Flaskaland
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
  Crazy Esquerita
So when I was young and knew Frank, and my sister got to know Tina better after they played the Rainbow Gardens Ballroom in Pomona long about 1961 (?) mebbe 1962, from the gossip and talk with Tina and her singers, my sister casually announced that Little Richard may have copped some of his moves from a guy who turned out to be Esquerita.  And I was frustrated because I couldn't track that person down to buy a record and see ... because there were no records, his was a stage act in clubs I was much too young to go to.  But by then, Frank or someone near him had been able to find one of the rare records (an album I borrowed) and after listening to it for a few days, I decided I kind of preferred Little Richard.  He was more raucous. 

But for fans and scholars, the important thing is that Frank or someone close to him had the Esquerita album in his record collection by 1961 or 1962 because we borrowed this for a few days.  If you want to listen to all the music that Frank listened to, that is.  But it was the album that just had a head shot of Esquerita on the cover back then.


So like with this song, I noticed the rhythm was more jagged than Little Richard's, and Frank and I would talk a bit about whether the beat was driven by the piano or the drummer (who we could barely hear in the background) as Frank was so immensely interested in DRUMS.  Frank by that time was learning to notate drum lines.  Which was a complete mystery to me .... but the piano, that rhythm sounded like something from Huey Piano Smith and the Clowns, and I would mention that, as I had an "ear" for music. 

We'd listen to Buddy Rich, too.  We both liked Gene Krupa on television on a prolonged drum solo, but didn't care for his music and his reliance on sharp sounds.  Listened to Stanley Turrentine, but didn't like him too much.  LOVED the Resurgence of Dexter Gordon. 

My sister remained friends with Frank and one year (1968 or 1969), she brought home a present Frank had given her for Christmas ... actually two presents.  One was a pair of crotchless red underpants from Frederick's of Hollywood and the other a squashed looking dildo, that she showed me, too.

And I, because I was political by then and thought people with money should do something useful with it rather than buy silly presents, didn't find the dildo amusing at all, and was a little like Woody Allen in that movie where he gets hooked up with a prostitute who tells him all the stuff she does, and my sister called me "a prude" which Frank by his constant jokes and sneers seemed to think I was all along. 

Yeah!  They both started putting me down or teasing me viciously right about the time that Shelly Fabares appeared at the Rainbow Gardens Ballroom on some teen show, which I had gone to.  And Shelly sang her current famous song (which wasn't my cup of tea at all), and they were teasing me about that ... that I would like Shelly, you see, they were /// casting aspersions because I went to wholesome teen shows and later because I was not, well, like my sister ... who spread her joy around.

I wasn't too crazy about Shelly Fabares as she was related to a famous Hollywood actress, and it seemed that might be the only reason she got a movie contract and record contract in Hollywood (but later Elvis said she was one of his favorite actresses to work with), through her familial and industry connections, but back then for me it was enough Lou Adler liked her and brought her on the show to town, and he was okay, so I found her act and song more amusing.

I wish I could get a performance list of all the people who appeared at the Rainbow Ballroom in Pomona during that time, 1960-1962 as that would help set the dates for these pivotal conversations with Frank and my sister. 

In fact, I wish some local scholar would write a paper on the history of the Rainbow Ballroom, how it changed from a country western dance hall into a place for occasional teen shows, because I'd be curious ... as it was a big deal for them to bring in an r&b act like Ike and Tina, it was going against the grain of the place, but they did.  Ike did a call for musicians to come out, and he played a few lines from "Steel Guitar Boogie."  The guys wore rented tuxedos (more like cocktail tuxedos from a local men's ware shop).  And if I had the dates, and I might be able to reconstruct Ike & Tina's set list, and tell you exactly WHAT song they were singing when Frank drawn by the music, just couldn't resist it anymore, and actually HIT THE DANCE FLOOR!!!  And I saw his head bobbing in and out through the blond teen heads on our side of the room on the dance floor and he was grinning like he was having the best old time. 

And I was blown away by the casual impromptu set call mustered by Ike, because it would take forever just to learn that!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BjkatrwFpI






 
 




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