Before lip-synch was even invented…

Honestly, I wouldn’t have believed it was Leon, even if someone had pointed at the screen and said, “Hey! There’s Leon Russell!”

Nope. Wouldn’t have believed it. Behind the piano, all right, but no beard, no white hair. In fact, he’s got a cruiser-hair-do straight out of an S.E. Hinton novel.

Then, partway through the song – in between the lines of the verse – he stretches out a word the way only he could do it, and it is unmistakable. Can’t forget a voice that was already one-of-a-kind, even back in 1964.

shindigBeatles2

Some of you may remember the show: Shindig! (That’s not my exclamation point… it’s the way the show was titled.) It was pretty early rock and roll, and unlike New Year’s TV music broadcasts these days, there was no lip-synching. Real guitar licks. Real vocals.

There was a house band that played each week. The Shin-diggers – who were later known as the Shindogs. Some musicians who later became big names, including Tulsa’s Leon Russell on piano. There was Glen Campbell, Billy Preston, Delaney Bramlett (half of Delaney & Bonnie, and the guy who taught George Harrison to play slide guitar), and other notables who were later known as the Wrecking Crew (Phil Spector’s studio band).

Shindig! was put together as a replacement show for Hootenanny, another musical variety show that featured folk and bluegrass music. (Even as I’m typing these show-titles they sound old-fashioned and antiquated. Did we really use words like that?)

leonShindig1

“Come on!” we yelled. “Let’s have ourselves a hootenanny!”

“Oh, you’re darn-tootin!” rang out the shouted reply. “We’ll have a regular shindig!”

Looking at these pirated episodes, I have to shake my head at the dancing (as familiar as some of the moves look…) and the hair styles, but the music isn’t embarrassing. The show was taped before a live audience and the musicians did themselves justice. Sure, they’re oldies. But they’re easier to dance to than a history book.

The show had a two year run – not quite 100 shows – that for a time aired twice a week in prime time.

ShindigTitle

And there were plenty of stars: the Beatles taped a performance in England for the show (Oct 7, 1964), Roy Orbison, Mannfred Mann, the Righteous Brothers, Tina Turner, Tulsa’s Roy Clark, Marvin Gaye, the Beach Boys – all performed in the early shows over the first few months, and there were plenty of others.

It’s almost a miracle that I’m able to view the episodes. Back in the early 1960’s, videotape was a new thing, and quite expensive. Since it was re-usable, it mostly was – and many programs were simply lost in the overwrite recording. Some years ago, a record label released some compilation tapes (VCR), picking and choosing songs to include according to a theme.

But in this case, some fan put a film camera in front of his TV screen (I’m guessing, in the way the old Kinescope recordings were done) and created an archive. Some shows are obviously copied from a studio master, as the inclusion of a running-time stamp would indicate.

One thing I’ve noticed about these shows I recall from back then: Everybody sure looks young.

Well, some of us no longer have our youth – but we’ve got technology, by gosh! I’m cranking up the computer and jumping up (slowly) to do the Mashed Potato!

(Chef Dustin makes his mash by hand every day for lunchtime, so Come Visit!)

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow, OK!

It was back in the time we ate dirt. And we loved it.

The four little words that carry the burden of years: Never Heard of It. It happened most recently while talking cars, when I mentioned the Datsun 240Z.

“A what?” he asked.

“Datsun 240Z,” I replied, figuring I had spoken it clearly enough, assuming that the car was an icon of sorts. Like saying, Corvette. People usually know what you’re talking about.

“Datsun?” he repeated, and frowned. “Never heard of it.”

BANG!

zCar

The hammer of aging. Remembering clearly the stuff people have never even heard of. Like the car model called Datsun before it morphed into Nissan. Used to own a boxy little Datsun and used to drive a Z-car.

But that was after they became known as Nissan in the US market.

The fellow and I were talking about the demise of British sports cars – those little convertibles of the sort I drove in high school. I suggested that the failure of the English cars was in part due to the introduction of the Japanese Z car.

It was the end of the 1960s and the US was clamping down for the first time on vehicle emissions. British car companies bolted on some emission control devices to meet the new standards – resulting in a lower-horsepower version of the previous year’s model. Since they were practically sewing machine motors to begin with, they no longer made for that zippy, happy, driving experience.

The Z-Car was designed with an anticipation of the new standards. Result: zippy, happy, driving experiences.

Needless to say, long-gone are the Triumphs, the MGs, and the Austin Healeys. The Nissan 370Z for 2016 has a suggested retail of 30K, and I bet it is even more zippy than before.

Some of the Tulsa media folks might remember the K95FM news car back in the early days of that incarnation of 95.5. The format had recently changed to contemporary country, with a news department. It was a kick to pull up to the scene in that sporty little blue Z.

It had one of the early mobile phones installed in it. That’s what we called them back then. Mobile phones. They were mobile as long as the car was moving, those first ones. Big as a cinder block and about as heavy.

But that car served to remind me that work can be fun, too. Especially for someone who is a fan of sports cars. Even if it was just a local press conference about the latest fund-raiser. It was a kick for me to drive to it.

So, today’s image is for those of you who don’t remember when the Nissan car company sold vehicles with the name Datsun stuck on the fender. The Datsun 240Z was the first in a long line of imported sports cars.

One of which once roamed the streets and byways of Tulsa County with a big K95FM emblazoned on the hood.

That was back in the days of good news, huh?

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

Seen & Scene around the Rose District

Here’s proof that Broken Arrow has outgrown its small-town beginnings. In McAlester, where I grew up, if one of the banks was remodeling its building, everyone in town would know about it. Too big a secret to keep, especially if the construction was taking place on Main Street. BA is big enough now that Main Street and bank buildings aren’t on everyone’s radar.

I’ve been asked almost every day for the past several weeks – “What’s going in across the street?”

1BankA

The building project is hard to miss, but perhaps it is harder to see the artist’s depiction of the finished version hanging on the temporary fence around the north and west sides of the building. It’s still 1st National Bank over there. Employees are a little jammed up while the work is being done, but none of the many who drop by for lunch have complained.

And – the job is apparently still on budget and on time.

I had suspected that the extent of the renovation might have thrown some projections off. I understood that the condition of the structure behind the façade might have been somewhat of a surprise. But the previous wooden supports have been replaced by a formidable set of steel beams and girder that should hold up the roof quite nicely.

1BankB

Although the bank has undergone remodeling before, the business has occupied what used to be separate buildings that were merged as the bank expanded. When the front exterior was removed, it was easy to spot where the old structures had their original walls.

According to the 1930 Broken Arrow telephone directory I’m looking at, and the First National Bank ad on page eight (there are a total of sixteen pages in the little phone book), you would have talked to a banker by dialing 234. The ad proclaims the business to be “Faithful Throughout the Years” and “Established 1902.” The address is given as 123 S. Main, which puts them directly across from the current bookstore location at 122. (It has been pointed out to me that one did not ‘dial’ the phone back in that time. An operator came on the line and asked, Number please…)

The bank is still directly across, but it is quite a bit larger these days.

Back in 1930, Kennedy Implement Company was also directly across the street from what is now our shop, and it took up considerably larger parts of Main. The business owned by J. W. Kennedy took up buildings at 117, 119, and 121 South Main – pretty much the part of the bank building currently under renovation.

Mr. Kennedy was a versatile businessman. In addition to the implements, furniture and hardware he sold at retail, residents could summon his aid by dialing 365 and he would dispatch an ambulance. If that didn’t work out, calling the same number would connect the next of kin to Kennedy Funeral Service and the expertise of L.L. Streed, the funeral director in the employ of Mr. Kennedy. Of course, during the daytime hours, Mr. Streed had his own direct line, and could be reached at 211.

So – it may be another few weeks before the bank’s exterior will reassure folks that First National is remaining at its current location on Main, in our Rose District. Until then, I’ll have to keep answering the questions.

And no, it isn’t going to be a new mall.

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow, OK!