Discovering A Treasure – Jan Lawhon…. #121 the 60’s)

Jan Lawhon – opening a new door

Booking agent Ruth Salee penning Gary to a four-week club date contract for six nights a week at the Chickasha Holiday Inn, 40 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.  The motel located just off the H. E. Bailey turnpike exit on Highway 81.  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 his contract, he was furnished a room and accorded discounted prices for meals, but being only forty-five minutes from  home, he saw no need to utilizing the accommodations unless for some unforeseen consequence.

The weekday evening clientele was mostly made up of road weary salesman, with a scattering of locals, the club 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 that a Holiday Inn’s featured live entertainment until now, and this experience opened a new venue of opportunity.  Gary having noticing a display in the current issue of Key Magazine about a new Holiday Inn on South Meridian Ave. in Oklahoma City, and after 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 also 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 Avenue the north south byway to the relatively new Will Rodgers World Airport.  The musician questioning its somewhat boon-docks location and also wondering why Herb  Carpenter would exit the very successful Hi-Low and invest in a club in the middle of nowhere.

The Pirates Cove

Gary was truly impressed with the clubs decor, especially with the booths seating positioned among the painted scenes of pirate activity and the ships rigging,   providing a captivating club atmosphere and high-lighted with its dance floor and circular piano bar.  A negro pianist was seated at the consul behind the piano bar and to his left stood an upright bass player, reminiscent of the Hi-Low’s Preacher Smith group, but to his right, on a raised carpeted platform, stood a  vivacious petite vocalist in a cocktail dress, positioned with a microphone and a stand up percussion drum affiliation.   The musician greeting Herb, Gary revealing his present music endeavor and past accomplishment, espousing a desire to present his capability.

Jan Lawhon

From out of the blue, Herb resounding with an interesting query about Gary working with the talented young vocalist, Jan Lawhon,  and inferring the probability of replacing the current group backing her.  During a break, Gary introducing himself to the commanding young Jan,  complimenting her vocal and rhythmic drum expertise, annotating  his past with Herb,  and mentioning his present Chickasha Holiday Inn situation.   The visit resulting in a cordial agreement to meet  the subsequent afternoon, to journey  to Chickasha where Gary’s piano and keyboard bass was set up,  the two to audition each other’s talent.

Recorded for Boyd Records Inc. 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 for Oklahoma Cities Boyd Records in the past, releasing several and even venturing a Hollywood audition for a possible film career along with 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 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 “Discovering A Treasure – Jan Lawhon…. #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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