing Association’s board of directors, who in the past commissioned a performance by the Untouchables at their awards banquet.  Ron replacing the master cylinder,  offering some professional automotive advice to the musician, “trade it.”

Glenn Froman extra- ordinaire

Glenn Froman extraordinaire

1957 DeSoto

1957 DeSoto

Glenn needing to make a trip to Lawton, requesting Gary to follow his Plymouth Station Wagon to his mother-in-law’s residence where his wife was staying, the drummer ceding his car to June to for the coming week.  Upon completion of the task the two exiting the town the pianist noticing a two-tone white and Flamingo Pink swept fin  1957 DeSoto decorating the lot of a pre-owned car emporium and without hesitation pulled into the small used car lot.  The dealer approaching the two, Gary making an  inquiring  about the DeSoto’s  vendibility,  noting that it lacked any  posted sale markings.   The dealers explaining  it was a recent trade-in and it was yet to be serviced or detailed for a sale.  There was no question in the pianist mind that he would be leaving in the DeSoto even though he found it difficult to breach the bond with his first means of transportation,  but acumen precludes affinity remembering the advice of Ron Brotherton.   Gary never one to barter asking up front what it would take with the Olds as a trade in.   The dealer allowing $250 as a trade-in, the amount Gary had given for the Olds, the dealer accepting the trade-in as a down-payment with a $450 balance,  no cash changing hands.  Gary and the finance company now the proud owners of 1957 DeSoto Fireflite,  air-conditioned two door hardtop,  with a 341 cubic inch,  345 horsepower,  four barrel carburetor endowed engine.

DeSoto's pushbutton transmission

DeSoto’s pushbutton transmission

With the advent of  his luxurious transportation,  a realm of independence presented a new order of social activity, the element of nocturnal associations was always available in the realm of musical endeavors.   Gary presenting an interest having meant a striking lady employed with the FAA named Sue Mason.   Sue being the mother  of a  young son, making Gary aware of reality,  indulging in a very cautious relationships not eager or prepared for a resolute commitment.   Jerry too was also allocating more of his time with a newly found complement and with Glenn’s commuting to Lawton,  an air of independence began to surface with the more  limited use of their two bedroom rental.  Jerry deciding to no longer reside in the two room rental,  the guitar players relationship with Darlene Phillips and her family of three having escalated and was on the road to a serious commitment.  Unable to advocate the financial burden, Gary deciding to look for suitable quarters elsewhere visiting with an acquaintance  W. E. Curry,  a realtor with rental property, the two having meant at the Horseshoe Club.  W.E.  disclosing he had a room vacancy in his edifice at SW 33rd &  S. May Ave..   The office structure in reality was built as a residence, the entrée and living room having been converted into his reality office,  the two adjoining bedrooms were rental rooms with kitchen privileges.   The accommodations and the monthly rent was more than satisfactory, Gary taking W.E. up on his offer,  discovering the other bedroom was leased to  Tinker Air Force Base employee who also just  happened to own a 1957 DeSoto

W.E. Curry's rental

W.E. Curry’s rental

Gary would frequent the Horseshoe Club even though the bands subscriptive employment was  for two nights a week,  the owners Ross and Virginia Miller approaching him as a friend and the Musician having been acquainted with their daughter Barbara.   The Horseshoe’s private club clientele function like an association,  Jay, the affable bartender,  W.E.,  the realtor,  Eldon Dumas,  the electrical contractor, and employees of  the Federal Aviation Agency,  Tinker Air Force Base,  all with a common denominator, cordiality.   Late afternoons would often finding Gary conversing with a prospective nocturnal audience participant and on this occasion visiting with a Tinker Air force Base employee, making the acquaintance of  Helen Street.  Helen, a very cordial older lady accentuating her daughter as single young lady about the same age as Gary.  The amiable lady painting an engrossing narrative to the Musician,  the anecdotes provoking an interest, Gary very much intrigued, especially having never meant anyone name Kermece.