I come from the past century — where smoking was accepted in restaurants and jazz clubs.  And I remember coming home from the latter with my clothing redolent of tobacco . . . so I don’t miss it.

But I would gladly take my clothes to the laundry room immediately for a chance to be in either of these places: the first, a vanished New York City; the second, a more recent San Francisco.

ADRIAN ROLLINI matchbookI have to look the next time I am in the area — to see which bank or pharmacy has replaced Jack Dempsey’s.

TURK MURPHY matchbook

The most pleasing part of that second matchbook is that I know people who have played at McGoon’s.

And here’s the theme song of such smoky pleasures . . . more or less:

This is the record label — I think Buster’s only recorded vocal:

LIGHT UP“Let’s all get mellow,” as the song says.

May your happiness increase!

8 responses to “LIGHT UP!

  1. used to have a match book collection, which included blues clubs from the 30’s and 40’s in Berkeley, San Fancisco, and Philadelphia mostly….parents heaved them out at some point in their house clearing….they kept the crap and heaved the interesting.


  2. Re: smoke. I recall how my sax case used to smell like an ash tray from the club atmosphere. It was an accepted part of the scene, like conversation and clinking glasses as a background to the jazz being played.
    And your previous post..Davy Crockett. I also watched the show every week and had a coon skin cap. The song lyrics are cringe worthy now but I loved the included rendition. Thanks.

  3. I somehow doubt that Buster was singing about tobacco …

  4. Hmmm. Let us form a commission to investigate this. However, all kinds of substances require matches for a satisfying result.

  5. I think Jim’s right – the song’s about “getting tall,” shuzzit-wise.

  6. skretvedt1958

    I saw Turk Murphy when Earthquake McGoon’s was at Pier 39 in the early ’80s. I didn’t yet have any of his records, but I know I was enjoying the band, especially the trombonist who had a great shock of white hair.

  7. Dan Morgenstern

    What Buster was lighting up was no tobacco but what’s legal in Colorado. He was a big fan.


  8. Andrew J. Sammut

    In my uninformed opinion, whatever Bailey was “on” worked beautifully for him! I always like to see him get some attention.

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