Archive for December, 2016

The Torpidity Of Prospects……..#100

December 12, 2016

The Medicine Park Hotel

    Upon the bands return to Oklahoma, the Untouchables experiencing a lapse in full time booking opportunities, the American Legion, VFW, Am Vets, Elks and Moose Lodge were available, but all were weekend engagements,  additional efficacious bookings required delving into uncharted quarters.  Gary, Jerry and Glenn paying a visit to Medicine Park named after the Medicine Creek which flows through the center of town. The settlement was established on land purchased by John Elmer Thomas, a future U S  representative and senator in 1908, who envisioned a resort community to utilize the pure medicinal qualities of  medicine creek, which were well known by the plains Indian residents. Thomas naming the constabulary the Medicine Park Summer Resort and Health Spa.

    The prospective musicians visiting the operators of the Medicine Park Hotel, The hotel, a defunct cobblestone and wood placard at the entrance to the 60,000 acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.  The three story structure being completed in 1915, the fifty room hotel featuring a ball room annex, the focus of social activities in the 1920’s and 30’s.  The nearby Wildlife Refuge and Lake Lawtonka attracting thousands of people each weekend and throughout the seasons.

    Medicine Park having become the “playground” for the state’s rich, famous and notorious.  Outlaws and horse thieves mixed with noted politicians and businessmen, soldiers and officers from Fort Sill, families, and the socialites established in the new cobblestone community.  the town’s colorful history filled with such figures as Will Rogers, Wiley Post,  Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd.    Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys became entertainment regulars  from 1929 through the late 1930s, with  numerous other famous bands of the day who made their way through Medicine Park in route to big city venues in Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Fort Worth.  Thru the years  the town and resort blossomed,  having upwards of 200,000 visitors annually , but after world war 2,  the hotel like the rest of Medicine Park, languished and moldered.

    On a given weekend upwards of over 400 patrons would endowed a dollar to enter the hotel portals,  dancing and quenching their thirst for music and the amenities. The bands preparation included  acquiring printed hand bills, distributing them in the commercial parking areas of Lawton and outlying areas to broadcast their upcoming appearance.  The Medicine Park location, with its proximity to the wildlife refuge was secluded but still accessible to the local constabulary and the thousands stationed at Fort Sill.   The results of their visit, the two making a cover charge percentage agreement, the band providing a weekend musical interlude. The weekend found the cover charge gratuity far exceeding expectations from a large diverse attendance.

    The night life possibilities of Altus was still a viable prospect, the town being representative of most military towns, the band having performed at the nonmilitary affiliated Colony Club, and Gary and Jerry  at the Pink Elephant with the Rhythm Tamers.   The band approaching the base NCO and Officers Clubs about bookings, discovering they were contracted months in advance and essentially used onpost groups, and with the VFW and America Legion remaining  mainstay engagements for Friday and Saturday nights.  Gary questioned whether it was the clubs  prominent music, or the clubs augmented game room that solicited the crowded weekend customers.   Inside the VFW, positioned at the entrance to the clubs game room was seated an uniformed deputy  in full regalia  representing the Jackson County sheriff department, inside, lining the walls,  the much sought after Las Vegas style slot machines.

    The musicians were on the road again,  the band was traversing to Chattanooga Oklahoma,  26 miles southwest of Lawton.   This small community of five hundred was hosting their annual fall barbecue and rodeo.   Don, “red-eye”  Kinder,  a benefactor of Troy Elledge,  and the disbanded Rhythm Tamers,  having contacted the Untouchables to replace the defunct Tamers.  the band to perform at the late afternoon rodeo, and barbecue event,  followed by an evening moonlight dance.   The band setting up on a flatbed trailer adjoining the erected rodeo circuit arena,  to address the gathered array with several appropriate country songs.  Don Kinder presiding as the public address announcer for the rodeo event,  beginning with a welcoming announcement to all in attendance, naming the dignitaries responsible for this annual showcase occurrence.

    It was the final announcement that froze Glenn, Gary and Jerry.  over the public address system came a proclamation   “would you all please stand as the band plays our national anthem”.  The two musicians looking at each other with a surprised expression,  never having been ask to play the national anthem.   Gary taking stock of the situation,  telling Glenn to play a continuous drum roll,  looking at Jerry,  saying, “the key of C,  redeye don kinder making a satisfying novice vocal attempt.   The bands Chattanooga rodeo national anthem  experience,  something to be remembered.

    Glenn was struggling with his home life, and Jerry was seeing more of Frederick, having left the rental house he and Gary had shared.  Gary too having wandered, spending more time with Raydell Hennessy, better known as Jackie, the two having  reacquainted from meeting over a year ago.  Jackie introducing the pianist to her mother and young son from a prior marriage,  the relationship having its ups and downs, but without a clear vision of a future, and not speculating.

    It was inevitable,  the bands bookings having become repetitious, innovation was at a standstill ,   Gary becoming solace in thought,  his world becoming an enclosure.  Having vacated the apartment,  as a necessity,  Jackie imposing on her estranged father Ray Carpenter for a place he could stay until other arrangements could be made.    Realizing a diversity of circumstances with the apparent paresis of the band,  the questionable relationships with Jackie,  immobilized  without transportation,  Gary’s  meaningful life was in checkmate, both professional and    personal,   the torpidity of prospect issuing him a summons,   return to California.

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Decry Of Autonomy……………..#101

December 10, 2016

The decision to return to California having been made.  Prior to his departure, Gary arrested his Wurlitzer electric piano to serve a sentence within the confines of a pawn brokerage establishment,  finding it necessary to capitalize on a  financial disbursement for its confinement.   Acquainting Glenn that he would forward the piano’s bail after accessing his destination, a decision as to its disposition to be made at that time.   The sudden advent of departure was of no consternation, the concerns addressing the band finding an impetuous attitude and a loss of focus was evident, Gary reasoned,  disappointment was inherit.

The Greyhound Scenicruiser adhering to its post at the Bus Station at 2nd and C  in Lawton,  waiting for the traveling cortege to board, its ambition Oakland California.   Gary seated in the confines of the darken bus as it accepted the highway, not the conveyance of choice or expediency,  but opportunity,  the passenger indecisive in thought, endeavoring for perspective,  but objectivity still at a lost.   Awakening from his slumber as the Greyhound entered the small town of Pecos Texas,   halting its progression giving pause for the passengers to stretch their legs.

The traveler disembarking,  the name Pecos ringing a bell, then remembering as a 7 or 8 year old,  the stories of Pecos Bill.  According to legend, a toddler named Bill fell off a wagon heading west and was raised by coyotes on the Pecos river and is responsible for creating many landmarks, including the Rio Grande River and Painted desert.  It was told he and his horse got stranded in the desert and needed water.  Pecos grabbed a stick and dug the Rio Grande,  and  on one occasion,  coming  upon a tribe of hostile Indians, deciding to shoot his gun,  and as they ran away,  the paint they had on,  came off and painted the desert.  He also was known to lasso clouds and cyclones, and dynamite was his favor food.  Welcome to Pecos Bill country.

Gary deciding to journey towards the downtown section of this once preeminent railroad town, a mainstay stop between Fort Worth and El Paso,  Gary imbuing the predawn cleansing air,  clearing the blemished atmosphere of the coach from his lungs.   Once again addressing the diminutive  station, discovering he had  subsequently let too much time wander,  his scheduled scenicruiser having departed.   The stationmaster was quick to satisfy the situation, unbelievably  relating, another bus to Oakland would  arrive within the hour.

Regrouping from the perplexity of his miscalculation the abject musician boarded his supplemental transport continuing the venture to Oakland.   Seated at the rear of the conveyance dozing thru the predawn hours  waking to view the mesquite and sage brush span of southwest Texas.  Striking up a conversation with a fellow traveler, the new acquaintance mentioning it would be a time consuming journey to Oakland,  this Greyhound wasn’t an Express,  it’s was traveling to Oakland via,  El Paso, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angles, then  north to the Bay-area.  Gary doing a quick calculation, with stops included,  in all probability it would be another 24 hours before reaching Oakland.

It was during the morning stop in El Paso, the fellow traveler, an elderly merchant mariner traveling to board ship in Oakland, made a hoisting suggestion that Gary concurred with, briefly exiting the bus.   Resuming their travel, listening to the mariner discoursed his occupational adventures of the high-seas, the musician exchanging anecdotes of his experiences,  the two entertaining a bottle of orange flavored Russian fortitude, better known as vodka, to lessen the affliction of their travel.

It was early evening when the Greyhound coach dropped anchor in Oakland,  depositing the  weary recent advents.  Gary placing a phone call and with arrival of the 56 Plymouth,  Father and son relinquished the downtown bus terminal, the two stopping  before accessing the Greenly Drive residence,  Gary and his dad according a cocktail lounge not as father and son but commencing a conversation with glass in hand as two friends united, an acknowledgement never before experienced.

Gary was home less than a week when a phone call painted a new picture.  The call was from Troy Elledge,  presenting the argument that he was needed and should  return to Oklahoma.   Don “Red Eye” Kinder,  farmer,  benefactor, promoter of Troy and his old band the Rythm Tamers,  offering to finance his return, wiring him the money and also would obtain the pawn ticket from Glenn to retrieve  the Wurlitzer Electric from its captivity.   Gary curious to the reason for this sudden interest, Troy disclosing that Kinder was going to finance a recording session with him on the west coast, and was going to include the band.

The musician questioning the vicariousness of the conversation,   once again a paradox riveting his essence of resolve having just returned home.  His past departures from the family having embolden a sense of solitaire,  feeling somewhat estrange from his kindred contingency, and this trying dilemma conveying his decry of autonomy.  Gary searching for a logical reason to reject the Oklahoma offer, aware that there was but one identity capable of issuing a discordant to his returning to Oklahoma,  he waited for it to surface, but to his wonder his parents remained silent.

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

December 8, 2016

Entering Oklahoma City

Gary having returned to Oklahoma from California,  ,  spending less than a week in Oakland.  The journeys, a  3200 mile roundtrip vacillating experience, accomplishing nothing  but a promise of  asseveration.   Rythm Tamer Troy Elledge wanting to assemble a band for a west-coast recording session.  Promoter,  Don  Red Eye Kinder offering to render the cost if Gary would return to Lawton,  including the retrieval of his  Wurlitzer electric Piano from the brokerage firm.    The three musicians,  Glenn Jerry and Gary looking forward to meeting with Don and Troy to plan rehearsals and time frame for traveling to the west-coast for the session.

The band members patiently waiting with promise and expectation, but silence.     band member Jerry Willis deciding to return to Frederick to inquire about Don and Troy,  discovering Don, 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 an  anomalous Glenn came to life,  proposing the exploration of Oklahoma City,  having come to realize,  Lawton and southwest Oklahoma was a dead-end road.  the Untouchables were ready for a change,  and the  possibility of relocating to the commodious city might open the door to a host of bookings.  The band relinquishing the idea of hearing from Don and Troy, and with Oklahoma City  distinguished as the largest area city in the nation.   so might the array of opportunities be the largest in the nation

The band journeyed north from Lawton on Highway 62 on a Friday, brushing the small farming communities before traversing into Chickashay, a more than one stoplight town.   followed by the settlements of 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 nation’s largest city.

Highway 62 merging with Newcastle Road,  then then joining  southwest 29th street, a southern crosstown 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 southwest 29th.   The band negotiating a two night booking starting that night,  including a complimentary room.  The patrons of the club being an added benefit, more than happy to provide a wealth of information, providing the names of a substantial number of clubs that booked live entertainment,  the newly arrivals amazed at the prospects. .

The Untouchables discovering that unlike the loosely enforced liquor laws at the so-called private clubs of southwest Oklahoma, Oklahoma 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 were the setups,  ice, soft drinks, water, 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 customer’s name.  The entrance door to most of the reputable clubs, in most cases were locked.

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 they became known as  Key Clubs.   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 finding  Oklahoma City night-life very accommodating ,  the city having no restriction on dancing,  the private clubs all non-union,  contracts verbal for the most part, with payment in cash and more important, regular house bands were for the most part non-existent.  The commodious 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 Golf & 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 instrument 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.

The initial booking leading to others,  the three musicians acquiring a sparsely furnished rental house behind  the Horseshoe club on southwest 28th 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 to 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 the scurrying dwellers, 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 exterminate 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 deciding to resume a search for a suitable rental.  In the meantime,  every night the uninvited occupants with their blue powder covering would abandon their concealment and proudly display their colorful selves.   A commodious performance,  for a commodious location.

Perception of Liberation…………#103 (the 60’s)

December 6, 2016

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Oklahoma City proving to be complementary,  the Untouchables fostered an entourage that insured the commission of engagements.   The financial countenance being minimal,  but enabling two members of the musical  escapade,  Gary and Jerry,  in developing a savings curriculum,  Glenn  being the exception,  a good portion of his income consumed by his frequent visits to Lawton and his family.

A farewell to the blue roach rental, the three discovering a residence  on sSouth Barnes street, the owners having converted part of their home into a small  two room rental with stove, small refrigerator and  separate street entrance.   The band’s newfound lodging providing  a suitable shelter, an adequate station for meals and a restful night’s lodging,  but its size was somewhat claustrophobic and lacked any privacy for after work entertaining.  The rule of thumb unless prior notification was given,  if the light is on and the door is locked,  knock three times,  then return in twenty minutes.  It was soon discovering the knocking rule was never needed as the musicians were normally the recipient of  an invitation.

The accumulation in a savings account empowering Gary to fulfill a long desired aspiration, the acquisition of a car.   southwest 29th Street was a main east – west thoroughfare on the south side,  connecting with  U S  77 and Interstate 35    on the east side of  the City.   Many of Oklahoma Cities pre-owned car enterprises finding this roadway very profitable with many  locations.  Once having accumulated a sufficient amount of funds, Jerry supplying the transportation, the Pianist began a car shopping endeavor,  discovering his long desired avidity for a certain genus on the used car lot,  a 1954 Oldsmobile Convertible.

A certain stature evolves with the purchase of your first automobile,  a perception of liberation,  knowing you are the publisher of your purpose and have the capability to pursue your quest.   The  remembrance from his early teen years surfacing again, the recollection of Mountain Boulevard, the fragrance of the mowed hay with its damp moist aura,  the open air carriage bathed by a moonlit effervesce, all associated when cruising after work at the signal station in Ted Riley’s  1950 Olds convertible. The airings of the convertible conveyed a license of deliverance,  but the vivacity of ownership began to wane in proportion to the automotive number of faults that soon materialized from purchasing an inexpensive used car.

The presence of reality never wanes, a bargain is not always a bargain,  the new auto owner discovering that brake master cylinders do cost.  Driving down Classen Boulevard, he impinged the brake pedal in anticipation of stopping, the pedal depressing to the floorboard with no effect,  but finally managing a  successful stop.  Upon examination, ascertained brake fluid present on the firewall below the master cylinder,  a good indication of the problem.   After refilling the cylinder, Gary progressed to Brotherton’s Garage on southwest 29th and Agnew.  He was acquainted with  Hap and Ronnie Brotherton,  both members of the Oklahoma Stock Car Racing Association’s board of directors,  who in the past commissioned a performance by the Untouchables at their awards banquet.  Ron replacing the master cylinder, offering some professional automotive advice to the musician, “trade it.”

Glenn needing to make a trip to Lawton, requesting Gary to follow his Plymouth Station Wagon to his wife’s families residence where June was staying, the drummer ceding his car to June to for the coming week.  Upon completion of the task the two exiting the town, the pianist noticing a two-tone white and Flamingo Pink swept fin 1957 DeSoto decorating the lot of a pre-owned car emporium and without hesitation pulled into the small used car lot.  The dealer approaching the two, Gary making an  inquiring  about the DeSoto’s  vendibility,  noting that it lacked any  posted sale markings.   The dealers explaining  it was a recent trade-in and it was yet to be serviced or detailed for a sale.

There was no question in the pianist mind that he would be leaving in the Desoto even though he found it difficult to breach the bond with his first means of transportation,  but acumen precludes affinity,  remembering the advice of Ron Brotherton.   Gary never one to barter asking up front what it would take with the Olds as a trade in.   The dealer allowing $250 as a trade-in, the amount Gary had given for the Olds, the dealer accepting the trade-in as a down-payment with a $450 balance,  no cash changing hands.  Gary and the finance company now the proud owners of 1957 Desoto Fireflite,  air-conditioned two door hardtop,  with a 341 cubic inch,  345 horsepower,  four barrel carburetor endowed engine with a pushbutton automatic transmission.

With the advent of  his luxurious transportation,  a realm of independence presented a new order of social activity, the element of nocturnal associations was always available in the realm of musical endeavors.   Gary presenting an interest having meant a striking lady employed with the FAA named Sue Mason.   Sue being the mother  of a  young son, making Gary aware of reality,  indulging in a very cautious relationships not eager or prepared for a resolute commitment.   Jerry too was also allocating more of his time with a newly found complement and with Glenn’s commuting to Lawton,  an air of independence began to surface with the more  limited use of their two bedroom rental.

Jerry deciding to no longer reside in the two room rental,  the guitar players relationship with Darlene Phillips and her family of three having escalated and was on the road to a serious commitment.  Unable to advocate the financial burden, Gary deciding to look for suitable quarters elsewhere visiting with an acquaintance  W. E. Curry,  a realtor with rental property, the two having meant at the Horseshoe Club.  W.E.  disclosing he had a room vacancy in his edifice at SW 33rd &  S. May Ave.   The office structure in reality was built as a residence, the entrée and living room having been converted into his reality office,  the two adjoining bedrooms were rental rooms with kitchen privileges.   The accommodations and the monthly rent was more than satisfactory, Gary taking W.E. up on his offer,  discovering the other bedroom was leased to  Tinker Air Force Base employee who also just  happened to own a 1957 DeSoto.

Gary would frequent the Horseshoe Club even though the bands subscriptive employment was  for two nights a week,  the owners Ross and Virginia Miller approaching him as a friend and the Musician having been acquainted with their daughter Barbara.   The Horseshoe’s private club clientele function like an association,  Jay, the affable bartender,  W.E.,  the realtor,  Eldon Dumas,  the electrical contractor, and employees of  the Federal Aviation Agency,  Tinker Air Force Base,  all with a common denominator, cordiality.

Late afternoons would often finding Gary conversing with a prospective nocturnal audience participant and on this occasion visiting with a Tinker Air force Base employee, making the acquaintance of  Helen Street.  Helen, a very cordial older lady accentuating her daughter as single young lady about the same age as Gary.  The amiable lady painting an engrossing narrative to the Musician,  the anecdotes provoking an interest, Gary very much intrigued, especially having never meant anyone name Kermece.

The Dawning of Essence…#104 (the 60’s)

December 4, 2016

Gary and Kaye (Kermece)

It was Sunday February 18th, and the horseshoe clubs affable bartender Jay’s birthday,    Gary stopping by the club that evening.   Among the many in attendance was Helen Streets daughter Kermece, or Kaye as she was perceived by non-family.  An introduction found the musician impressed with her quiescent demeanor, Helen having painted an exacting picture.  Gary experiencing the introduction as an inaugural of something more meaningful to come. It wasn’t long before an attentive relationship began building,  finding the two spending more and more time together.

Gary being introduced to  and feeling very comfortable with the family, the collected Kaye Rice was an only child as was Helen.  also residing at the residence was her grandmother Sarah, and Sarah’s elderly and somewhat disabled husband,  E. W.  Jones, allaying an onset of dementia.  Her mother Helen,  a  vibrant lady having experienced the concaves of being married several times, but knowing the value and security of full time employment,  having worked for the federal government since World War II,  still continuing with an important  position at Tinker Air Force Base.  Kaye having followed suit with government service, employed with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)  shortly after graduating from High School.

The band having its ups and downs and with it Gary’s financial situation having suffered, his Desoto payment in arrears.  Sharing his problem with  Kaye, her immediately reaction was to help, inquiring about the particulars of his account,  then discerning she would like to contribute by making the late payments, and to his consternation discovering she took it upon herself to discharge the entire remaining quantum without reservation.

The summer found fellow FAA employee and good friend  Deana Bray extending an invitation for Kaye to move in with her.  Deana, a widow with a young daughter, occupied a very spacious three bedroom home just east of May Avenue on southwest 53rd.  Kaye somewhat hesitant, but after considerate contemplation acknowledged her acceptance to the invitation.

The inception of the summer heat,  found Gary and the air-conditioned Desoto journeying to and from the FAA record division office in the Home State Life building at 6th and Robinson,  ferrying the work empowered Kaye and Deana.  The affinity between the musician and his new-found Desire endured,  Deana recognizing the contingency, espousing the musician with a like invitation to reside at her residence.  Gary tarried with the offer, his concern was for Kaye and the impression it would have on her family.  After considerable deliberation, leaving the final decision up to Kaye, found Gary giving W.E. Curry, his realtor friend his notice of vacancy, accepting Deena’s offer of residency.

Bobby and the Runaways,  a Chicago combo,  dressed in black or powder blue tuxedo’s, an impressive group entertaining several nights at the Embers Club at Northwest 10th and North May Avenue for an extended engagement.   The lead guitar and featured vocalist,  a Bobby Vinton clone.   Gary was first aware of the Runaways arrival,  when Kaye acknowledged Deana was smitten with the bands drummer.  Gary somewhat curious about a Chicago based band playing at the Embers,  rather than the Copa Club in the Habana   Inn, or one of the other large motels that highlighted established out-of-town bands.

Glenn, The Untouchables drummer was under stress with financial and  family matters,  accepting part-time employment through the week with his father in-law in Lawton, and without a drummer the bands engagements were reduced to week-end status.  Guitarist Jerry Willis  having established a serious relationship with Darlene Philips, her position as a full-time employee at Cattlemen’s Café,  finding the musician occupying his off nights minding her three young siblings during her employment hours.   Gary recognizing the bands situation with Glenn,  and with Jerry somewhat preoccupied, the incentive to progress and give the band direction was stymied.

The pianist desiring a more fruitful source of income , and after a personal introduction to the Runaways by Deena, discovered the group had heard the Untouchables and Gary’s piano,  and was surprised when Bobby made him an offer for him to join the group.  Hesitating, the pianist acknowledged the offer, replying he would give it some thought. Gary visiting with Glenn and Jerry about the offer, not wanting to jeopardize the bands bookings, both agreeing it was his decision to make, that they could find a bass and guitar player,  leaving it up to him to decide to remain or leave.  With Glens current situation and no end in sight, the keyboard musician accepted The Runaways offer.

The management of the Embers Club making an exception in their booking schedule for The Runaways, the band featured five nights with an almost nightly capacity crowd, but as the weeks progressed it began to fade.  Gary could see the handwriting on the wall, Bobby and the Runaways tarry in Oklahoma City would be coming to a close.  Bobby having mention in the past their intentions to move on to Albuquerque.  Gary wasn’t surprised at the suddenness of the band leaving town, finishing a weekend, the next day they were gone, not saying goodbye or asking for the return of the two tuxedo’s given him,  the keyboard musician having become suspicious of the Chicago group,  when discovering the inner label of the tuxedo’s bore the tags of a Chicago uniform rental company.

The following Saturday night Gary paying a visit with Glenn and Jerry at the Tempo Club about resuming his association with the band,  the two welcoming his decision to return.  What was more enlightening was discovering a renewed purpose with added resolve,  a new horizon,  Glenn would be moving his family from Lawton to Oklahoma City, enabling the addition of  productive weekday engagements.

It was the evening of September 10th,  Gary having visualized this moment more than once in the last months,  there was a desire to express himself in some poetic way, but for some reason he was at lost for words.  Looking at Kaye, the two having bonded  expressing their love for each other,  finally concluding to put forth the time honored question    “Will you marry Me” .    kneeling  down,  Her glowing radiance over powering him. Then the answer.   Yes   Her reply giving life a meaning.

Fulfilling Aspirations…………#105 (the 60’s)

December 2, 2016

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The wedding of Gary and Kaye on October 18th was imminent.  Gary recognizing his future bride as a sterling treasure, complementing and fulfilling his world.        The subject of residency being discussed, whether to seek a place of their own or wait and see what the future holds.  Their understanding with Deana was congruous,  the couple seeing no reason to advance permutation, Deana’s hospitality was prevalent, animosity was nonexistent, the relationship thrived.

Kaye being slight in stature, all of 95 lbs. her automotive choice reflected in her proprietorship, the proud owner of a 1961 Triumph Herald.   A four passenger, two door,  4 speed,  39 horsepower British model with a top speed of 70 mph, befitting her countenance.   She was vocal in informing Gary that she found it very uncomfortable ensconced in the driver seat of his demonstrative sized push-button drive DeSoto.   Gary could identify with her reasoning, having listening to Glenn in jest referring to the specious two-tone, swept fin Chrysler product as a carriage befitting a hustler, a perfect pimp-mobile.   Gary having never thought of his prodigious car in that light but accorded to his bride-to-be that the hallmark DeSoto would soon find another to christen its protocol.

From a musician’s perspective,  Oklahoma City continued as a boom-town,  displaying a bustling nightlife commerce of live entertainment, enhanced from the products of fermentation and distilling.  The competition between these enterprising aggregations was intense, management discernment was ascertained by the financial  bottom line at the conclusion of the evening.   The Untouchables prodigious appearance, sporting formal array,  and socializing with the  audience during  intermissions provided entertainment both on and off the bandstand.  Gary concluding that music arrangements could sell a song,  but actions and presence embolden a performance.

The private clubs marshaling,  a 2:00 a.m. closing time as prescribed by the City,  but a persistence prevailed,  there were several unincorporated areas beleaguered by Oklahoma City,  and like earthworms after a rain, unregulated after-hour clubs began to surface.   One night,  after an appearance at the Excuse Club on South Pennsylvania,  the band followed the owner Hobart,  and his bi-speckled manager Don, to a surreptitious afterhours  attraction,  just south of the North Canadian River and east of Eastern Avenue in a secluded no mans land,   between Oklahoma City and Del City.  The band turning off Eastern onto a ill-kept two lane road,  arriving at an almost windowless building, surrounded by an array of cars on a make shift parking area.

Mary’s Hideaway  flourished with after-hour patrons, the already induced partying fray finding the indifferent operating hours with great satisfaction.  In addition to the blaring jukebox,  Mary accomplished a 24 ounce charred sirloin with fries for a reasonable gratuity,  complementing the unmitigated inducements served from the bar.  Glenn and Gary soon realized, this early morning rendezvous could model as a supplementary income provider.  The two approaching Mary inducing the idea of live entertainment,  the Untouchables finding an added after hours weekend  engagement.

Gary recognized few musicians as true Icons in his melodious world, but one such Icon was making an appearance in Oklahoma City.  Ray Charles and his orchestra was to perform at the Municipal Auditorium and the Untouchables just happen to be off that night,  the pianist suggesting to Kaye that they attend.  The soon to be matrimonial united couple looking forward to a live performance of  ‘I can’t stop loving you’, what I say, Georgia on my mind, Born to lose’,   a never-ending list of current gold-record songs.  Gary purchasing advance tickets for seating in the lower part of the Mezzanine Section,  the couple looking forward to the coming event, but then someone brought up the subject of going to an all-black performance.  Most everyone in the country was aware of the ongoing civil rights demonstrations with Martin Luther King having organized marches throughout the south.

Gary having never correlated skin color with music, the performer wasn’t black or white,  but a musician,   and those in attendance weren’t there to patronize the color of skin,  but to absorb the ambiance of the performance.  The night of the concert having arrived, Gary and Kaye both dressed appropriate for the orchestrated occasion as were almost all those in attendance.  The musician was aware that Ray Charles’s songs were overwhelmingly  received in his all white nightclub environment,  and taking notice before Ray was introduced, half of those in attendance were white.  Ray Charles was unbelievable, the only two downsides that only the musician perceived,  was his use of a Concert Grand piano in playing  ‘What I Say’,  instead of the  Wurlitzer electric as on the recording.   the other somewhat disappointment was the missing of the prominent string sections that set the artistry for his country songs,  but then again,  it was understandable when on the road, and in all probability he supplemented his basic orchestra with local musicians from an Oklahoma city symphony contingency.

The couple concluding their likeminded moment together,  Gary, recognizing the Ray Charles concert as an iconic occasion,  but knowing it would never match Kaye’s.   His bride to be, still in high school, attending the april 19th 1956  Oklahoma City municipal  auditorium performance by the un-anointed king of rock & roll,   Elvis Presley.