I don't remember sensing any
hostility from anyone in the place. I spent as many Friday and Saturday nights
there as I could afford (an A/2c got $85.80 a month in those days). The Saturday
night sessions lasted until after sunup, most weekends.
course all this was during the late summer and fall, in the town and year that
gave light to the "Little Rock Nine." The Waiters Club changed management.
Even though the Esoterics warned me that there wasn't much chance the new folks
would let me in, I had to try it. The doorman was surly, and hesitated only a
second before announcing, "He don't look like no cousin to me." The
Esoterics wanted to argue, but I backed out. There was no use, in my mind, creating
animosity toward them as well.
I was able to keep up with the happenings
"on the set" through Weems and another Airman friend, Curtis
O. "Chuck" McDaniel. One of the ladies who went to the Waiters Club
worked as cook in a Little Rock Bar (the "Ship Ahoy") where I spent
some time. She also helped ease the loss of that association. OK, I spent a lot
of time in the bar, a good portion of it in the kitchen. Again, I felt I should
back away because of oblique pressures on Annie.
One of the singers who
came through there while I could attend was Pam Newborn, Phineas' sister. Someone
complimented her, saying she sounded like Sara Vaughan. She said, "I just
want to sound like Pam..." She did both. I don't know if she ever had any
success other than in clubs, but she sounded fine, there.
I was also
very happy to be part of a pallid pair with a guitarist who played a gig there.
I can never remember his name, but I recognize the way he moves his mouth as he
plays, every time I see him on TV.