A Commodious Location…………#102 (the 60’s)

Entering Oklahoma City

Gary having returned to Lawton Oklahoma from California,  the journey a 3200 miles vacillating experience accomplishing nothing  but a promise of  asseverations’, back to square one.   Rythm Tamer’ Promoter Don ” Red Eye” Kinder fulfilling his promise to enable Gary to return to Oklahoma,  including the retrieval of the pawned Wurlitzer Piano from the brokerage firm.   The Untouchables reunited with aggrandizement and with prognostications of  working with Kinder and Troy Elledge.   A convocation of the three musician, Glenn, Jerry, and Gary with Troy and Don was arranged with an expectation of planning rehearsal times and a time frame for traveling west for the recording session.  The group waiting with promise and opportunity to displace the apathy which was beginning to infiltrated their resolve.   The appointed time having arrived and passed,  band member Jerry Willis returning to Frederick to inquiring about Don and Troy,  discovering that Kinder, his wife Martha and Troy had already embarked for the west coast.  Gary was somewhat surprised especially after the expense for his return, but  more disappointed at a lost opportunity for the band to expand its expertise to a new forum.  It was then  anomalous Glenn proposed exploring Oklahoma City,  having come to realize Lawton and southwest Oklahoma was a deadend street, the Untouchables were ready for a change and the  possibility of relocating to the commodious city that might open the door to a host of bookings.  The band relinquishing the idea of hearing from Don and Troy, Oklahoma City  distinguishing as the nations largest city in area,  so might the array of opportunities be the largest in the nation.

Oklahoma City

Commodious Oklahoma City

The band journeyed north from Lawton on Highway 62 on a Friday, brushing the communities of Elgin,  Cyril , Cement,  before traversing into Chickasha,  followed by Blanchard,  Newcastle and the notifying marker,  “Entering  Oklahoma City” which was conveniently placed ten-miles before reaching the first signs of civilization.   The city limits entrance location giving validity to the statement  “the nations largest city.   The journey on Highway 62  terminated at Newcastle Road ended at  SW 29th St, the southern cross town  access east to Interstate 35.   The band but a few blocks into Oklahoma City proper, discovering opportunity at their initial inquiry, happening upon a sign advertising live entertainment at the Airline Motel on S.W. 29th St.   The band negotiating a two night booking starting that night including a complimentary room.  The patrons of the club were an added benefit, more than happy to provide a wealth of information, providing the names of a substantial number clubs that booked live entertainment,   the newly arrivals amazed at the prospects. .

The Untouchables discovering that unlike the loosely enforced liquor laws at the Moose, Elks, Am. Vets, American Legion, and the so-called private clubs of southwest Oklahoma, Oklahoman City presented a venue of its own.  State law dictated that wine and hard liquor could not be sold at lounges,  bars,  clubs or any establishment except a liquor store.   What could be sold was the set-ups, ice, soft drinks, water, etc..  and of course 3.2 beer.   To entertain this service for liquor, the facility was required to have a private club license and customers were required to register as members or sign in as a guest and as such, would provide their own bottled liquor which the club would conveniently label with the their name.  The entrance door to most of the reputable clubs in most cases were locked.  To enter the establishment one would activate  a door buzzer and it would either be answered by a club employee or buzzed in from the bar.  The other options was,  if a membership had been attained, a key would be issued to the member allowing access to the door and it became known as a Key Club.   Non-member customers were closely scrutinized, the club management always vigilant for the ABC Board (Alcohol Beverage Control Board),  because it was common practice for the clubs to provide over the counter illegal sales from what was discretely  referred to as house bottles. .

The Untouchables Trio

The Untouchables Trio

Vocal time for Gary

Vocal time for Gary

Glenn's showmanship or antic but entertaining

Glenn’s showmanship or antic – but entertaining

The Untouchables finding  Oklahoma City night-life very accommodating ,  the city having no restriction on dancing,  the private clubs all non-union, contracts verbal with payment in cash and more important, regular  house bands were for the most part non-existent.  The City was virtually a gold mine of musical opportunity with over 20 private clubs sponsoring live entertainment not including the nationally known service organizations or the likes of the exclusive Petroleum or Oklahoma City Country Club.  It was not uncommon for a band working five nights a week to find the group performing Thursday at one club,  Tuesday & Wednesday at another and a Friday & Saturday for a third engagement.  The city night-life encompassed a variety of music genre, the Untouchables repertoire spanning everything from 1930′ pop standards, 50’s top ten classic to the rhythm & blues and the rock n roll  sound of the day.  The five instrument sounding trio able to compete with a five piece band sound wise, also having an advantage price wise and another factor was the band not only took pride in their music arrangements but also in their appearance,  dressing smartly in suit & tie.

Rental at SW 30th & S. Kentucky Ave.

Harris Roach Powder since 1922

Harris Roach Powder since 1922

The initial booking leading to others the three musicians acquiring a sparsely furnished rental house behind  on S.W. 28th St and Kentucky.   The rental house’s location and price seeming ideal, but the musicians soon finding the reason it was so readily available during their first nights of occupancy.  The band returning from the club their first night in their rental, tuning on of the lights in the darken abode, spotlighting an agglomeration of unexpected hosts.  The house was crawling with cockroaches, the floor seemed in transit with hundreds of scurrying roaches, well sheltered and concealed by day, but rising to the podium at night.   Gary having never experience roaches before and the first reaction was to immediately part company as it appeared they were outnumbered.  Cooler heads prevailed deciding to find a chemical solution, Gary and Jerry making  a trip to a local open convenience store explaining the situation, but finding no remedy asking about available options.   The store  attendant conjecturing,  there was a 24 hour drug store downtown that might provide a product for relief.   A foray downtown to the corner of Sheridan and Broadway, the skid row section of town, the two inquiring about something that would exterminating roaches, the attendant pointing out the only available product, Harris Roach Powder.  Returning to the rental, an abundant supply of blue colored boric acid roach powder was distributed throughout  and the musicians awaited the results.   The three continued in the rental house for the remainder of their thirty-day lease and every night the uninvited hosts with their blue powder covering would abandon their concealment and proudly display their colorful selves.

 

 

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