A Commodious Location…………#102 (the 60’s)

Entering Oklahoma City

Entering Oklahoma City

      Gary having returned to Lawton Oklahoma from California, back to square one,  the journey a 3200 miles vacillating experience accomplishing nothing  but a promise of  asseverations.   Rythm Tamer’ Promoter Don ” Red Eye” Kinder fulfilling his promise to reestablish Gary in Oklahoma,  including the retrieval of the pawned Wurlitzer Piano from the brokerage firm.   The Untouchables reunited with aggrandizement and prognostications of  working with Kinder and Troy Elledge.   A convocation of the three musician with Troy and Don was arranged with an expectation of rehearsal time and a scheduling of travel for a west coast recording session  on the agenda.   The group waiting with promise and a opportunity to displace the apathy which somehow infiltrated their resolve.   The appointed time having arrived and passed, Gary advancing  a reasonable explanation for Don and Troy not in attendance, in all probability they were still securing arrangements for the trip to California and would be forthcoming with a schedule.    Guitar and sax player Jerry Willis  inquiring about Don and Troy,  the three having the same home town of Frederick, Jerry discovering that Kinder, his wife Martha and Troy had already embarked for the west coast.   It was then Drummer Glenn Froman approached the disconcerted group with a proposal of exploring the musical realm of Oklahoma City.  Gary having come to realize that Lawton and southwest Oklahoma was a deadend street and was ready for a change and the  possibility of relocating to the commodious city that might open the door to a host of bookings.  The band relinquishing the idea of hearing from Don and Troy, Oklahoma City their destination and with it being distinguishing as the nations largest city in area,   so might the array of opportunities be the largest in the nation.

Oklahoma City

Commodious Oklahoma City

      Highway 62 journeyed north from Lawton brushing the communities of Elgin,  Cyril , Cement,  before traversing into Chickasha,  followed by Blanchard,  Newcastle and a notifying marker,  “Entering  Oklahoma City”   conveniently placed ten-miles  before reaching the first signs of civilization,  the farming city limits entrance giving the statement as the nations largest city validity.  To conserve finances,  gas being a lessor expense than motel accommodations,  the band making a provisional agreement to commute the 200 mile round trip until sufficient employment was accessed.   On arrival finding the commuting  exercise  was unnecessary the band discovering opportunity at their initial inquiry happening upon a club in the Airline Motel on S.W. 29th St.  The band negotiating a two night booking including a complimentary room, the patrons of the club were another added benefit,  many were more than happy to provide a wealth of information, providing the names of other clubs that booked live entertainment,   the newly arrivals amazed at the prospects. .
       The Untouchables discovering that unlike the loosely enforced liquor laws of the service clubs, Moose, Elks, AmVets, American Legion, and the so-called private clubs of southwest Oklahoma, Oklahoman City presented a venue of its own.  State law dictated that wine and hard liquor could not be sold at lounges,  bars,  clubs or any establishment except a liquor store.   What could be sold was the set-ups, ice, soft drinks, water, etc..  and of course 3.2 beer.   To entertain this service for liquor, the facility was required to have a private club license and customers were required to register as members or sign in as a guest and as such would provide their own bottled liquor which the club would conveniently label with the their name.  The entrance door to most of the reputable clubs in most cases were locked, to enter the establishment one would activate  a door buzzer and it would either be answered by a club employee or buzzed in from the bar.  The other options being if a membership had been attained, a key would be issued to  the member allowing access to the door and what became known as a Key Club.   Non-member customers were closely  scrutinised, the club management always vigilant for the ABC Board (Alcohol Beverage Control Board),  because it was common practice for the clubs to provide over the counter illegal sales from what was discretely  refered to as house bottles. .

The Untouchables Trio

The Untouchables Trio

Vocal time for Gary

Vocal time for Gary

Glenn's showmanship or antic but entertaining

Glenn’s showmanship or antic – but entertaining

       The Untouchables finding  Oklahoma City night-life very accommodating ,  the city having no restriction on dancing,  the private clubs all non-union, contracts verbal with payment in cash and more important, regular  house bands were for the most part non-existent.  The City was virtually a gold mine of musical opportunity with over 2o private clubs sponsoring live entertainment not including the service organizations or the likes of the exclusive Petroleum or Oklahoma City Country Club.  It was not uncommon for a band working five nights a week to find the group performing Thursday at one club,  Tuesday & Wednesday at another and a Friday & Saturday for a third engagement.  The city night-life encompassed a variety of music genre, the Untouchables repertoire spanning everything from 1930′ pop standards, 50’s top ten classic to the rhythm & blues rock sound of the day.  The five instrument sounding trio able to compete with a five piece band sound wise also having an advantage price wise and another factor was the band not only took pride in their music arrangements but also in their appearance,  dressing smartly in suit & tie.

Rental at SW 30th & S. Kentucky Ave.

Rental at SW 30th & S. Kentucky Ave.

Harris Roach Powder since 1922

Harris Roach Powder since 1922

       The initial booking leading to others the three musicians acquiring a sparsely furnished rental house behind  the Horseshoe Club  on S.W. 29th St..  The band having secured bookings for several nights a week at the Horseshoe providing a unique split format,  a 3.2 beer shuffleboard tavern on one side and a private club on the other, the two petitioned with separate entrances.  The clientel was also petitioned a paradox with everyday workers on one side and contractor, real estate business professional frequenting the private club side.  The rental house’s location and price seeming ideal, but the musicians soon finding the reason it was so readily available during their first nights of occupancy.  The band returning from the club their first night in their rental, tuning on of the lights of the darken abode, spotlighting an agglomeration of unexpected hosts.  The house was crawling with cockroaches, the floor seemed in transit with hundreds of scurrying roaches, well sheltered and concealed by day, but rising to the podium at night.   Gary having never experience roaches before and the first reaction was to immediately part company as it appeared they were outnumbered.  Cooler heads prevailed deciding to find a chemical solution, Gary and Jerry making  a trip to a local 7-11 store but finding no remedy and at 3:00 a.m. in the morning questioning about available options.   The 7-11  attendant conjecturing,  there was a 24 hour drug store downtown that  might provide a product for relief.   A foray downtown to the corner of Sheridan and Broadway, the skid row section of town, the two inquiring about an exterminating roach powder for residential use the attendant pointing out the location of the roach exterminating substance, Harris Roach Powder.  Returning,  an abundant supply of blue colored boric acid roach powder was distributed throughout the rented  and the musicians awaited the results.   The three continued in the rental house for the remainder of their thirty-day lease and every night the uninvited hosts with their blue powder covering would abandon their concealment and proudly display their colourful selves.

 

 

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