I was chatting with the wonderful drummer Josh Duffee at the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival while we were in the pub. Because he was waiting for his dessert, the talk turned to dinner, to cuisine, to matters dear to both of us.
Then Josh gave me the great gift of an anecdote I’d never heard before.
“Louie Bellson told me that Big Sid always carried a bottle of catsup in his back pocket. Put it on everything, Louie said.”
(The image comes from http://oldadvertising.blogspot.com/2010/06/snider-catsup-1915_19.html).
I have continued to speculate about this revelation. The simplest conclusion I can draw is that Sidney liked the taste of catsup. But perhaps it was because the food he often encountered on the road was of such variable quality that it often needed something to enhance its taste or perhaps to mask it altogether. I will be delighted to consider other possibilities as well.
And perhaps we now have to amend Sidney’s famous declaration to read, “I can swing seventeen men with one wire brush, a telephone book, and a bottle of catsup.”