Bio Part 7
a 1965 canary yellow Ford Galaxie 500 in 1974 going down Western ave.,south Los Angeles. Friday night,somewhere in summertime,the neighborhood was alive with the buzz and rumble of working folks gearing up for the weekend.
On my way to another gig with Ray Brooks or Ray Whitehouse depending on who you spoke to. his band was called the "Super Seed" and we were playing tonight at the "Bowl of Cherries"
now Ray was a fine guitar man and had a sweet, soul,voice that hung nicely on the edge if he needed it,you know what i mean? Ray had a regional hit in New Orleans,his home,but damn if i can remember the name of the song,something about a pawn shop and a girl,anyway the club had that full on 70's sparkly,mirrorlight and shag rug everywhere.I always wondered who vaccuumed the ceiling.
it was cool employment but a long,long night.After 3 or 4 sets at the "bowl of cherries" we went to Leon the drummer's house till about 6a.m. and then on to Gardena Ca. where there were 24 hour legal card joints and we play another 3 sets until about noon for insane gamblers sipping tanquery and tonic at 8a.m.
so Ray being a good player and all attracted the usual sit-ins,you know,female singers,a few guitar guys,a horn player and the always terrifying harmonica freaks. sometimes you'd cringe just at the look of their stage approach and sometimes you got a surprise and they really laid it down.
you had to dress; couples,groups,singles all came out in their finest that the mid 70's could offer. it was wild.
i say this because the person who came up on stage that night was dressed in the contradiction: a snappy,black 4 button suit and tie,conservative class on a tall,thin almost gaunt frame topped off with a slightly cocked black fedora.
i didn't usually turn one way or the other for the legion of blues harmonicats with their squealy pig noises that haunted the clubs back then but there was something thick here,something dark and raw that puffed underneath the shuffle Leon the drummer played like the last guy getting out a house on fire. then the singing started and with it the goosebumps on my arm.
some things, some moments are plain old magic,no fooling around. That voice in that club at that disco raveged time; the world was upside down for the length of a couple of tunes.The set ended. i watched the lean,dark figure wrap a arm around a beautiful,perfectly plump,sequened woman and melted into a sea of well wishers.
i slipped around the stage crowd and got to Ray. he was standing there as cool as can be. a question mark on my face i said, "Ray,who was that cat?,damn"
he seemed preoccupied,"biimmmm a thun" he mumbled
"what?,who?" i said again.
"bbmmmmmmmmm a thun" he replied.
"WHO" i said louder like he couldn't hear me.
Ray looked straight at me and in perfect exasperated diction he said,
"Big Momma Thornton"
"oh" i said
Under the Influence of: