Archive for November, 2016

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

November 30, 2016

The Horseshoe Club_SW 29th & Kentucky

Thursday October 18th 1962, was observed with the arrival of a celebrated milestone,  Gary Willson and Kermece (Kaye) Rice  having calendared this date when announcing their engagement on September 10th.  Gary having been introduced to his bride eight months prior to the day on February eighteenth during her attendance of a birthday party at the Horseshoe club where the band, The Untouchables, were performing. The wedding ceremony taking place in the judges chambers at the Oklahoma County Court House at 11:00 a.m.  The couple and the wedding entourage well represented, Kaye’s mother Helen Street and grandmother Sarah Jones in attendance, along with band members  Glenn Froman, his wife June and daughter Kim.  Jerry Willis serving as Best Man and Deana Bray as Maid of Honor and close friend Billy.


Never having attended or been party to a wedding, Gary remained confident but unsure of the addendum and proceedings, hoping the eminent ceremony would remain indelibly inscribed, not fleeting like so many celebrated memories. In the Judge’s 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.

Gary and Kermece exchanging vows

You may kiss The Bride

You may kiss The Bride

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, then traversing from the courthouse a whirling vision of recollection,  already the past, and yet a future to be realized. The nuptial cascade all journeying to Northwest 32nd and May Avenue,  the established eatery edifice for the wedding entourage.  On entering the stewards of service acknowledging the event, providing recognition and extending congratulatory applause from all the representatives of Kips Big Boy Hamburgers. The  exclamatory endowed event coming to a conclusion.

Mr & Mrs Mrs Willson

The newly weds at Kips

The Newly Weds at Kips

Gary’s nuptial commemoration night short lived,  the band having recently booked a Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at a relatively new night spot marked with the unseemly name of The Bongo Congo Club.  The new premise was an addition to an old establishment, The Lakeview Club, operated by a Jacques Lacotte, a renegade Cajun from the bayou,  better known as the Crazy Frenchman, his advertising colloquialism “chicken today, feathers tomorrow”.  The couple having previously settling-in with Deana and her daughter in her three bedroom home, awaiting an opportunity to present itself, enabling that first big step in a marriage, a home of their own.

The couples first Christmas together  approaching, Gary discovering that his bride’s past home-life was somewhat void of Christmas and the pageantry.  Her childhood mentor and mainstay at home was her Grandmother Sarah who was a faithful Jehovah Witness, the Witnesses forgoing Christmas.  Gary assumptive that Helen, Kaye’s mother, was not an active member but recognized the churches importance and was supportive of Sarah’s affiliation.  The Christmas spirit did abound at the house on SW 53rd, the four adults and Deana’s young daughter enjoying a traditional Christmas morning, with the opening of the wrapped gifts.  Gary couldn’t help but notice the exhilaration flowing from his lovely wife.

Gary perceived this day would come, he had provost another commitment to Kaye about trading for a smaller suitable car and it was time for closure,  the day of reckoning having arrived.  To Gary his swept fin 57  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 Avenue towards an assimilating Ford Mercury dealership and a farewell to the Desoto.  What lessened the trauma of relinquishing the automotive icon, was detecting a slight malady emitting from the engine, and a visit to Ron Brotherton’s garage.

1957 DeSoto

A friends departure Gary’s 1957 DeSoto

A new family member – a 1963 Mercury Comet

Ron diagnosing a center main bearing was the culprit, and after micro-metering, finding the crankshaft was slightly out-of-round, the cost of repair for turning the crankshaft and replacing the bearing would be costly.  He suggested replacing the bottom half of the main, which would temporally alleviate the sound of the problem and trade the car.   The musicians propensity for a transaction was somewhat debilitating,  but he had commissioned a prospective to fulfill his promise.   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 promise was honored, and the new automotive accommodation readied for her daily journey to work.  But what really was to vex Gary, was continually seeing the DeSoto,  on the road,  in and about Oklahoma City.

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

November 28, 2016


It was a favorable circumstance,  Gary and Kaye 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 home on southwest 46th Terrace,  four doors west of Kaye’s mothers house.   In addition to the house,  most of the furnishing would also be available for sale, the prospective buyer given first option to purchase.  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 finalize 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 furnishings with the exception of a bedroom set,  including the television, stove and refrigerator for $250, plus an additional $250 for the relatively new 3 quarter ton Fedders window air-conditioner.  Gary and Kaye’s five months residency with Deana having come to a close,  their newly acquired residence was a blessing,   because a new representative would soon enter the world to enhance the Willson ancestral history.

A consensus was made by many of the nocturnal private club patrons,  that the Night Beats were considered one of the best versatile Oklahoma City five piece bands.   The combo having a well-established sound, utilizing a B-3 Hammond organ,  drums,  bass, guitar and a tenor sax player who also doubled on alto and a Acker Bilk clarinet.   Their repertoire was similar to the Untouchables, catering to a mature audience, but where the Untouchables touch upon country,  the Night Beats contemplated a modern R&B sophistication .   Saxophonist Larry Burns exhibiting an exceptional musical talent with the Night Beats 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 suspecting a disagreement about the possibility of the Night Beats 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 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 association, Ruth Sallee, the owner of Ruth Sallee Entertainment company,  a booking and talent referral agency.  The two finding Ruth’s North Shartel Avenue 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,  in her fifties, 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 enhance their recognition.

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 Frazier.   Larry having wired the stage of the concert hall for recording, able to catalog 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,  and could provide acetate disk recordings of taped 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 to,  ample but advanced four track recorders.  Staff’s biggest asset was the pricing difference in recording cost, Gary’s optimism  was,  it’s wasn’t so much the studio size or the equipment as the caliber of music and performers.

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 Seaburg  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 club investment and entertainment, having provided many of the clubs with their PA and sound systems.  The two musicians discovering that Phillips had an ongoing venture 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.

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 acquaintance when soliciting for an oversized Cadillac.   It was when Less 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  BMI affiliated, 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 musicians amazed at the coincidences,  but accepting the  visit to the car lot as just another card  dealt in the game of Nisus Formative us,   if effort was an indication of ambition,  then success would be a measure of fruition.

With  all the elements having fallen into place for recording and marketing their first record,  including  Glenn establishing a recording label, Froman Entertainment Enterprises., FEE   records.  the Untouchables assembled at Staff Recording Studio for their first recording session , their music to traverse a new medium, and opening another door to opportunity.


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

November 26, 2016

Never to young to start – Dorson Scott Willson

A celebrated arrival, Thursday July 11th 1963, the Willson family blessing the world with a 6 lb. 8 oz. son at Mercy Hospital, their son named after his great-grandfather Dorson Willson,  the couple agreeing on the middle name of Scott, tantamount to one of the seven mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter, so as to not to saddle the new arrival with an elderly calling name such as Dorson.

The new-born being the center of both grandmothers attention, Gary’s mother Betty having flown in from Oakland, his father and sister Nancy  arriving by car.  The two grandmothers first visit to the hospital was omnibus,  Helen, while driving to the hospital amidst a five-inch downpour,  exited the Exchange Avenue bridge unaware of the standing high water,  the car coming to an abrupt halt, water entering at door level.

Gary’s families stay seemingly brief, and with their departure came a new realm of responsibility, the couple soon discovering the proximity of Kaye’s Mother and Grandmother,  living but four doors away was 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 adjust his 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 each weekday morning to fashion eight bottles of formula from condensed milk and corn syrup in a sterilizer,  but drawing the line with washing diapers, placing a call to employ a scheduled diaper service.  Adjusting to life’s new atmosphere, so ever grateful  for the willingness of Grandma Sarah to attend to Scott when needed, allowing him to pursue his avocation, and retain a measure of diversified activity.

The Untouchables were 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 Eugene Anthony’s  enterprising business was circuitous,  a private club, a  restaurant – bar and liquor store all-encompassing this paramount corner 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 codes.  Nonmembers desiring to secure club admittance were required to sign in as guest and a requirement on weekends, that all male customers entering after 8:00 p.m. to adhere to 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 Amphitheater.   He related he had 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 discovered long ago from experience,  to keep a supply of the hard to find Wurlitzer replacement reeds.

Without hesitation he offered what the Righteous Brothers pianist needed,  and in exchange,  he was issued an invitation to attend the matinée as a guest, and a introduction to Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield.    The following afternoon, Gary and Kaye arrived at the amphitheater,  Gary mentioning the situation at gate, being seated,  the two waiting but apparently the pianist was too involved with the show to give Gary the promised recognition.  The couple remained enjoying the show, Gary giving thought at its conclusion about approaching the pianist once more, but deciding  it wasn’t that important.

An unexpected phone call from The Ruth Sallee Agency,  Ruth inquiring if the Untouchables would be available for a private engagement two weeks from Saturday at the exclusive Sportsman’s Country Club at  Northwest 39th and Meridian Avenue.    Ruth then extended a question to Gary that had never before been queried,  Would you have a problems playing a Gay function?”   Gary hesitated,  speaking for himself,  saying that “he didn’t have a problem with the clientele,  but would like to confer with the other members of the band”.   Gary never having been in the Sportsman’s Club,  asking about the facility.  Ruth explaining,  the Sportsman’s Country Club was a gated estate,  with on-ground parking,  and for this booking,  off duty Oklahoma City Police officers would be present for security,  and payment would be made 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 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 grouping covering a wide age 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,  then realizing he was trying to make sense of the scene before him,   the couples on the dance floor all dancing with like genders.   It was obvious,  it became apparent that Jerry failed to comprehend when  being informed of the distinction,   he mistaken the meaning of the word Gay as denoting happy.   During an intermission Gary made the acquaintance of the Robinson’s,  the custodians 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 members 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, but appreciative that music knows no bounds.

A Focus On Travel………….#109 (the 60’s)

November 24, 2016

Welcome to Texas

Booking agent Ruth Sallee having acquainted Glenn and Gary  to a parade of band  bookings, the most prominent rewarding being Military Installations and  although not licensed to book uniformed establishments outside of Oklahoma,  she nurtured a list of contacts with many in west Texas,  and encouraged the exemplary musicians to explore the opportunity.  It was late afternoon, the 61, 39 horsepower Triumph Herald Sedan was traversing south towards Dallas,  seated beside Gary in the small arrayed transport was Glenn Froman.  The two musicians having decided to initiate their pursuit of booking appropriations in Dallas before striking south westward.  It wasn’t the best of decisions to drive the Triumph on this prolonged expedition, especially without  air conditioning,  considering the early summer temperatures in Texas,  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 before heading west, happening on 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 one night entertainment,  preferring to employ a steady house band.  The Dallas initiative proving interesting but uneventful.

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,  bound towards 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 short time later coming upon what appeared to be a closed roadside cafe, service station and  a row of small individual cabins.   They noticed the illuminated presence of a sign in one of the cabins 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 a not to happy man.

Inside their one-room edifice were two inner-spring mattress beds resting on an uneven wooden floor and an adjoining bathroom with a wall fastened sink and toilet.  The weary travelers retiring, calling it a night,  but no sooner had Gary dozed off there was a sound and  room began to shake similar to an earthquake, the startled two sitting up in beds.  It was a deja vu moment for Gary, suddenly remembering 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 and move about.   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.

A late morning  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 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,  a 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 the next objective.

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 hundreds 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.

A good night’s rest in San Angelo, the morning  discovering another booking success anointing the two at the Base and upon conclusion it was 100 miles northwest to Big Springs and the opportunity of  Webb Air Force Base.   The booking at Webb presented 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 on the second floor, the entrance hewed with glass walls.  The two inquiring and directed to the country club managers office of this Pavilion size structure, 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 occasionally 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.

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.

A Quiescence From Travel…………..#110 (60’s)

November 21, 2016
B-58 Husler bombarding Oklahoma City

Convair B-58 Hustler bombarding Oklahoma City

It was the sound of progress,  eight times per day the government sanctioned atmospheric detonations would occur,  the tremulous vibrations shattering windows and causing closeted repositories to discharge their contents.  The F-104  Starfighters and B-58 Hustlers  traversing the empyrean space above Oklahoma City at speed attaining Mach 2,  the City chosen for six months of sonic boom testing.   Another detonation transpiring in the municipality,  not sonic but booming,  the media appearance of local entertainment,  including The Untouchables.

A three octave addition to the Untouchables

Gary – mallets in hand

Gary’s reason to visit the N.W. 39th St. Expressway Bethany Music Store was to inquire about the metal reeds for his Wurlitzer #120 electric piano after finding  the music store on N.W. 23rd in Oklahoma City devoid of the necessity.   The musician entering  having no other volition to buy anything else.  Once inside he saw something that caused  him to stop, on the main aisle to the counter rested a three octave vibraphone for sale.  His immediate thought was of another place and another time,  Gary one of those who equate almost every past memorable event with a song and standing before the vibes, Martin Denny’s Quiet Village came to mind,  first hearing it during  basic training days at Fort Ord.   The musician recalled reading that Arthur Lyman accorded the vibes for Martin Denny on this recording and later  initiated  his own success with Yellow Bird.  Noticing that the motor-driven butter-fly valves in the resonator tube were plugged in, the Pianist finding the bravado beckoning him to grasp the mallets and give the sound from the metal bars flight,  thus coercing acceptance and making it unable to deny its appeal.  The inner feeling persisted, Gary once again a victim of an unspoken manifesto, the purchase of the vibes satisfying both worlds, his and the captive  sound within the vibraphone.  The addition of the vibes would mean securing  an electric bass enlisting the talent of Jerry or even Larry,  thus allowing him freedom from his keyboard bass to enlighten the sounds of his  newly acquired friend.   The additional instrumentation would  greatly enhancing The Untouchables capabilities,  the sounds of  Henry Mancinni, his Peter Gun selections could be duplicated and also increasing the Untouchables number of instrument vehicles total to nine.

The Untouchables, four musicians – nine instruments

The band having assembled in the confines of Staff Studio,  owner and sound engineer Larry Frazier calibrating the equity from the positioned microphones.    A first session,  then a second,  arriving at a parity was onerous,  Glenn and Gary were cognizant of the financial aspects,  time was  discerned as currency in a recording studio.  The group having assembled to record a demo-tape for publicity purposes and the individual sessions were extensive and expensive.    Gary finding a solution to rescue the time consumption for the demo tape recording suggesting to Larry that he let the mic’s pre-set recording tracks run,  chronicling the total session until completion, then later perform an edited benediction.  The  session was a success,  the demo songs, some with more than one take were recorded,  the  conversations between the selections and duplicate takes could be edited out.  The recording wasn’t of outstanding quality, but more than satisfactory for the demo-tapes booking purpose..

Dale Wehba WKY D.J. recording on FEE Records

Dale Wehba WKY DJ – recording on FEE Records

Glenn was on his way, Gary forecasting WKY radio disc-jockey Dale Wehba to arrive anytime at his S.W. 46th St. Terrace residence.  The Untouchables having associated with the WKY radio’s premiere DJ  Danny Williams, performed at Ronnie Kaye’s teen-hop engagement at Wedgewood Village Amusement Park and made the acquaintance of Dale Wehba.   Dale desiring to make his melodious vocal presence known,  capitalizing with aspirations to add the title of recording artist to his resume.  With Dales arrival the three discussing  his vocal selection, Gary at the piano with a brief run through with Dale to structure an  arrangement, Dale insisting on a background vocal group for the recording session.  Their meeting concluded, the two musician setting about making arrangement with Larry Frazier at Staff Studio, Glenn following up with a call to Ruth Sallee the band’s booking agent asking her assistance in acquiring a vocal group.    With a little perseverance the recording session began to take shape, Ruth able to provide a four person black group, all the recording ingredients meeting at Staff Studio for an inaugural run thru of the songs.  It was soon became apparent  because of time constraints and scheduling conflicts, it would be best if  the band and vocal group would record their  tracks together,  Dale arranging to add his vocal track later.  The session being accomplished,  Wehba’s A side song  “I Love You Baby”  receiving ample air-time on WKY radio, Gary not too impressed but granting that it would provide ample giveaway’s at future Dale Wehba WKY sponsored  teen-hops.

All Sports Stadium

Recording Artist Dick and Dee Dee

Glenn’s concept of FEE  Records (Froman Entertainment Enterprises) coming to fruition,  the recordings of Black-Eyed Peas and Sliding Sideways by the Untouchables receiving some applause and media exposure in the Oklahoma City market.  The band making encore appearances on KOCO televisions Ida B Show, the Gaylon Stacy Show on KWTV and was asked to back Top 40 recording artist  Dick St. John and Dee Dee Sperling better know a Dick and Dee Dee featured on Dick Clark’s  Bandstand  at a WKY sponsored Hootenanny at All Sports Stadium. The Hootenanny, a musical presentation mimicking the hit TV program Shindig to be held between games at a 89er’s baseball doubleheader.

 The event being highlighted with a spectacular entrance, all the featured performers paraded into the  stadium,  circling the outfield positioned on the backseat of new Cadillac convertibles supplied by the local dealer.  The band having meant with Dick & Dee on the ball diamond at All Sports Stadium the afternoon prior to the nights program, their producer handing the band sheet music for the song.  Gary somewhat taken aback explaining they had never played the song before and would need run through it with them,  the two vocalist  very impatiently  turning to the producer saying they would rather lip-sync to the record.  Gary was somewhat relieved at not having to rush into the unknown, but also perturbed at the attitude displayed by the recording artist.

The Untouchables were scheduled as the opening  act and because of the hootenanny theme, playing a band original, entitled Oklahoma Jazz.  The instrumental,  a medley of country gold hits including Waterbaby Boogie, The Beverly Hill Billy’s Theme, Under the Double Eagle, Oklahoma Hills, Mountain Dew, Steel Guitar Rag, from the applause it was apparent that guitarist Jerry Willis had captured the crowd.  Finishing their song the band  hastily packing up having to leave immediately for Chickasha and J.C. Hunter’s  El Rancho Club.   As they were leaving the stadium the event still in progress they were thankful that they were first on the program as some of the die-heart baseball fans began to get vocal, shouting they came to see a game, not to listen to music.  Gary concluding the effort and publicity might lead to a sit-down engagement, a quiescence from travel would be a welcome change.

Never Say No To Opportunity……..#111 (the 60’s)

November 19, 2016
Backing Roy Clark

Backing Roy Clark

“Lightning fingers,  fastest guitar in  the west” was the statement.  “who are you talking about Ruth?” was the question reply.  Gary didn’t aspire to resonate with skepticism,  but these were Ruth Sallee’s accolades and that was his response. Ruth, 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 were 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 Hennessy

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

Roy Clark

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 ever-increasing 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 his position on the bandstand the pianist recognized a possible problem as several ladies, leaving they male companion,  continued to advance on the celebrity.  Roy’ seated directly below Gary was aware of the situation, motioning to him to get his attention.   Gary responding, Roy having a request, asking if he could join the band on stage as a sit-in 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.

Roy “Lightning Fingers” Clark

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 and his sitting-in with the band was something to be remembered.

 With the conclusion of Roy’s 12:00 o’clock show,  Gary inquiring about Roy’s transportation back to Oklahoma City, finding that he had flown from Los Angeles, rented a car and would be returning to L. A. in the morning.   Gary making it a point to thank Roy for the opportunity to work with him, but it was Roy who was the appreciative one thanking the band.  On the way home the three agreed that working with Roy was an enlightening experience,  the character of his person, his showmanship and his amazing guitar dexterity leaving a lasting impression.  The pianist having a lingering question that 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”.

Another Affliction……………..#112 (the 60’s)

November 17, 2016

A every lasting event….

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 Schultz the stations news director.   Abruptly 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 reflection 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 lives of those close to home.  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 at the elder Willson residence, which wasn’t very 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 hassle contingency of an early return.  With her arrival home, Kaye wasn’t looking forward to returning to work and the prospect of despondent co-workers at the Federal Aviation Agency.  The nation in mourning,  the federal government immediately inaugurating 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.

The sudden cancellations of Military base bookings found Gary on the phone reaching out for engagement opportunities  opportunities from outlying  clubs in Harrah,  Seminole and securing a date at the Midwest City Country Club.  Gary receiving a callback from the owner of the Iwana Club in Seminole, an oil boom town of 25,000 in the 1920’s but now a rural community of five thousand.   The Untouchables fulfilling a weekend booking,  the  clientele comparable to  that of a VFW or Am Vets 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 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

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 keyboard appliance was tired.   Gary was cognizant of a Wurlitzer dealership  on N.W. 23rd,  less than a block from the larger Hammond Organ Studios and acquaintance Larry Flowers who’s  family owned the Hammond Organ Oklahoma City franchised.   Gary conversing with Larry inquiring if there was anyway possible for him the secure a Wurlitzer, but to no avail.  Larry having tried to get Gary in playing an organ in the past,  mentioned 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 array also 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, in all fairness Gary wasn’t an organist  but it still seemed a dismal substitute for the Wurlitzer.  Feeling somewhat apologetic when returning it, knowing Larry’s down-the-street competition had a new Wurlitzer 120 model..  As in the past the first alteration Gary performed on his recently acquired Wurlitzer  #120 was to remove the pedal activated 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’s.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Wichita Falls Tx.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Base  Wichita Falls Texas

With the year coming to close, the moratorium on military entertainment coming to close, the future once again looked promising .  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   The band looking forward to the coming year with  the return of  principal military installations at Tinker, Vance, Ft. Sill, Shepard and  the ten-hour excursion  to the West Texas with its  array of Abilene, Big Springs and San Angelo.

“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.





Subaqueous Ambition…………#113 (the 60’s)

November 15, 2016

Oklahoma City Municipal Airport

Braniff Airlines having commissioned nine Turbo Prop Electra 188’s from the Lockheed corporation,  the airliner presenting a Synoptic extension to its adroit fleet of accommodations.  Gary and Kaye Willson arriving at the air-marshaling Portland Avenue location to-board the craft,  embarking on a well-deserved excursion  to New Orleans.


Gary’s mother-in-law Helen Street and Kaye’s grandmother Sarah, would be the guardian of Scott, the couple’s 7 month old son, while they venture on a belated vacationing journey.   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 and their connecting eastern airlines flight.    Aloft in the transient of the sky,  the uniformed stewardess having less than 30 minutes to offer refreshments before the first officer announced an early Dallas arrival.  The advent of being early found an unexpected 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 airborne.

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet


The no Smoking and fasten Seat Belt insignia was on, 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 seat belts fasten.”   The buffeting continued,  with the silhouetted darken clouds convening an invitation,  the streaking lightning lashing downward like an illuminated spear,  the craft seeming to shudder with the looming sounds of thunder.  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 over 10 miles from the airport and a shuttle service non-existent.   The cab excursion was almost as heroine as the buffeting aircraft, the driver vocal with the horn,  the couple finding the driver to be native of New York city,  giving credence to the experience.


Their 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  diminutive accommodations 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 Kaye he seated 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



The nocturnal hours finding the two on a discovery venture of the French Quarter, dining at the  Vieux Carre’ on St. Charles Street.   The couple discovering the inaugural of a linen draped arm maître d’, attentive for service during the repast, and when questioned, suggested an impressionable cuisine and a introduction to a new frontier in white wine,  the respected German Liebfraumilch, labeled Blue Nun, the dining regalement 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 junior  better known as Pete fountain, both having secured their own nightclubs.  A visit to preservation hall,  the home of the old reservation Dixieland band,  Gary was surprised, the structure looked to be in a state of disrepair,  the musicians somewhat resembling the building, but their music proving otherwise,  discovering it was all part of retaining the anastomotic appearance


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 Delta Queen,  witnessing the churning of the steam-powered paddle-wheel,  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 paddle-wheel riverboat.  The Mississippi,  the longest navigational  waterway in North America was contagious,  possessing 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    .

Bayou Country         

The Mississippi,  the longest navigational  waterway in North America was contagious,  possessing 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  surroundings as home,  a bayou dweller.


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 menu 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            

The Grayline tour at times was only somewhat interesting, one of the stops,  provided for the investigation of  the above ground tombs for the departed,  the burial aspects holding little interest to group.  The tour continuing to the non-affiliated  landmarks 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.



he Willson’s departing from Grayline, the two visitors from Oklahoma in a self-administered tour of Jackson Square,  entering  the famous St Louis Cathedral, with its inlaid sculptor and paintings,  although undergoing several renovations throughout the past two centuries it still remains an icon in New Orleans history.   The evening hour found 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   .


The morning before leaving New Orleans, Gary desiring to quell a curiosity if the historic riverfront atmosphere he had perceived as a youth was true.   Even though suspecting that she would decline, he asked Kaye if she wanted to join him.  Gary leaving the Monteleone, walking the four blocks to Front Street, then north along the river acknowledging the massive commodity transports displaying the flags of innumerable nations, as well as the labor emissaries, the vessel crew members and  longshoremen. Gary noticing a local liquor bar adjacent to the waterfront being patronized,  becoming inquisitive, deciding to partake of its atmosphere   .


Without hesitation he entered the rustic riverside beverage oasis’, noting the  long counter with placement stools,  the tap handles of beer dispensers protruding above the bar, proclaiming an identity of what was on tap and  the rise of smoke from workers leveraged cigarettes.  a gruff looking personality fixture stood stationed behind the counter, the waterfront patrons, longshoremen,foreign accented seaman seated, satisfying their thirst.   Behind the bar rested gallon jars of condiments, assorted editable assemblages and on a bed of crushed ice was the premium delicacy, oysters on the half shell.  Gary’s entrance to the waterfront bar was purposeful,   a brief interlude to experience the surroundings,  the  smoked ambiance permeated with the odor of the river and the appearance of the occupants,  the atmosphere fulfilling a scene from a long forgotten seafaring movie.


The Oklahoma visitor seated himself at the bar, ordering a mug of dark German-beer, proceeding to order and  slurp-down a token amount of raw oysters, savoring a moment in time,  thus satisfying a once in a lifetime venture and a subaqueous ambition, a fitting finale to his New Orleans visit.  The Oklahoma couple once again traversing the sky Oklahoma City bound.

Means Of Expression………………….#114 (the 60’s)

November 14, 2016

The Hi-Lo Club and Patio Restaurant on the Classen Circle

  Sparky Anderson, a district manager representing a faction of the Zenith Corporation  would invariably find the Untouchables when the band was on the road especially  during their peregrinations in southwest Oklahoma and Texas.    Gary and Glenn resigning themselves that Sparky was just another salesman purporting ostentatious conversation  when indulging in liquid beverages dispensed by a bartender.   Most of Sparky’s dissertations were taken lightly but when he conveyed he was the proprietor of the Hi-Lo Club in Oklahoma City,  the two musicians interest abruptly  peaked.   A further inquiry discovering that  Sparky indeed did own the prestigious Hi-Lo Club established on the Classen Circle in Oklahoma City,  but also  enlighten that  the club’s management and operational perspective was the responsibility of his son-in-law Herb Carpenter.

The Hi Lo Club was a very efficacious nightclub,  augmented to a professional and upper middle class business clientele.  The clubs current entertainment was afforded by  The Preacher Smith Trio,  a well established negro group  assembled behind a piano bar.   Gary and Glenn introducing themselves to Herb,  discovering Preacher Smith firmly embedded with a Monday thru Saturday booking.  The two soliciting an opportunity to play on a Sunday night, Herb showing no interest on adding another night of entertainment.  Gary placing a call to Sparky asking if he might say something to his son-in-law about the Untouchables playing a Sunday night,  a reluctant Herbie conceding. The Untouchable debut with Sparky present was well received,  their four musician nine instrument accord giving a new sound to the Hi-Low Club.  Gary could see a dispersion between Sparky and Herb surfacing about their Sunday night appearance, the band seemingly caught in the middle.

Gary sensing from the first their introduction, Herbie and Glenn were not congenial and it was obvious it was going to have an effect on any further employment negotiations.   The second Sunday night found the band playing to capacity array,  Sparky’s admonition having  prevailed,  advocating they be hired six night per week.   Herbie reluctantly agreeing but making one point clear,  he was the boss not Sparky and there was would be no recourse.  The forty-year old Thomas (Preacher) Smith having attended Paul Quinn College in Dallas studying divinity and music,  thus the name Preacher,  was given a week’s notice, the Untouchable starting full-time.   The Hi Lo’s piano bar availing Gary an innovating idea,  instead of moving the console piano from behind the bar he would place the Wurlitzer #120 on top of it having two keyboards, enabling him to continue providing keyboard bass and paint a canvas of authority with the regular piano with his right hand.   He took the set-up a step further,  utilizing a wah-wah pedal to the upper keyboard octaves of the Wurlitzer,  endowing  special effects.   He was now at the controls of the keyboard bass,  special effect from the Wurlitzer and the normalcy of the piano, plus able to step aside and play vibes when either Jerry or Larry adding  electric bass.  The pianist having found a new satisfying means of expression, with it came an inner feeling that this new musical endeavor could flourish.

Bill Hurst a Oliver Hardy look-a-like

Bill Hurst a Oliver Hardy look-a-like

Bill Hurst is inimitable in every respect,  his employment and environment were scripted out of a movie.   Bills physical appearance reminiscent of Oliver Hardy,  from the Laurel and Hardy movie fame, with a black suit,  sporting the characteristic mustache and emulating mannerisms he could pass for Ollie.   His employment domain was the Ace Pawn shop located  downtown Oklahoma City, between Sheridan and Main St. on North Broadway,  a prime location,  just north of the city area  referenced to as Skid Row.   Gary and Glenn having made his acquaintance when frequenting the downtown pawn shops in search of microphones and other audio paraphernalia.  Bill’s  knowledge of the brokerage business was adherent,  his awareness of the coding system employed by the several downtown pawnbroker’s enabling Gary and Glen to discern a store marketers margin and to barter.   Bill acknowledge another talent,  an ability to project the musical talents of Ray Stevens,  Nervous Norvus,  giving life to a vocal rendition of Ahab the Arab, Monster Mash, Transfusion,  his Character  carriage and vocals  making him an immediate celebrate.

The new-found asylum of the Hi-Low Club enabled the group to flourish,  emulating a variety of sounds,  from Jazz to country,  but  as the time passed a professional quietude began to prevail.    Gary finding the ensuing months of performing six nights deserving a recess, the Untouchables all in agreement as well as club management.  Gary’s wife Kaye scheduling some vacation time from FAA employment, the family deciding on a brief road trip to California.  The journey would include a stop in Long Beach to reconcile a bizarre situation, Gary’s wife Kermece (Kaye) Rice had never been introduced to her biological father Kermit VanLeuven.   Her mother Helen having meant Kermit prior to her marriage to Rice in 1939.   With the ensuing war years, each having established a separate life, it was apparent that a decision was made to let the past remain dormant.  This would soon change, Helen arranging that on their arrival in Long Beach Kaye could place a call and her estranged father would meet his daughter and grandson for the first time.

A California Journey

A California Journey

The journey beginning,  Gary making a decision to drive straight through from Oklahoma City to Long Beach and then north to Oakland, discovering Route 66 was still interspersed with construction projects for the proposed four  lane thoroughfare Interstate 40.   The 1400 mile stretch of highway from Oklahoma City to Long Beach a  long 24 hour arduous journey, Gary thankful when reaching their destination.  The late morning late arrival presenting an unusual circumstance, Kaye needing to place a call and  freshen up before meeting her father for the first time, but because of their limited budget, Gary hesitant about the expense of a motel room for just an hour,  deciding to make an unusual request.  The person behind the motel counter having an inquisitive look when Gary approached her about the cost of a room for an hour, taking notice of the couple and baby Scott, once being informed of the circumstance the clerk agreeing to let the room at half the price of a nights stay.  Kayes father Kermit VanLeuven,  an attorney,  appointed as the Head  Court Clerk that schedules the dockets for all the judges presiding in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Gary’s newly discovered father-in-law receiving his daughter call,  arranging their meeting,  giving them  directions to a restaurant on W. Ocean Blvd in Long Beach.   Gary finding the atmosphere somewhat estranged, especially to be present when your wife meets their father for the first time.  An inner curiosity prevailing, a wonderment if Kermit’s family was ever told of his daughters existence, but he wasn’t there to question,  but to witness this emotional moment.  The brief reunion coming to a conclusion, this initial introduction a first step in a new relationship and the promise of a future.  A tired Gary beginning to feel the effects of his 30 hour day since leaving Oklahoma City with another 8 hours of highway remaining to Oakland.

A wind driven rain on 101

A wind-driven rain on 101

Highway 101, a route  familiar to the Musician having traversed the black top course on the back of Dale Spady’s 5 Hp. Cushman motor scooter upon high school graduation, but unlike before, this time encountering a blinding rainstorm.  Gary was having difficulty seeing, the windshield wipers unable to clear the cascading water, especially the spray when coming up behind a ten wheeler semi.   With the heavy downpour deciding to stop at a Shell Station, the attendant fastening a set of heavy-duty wipers to the Comet, at least one problem was solved,  the road excursion again progressing.   The 450 mile trip from  Long Beach to Oakland about to conclude, the Comet on the Nimitz Freeway north of San Jose, Gary having gone without sleep for 38 hours.  Even with the cool bay-area dampness and the wind confronting him thru the open driver side window it was difficult to keep his eyes open, Kaye doing her best providing a damp wash cloth to wipe his face.  With their arrival the elder Willson family welcoming the weary traveling family, Gary was ready to cash in his remaining wakeful chips calling it a night.

Joe DiMaggio’s at Fisherman Wharf

The visit enabling Gary the opportunity to introduce his wife to the City by the Bay, the couple having garnished  baby Scott with Grandma.  Gary having spent many days visiting San Francisco as a youth, but could never have imagined sitting in Joe DiMaggio’s at Fisherman’s Wharf on Jefferson St. sipping a daiquiri with a wife waiting for the rush hour traffic to clear the bay bridge.  It seemed like this abbreviated California journey had come to a conclusion before it got started.  A more reasonable return journey finding a first nights stay in Kingman and Albuquerque their last night on the road  before acknowledging Oklahoma City.  Their mission accomplished,  an inquisitive Helen questioning each about their visit with Kermit.  Gary was not privileged to his wife’s conversation with her mother, but his private view concerning the years of sequestered relationship between Kermit and his daughter was simple,  justification sometimes defies logic.


Avant-Garde Progression…………#115 (the 60’s)

November 12, 2016


 With no  blue prints but his idea firmly embedded in head,  Gary approached the Contractors Desk at Cullen Lumber on Classen Blvd explaining a project he and Glenn were about to embark on,  a 16 x 28  two bedroom addition to his house and a complete living room remodeling.  The new addition would provide for  a 16 x 16 patio sliding door adorned master bedroom and a  16 x 12 smaller bedroom, increasing the residences square footage by 448 sq. ft.  The living room remodel would encase the removal of a wall between the living room and the front master bedroom and adding a counter high partitioned front door entryway  the living room would now  encompass the total front of the residence.   The living room to have a fireplace with an extended hearth, also would be the replacement of a dining room window with a glass sliding door opening to a new backyard patio.

The Cullen dispatcher taking it all in, but wasn’t prepared when Gary posed a question, if they called in with exact measurements could he figure the material needed for framing, roofing, doors, windows, and all other sundry items they would need as the project progressed.  The dispatcher was somewhat skeptical but receptive to the concept, agreeing it could be done.  The final obstacle being one of finance, securing cost estimates for at least a ball park figure as to the total cost.    Gary visiting with a loan officer at Beneficial Savings and Loan, explaining the project and that Cullen Lumber would be the primary material contractor, but their might be others, the finance company agreeing to an open-ended note to finance this avant-garde progression.

A conceptional view of the finished addition

The removal of the brick veneer from the rear of  2644 S. W. 46th Terrace  having commenced,  Gary and Glenn the perpetrators of structural disintegration.  With the brick removal completed, Gary realizing that neither he or Glenn had the skill or the equipment needed for forming or crowning a cement slab floor for a room addition.  The classified section of the Daily Oklahoman provided a solution, a cement finisher looking for work.  The worker estimating the project would take him three days, the leveling, re-barb and forming the first couple of days, the pouring and finishing the third.  The day of atonement having descended  call was placed to Dolese Ready Mix  discovering the cement  would have to be wheel-barreled to the back of the house and with the arrival of the ready-mix truck,   Gary and Glenn the prospective wheel barrel crew, the hired cement worker fulfilling his three-day performance.   The concrete in position, 16 penny nails, bottom and top plates, a studded structure slowly began to take form,  the Cullen operative accepting the vocal progression assessments and providing the precise material.

The construction day  beginning in late morning or early afternoon, their working daytime schedule dependent on bands nighttime activity, the priority being the completion of the addition, the remodeling of the front was secondary.  When it was time to migrate the OG&E meter from its original  position on the back of the house to the new position,  Gary calling his acquaintance from the Horseshoe Club,  electrical contractor Eldon Dumas.   Gary questioning Eldon about calling OG&E to move the electric line from the pole to its new position on the addition, explaining he was somewhat concerned because he never got a building permit,  Eldon telling him not to worry he would move line himself.  With the passing weeks, the two discovering a host of new talents that they never knew they had, the project taking shape with its redwood siding, installing sliding glass door, windows, moping and sealing of the flat roof.  Gary doing all the electric wiring, stapling the insulation on the ceiling and outside walls before experiencing the  hanging of sheet rock and its taping.  The learning experience continued with the texturing, painting, hanging doors, floor tile, the construction of the new addition coming to a conclusion, the remodeling stage of the of the front of the house and dinning room was about to commence.   With the dining room and the master bedroom having acquired sliding patio doors, again calling Dolese Ready Mix only this time taking it upon themselves to form, pour and finish the remain 18 x 16 ft. of cement for the patio.

The new fireplace and hearth

  Another project, another new experience, neither of the two having installed a fireplace.  The instruction manual demonstrated several ways of  installation, instead the two deciding to remove a window and set the firebox outside on a freshly poured outside concrete slab, the front parallel with the inside wall, thus allowing the triple wall duct-work to raise thru the outside eves rather than penetrate thru the interior ceiling or attic.  The fireplace embossed by a partial brick wall and mantel with a full room-width white Portland cement hearth inlaid  with different color marble specimens endowed  by visiting several Oklahoma City headstone and monument providers for remnants.  The final touch to the living room besides the built-in stereo-speaker audio complex in the entryway divider was the  walnut paneling and new DuPont 501 Blue Carpet.

A showcase presentation was determined,  the two bedroom homestead now three, no longer a clone of the other  fixtured neighborhood residencies. The new backyard patio, master bedroom & dinning room patio doors, expanded living room with a spacious  fireplace,  a once bland spectrum of a house just became the lustrous aurora of a home, Gary concluding, a house is a residence,  a home is its acknowledgement.