I was keen to visit one or two old haunts from when I used to travel over here on business in the old days. We stayed often then at the Peninsula, so we popped into the Gotham Lounge for a pre-dinner drink. It hadn't changed a bit. But it was empty, and the prices were shocking - these issues are probably connected. On to Palm Too for supper; the food was still very good and the same waiters are still there, although now they actually have a menu. But my instincts tell me that current economic times are taking a vast toll. The streets are absolutely packed, but the busy places are fast food where you can eat virtually anything "and a soda" for only $5, the high end is having difficulty surviving. In a typical diner my iconic pastrami on toasted rye, with fries and a soda, was delicious and a valuesome $9. The pastrami was piled high - all thirty slices of it!
Some four years after the end of the Pacific War, BB King was playing at a dance hall in Arkansas; two men started a fight, and knocked over the kerosene barrel used for heating. He had to run back into the blaze to rescue his guitar. The fight was over a girl called "Lucille" and from then on, BB's guitars bear that name. It is also the name of the bar at the Blues Club, and on a Monday evening Jon Paris plays and hosts a jam session with friends. Jon is an incredible musician, having recorded and played with just about everyone, and he knows just every blues track there is. Well...............yours truly has been playing guitar a lot recently and the fingers are working well so we turned up for the show. It was a high end affair, with some great musicians (Gene Cornish, Joe Berger, Steve Holley), but I am grateful to Jon who introduced me at the beginning of the second set, handed me his Stratocaster and said "You're on!". Seeing a harmonica in his hand - and knowing that one's key selection is essential in these all too brief opportunities one gets in life - I seized the initiative and hit the E-chord and we were off for a great blues jam. Playing live at BB Kings certainly cures any stage fright you might have.
Also here is my favorite shot of the evening at Lucille's - the Admiral in full flow, by far the best dancer there that evening Go girl Go!
Soon I turn once again to forward plans...........what next?........