I was chatting with a friend the other day about the oddball music I grew up on. My dad loved his jazz, Dixieland and Big Band mostly and he knew those players. “Who’s that on trumpet son?” In his day, my father played clarinet and sax and drums and had a little band – when he wasn’t betting the horses or playing poker that is.
I remember him telling me about the night he went to see Wingy Manone play at some joint, maybe it was the Colonial before it turned into a strip joint. Who knows if this story is true. My father never let facts get in the way of a good story. In this version, he sent a shot of booze up to Wingy, who told the band to “take it away boys”….”I’ve got a sponsor.”
At one point, Dad played Jimmy Rushing until I never wanted to hear Jimmy Rushing again. That is, until I moved out of the house. “Hey Dad, you still got that Jimmy Rushing record? Yeah yeah, the one with Brussels World’s Fair Blues with Benny Goodman on it. Can I tape that? (back then we had cassette tapes).” He was pretty happy about that. I suppose it demonstrated he was right all along. He’d say, “I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.”
I must have been 7 or 8 when my dad brought home a junk store record player for me, the kind that needed a couple pennies stacked on top of the needle to stop the skipping. I was so excited. He brought me my first record too, and I’ll never forget what it was. I was the only kid on the block who knew Ernest Tubb songs.
For a guy who liked jazz best, he still managed to instill in me a love for rootsy country music which I still enjoy today. He’d say, “There’s only two Hanks, son, and Hank Snow is the real good one.” Yeah, that’s about right.