GRamercy 5-8639

rotary phone

Perhaps, for the Youngbloods in the audience, I should explain.  Older telephone numbers were patterned after words — presumably easier to remember — in the same way some business numbers are (whimsically) 1-800-BUY JUNK.  My childhood phone number began with “PE” for Pershing, the general; now it would simply be 7 3.  All clear?

I love Eddie Condon’s music and everything relating to it.  I wan’t of an age to visit West Third Street, nor the club on Fifty-Sixth, although I spent some delightful evenings at the posthumous version on Fifty-Fourth (one night in 1975 Ruby Braff was the guest star and Helen Humes, Joe Bushkin, Milt Hinton, Jo Jones, Brooks Kerr and a few others sat in).

This delightful artifact just surfaced on eBay — from 1958:


The English professor in me chafes at the missing apostrophe, but everything else printed here is wonderful: the names of the band and the intermission pianist.  The reverse:


I didn’t buy it — so you might still be able to — but I did have fleeting thoughts of taking it to a print shop and ordering a few hundred replicas, more gratifying than the glossy cards with pictures of Tuscany on them.

We don’t need a time machine, though, because a version of that band (with Vic Dickenson, Billy Butterfield, and others) did record, in glorious sound.  Don’t let “Dixielan” Jam or the CD title keep you away.  Savor the sound of Eddie’s guitar.  The music here was originally issued as THE ROARING TWENTIES, and the sessions were produced by the amazing George Avakian:

I did buy something, though — irresistible to me —  that struck a far more receptive chord.  Whether I will use it or frame it has not yet been decided.  I’ll know when it arrives.


If you have no idea what this is, ask Great-Grandma, who used such a thing to stir her whiskey sour.

May your happiness increase!

7 responses to “GRamercy 5-8639

  1. Don "Zoot" Conner

    In all my years in the “Apple” I never attended any trad-jazz club,I was too “hip”for that and was afraid I might have been seen there.Yes,i was young and very naïve.Needless to I have matured(boy,have I).With your help and my sensibilities I’ve come “around.”

  2. My great grandmother, grand mother and mother have “left the room” years ago, so, alas, I cannot ask them what “this is”. Is it a stick to stir drinks or does it have some other more exotic intent? Wayne, Australia

  3. It is called a swizzle stick, and with it one stirs a drink.

  4. Damned if my happiness didn’t just increase again.

    All Hail Avakian!

  5. I have a number of these cards from Eddie’s club, amongst other memorabilia such as the Scotch and Sirloin and numerous other venues, with my dad listed as the drummer accompanied by many of the same regular band members.

  6. Your father was and is a hero of mine, and I am not alone. The summer of 1972 in New York City!

  7. The letters at the beginning of a phone number represented the name of the telephone exchange, district or area within a city or town.

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