Sonny "Boy" Franklin

Duration: 1hr: 16mns
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Uncorrected Transcript

Interview with: Sonny “Boy” Franklin
Interviewed by: Louis Marchiafava
Date: June 17, 1975

OH 0052

 

LM:     I’d like to start the interview by getting some personal background about how you started in jazz, and where you were born, and how you got involved in it.

SF:       Well, really, I’m a local fellow here. I was born here, 3014 McKinney Avenue. During my early days—well all of my people was from a musical background. My uncle played the sit aisles a long time ago, and so it was a jazz band. I had another uncle, David D. Johnson Oil, so I just grew up around music, just actually grew up. Then finally, after I went through the middle school which was Langston. Actually, it’s high school at the beginning. That’s in 1926, when Yakes Place wasn’t much. At the time, we had Dr. Johnson, which is Connery, incidentally, is Connery Johnson, who was the music director of Cashmere high school band. That’s his father. He’s teaching music over here at the time I entered.

            The next year, Wiley opened up, and Yakes was a very great rival. Of course, we had one time in one school, you see. All the kids from our fifth ward was along with the third ward kids, so we’re all one school, and that was the beginning of the rival between the Yakes and Wiley, because we all had the same football team, the same everything. When we arrived and moved—well it’s 15 Haven and also all our band and everything was there—so that’s where that rival began. Dr. Johnson got a band, and then they had the strings within the band, see.

            At the time, you had a fellow here named Professor Russell McDavid. His brother was (unintelligible) just recently, this season in California. He was over at Wiley at the time, so they all organized the band. Football was already a great rival, so that’s when the beginning of jazz and we start. Then we were exposed to a lot of jazz.

            02:21   At one time we—a youngster, you know—had nowhere else to go but to the theatre, to the park to clean, clean living—you know—so we hung around Emancipation park. We had one park, so we hung around the Emancipation park, and we had the Lincoln theatre. It was the biggest theatre we had. During that time, they had a terrific bunch down there, and he really plays to the modern jazz story to the kids of Yakes and Wiley. It’s really truth that a major portion of your real jazz men in Houston during my era came out of Yakes and Wiley. You may have had 1 or 2 came out of Booker Wiseman. I’m sure that Booker Wiseman wasn’t the type of school that had a whole lot of music at the time that Yakes and Wiley did.

            This band had a pit, had a band, Donny North. At the time that’s the outgoing of silent movies, [laughing] and they had a pit. We had a 30-minute program between pitches—you know—stop the pitching. This band was from Peru (??)—a guy which later on came into Houston schools over all the music. His name was Abner Jones, and he was over all the Houston independent school district music, the music department. We had the chance of learning from listening (unintelligible) was chewing on their hair. He did drum and xylophone. The other player was named Anderson Lacey. The piano was named Al Florence Anderson, and those three guys were something else. You heard of the King Cole Trio, well, we had that practically then.

            You heard of Lionel Hampton on the xylophone? Well you should’ve heard Abner Jones, at least not you should’ve, but he was that type of guy. Really, Houston was blessed with the finer part of jazz guys such as he. Then we had Sy Oliver. You and your girlfriend would all time go to the theatre on a Monday. That’s the biggest day in the week for us, on Monday, see. On Saturday and Sunday, we’d be at the park. On Monday we’ll go out, and that’s when they’d put on a big show. They were some wonderful guys I was meeting out of it, so that’s where really Yikes and Wiley came to produce so many.

            04:57   If you check back through the leading musicians that are now in New York and hanging around here now that came back home, you find out they’re originally from our Yakes and-Wiley band, and it was real good times. Six guys, Illinois Jacquet, Russell Jacquet, Arnett Cobb, and Eddie Vinson. We had a guy by the name of William Lupo which is a terrific trombone player. They got a bar here now by the name of William Blip Tompkins. He’s a trombone player. Archie, Tom Archie—all of those are real men that been up there in New York and made it big, but all of them local boys, all of them actually local boys from here. All of these are out of this high school.

 

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We were given chances to express ourselves in music, because they used to have contests between Yakes orchestra and we’d almost have to sit out turn (unintelligible)

            Then after we finished high school and had chances to leave here before—no, before we finished high school, there was a youngster out of Booker Washington by the name of Milton Larkin. He organized the thing. This fellow died this Sunday past, by the name of Don Ruby, and he used to do a whole lot of booking, and he had the hall at the time we was small. Before I went off to school—which I finished in mid winter class—so I did attend Wiley College because at that time there was two bands known. I still running behind this. There were two bands knowing—it was a rare Greek then. It was widely collegian. It was one of the greatest down south. You had another by the name of Tennessee State, and Alabama Gleason (??)—you know.

            Being here in Texas and wanting to stay close to home where my money allowed me during that time—of course this is around the ‘30s which was when times began to tighten up. I decided—I had a scholarship too—go to Wiley. That’s the next thing, so I decided to go to Wiley. I had to change the plan in that band. I ran upon a whole lot of other guys from other places. As I was saying before, that’s where the Blip started. Then we came back here during the summer and joined Milton band. That’s when the depression hit us.

            The fellows in school, and especially the—it was a Methodist school, and you couldn’t give a lot of scholarships unless somebody had some entry fees. Those that didn’t have entry fees had to lay out or get a job. I decided the best thing for me to do was join Milton band, because it was getting ready to go to New York, Chicago, and to the local bunch paid for by here. It was the band that was organized out of Yakes and Wiley band. I joined the band, and we left from here, and we booked up Paul Binwich (??). He then was in the republican building down on Preston and Salmon. His name was Paul Binwich.

            08:19   He took Milton band and changed Milton band name into Anna Remo band, but it was really the local boys here, all of them. You had Eddy Vinson, Illinois Jacquet, Russell, Clifford Mitchell, William Lupo, Arnett Cobb, Pat Paterson. All of these are local fellows. This fellow that played bass—why would I forget his name? I was his pallbearer. His name—we called him Duke. What was Duke’s real name? I can’t quite recall it right now, but he’s the bass man. Cedric, he was the guy doing—he had just began to write, Cedric was. Now, he’s one of the guys that left here. He is the greatest. He is the guy that saw all the possibilities that if he had a talent like him. This guy just started right, just started right, and he’s something else.

LM:     Is he still living?

SF:       He just passed, not too long ago. He dead now, but he’s the one that saw all of them. This guy, doing all this writing for the TV show—what is his name that is—Dave—just before he died, he turned out to be a very close friend with Cedric Haywood. Now, he’s the one that came back home about 3 years ago and organized—and through the persuasion of myself and Arnett Cobb came back to Houston because he was in ill health—and organized the band that he left here, that I’m fronting now. I’m fronting the band that—I still carry the name Cedric, Cedric Haywood’s big band. He left his entire book. We have some terrific guys in that field. I’m trying to recall—.

 

cue-point

 

LM:     Did he come to see you later in Chicago?

SF:       Yeah, and these are the fellows that you would be amazed that start from scratching out—let me tell you something funny about the whole thing. Most of these guys I’m talking about learned the CD of GABC’s, the scales, out of public high school. All our beginnings really came out of public high school. Now, Abner Jones, I have to give him credit for everything that I ever been in music, everything that I know in music—not have been—but what I really knew in music. Then Cedric would have to give him credit for it.

            11:02   Now, when we first started out, they didn’t have the same string instruments in the high school. Cedric, he wanted to learn piano, and I wanted to play guitar. It was a new instrument, guitar was very new then. They was playing banjo. It was a brand new instrument. Guitar was really new down here then. They was playing banjo. It was a brand new instrument, the guitar was. This was in the thirties. There wasn’t no guitar players. You could see them on the banjo. I never did care too much for the banjo, because it seemed like a pocket-size—or turned it like the mellow side of a guitar, and it wasn’t electrified then.

            The way you would take this off, and you walk up to the mike, and talk like the vocalist—you know—and you take the mike down, and you take your solo, take your hot spin. We used to call them take your hot spin. This is when we ran into this fellow called Abner Jones that I told you was old independent school. He took time with us, and let me finally submit and learned me how to read. I they took Cedric and schooled him now. Cedric went further than I. Abner arranged it so Cedric stayed with him, but I happened to move back at school. I still had my idea that I wanted to finish college, see, so I stayed here three years before I went back to school. I went back to school after three years.

            Yeah, I went over to the east coast. I stayed on the east coast. I would come on back to Houston, went back to school. I went back to Wiley while Cedric stayed with him during those times, and he come out, finished and writing. Abner Jones was just—he’s here. He’s in this city, and it would be a good idea if you could find him because he could tell you oh boy marvelous stuff. The truth about Abner Jones is he’s not too much older than I. He’s here. If he’s older or isn’t here, so—

LM:     Have you seen him recently?

SF:       Yeah, I saw him about a month or so ago, less than two months. Let’s say, at the most, six weeks, huh, in the grocery store. They own the Rice Food Market, and he could tell us a lot more.

LM:     I’m interested in the way that the music, the jazz, seemed to start here from the school.

SF:       It really did. It really did. Don’t let nobody fool you. Jazz really started right in these public high schools, and you’ll have to take your hats off to the true competition school that Wiley is. I’m not bypassing Booker Washington, but as I said before, Booker Washington didn’t compete with our orchestra. They had a band. Now, the word band—no percussion. The only percussion they had there was a big bass drum, but I’m talking about you had guitar, bass violin, and piano—you know—percussion, a regular jazz band, and you really were playing really jazz music.

            That’s when the competition between Yakes and Wiley not only stopped at—and I mean—it didn’t stop at football, but went along in about everything. That was one of the greatest things that they had accomplished, was those two bands, and they polished some terrific men.

            That guy they called Percy McDavid, he finished some—I’m thinking he finished some New York Center of Music. Then he came to Wiley, and he used to play with the band. I’m sure he used to play with the band called D. Johnson, and then he went into public school. Now, here’s the beginning of all the jazz. He goes back to Abner Jones. Abner Jones and Percy McDavid, Wilson McDavid, and Doctor Johnson, Connery Johnson. Those four men started really giving the youngsters at my age—we called them singing youngsters around me.

            15:14   Now remember I’m one of the older ones of the bunch, because Arnett Cobb should be much younger than I, at least 4 or 5 or 6 years younger than I. Eddie Vinson which ought to be about 9 or 10, 8 close. It was Eddie Vinson and about this kid from school, and he’s from Houston. This is his home. He got a think of hitting the numbers. He’s in Los Angeles now. I’m thinking he’s supposed to working around the studios down there. He’s supposed to be with a studio band in Los Angeles.

            Your music really begins around here in the high school, and we were exposed to a lot of real good musicians at the time. Sometimes like at the Lincoln theatre—I’ll go back and repeat the very same thing again of what I told you about the pit band. Then we had a chance to go to this Majestic theatre. They had a terrific band in the pit, really. They played jazz too, and they was a little—it was the Lawrence band there. That band should’ve been around, oh, like the bands there is of today. They were around 18 and 19. They had everything. They had violin—you know—everything. At the ending of the song, people—and when they played behind love fairly with the violin thing going, so we was really—Houston is not separated to education of music, especially jazz music, and it really isn’t. It’s one of the leaders. I always say we’re one of the leaders of jazz music, Houston was really.

 

cue-point

 

LM:     When you’re speaking of jazz now, are you speaking of the modern or the Dixieland versions of the period?

SF:       Well, I’m telling you the truth about it. That’s a controversial subject. What I mean, that’s a—the word Dixieland and the word jazz, they’re so closely related. There’s a difference. The difference, I would say, is somewhat of the beat. If you listen right now at your modern Dixieland music—it’s a fine line—if you could trace yourself back to your modern Dixieland guitars or trumpet players, they’re one of greatest jazzmen you want to find, but I’m talking about both. I’m talking mainly about jazz, because jazz is more of the feeling that we had during our time. We really played jazz.

            17:45   Now, the Dixieland, I have to go back and say Dixieland came along just a little ahead of me when I did my awkward sit aisles and what, they played Dixieland, some for sure. That’s when I learned Dixieland. Now the difference than jazz, Dixieland—this is my opinion about Dixieland and jazz—Dixieland is more of a more modern, progressive part of a march. Jazz can move a chord, a confusing musical chord that blends beautifully together. You know what I mean? Jazz is something of the boo, bop, bop, bop, boo, boo, bah, bah—you know—beautiful stuff.

            Dixieland is similar, but Dixieland carry more of a—remember, I like them all. Some I like more, but they have that little beat in it, see. Jazz is something that it makes you stop and listen at. It moves so fast and also moves so beautiful and so mixed up in there until you have to stop to listen and then it do sound pretty. That’s what it is, but Dixieland, you can hum about everything in Dixieland, if you pay attention, because it carries a straight melody line, and not too far off, see. It don’t stray too far off. The only reason you know the difference in jazz and Dixieland is that, I say, because jazz is—did I say jazz is one of the most beautiful things because it’s not in the light strictly.

            You get up and a hard line or take a chorus, you may hit the melodic line once or twice, but boy, you’re going everywhere else, and this is where—I’m talking about the guy from Duke pretty much. I play guitar, so you know I did. Duke had a guitar player that I didn’t know I heard talking. The guitar player—what’s his name now—he played the bass. He’s still alive. His name is what?

            Anyway, I married in 1949, so that’s how long I waited to marry. I was married one time, then went up to east schools and came back, and it wasn’t no good, so I married again in 1949 with—man, I was single for a long time. I had the idea to join the Duke band, so to join Duke bank—you know how you do, you talk around the guys that are in the band. You pull strings because you’ve got some local boys in the band. You pull some strings in there. I told them. I said, “Man, let me tell you about this band. It’s beautiful, and it’s good, but you’ve got to have a guitar.” He never did have a guitar.

            Duke just a soon get up there and take time out here, whooping down on the piano, just smash it down on the piano. In the end, he didn’t know what he was doing. Generally, did talk to this guy, second cord to hit. He liked to hit it, and so if you don’t work with him completely, well, it’s something different. He won’t hardly get a job working for Duke. I wasn’t the only one that was turned down with Duke, because there have been a whole of guitarists. I came along with that Duke, and he sat in on a gig or something. I actually joined in a band—you have yet to find a guitar that actually joined the band after his guitarist died.

            21:08   That’s the difference in him and playing bass. Now these are jazz men I’m talking about. He had a guitarist that very seldom you’d hear him do very much playing. You’d hear him tinkle-link, tinkle-link, and then you’d hear the guitar playing. Incidentally, that guitar player live around here close to Houston for a long time, before he went to—I’m trying to think of the guy’s name so I can call it. Do you by anything know his name?

M:        No, I can’t—

SF:       Bradley, he lives around—I think he hung around Daddy’s, when we first went to Daddy’s place. That’s when we ran into Clarence “Love Man,” and he was (unintelligible) but that’s where I run into him.

F:         Today, it seems like the people who like jazz are mainly in their 20s or older, but during the time that you were coming at the scene, like the teenagers and the young people are the ones who got into jazz first, and then did you just kind of pull the older people in? Did you appeal to both younger people and older people? Did jazz appeal to both groups or what?

SF:       Let’s be honest about now, jazz really boils down to younger people. That is what I was saying a minute ago, just as it is now, a big band could come back and expand itself to the public. It’s how you condition that jazz, it would catch on. Now rock and roll is the thing now. Jazz is still there, but it’s not as predominant as it was then. This is what I’m saying about Dixieland. At the time when I came in, Dixieland was just about treated not to happen, not be as strongly. Jazz was blooming, see, and so it was the youngsters. It was the youngsters, and there was experimenting. Jazz was experimenting with everything.

            Now, this may be talking over your head in the age, so here come a guy along, oh a trumpet player. He’s going to play Be-bop. It came along, so he was in Be-bop, the trumpet player. Basically, he says, “Oh follow them,” so he came along playing by, so all of this, but this one was in from the jazz. This one is really out of jazz, but it’s home for a little while, but not as long as rock and roll. Rock and roll will eventually be a standard stuff, in the commercials. Rock has gotten so that now it’s getting to be commercial, and you got to steak with jazz. You can hear it. You got a streak of jazz in it.

            23:45   To answer your question with all that long talk is that it really was the youth, the youngsters. Now, it does take like some time now to get to the people that were older. When I say youngsters, well, I thought things very young, but I’m talking about youngsters, say, from teenage to the 20s. Now, those that are older than I was, more like my daddy and all of them, well, they were listening at the sit aisle and go to the park and hear the Dixieland numbers. That’s the truth, but jazz really was—because we had such a thing at the time, similar to the dances that they’re doing now, but we called it Charleston and like they all do the Bump. Like Bump is a good thing.

            We had swinging out—you know—so we had to have jazz for that. You have to have movements of feelings, and jazz was it. Now, Dixieland didn’t give it to them. I’m not kicking discourse. Dixieland is good standard, going to be here for a long time. It’s still real good, because I happen to go to Los Angeles with a bunch. Just five of us went then. Oh, maybe I’m making it long. They left the music. I forgot to mention these guys. They came from out of Wiley school, went to old Texas Southern, called them the Modern Jazz 60. I have six records that even went out there.

           

cue-point

 

We went there, and Dixieland, it was on the job. Why they had to play Dixieland. They were on that boat out there, and they had to play Dixieland, because that was what they were getting paid to do, and they were the Modern Jazz, remember. They were from Texas Southern, so that’s really late. Texas Southern was born quite a time after I left the scene of being a youngster. There’s little guy, and he shouldn’t be too old now. He should be in early 30s when he was in it, and his name is Eric Sample, the piano player. He did all the writing for it. Ed Henderson, he’s a trombone player. Then you had—what was his name—Hilton. He was a cello player, really good too. What I was trying to say, Dixieland is still alive, real alive.

LM:     I was wondering, you said when you left Houston you went to some other places. Did you notice any difference in what the people liked there as compared to what was going on in Houston at the time?

SF:       In some places, no, but I think the guy that booked us—he was booking us particularly—I don’t know—a long way to Canabana (??). We were one. He had a chain of bands, this guy Paul Robenawitz (??), I was telling you about. He had a Ruth Ellington band, and he had another Anarimo (??) band. I had to be in that band. He hired us straight from Houston to Dallas, Texas. That’s where we stayed. We stayed in Dallas about a year and a half, and we played at the Golf. We stayed at the Golf hotel for about 6 months—I mean—a classy little place there. They very much related to the music that we played there.

            We had left from this nightclub—they all in west Dallas hired, and we went to play at the North Dallas club. We stayed there at the North Dallas club, which was on the corner of Thomas Hall. That has been years ago—you know—and we stayed there. Then we left and (unintelligible). We stayed there a lot, about a little over a year, and then we hit the road. We stayed on the road on 1-nighters for about 2 years, for about 2 years on the road. We play 6 towns, every city in Louisiana. I don’t think you could name a city in Louisiana, Mississippi—we hit the southern—Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and routed to Illinois, because we due there—we’re supposed to have—

            28:24   This guy—if I can think of his name—the director of the band I was telling you about awhile ago. He was leaving out of New York, and we were supposed to replace him at the Rhumboogie Club in Chicago. He had given us a 6-month notice that when he leave like he had already—Jimmy Lunceford was the one that really give us a chance to go into the Rhumboogie by moving out. He had heard the band. What I was telling you was so crazy about this—you see that here, that’s the writing, so that’s why we got a chance to go into Rhumboogie.

            We went into Rhumboogie, and we changed our name back to Milton Larkin band in the Rhumboogie, but we first started in there as Anarimo band. All of them were local, but we did pickup another fellow. Our bass man from here fell by the way. When you’re traveling, you’re going to lose 1 or 2 men. You’re going to pick up 1 or 2 better men—you know—that excel better on the instrument. Of course, a lot of guitar players are better than I, but it so happened that I was in the syndicate there with the manager and the arrangement, and I did do a little writing on the side. I had a chance to stick. We ran into a guy they called Kid Blanton. He’s from North Carolina, played bass. He ended up playing with Duke. He’s the one that died not too long ago. We ran into some we had to play, and you had to play to survive. This was fun. It was really fun, and when you’re young, it’s nothing else but fun.

LM:     At the same time, how much were you paid? Were you paid individually or when the whole band played, and then the money was split up? How did it operate?

SF:       No, we was lucky, and if we was lucky to be booked, if you get a chance to go up there and ride on somebody else’s shirttail. Now this guy started off with $60 a week. We left from him and played around Daddy’s, Wichita Falls, and Texas when there were only 10 of us, $6 a week. When he put us on the road and left and started playing Mississippi, Alabama, he raised us $25. He gave us each $5 a week. We made $85 a week until we got a chance to go into Rhumboogie Club there in Chicago. When we hit the Rhumboogie, we had made one and a quarter. Man that was money, one and a quarter.

 

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LM:     What year was this?

SF:       31:06   This was the ‘40s. I’m talking about the ‘40s now. This should’ve been around ’46 and ’47, no ’45 and ’46, because in ’47 I came back and went to Wiley. I stayed there the 2 years and come back and married in ’49, so this is in the ‘40s.

LM:     Was most of your music played in the black community, or did they have white audiences too?

SF:       Yeah, we—

LM:     We were talking about the time when things were segregated.

SF:       Exactly, yeah, music ain’t never been segregated.

LM:     No, not music, just the people.

SF:       The reason I’m saying this is because I don’t want to be any different, but I want to be honest with you now. Here in Houston we played at the Oregon ballroom. You ain’t ever heard of it. We had an Oregon ballroom. Oh, by incidentally, you heard about this hotel they had condemned and had everybody move out and all of this. Well Oregon ballroom was right above it. It was the next floor at the top. It was the greatest hall all the way around. It was the white club, and all the walls were mirrors, so by you sitting on any side of the house, you could see practically anybody in the place. All of this was mirrors. It was a white club. It was a white ballroom, no club. It was a white ballroom. It wasn’t a club. It was a ballroom.

            It was huge place, huge enough to give Rice hotel a competition. The Rice was supposed to have been your better hotel at the time. We played there time and again. We played the Rice hotel which welcomed this. At the time we had changed the broadcast from KTRH. Now it was at the Texas State hotel downstairs. What I’m trying to say—now we may have—I remember we couldn’t go through a lobby to go upstairs.

LM:     That’s the kind of things I wanted to ask. How did this affect you?

SF:       We couldn’t go through the lobby. We had to go take the back door. At the Rice we couldn’t go through the front, but we went through the back door, but we played the places. We sure did. I remember we were going to broadcast, and we were going to play at the Loma Linda club, way out here off of South Main. On the South Main where we are now, I wouldn’t know which way to do, west side of town, way out this way. We had to broadcast this white job. We had to broadcast—you know. That’s the only advertising we had at one time.

            33:58   The whole band had to go through the back door at KTRH Town and Texas State hotel. They had a little bit step and go down like you’re going to a cellar. That’s where we broadcast. We were treated nice down there. It’s just the routine of the guys that owned the place. He wouldn’t want you to come through the front. When we got down there, it wasn’t no different. They treated you treated you right. That’s the only difference there was, which was kind of crude, but it was the best you could accept for fear of other people that rejected it. They danced to our music. They was crazy about us.

LM:     Did you cut any records during this time?

SF:       I cut two records with Milt, and I cut one I had with him. We cut one group, and somehow or another—not thinking—advanced a little that (unintelligible) didn’t seem to want. My sister ran into one of them, and I asked her about it a couple of years ago, I told her, “Be sure and save it for me,” because he had a bunch of kids in the house, and I lost that one. I don’t know—I might—my little sister said she had one around the house. I may have a couple around the house, so I’m going to see if I can get hers. We did similar like that book.

            I’ll show you a gang of those guys that didn’t think about recording. Recording wasn’t too much of an open field that you could get into. You nearly had to buy your way into a recording. You know what I mean? This is why a lot—why didn’t we record? I’m older now, and the thing I want to do is record or tape it or do something, so I can put it and leave it here. I’m going to do it, because we’ve been talking to a guy last night about taping this band, doing something, putting in these stations so we can play. This is what you lose, is you lose—not doing anything—I think I may have a record, but I know the records I had (unintelligible).

F:         You were saying just now that you almost had to buy your way in. Would you elaborate a little bit on this?

SF:       Yeah, as of today, the Carters of America, we go back to (unintelligible) just to see. They would come and ask you and were paid. They’d do this. Now they’ve got a better chance now of putting something on tape, making a record, because they submit. They come and ask and just listen, and they pay you. Now during the time when I came on, there wasn’t such a thing as soliciting and pay you to do the thing. Now I’ll tell you the truth, I did make 2 records. With my 2 records, I made about a half a dozen records at 2 different places, but I had to pay for them, and some of mine I never did get. Now we made a record there on telephone on the road. It was beautiful. I think those are the ones I had some records. I think I got 5 or 6 records, and I think they played them across the air a couple of times.

            36:57   Then I made 1 or 2 of San sitting on the corner, San Simian LaMore (??). I wish I still had a recording. You had to pay for that. I think I paid—at the time it was kind of high to see $110 for it. For those, I had to pay $10 a man, and you know what I mean. If you had 10 men in the band, it would be $100. If you had 12, it would be $120—you know—and so on, to get the right. If it didn’t do nothing you’re just out of it, but it would cost you to make the records. You are soliciting now. They come and ask you.

            If you sang pretty good, they’ll put a bunch behind you and they will ask you to do this and they will pay you to do it. They call this session. Now you get paid for making session. At the time I came on, you didn’t get paid. You paid to make the session, and hope that the record would be a seller. That’s the difference. There’s been advancement.

 

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F:         You were saying that the records you made on telephone all got played a couple of times.

SF:       Yeah, I did.

F:         I’m amazed.

SF:       No, they really did.

F:         Did they play jazz over the radio a lot then?

SF:       Yeah, at the time—to tell you the truth—this KPRC, which was predominately black, it was located then on the corner of Polkendoff (??), and it’s KPRC right upstairs. The building is tore down now, and they moved. The people that I know owned it, and it was known as the Houston Post Dispatch. You know the Houston Post? At one time the Houston Post was named the Houston Post Dispatch. That’s where KPRC where we had a blind fellow doing it by the name of Tilton. He was a white fellow by the name of Robert Tilton or some kind of Tilton. He was a piano player. That’s where my record went through there through KTRH.

            38:59   What I’m trying to say, I’m trying to say that KPRC was a jazz station, yeah, do a lot of jazz, KPRC. KPRC at one time was one of your better stations for handling real stuff. That was the best station.

LM:     Have you noticed any transitions in the music from when you began playing it, say in the ‘30s and what it is now—I mean—in jazz? Has it changed?

SF:       Yeah, it changed some. It changed quite a bit, improved. Let me go further and say this, and you got to give credit to the youngsters. It improved because it has better training. As I was saying to you a minute ago about the modern jazz sextet that left here from Texas Southern—you know—wasn’t long and that band could write, and that’s out of the whole band. They was so well trained that they composed a lot of numbers before they even left here. When they hit Los Angeles they was—so there’s been so much improvement, and the reason for the improvement is because they’ve been better schooled in this. Now I’m telling you like it is.

            Now our education of music came from Dr. Johnson, as I said before, Percy McDavid, Russell McDavid and Abner Jones. Those were the men that really wrote music. Now I’m talking about the guy that would teach you something to know what you’re doing. For instance, if you’re going to make a C chord—you know—the CEG is 1,3,5, and make it 7—you know—is B-flat which was C7. You know what you’re doing. You know the music.

            Now these boys—you can talk with the average high school kid, and if he’s got any background in music he can tell you what’s happening. At the time, well, we had the background. The average high school kid during my time, the only thing he could do back then, just play the same. He didn’t know anything other than just playing the same old notes when he’s singing. The kids now know what a music score is composed of, and what a right augment, a major 7. They know why on a movement. You asked me awhile ago if there’s any difference. Yes, there’s a lot of difference.

            During my time, which music was a gas, but we had a certain movement that we move in. For instance, you start on 1, you play 1, and go to 3 and you go on to 5, you turn around, back at 7, you see. Those were standard movements, and you could fake anything. Somebody said, “What key are you playing in?” “I’m playing in A-flat.” “Okay.” The only thing you had to do was playing A-flat, and your first chord is going to be G7. Well you know good and well you’re playing A-flat. You can move back to E-flat to go to A-flat if you’re playing A-flat.

            Now these kids, they got so many passing chords that we didn’t actually know about. You got so many passing chords, they diminish the augments. These kids play so many, you hear things so weird and beautifully playing that you want to buy it. If you stay in it, you can keep up with it. I’m singing in it, so I see, and I’m still learning. There are still a lot of things I still learn.

LM:     You mean processes?

SF:       Yeah, or because these kids, they’re moving the chords around, and I wasn’t taught to move them. I did just to make G diminish and go back to D9 and took back to C, and it was right. Well see this is what I mean. They are better versed than we were, at least than I was—then we were, of course. I went to the same guys on that, Arnett Cobb and Illinois Jacquet and Russell, and Eddie, and they had that same training. I knew I was humbled before music. I don’t think nobody grasped no more than I did. The kids of today are well-versed in music.

            43:31   This guy, this friend (unintelligible). He’s right in my band. His name is Lou Youngster. He ought to be around 20. Larry Willington, Larry should be around 22 or 23. He’s arranging the band. He should. Cedric was arranging about that time, but see how simple it is on his? Larry is arranging for the band. Like I said (unintelligible) Modern Jazz 60, not a one in that band couldn’t write, and not a one in that band who’s not writing. I have to admit, they are better. They’re better versed. They’ve got—just like football or anything else. You have some great players during that time, but I think the player today is better trained and better prepared. You can be the beginning and there’s nothing to be ashamed of because you’re all good where you were, and we were good writers. Is nobody going to take Lou Armstrong’s place, but there may be somebody can out read him and everything, but he all time will be Lou Armstrong.

 

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F:         Earlier you were talking about a jazz seminar or session they were having for youngsters somewhere over at the church. Would you explain a little bit about that? I heard a little about it, but I have it noted.

SF:       This happens every summer. They have a good faculty arranging there. I would love to get in there. I’m beginning to think about it myself. This is open for all high school students or any student or any youngster that is interested in music. It was originated and thought of—I was reading about guiding a drummer they call Bubba Thomas. Bubba Thomas, he finished from Wiley, and he came from Wiley College. This is what he’s trying to hand down to the youngsters coming up.

            45:35   On the faculty we have Pat Paterson—in fact I was telling you about it—created this. This is the brother of the Pat that played with me. They are from Beaumont originally. He came here to Houston and made it his home. Pat Paterson, he’s an instructive trumpet player, then got Arnett Cobb, going to be an instructor of the reeds—you know—saxophone reed section. As I said, (unintelligible) on percussion. They got the guitars—this fellow called Ross, Loss Ross, which he’s excited. He’s the morning guy, and he plays a mighty guitar and he sings beautiful stuff.

F:         Is this—

SF:       This is happening here.

F:         Is it jazz? Do they teach them to play jazz?

SF:       Yeah, and it is located there on South Morrison at 3121 South Morrison (unintelligible) . isn’t it?

LM:     I think it is.

F:         Do the students in school get as much today as they used to when you were in high school? Do they play something different now?

SF:       Their read on that can be difficult for me to know exactly, but yeah I’ll say they get more. Now the reason I’m saying they’re getting more, they’ve got such instructors. Yeah, they’re getting more. They had to get more. Now they’ve got such instructors, Connery Johnson. He is out of sight. He was born into music. You know what I’m saying? That’s his dad was—like I’m telling you—that’s his dad was the one that taught us in music, since the beginning of music in Yakes. That’s his dad. He came along in music all his life. You can tell would he have produced an amount of cashmere, how many championships Cashmere had won.

            The chances that Houston sends their youngsters to New York, so you know—at one time they had a fellow that was so good in the school, in Wiley school, by the name JP Mosley. The state of Texas got him to come to teach at Preview, and now he’s the music director at Preview College. I would have to say that the youngsters have a great opportunity for jays. I’m using the word jays, and do have called reasonable, as far as I’m talking about. They are jays men, yeah. It’s just going and getting it now, that’s it.

            48:23   I think it’s a little easier to get onto now, much easier to get on to. For me, for instance, I have a studio here. I teach the guitar, and maybe not much is charged, because I don’t want to. I figure if I can help I just do it. I charge them $2.00 a lesson, 1 lesson a week. That’s all you need, one lesson a week. It’s an hour lesson, but you have 15 minutes to practice and 45 minutes of playing, and I like for you to bring your lesson in. If I assign you a lesson, I’ll play it for you, hear it how it is. We go down it then. You’ve got 6 days to learn it, so the 7th day I want you to bring it in and play it, so this is the way I learned.

            This is easy after you get your foundation. You got to learn what the scale is—I mean—what a staff is and what the line and space do and flats and sharps. Do you hear what I’m trying to say? The kids got a good chance, and it’s so cheap, even during my time. During my time, I was paying that much money for it. The only reason I’m charging $2.00 is just for my time. Now you can go with that, I’ll say, “Oh, this is school.” I went over to this seminar here, and you got in free, and the general public high school gives it to you, so jazz got a long lifeline.

LM:     Do you teach to many kids?

SF:       Yeah, I have 5 so far. I told her I have one beautiful. I got one coming that’s going to be good, 11 years old, going to be real good.

LM:     Do they come to you?

SF:       They come to me. I run the studio here. Let me tell you, it’s hot. I’ll let you take a look at it before you leave. I run you back there and let you look at it. It looks good. I’m still going to tell you about him. He is built for his name, James Pitman. Of course, now he’s fine. I had a little problem with him for awhile, but you’re going to have a problem with all young musicians because they’re going to do a whole lot of funny things. My greatest problem was with him, when he come upstairs to practice his music, he’d be playing everything on the record—you know—you hear everything you record. I would fuss at him, but then I want him to do that, but I didn’t want him doing that during my class. You know what I mean?

            50:44   This proved that he was listening, could play anything he wanted. Now he reads, and he’s good. He’s here in the city now. He’s working around in the city. His name is James Pitman. He’s really nice. I’ll tell you, before he went off to North Texas State to finish it, so he must be pretty nice (unintelligible) West Texas State and majored in music.

F:         He’s in college now?

SF:       He’s out now.

 

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LM:     As an occupation, how has unionization of these issues affected you?

SF:       It helped me in some respects. It helped in a lot of respects. Then it kind of hurt in some things, but it helped further basic pay. You know what I’m trying to say? The only I find about it, I think they get the houses just ain’t the same with the union thing is the high level the union is paying. With the union being, it would be a better help, the union would be stronger. A lot of houses say, “So you’re a union man and since you’re union, play a song.” There’s a lot of what we call the scabs guys that come in and play so much cheaper until they maybe hurt the union.

            That’s the reason you hear me say it helped some and somewhat, and it hurt some. Now when you get a good job and you can get you a nice job, then they ain’t going to like a union band competing for its price, because you see, you’re going to make some money off it, because you got a good job. Then you got some nice money. I’ll tell you, I was fortunate to have the—what’s his name—I’m asking you all the time—the guy that cracks jokes with his name. Anyway, he came to the Shamrock, and he didn’t have a band with him. He came here, so he had to get a band around here. He got a white band.

            His name was Buddy Williams—I think, Buddy Williams band. It ain’t the Williams band. That’s at Shamrock Hills. He was lacking one thing. He was lacking the cushion he wanted for the stuff he’s putting out, so he was looking around here for a guy that could be reading his scripting right away, because he’s going on as of this week. In one day they got to read his script (unintelligible) and the drummer Dubac (??) to play at the Shamrock with him, so you do get good jobs.

            Let me tell you about it. Let me share this with you. The union did help us sometimes, like I said, whenever we did get the house and be able to get in the place. You got a girl singer, you can make money. I’ll get back to that, but I want to show you this. I was playing. I played all the show with the guy. I came in at 10:00 and played from10:00 until 11:00, and then I was off. I got $45 a night. From 10:00 to 11:00—I was back home with my wife about 12:10. I said, “Listen, I want to sit you down on the floor at 12:10,” and I worked from 10:00 until 11:00,” $45, so that pays.

            54:25   Now, he ain’t getting the money. What was his name? What’s that big, fat fellow’s name on TV? I got a 15-year autograph. I can’t think of the fellow’s name, but he’s here all the time. Every time I come in town he’d contact, but he’s been bringing his band all the time. I worked with him there one time. I told him whenever he’s in town—he plays at Shamrock. He’s in a chain, so whenever he comes into town he finds a big band or something waiting for him. He stayed there 3 weeks. He was helping. He was supposed to stay 2 weeks. Instead they held him over a week.

            To answer your question, yes, it helped and no, in a way it didn’t help. The way that it didn’t help is that the club owners, if they can get you to play for $25 a night, and the union is playing for $30 a night, you’re going to get it. If you bring 5 men or 4 men or 3 men or big men in, it’s $25 still, so you bring a big band in for $350, and I’m asking for $750. Some houses—well listen, I’m trying to think of this girl’s name. Now she’s playing here at this new hotel you guys have here, the Regency Heights. Is that the right name?

F:         Hyatt Regency.

SF:       Hyatt Regency. Her name is—what did she—?

F:         What did she play?

SF:       She’s a singer. She came along. Yeah, she came out of Wiley. She is Mildred Jones.

F:         Oh, Mildred.

SF:       She’s a local girl. She ain’t making no money, seeing that circuit that she made. I say she was a singer, and she was a terrific piano player. Did you know that?

F:         Yeah, she performed at our high school.

SF:       Nice, yes and nice as a piano player, real nice. She won’t play the key off the piano, but she’ll play enough for you to listen at it, and she can sing. She’s a local girl who had something real nice. You’ve got some—really, I found out lately that the talent here that you have, after they get where they wanted to go, wham, they’re out of Houston. They don’t stay, and that’s like those guys there. They’re gone. I guess they go for better pay, but they don’t stay. I can’t complain too much because I did it too. I did some of it. I just thinking about that, but it is a little better. Then you want to get out there and rub shoulders with the big men, and see just how big is he. Is he that much taller than you are.

          

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  57:07   That’s one of the reasons you want to see, how much is he playing in it, what else you can learn from somebody else. That’s where the word jam session along. I’ll tell you one thing I find out, though. I found that Houston doesn’t have as many jam holes as we used have. Everybody everywhere every corner had a little place where you could go in and take your instrument out of the case and jam for awhile, and go to the next one, all over. I noticed that has quieted down. We don’t have too many of those.

            We used to start on the weekend—you started on Friday—I could go to 12 places or more from Friday through Sunday, jamming, if I didn’t have nothing to do. Now if I wait until on a Sunday, I still had some jams that—you know—and this is where you show up and you teach. This is where I play with you, and you agree. This is the way I take some of your rhythm and put with mine. This way you take some of mine. You know what I mean? This was jam session. You were able to expel your feeling, to let your feeling go out and listen at the other guy’s feeling and take some of his feeling and put with your feeling. That would make it different than yours.

            I think this is where a lot of it comes from. I’m really thinking I don’t hate to see this thing. I’m thinking a lot of this music that you call rock came from our own state, you listen at it real closely. At one time there used to be a church called the Holy Rollers, but I think it’s changed the name to Church of God. Boy, did they have the guitars there. Did you ever go and listen there? I used to go and hang around there just to hear the guitar. Boy, he was out of sight, and the stuff he plays is rock tight. They’re playing now. They would dance and jump and do them funny kinds of dances, just like we do the Bop and all these things. They was doing that in the church, exactly.

F:         Sanctify.

SF:       That’s what they called it, sanctify, exactly. They had 2 guitars. They had 1 guitar playing in the corner was a woman and carrying a chord, and that man could go. I had another (unintelligible). It’s still there, but it used to be an old tent, and they were out of sight. That’s right, sound just like rock as of today. They were hard rocking too. You know what I mean? In Houston, some would like Dixie. You see a lot of jazz like New York. New York and Houston—this New York—we cross the Mississippi and we were at the mountain. We were over here on the dock. It was just different then.

LM:     For anyone listening to the tape that would want to hear you play, where could they go to hear you play?

SF:       Oh yeah, we are at the Libra club there. You know the Continental?

F:         On Scott?

SF:       On Scott.

F:         Where it used to be the bowling alley?

SF:       Right, right around the corner called the Libra club. We’ve been there on Mondays from 9:30 until 1:30. I think we are supposed to start broadcasting this coming Monday on KYOK.

F:         Bill Millington.

SF:       That’s right, like the president he is interviewing until we get these legal lines fixed with the union about broadcasting. It’s kind bored the people for us to be sitting up there for an hour from 11:00 until 12:00 and spinning records and talking. I’m thinking I went to the union, so we’re going to get things fixed so we can be on a record 15 minutes. We play 30 minutes, and take another 15 minutes, and they can just hang up. We would be live, and that may help the band to be recognized. If you all got any time to spend, come by there and present your card there, and tell them, of course, to come in as my guest. Bring your group if you can, and bring however many, a half a dozen or a dozen if you can. Bring them to sit, and I’ll have you at least admitted and all sit at a table, pretty much so you can listen and see just what the fellows are doing. I got a bunch of youngsters too. This ain’t an old bunch, so you got the kids.

F:         I think the guy’s name Pitman. Didn’t you say he was a guitar player? Did he go to Warrington high school?

SF:       That’s where he’s from.

F:         Yeah, he graduated at the time I did.

SF:       He was taking music from me then. Now he’s a nice guy.

F:         Yeah, he’s good.

SF:       He’s nice. One thing about James, he’s shy. If he’d get that shyness off him, he can play anything he wants to, anything he wants to, and he’s not guessing. He knows what he’s doing, because the trouble I gave in with him. I remember one time he came, and I didn’t have him as a student. That’s the reason this chair is bald, those new students and guys come at me (unintelligible). That’s the reason she turned out to be going outside of the university. Anyway, that guy—I tried to be hard on him because I knew good and well I had to be on him, because I knew what I did. You know—you can remember what you did and how you rat on your teacher and do things. A lot of the time I wouldn’t even look at my instrument until I got there in front of him.

            That is like I was taught really reading and improvising on the instrument by a white guy by the name of Paul Lopez the Houston Musical on McKinney. We used to have a place by the name of the Houston band house on the corner—but this was a long time ago, so I’m talking 40 years ago. It was on the corner of Travis and McKinney. That’s who put the instrument through my switch for music.

            I studied music in high school, but for playing an instrument, he showed me the fingerboard. See you didn’t have nobody to show you guitar fingerboard if you left your music. Now you had wind instruments, trumpet, trombone, and tuba. You played a bass violin and you played a string guitar. Then you have to find somebody like that, but you learn your music here in high school. You find the instrumentation by putting it on, but that’s where your music is. You learn your music and then you put it on your instrument. That’s the problem I had with James Pitman. He’s the type of guy that I had to band down. If he didn’t bring it in, I’d just close the door and open the door and tell him to go home. I just ain’t got no time to fool with him. Now I did that a couple of times, and he brought the lesson in, and this is where you got to be.

           1:03:58   This is where you’re teaching me. You bring your lesson in to your teacher, and he’s supposed to explain things to you before you go out there, and if there are any problems you have when you come back, well we go over it with you. When I mean bring in as much as you can, then he can go over it with you. Now all of my students we play duets all the time. We play it together. When he first starts playing his box, he plays the melody line, and I play the chorus. If you want to see if he knows how to express himself on another night, he plays the chords and I play the melody line, so I show him how to express himself. I find out he’d gotten to be a hard heavy. He’s getting to be hard (unintelligible). My fingers are not as fast as they used to be, and it is getting to be harder and harder. James Pitman, he’s really nice. He knows what he’s doing.

 

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F:         Why do you think there are less places for jam sessions in Houston?

SF:       I often wondered that. You know what I contribute that to? I often wonder why. I think moneywise is one thing. Now let me tell you the reason I say that. During that time it was so wide open. It was all marked. Did you know that? You could just walk in there, open house, see. They were marked. You just walk in there and sit down and listen to jazz, don’t pay or nothing. That’s the reason—I guess—but later on now people—the least you’re going to have to pay—there ain’t no such a thing as an open house. You’re going to have to pay a dollar to get in. Unless you have a band, you’re surely going to pay at least a dollar. You come in with a dollar, and then I’ll go myself sometime.

            This is what I’m thinking created it. For awhile I used to look for them myself. You still try to learn more. You still don’t care how. They have something for you all the time. The youngsters are doing something different. This is what—even if you don’t take your box, and you go down and listen, if you learn the guy and talk to him, so this is what you do. I used to go and 3 or 4 would turn out to be the other place where I could go and find places that was free where you could go in and listen. Every time I go around (unintelligible) I’m out about $8.00 plus my drink, a beer or so. You see, when I take $15 or $20 out of the house and come back with a dollar or so, well I’m kind of bent. When you go out to these other places and I used to make Liberty Road and Lockwood Drive and all down there for free. You can hear some nice stuff.

LM:     Have you heard RH Small recording?

SF:       Correct, now he came (unintelligible) with Henry Morris this morning. He’s the one. He’s along with me.

F:         Trina Coney, are you familiar with him?

SF:       Yeah, uh-hunh (affirmative).

F:         I’ve just been to a couple of his jam sessions.

SF:       Yeah, I didn’t mention Small, but thank you. He’s the original—really Small is your original rocking band. Small came with the original rocking band. Now Russell Jacquet, they’re going to be staying here in the city. Well, this is a fact. Illinois Jacquet which is a great talent man. He’s a great baritone. He is an original alto player. He’s the one that took Small to the place. Small started off with the band. Small was the original alto clarinet player with the band. It was Small and Eddy Vinson. When Russell came in the band, he came in as an alto player, and he switched over. Just before he joined that band, he threw Lionel out of the band, out of the Larkin band. He switched over to Turner then. He’s the original guy that had us flying home this year (unintelligible).

            Most of the boys went to Wiley. Incidentally, he was Louisiana. Originally, all the family was from Louisiana, and the entire family was musicians. Now I said their momma, their daddy, and there are four brothers and the sister. The sister was a terrific piano player, Mae E. Jacquet. The brother was a terrific drummer. That’s when you start playing tough. That’s the reason he wasn’t playing tenor when he wasn’t playing tenor, because his brother was a tenor player and he took that career. After he joined Milton’s band, was playing alto in the place of Small. We needed a tenor man so he switched and played the tenor, put the alto down and switched to the tenor.

            I know he didn’t play tenor on account of his brother was a tenor player. His sister, Mae Jacquet, was—they had an entire family. They had a band, the Jacquet band. They used to play bazaars. They did all the Catholic bazaars. We used to call him old man Jacquet. Houston has been exposed to many jazzes. It’s part of Houston. Jazz is a part of Houston. I was raised up with it, right around here in Houston. Yes, it’s part of Houston, and this ain’t Dixieland either, now. I’m not condemning Dixieland because I like it myself, I really do. [laughing] I really do like Dixieland, but this is jazz.

LM:     When you say jazz and you distinguish it from Dixieland. I’ve heard people say Dixieland jazz, but you seem to be saying that Dixieland is different from jazz?

SF:       As I said in the beginning, there’s not too much different between Dixieland and jazz. You remember me saying that? There’s not too much difference in Dixieland and jazz, just the mix. It’s just like within a rock. There’s not too much difference right now in—what you call it—commercial rock and jazz. Rock is getting to be—not as crazy, like when you’re crazy. Rock is getting to where you can listen to it. You listen to some of your better rock. It’s getting to where you can listen to it. Now the beginning of rock was so hair-raising until it give you a headache. I think some doctors at one time said it will make you crazy if you listen to it constantly. Now the version of rock, you can enjoy it now.

            1:11:12   What I’m trying to say is that—just like I used to hear guys say—“Man, you the genius.” I’d say, “He’s a fool calling me a genius because there’s still much difference between the genius and the idiot is this—lies, all lies,” so that’s what I’m saying, just that much difference in jazz and Dixieland. Now Dixieland, as I say, is more of a melodic, a melody line. You can listen to Dixieland and know what’s happening. Here’s what I’m trying to say about Dixieland. You know the song once you hear bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. The next time you hear it, you’re going to hear bah, bah, boo, bah. In Dixieland you may hear when it’s solo you may hear more than more than one tick or hop at a time. That’s where Dixieland—a lot of two trumpets or two clarinets playing a solo at the same time, so that’s where the Dixieland come in.

            Now in jazz, you never hear two men or listen to how they do it. They’re not playing the same thing. I mean—they’re playing the same thing, but they’re playing a top note, and third and a fourth and a fifth or something. They’re playing where you can hear it. That’s one difference. Jazz don’t stick to the melody line. You got bop, bah, doodle, bop, bop, bop, bah, bah. Let’s keep this going, bah, bah, boo, bah, boo, bah, boo, bah, and now you hit Dixieland and they’re going to play. You can hear the bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bop, bop, bah, bah, roe, bah, bah, roe, bah, bah, roe, bah, roe, bah, bah, bah, roe, roe, roe, bah, bah, bah, bop, doodle, do, doodle, do, doodle, do. That’s how we were doing it. Then Dixieland, bah, boo, bah, bah, boo, bah, boo, bah, boo—see, it’s just a melody line.

            This fellow I just talked to is Joseph Bridgewater. He’s a trumpet player. We have some real nice musicians in this city here. We got some real good ones in the city. We’ve played with some great fellows.

LM:     This has been a fascinating experience for both of us, and I want to thank you for participating—

SF:       Oh, it’s fun participating.

LM:     —and giving so freely of your time.

SF:       Well, it is something I want to talk about anyways, so just I couldn’t put my thoughts together like I wanted to. There’s a lot of guys I overlooked and not by me wanting to. I would like to tell you about them. I like to brag about the guys, and I just couldn’t bring all the names up. It’s the key, so age, lack of memory, huh?

LM:     You look like you have a lot of fire left in you.

SF:       [laughing] I just hate—I just can’t recall names. I can remember you, and I’ll remember you the rest of your day. If I ever run into—I mean—look at you, and you might remember my name and to call my name and tell me what you know about me. I’ll say, “Oh yeah, I know you, but I can’t remember names too well.” I never have been able to.

LM:     Well don’t feel too bad about it. I’m still considered somewhat young, and I can’t remember names either.

SF:       I’ll remember you for the rest of your days. I’ll remember how you look. I’ll remember when I see you. I may pass again, and you may say hello to me, and I say hello. It’s not that I don’t know, but it’s that I’m just afraid to use the word of calling a name to it, because I can’t remember names. My wife, she’s—it’s horrible—I depend on her. I depend on her for all these names now. If she was her, she’d—now she’s not quite—I married when I was younger. You know how you are—you wait until you’re older so you can get a little young girl, see, so she is much younger than I, but she knew all the guys.

            To tell you the truth, the man that she was courting that I robbed from him, he was a booker that booked all the bands, and so she knew a lot of musicians, and Don Robbie. Do you know Don Robbie or the guy by the name of Marson Myriad? He was the book of all, like even when they brought in this Ray Charles and BB King and Deep Mouth Brown and all those names. She helps me recall names.

LM:     Thank you very much.

[Tape ends]