Archive for November, 2016

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

November 30, 2016
Gary and Kermece exchanging vows

Gary and Kermece exchanging vows

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

You may kiss The Bride

You may kiss The Bride

Mission accomplished

Mission accomplished

Glenn, June and daughter Kim

Glenn, June and daughter Kim

Mr & Mrs Willson

Mr & Mrs Willson

The newly weds at Kips

The Newly Weds at Kips

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

1957 DeSoto

A friends departure Gary’s 1957 DeSoto

A new family member - a 1963 Mercury Comet

A new family member – a 1963 Mercury Comet

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

Boss Speaker Systems column speakers

Boss Speaker Systems column speakers

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

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

November 28, 2016
2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

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

Former member of the NiteBeats Larry Burns

Former member of the NiteBeats Larry Burns

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

The Untouchables

The Untouchables

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

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

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

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

Seeburg the Cadillac of Jukeboxes

Seeburg – the Cadillac of Jukeboxes

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

Glenn and his Cadillac addiction

Glenn and his Cadillac addiction

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

 

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

November 26, 2016
Never to young to start - Dorson Scott Willson

Never to young to start – Dorson Scott Willson

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

Dads 56 Plymouth with its swamp cooler

Dads 56 Plymouth with its swamp cooler

Mom, Dad, baby Scott, Kaye & Gary

Mom, Dad, baby Scott, Kaye & Gary

kaye and scott

Mom and Scott at bath time..

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

The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers

The amphitheatre at Springlake

The amphitheatre at Springlake

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

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

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

 

A Focus On Travel………….#109 (the 60’s)

November 24, 2016
Welcome to Texas

Welcome to Texas

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

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

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

Traveling thru West Texas

Traveling thru West Texas

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

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

A unbelievable sight

An unbelievable sight

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

San Angelo - Goodfellows Air Force Base

San Angelo – Goodfellows Air Force Base

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

Webb AFB - Big Springs

Webb AFB – Big Springs

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

 

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

November 22, 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 reply.  Gary didn’t aspire to resonate with skepticism,  but these were her accolades and that was his response.  Ruth Sallee, the bands booking agent venturing a name, Roy Clark,  but it still didn’t register with the musician until she mentioned a song title, a current caption on all the juke boxes,  a country song,  ‘The Tips of my Fingers’.   “Yes”,  he was familiar with the song and “yes” the Untouchables could be available to back Roy Clark for his appearance at the Bamboo Club in Enid.   Gary having concluded long ago,  never say no to opportunity,  especially from an agent.  The Bamboo Club was no stranger,  the Sallee Agency having booked the band on prior occasions in Enid.  In reality it resembled a large barn with a stage and dance floor rather than a private club,  its demur essentially exhaling country music.  A typical weekend night finding a nominal cover charge instilled at the door, the patronage bringing their own indulgence, purchasing the accompaniments,  soft drinks, water and the always invariable bucket of ice.  The amenities and decor was non-existent, but what it lacked was over shadowed by the hospitality and flavor of the local Oklahoma residents in attendance.

Glenn's 1954 Cadillac Limo

Glenn’s 1954 Cadillac Limo

Common sight approaching Hennesy

Common sight approaching Hennessy

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

Roy on stage

Roy on stage

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

Roy 'lightning finers' Claark

Roy ‘lightning fingers’ Clark

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

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

November 20, 2016
Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

Kennedy Dallas Motorcade

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

Greeting a new friend

Greeting a new friend

Hammond F100 Extravoice

Hammond F100 Extravoice

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

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Wichita Falls Tx.

Welcome to Sheppard Air Force Base  Wichita Falls Tx.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

November 18, 2016

 

Lockheed Electra

Lockheed Electra

Braniff Airlines commissioned eleven,  providing an opportunity to soar among the condensing vapors,  to experience a boundless vault poised above the earthen firmament.  Presenting their relevance for disposition,  a synoptic extension of advancing ambition enabling transposition.   The adroitly accommodations providing complacency of presence,  ensuring all an accomplished terminus.   The Lockheed Electra 188 Turbo Prop,  one of the eleven,  awaiting Gary and Kaye at the Oklahoma City International Airport.

A delivery by the contemplative communion, Gary’s mother-in-law Helen Street and Kaye’s grandmother Sarah  would be the guardian of the couple’s 7 month old son Scott while they venture on a belated vacationing journey.   The couple  arriving at the air marshaling Portland Ave entrance to board the Lockheed Electra,  embarking on a well deserved excursion  to New Orleans.   The late February winter dampness embracing the two on the tarmac before  mounting the steps of entry of the Braniff flight to Dallas Love Field.   Once aloft in the turboprop transient of the sky it seemed like it wasn’t long before the first officer announced an early arrival in Dallas.   The early advent of arrival finding an unexpected flight of an Eastern Airlines, 727 Whisper Jet about to depart for New Orleans.  A hurried rush to the departure gate,  the couple able to  preclude a scheduled layover,  the travelers once again air-borne.

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

Eastern Airlines Whisper Jet

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

The Monteleon Hotel

The Monteleone Hotel

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

Preservation Hall Jazz

Preservation Hall Jazz

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

The Natchez on the Mississippi

The Natchez on the Mississippi

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

Bayou Country

Bayou Country

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

Grayline tours New Orleans

Grayline tours New Orleans

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

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

St Louis Basilica Cathedral

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

Oysters on the half shell

Oysters on the half shell

 

A Quiescence From Travel…………..#113 (60’s)

November 16, 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 3 octave addition to the Untouchables

A three octave addition to the Untouchables

Gary - mallets in hand

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 store on N.W. 23rd in Oklahoma City devoid of reeds.   The musician entering  having no other volition to procure any other  commodity,  especial to disburse monetary  funds he didn’t have.    From within he became aware of a summons causing him to stop, before him a three octave vibraphone for sale, his immediate thoughts, the right place at the wrong time,  especially when a desiderative feeling decides to surface.  A flashback to an earlier time, Martin Denny,  his top 10 hit, Quiet Village having been firmly imbedded as a memorable structure because of its reminiscent  popularity during Gary’s 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.  The Pianist finding the  bravado beckoning him to grasp the mallets and give it flight,  thus coercing acceptance and making it unable to deny its appeal.  The inner feeling persisted,  the uncontrollable longing to give this convenience recognition,  to have its proclamation voiced,  to let it display its painted canvas of sound.   Gary once again a victim of an unspoken manifesto, the purchase of the vibes satisfying both worlds,  his and the captive  vibraphone’s release.  The addition of the vibes meant securing  an electric bass for recourse,  thus allowing the keyboard bass player the freedom to enlighten his newly acquired friend.   The additional instrumentation greatly enhancing The Untouchables capabilities,  a Henry Mancinni,  Peter Gun selections could be duplicated,  increasing the Untouchables number of instrument vehicles to a  total of nine.

The Untouchables, four musicians - nine instruments

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 D.J. recording on FEE Records

Glenn having called and was on his way, Gary was forecasting WKY radio disc-jockey Dale Wehba to arrive anytime at his S.W. 46th St. Terrace residence.  The Untouchables having associated with WKY’s Danny Williams and performed at Ronnie Kaye’s  teen-hop engagement at Wedgewood Village Amusement Park and thus the band  affiliation with 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.  The two musician setting about making arrangement with Larry Frazier at Staff Studio, Glenn placing a call to Ruth Salle 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, the recording ingredients meeting at Staff Studio an inaugural run thru of the songs.  It was soon became apparent that because of scheduling conflicts, it would be best if  the band and vocal group would record their  tracks together,  Dale arranging to add the vocal later.  The session being accomplished,  Wehba’s titled song  “I Love You Baby”  receiving ample air-time on WKY radio, Gary not too impressed but granting that it would provide a commodious give-aways at future Dale Wehba WKY sponsored  teen-hops.

All Sports Stadium

All Sports Stadium

Hit recording artist Dick & Dee Dee

Hit recording artist Dick & Dee Dee

The Untouchables FEE (Froman Entertainment Enterprises) label recordings of Black-Eyed Peas and Sliding Sideways received some applause and media exposure in 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 Clarks  Bandstand  at a Hootenanny sponsored by WKY television.  The Hootenanny, a musical presentation mimicking the hit TV program Shindig to be held between games at a 89er’s baseball doubleheader at All Sports Stadium.  The event being highlighted with a spectacular entrance,  all the featured performers paraded into the  stadium,  circling the outfield seated in the back of new Cadillac convertibles supplied by the local dealer.  The band having meant with Dick & Dee on the infield 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,  deciding to play a band original, Oklahoma Jazz.  The song a medley of country instrumental 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 guitars Jerry Willis had captured the crowd.  Finishing their song the band  hastily packing up having to leave immediately for Chicasha 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 the baseball fans got 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.

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

November 14, 2016
The HiLo Club on the Classen Circle

The Hi Lo Club on the Classen Circle

When the band was on the road Sparky Anderson would invariably find the Untouchables,  a district manager representing a faction of the Zenith Corporation encountering the group during their peregrinations in southwest Oklahoma and Texas.  Gary and Glenn resigning themselves that Sparky was just another salesman purporting ostentatious exertions found when indulging in a realm of 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 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 continuance.  The two soliciting an opportunity to play on a Sunday night, Herb showing no interest on adding another night of entertainment.  A call to Sparky asking if he might use his influence with his son-in-law about 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.

 the Patio Restaurant on the Classen Circle


the Patio Restaurant on the Classen Circle

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, the bands admirer advocating they be hired six night per week.   Herbie reluctantly coming to a decision but wanted to make 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 his 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,  the normal sound of a piano and plus able to step aside and play vibes when either Jerry or Larry added  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 moustache and emulating mannerisms he could pass for Ollie.   His employment domain was the Ace Pawn shop located  downtown Oklahoma City,  established between Sheridan and Main St. on North Broadway,  a prime location,  just north of the area of the city referenced 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 pawnbroker’s enable Gary and Glen to barter, able to discern a store marketers margin.   Bill acknowledge another talent,  an ability to project the musical talents of Ray Stevens,  Nervous Norvus,  giving life to 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, Kermece (Kaye) having never been introduced to her father Kermit having been raised with Rice as her surname, Gary understood her mother Helen Marie Pirie meant her biological father 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, Kaye arranging the upon their arrival in Long Beach would 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.   The Willson’s aboard the 63 Mercury Comet, Kaye, young Scott and Gary discovering Route 66 interspersed with construction projects of the proposed four  lane thoroughfare Interstate 40.   The 1400 mile stretch of highway from Oklahoma City to Long Beach a 24 hour arduous journey, Gary thankful when reaching their destination.  The morning late arrival  presenting an unusual circumstance, Kaye needing to call and  freshen up before meeting her father for the first time, but because of their limited budget, Gary not wanting the expense of a motel room for just an hour stay 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, but notice the couple and baby Scott and once being informed of the circumstance the clerk agreeing to let the room at half the price of a nights stay.   Kayes father Kermit Van Leuven an attorney  by profession,  currently appointed as the Head  Court Clerk for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Gary’s newly discovered father-in-law receiving his daughter call, the two arranging their meeting.  Kermit giving them  directions to a restaurant on W. Ocean Blvd in Long Beach,  Gary finding the atmosphere somewhat estranged, especially to be present when someone you love 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 the husband 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.  His lack of sleep and 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 boarding 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

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 his 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 lovely 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 nights stay in Kingman and Albuquerque their last nights 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
2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

2644 S.W. 46th Terrace

The fustigation was incessant,  the facade began to crumble,  the mortar no longer arresting its testament of record, its banishment would be conclusive.   It was acknowledged , communication was confirmed, the cardinal responsiveness secured,  the displacement would be resolved.   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 for a 14 x 28 addition.  The addition would provide for  a 14 x 16 patio sliding door adorned master bedroom and a  14 x 12 smaller bedroom, increasing the residences square footage by 448 sq. ft..   Gary also planning the removal of a wall separating the living room and the front master bedroom, allowing the front of the residence to encompass one large expanded living room.  Included for the front would be a counter level divided entryway on the east, a fireplace with an extended hearth on the west and the replacement of the backyard viewing dining room window with a glass sliding door opening to a patio.  With no  blue prints but his idea firmly embedded in head,  Gary approached the Contractors Desk at Cullen Lumber on Classen Blvd explaining his project, the dispatcher somewhat sceptical with the idea but receptive to a concept of asking  him to figure and deliver the necessary and proper amount of the material they would need as the project progressed.   The final obstacle of finance being over come, an open-end financial note was secured from Beneficial Saving and Loan,  a ball park estimate being given but the total amount unknown until completion,  Gary acknowledging this avant-garde progression.

carpenter-woodworking-tools

The creative tools

With the brick removal completed,  a call was placed to Dolese Ready Mix to determine the cost of a delivery for the concrete slab, but immediately discovering an unexpected problem, the cement  would have to be wheelbarreled to the back of the house.  Gary also 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, rebab and forming the first couple of days, the pouring and finishing the third.  The day of atonement having descended with the arrival of the ready-mix truck,  Gary and Glenn the prospective wheel barrel crew, the hired cement worker completing 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 house to the new position,  Gary calling his acquaintance from the Horseshoe Club,  Eldon Dumas.   Gary questioning Eldon about calling OG&E about moving the electric line coming from the pole to the house, explaing that 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, outside sliding glass door, windows, the moping and sealing of flat roof.  Gary doing all the electric wiring, stapling the insulation on the ceiling and outside walls before experiencing the sheet rock and its taping. The learning experience continued with the texturing, painting, hanging doors, floor tile, the construction of the new addition was coming to a conclusion, the remodeling stage of the of the front of the house and dinning room was about to commence.

The Willson's new fireplace and hearth.

The Willson’s new fireplace and hearth.

The removal of  the front bedroom wall,  the total front of the house was all living room with the exception of the soon to be front door entryway next to the garage.  Another project, another new experience, neither of the two having installed a fireplace.  The instruction manual demonstrated several ways of  installation the two deciding to place the firebox outside the room but parallel with the inside wall, the remainder of the firebox resting on a freshly poured outside concrete slab, thus allowing the triple wall ductwork to raise thru the outside eves and penetrating any of the interior ceiling or attic.   The finishing touch included walnut panelling & carpet and a partial brick walled 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.

A showcase presentation was determined,  the two bedroom homestead now three, no longer a clone of the other  fixtured neighborhood residencies.   The dining room and the additions master bedroom, having acquiring sliding patio doors, Gary and Glenn taking it upon themselves to form,  pour and finish the cement for remaining backside of the house patio.  The new patio addition bedroom, dinning room, and with a spacious  fireplace endowed atmospheric living room,  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.