The 60’s HiLo Club – OKC…..#114 (the 60’s)

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 daughter Wanda and 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 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 Waco 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 piano from behind the bar, he would place the Wurlitzer #120 on the low topped console,   having two keyboards, enabling him to continue providing keyboard bass,and paint a canvas of authority on the regular piano with his right hand.   He took the setup 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 with 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 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 per week  deserving a recess, the Untouchables all in agreement as well as club management.  Gary’s wife Kaye scheduling some vacation time from her FAA employment, the family deciding on a brief road trip to California.

me54

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