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Double Deuce

January 30th, 2014 by jomo

The Hub City Movers were playing at the IL Club on E. 11th St. The small audience consisted of friends of the band and club regulars, I guess, who were all black since it was their part of town. I think that it was Jimmy Gilmore fronting, with Jerry Barnett on drums and Charley Sauer on bass…there was probably a lead guitar and maybe a sax player (Ed Vizard?) – about 50 years ago, things are a little foggy.

I went into the bathroom to take a leak and was standing at a urinal, staring at the wall, when the guy next to me said “small world, eh?” I looked at him and said “what?” He said “Here you are standing next to number twenty-two and you don’t even know it.”

I said “What do you mean?” “Number twenty-two, man! Double deuce! Bob Hayes!” he said.

Being a lapsed Cowboys fan in those days, the realization of what he was talking about was slow in coming. But after thinking about it a little, I decided he was just some guy shining a white fool on…but maybe not, eh?

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Roy Orbison

January 26th, 2014 by jomo

One of the good things about being a teenager who hadn’t grown
up there in Midland, Texas, in 1957 was Roy Orbison. Roy’s 1956
hit of Ooby Dooby on the Sun label, made him the local rock
and roll celebrity, although he was from out in the oil patch at
Wink, and was considered more of an Odessa-sort-of-guy. Since he
was not of the Midland oil-gentry, I felt a kindredship with him.

He had TV shows on both KMID-TV (Midland) and KOSA-TV (Odessa)
with his band, the Teen Kings: drummer, bassist, and saxophone,
with Roy on guitar. Both stations produced bland featureless sets,
with two camera setups, and TV standard shadowless lighting. Roy
hadn’t yet adopted his dark shades, and his coke bottle glasses
with the studio lights cast strange defractions of light on his
face. His throat, the source of his phenomenal range, was obviously
strange, flat and wide.

His band members were all skinny and frenetic. The drummer was a
constant blur in the background. The sax player up front was a
contortionist. But it was the bass player who balanced Roy for
focus. He was all over that upright – whacking it, humping
it, spinning it and dancing, his coattails flapping in the breeze.
(That bass player later worked for my Dad as a butcher in his
grocery store.)

I particularly remember one night (although I watched all of his
shows) over at a friend-named-Meadows’ house, as we tried to
break into his folks’ liquor stash.

Another night I was out with a fellow with music business
connections(Who Wears Short Shorts?) and we were lining our
empties up across the road and a Cadillac approached. It stopped
in front of our dead soldier barricade, reversed, did a 3-point
turnaround and left. Ray said that it was Roy. Maybe not, but we
cherish our brushes with greatness, no?

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Dog coastin’

January 21st, 2014 by jomo

Leo Tolstoi’s War and Peace is my favorite book, and I
am reading it again with even more enjoyment than before.

There is a description of hunting hares with dogs which
reminded me of going with a friend to run his dogs many
years ago.

Gail Borden Tenant was in law school at the time. He wore
a white suit with a string tie and a panama hat. He had two
greyhounds. We went some distance out Webberville Road,
then turned off to the south.

We came to a long fenced arena perhaps 80 or 100 yards
long, maybe 35 wide. Cars were parked around the outside
of the fence. We were the only white folks there, but everyone
seemed to know Gail, and called him “The Judge,” as in “Hyah
come da Judge.” Many people had greyhounds (maybe some
borzois) on leashes and their attention was directed toward
the arena.

The far end of the arena was a corrugated tin wall separating
the arena from a brushy pen behind. In the tin wall were some
openings at ground level, about one foot square. At the near
end of the arena was a wood and hardware cloth box about
1 foot square and 12 feet long, divided into 10 or 12 sections
by sliding wooden dividers. In each section there was a live
jack rabbit. About 30 or 40 feet in front of that chute was a
line across the arena and at one end of the line was stationed
a man with a flag.

Three dog handlers would station themselves and their dogs
in line with the front of the holding chute, where another official
prepared to raise the door, which would release the rabbit in the
front section. The flagman raised his flag, the doorman raised the
door, and the rabbit bolted for the far end of the arena. When it
crossed the line, the flagman snapped his flag down and the dog
handlers let their dogs go.

Greyhounds running are magnificent – but so are jack rabbits.
Sometimes a rabbit made it through one of the holes in the fence
at the far end, but more often one of the dogs would catch up
with it, causing the rabbit to swerve away, into the path of the
trailing dogs. Then there would be a cloud of dust and tumble of
bodies.

The dog that turned the rabbit was the winner of the race. The
owner of the dog got whatever winnings came from his bets on the
race, and he got the rabbit.

As we were leaving, someone called out to Gail “Whatchoo gonna do
wi’dat rabbit, Judge?” Gail answered “Why, I’m gonna give it to you,
you pretty thing.”

The folks there called it “dog coastin’.” Historically, it’s known as
“coursing” and was a sport of royalty. And it was hare coursing that
Tolstoi described, but it was dog coastin’ that I saw.

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