Even in January, it’s hot down below — when “down below” refers to Fat Cat, 75 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York, and when Terry Waldo and the Gotham City Band are in session. As they were last January 29 — one of their Sunday early-evening delights. (I’d advise not looking at the club’s graphic too strenuously; it raises certain questions.)
Our text for today, Brothers and Sisters, is the 1916 hit DOWN IN HONKY TONKY TOWN, by Charles McCarron and Chris Smith. I would never have added the Y to the penultimate word, but that was because I’d never seen the cover of the sheet music. I have changed my ways.
This site, the source of the sheet music above, also has a wonderfully erudite discussion about the origin of “honky tonk,” which I found fascinating.
Here is the start of the chorus:
Come honey, let’s go down,
to honky-tonky town.
It’s underneath the ground,
where all the fun is found.
There’ll be singing waiters,
dancing to piano played by Mister Brown.
He plays piano queer,
he always plays by ear.
The music that you hear,
just makes you stay a year.
(At this point the variant versions became too deep for me to delve into without a paid sabbatical, but you get the idea — an inducement to good times.)
Here’s the quite hot instrumental version created belowstairs by Terry Waldo, piano; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Jim Fryer, trombone; Evan Arntzen, clarinet; Brian Nalepka, string bass; John Gill, banjo; Jay Lepley, drums:
The temperature is in the nineties today, so we don’t need anyone to get us hotter, but this will be homeopathically salutary, and you can also watch it next winter to keep heating costs down.
May your happiness increase!