Unfathomable Talent…….#121 the 60’s)

Jan Lawhon – opening a new door

Gary penning a four-week contract for six nights per week at the Holiday Inn in Chickasha,  the motel’s location adjoining the Highway “81  off ramp of the H. E. Bailey turnpike,  the musician finding the club accommodations very facilitating having a small raised platform bandstand with a console piano and a small dance floor situated to the right of the entrance door.  True to contract,  he was furnished room and accorded discounted prices for meals,  but being only forty-five minutes from his residence he saw no need to utilizing the accommodations unless for some unforeseen consequence.   The weekday evening clientele was mostly road weary salesman with a scattering of locals, normally having a last call by midnight.  Gary finding the  weekends more enjoyable with an opportunity to get re-acquainted with many of the locals who remember him from the Untouchables and their performance at J.C. Hunters El Rancho Club.  A secondary benefit was the El Rancho Club’s presence, discovering that  J.C. would cash his Holiday Inn check, Gary very much surprised, as a general rule Clubs never cashed payroll checks.

Oklahoma City Key Magazine display

The Chickasha engagement about to come to a conclusion, the pianist having never given much thought about a Holiday Inn’s featuring live entertainment until now and this experience opened a new venue of opportunity.  Gary having noticing a display in Key Magazine about a new Holiday Inn on S. Meridian Ave, inquiring  thru the grape-vine, discovering that Herb Carpenter, the manager of the Hi Low club had sold his interest and acquired the franchise for the Pirates Cove  in the new Holiday Inn West.   Gary was well acquainted with Herb, as a previous employer giving the Untouchables their first longevity sit down job in the City.   A strategy was initiated, it was a slow night at the club in Chickasha, the pianist making an excuse to leave early for home, only the objective was the Holiday Inn on South Meridian, not only wanting to visit with Herb, but to check out the entertainment.  Upon arrival at the Inn’s location, he was conspicuous of the Holiday Inn West rural Oklahoma City location, a block south of Interstate 40,  its presence adding a new dexterity to South Meridian Ave. the crosstown street to the new Will Rodgers World Airport.  The musician  wondering about its boon-docks location and also wondering why Herb Carpenter would leave the very successful  Hi-Low and invest in a club in the middle of no where.

The Pirates Cove

Gary was truly impressed with club decor, especially the booth seating among the ships rigging and the picture painting a captivating atmosphere high-lighted with a circular piano bar.  A negro pianist was seated at the console and to his left an upright bass player, reminiscent of the Hi-Low’s Preacher Smith group, but to the right of the piano bar on a raised carpeted platform adjoining a small dance floor stood a  vivacious petite vocalist in a cocktail dress positioned behind a stand up percussion drum affiliation.   The musician approaching Herb, Gary revealing his present music endeavor and past accomplishment, espousing a desire to present his capability.  From out of the blue Herb resounding with an interesting query, a possibility of Gary working with the talented young vocalist, Jan Lawhon,  and inferring the possibility of replacing the current group backing her.  During a break,   Gary introducing himself to the commanding young Jan Lawhon complimenting her vocal and  rhythmic drum expertise and annotating  his past with Herb and his present Chickasha  Holiday Inn situation.   The visit resulting in a cordial agreement to meet  the subsequent afternoon,  the two to journey  to Chickasha where Gary’s piano and keyboard bass was set up,  the two to  audition each others talent.

Recorded at Sully Studio in Oklahoma City

Gary providing the afternoons introductory journey south, discovering Jan to be very congenial ,  her vocal accomplishment demonstrating a resume of  talent  having  recorded at Gene Sullivan’s studio, releasing several records, even venturing a Hollywood audition for a possible film career  and many other  spotlighted endeavors.  Jan stating she was  currently a junior at the University of Oklahoma  striving for a law degree.  Arriving at the Holiday Inn in Chickasha, the two providing a  bandstand presentation in the club each confirming their illicit talent,  the two inherently compatible,  Gary discovering he was familiar with almost all of her vocal repertoire and if everything worked out, they could satisfactory start to perform with a minimal amount of rehearsal.  The returning drive to Oklahoma City, the two acknowledging a possible musical union to present to Herb, Gary coming to the conclusion that real talent isn’t elicit but intrinsic.

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3 Responses to “Unfathomable Talent…….#121 the 60’s)”

  1. jim garvie Says:

    I WORKED AT THE PIRATES COVE FROM 74 – 77 FOR HERB. PREACHER SMITH, JIM MULLEN, ETC… GOOD MEMORIES. HERB CARPENTER- A GREAT MAN. Met Elvis there, among many others. Dale Robertson, Actor- kept wanting me to sell him the Pirates Cove entry door.

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for your comment, there are many stories within a story during those years, I’ve thought about adding an epilogue to some of the chapters, but that’s another story.

      • jim garvie Says:

        Thank YOU- this meant a lot to me. I coached Herb’s son Todd in football; spent a lot of time with Herb and Wanda. Hope to see some of them again, if possible. – jim

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