First, the appropriate soundtrack:
There is much to say about these two photographs, perhaps too much to say.
The first, a performance shot from Eddie Condon’s downtown club on West Fourth Street, features Wild Bill Davison, Peanuts Hucko, and George Brunis. The pianist may be Gene Schroeder, the drummer Morey Feld, and I haven’t identified the string bassist. Eddie is talking to the customers, somewhere. The front line is relaxed; Brunis is in charge of the show, I think. And he has autographed the photo — along with Eddie (“Me too”), Bill, and Peanuts. The eBay seller asked for $250, so I contented myself with taking the image and sharing it with you. Someone did buy it.
When the second photograph remained unsold on eBay, I made the seller a more thrifty offer, which was graciously accepted, and the second photograph is mine.
I do not know if the two photographs were taken the same night, but I would assume it was a Tuesday night (“jam session” or, in Condon’s wry language, “ham section” night) when the equivalent of two bands played in varied combinations. Gene Schroedr is clearly at the piano, playing and being amused.
The autographs on the second photograph are Wild Bill Davison, Tony Parenti, George Brunis, and Joe Sullivan, who explains what is going on. Brunis, as one of his many stunts (one involved shots of vodka and hot sauce, alternating) would have one of the lighter members of the band stand on his stomach while he played. All I can say is “Don’t try this at home.” And if readers want to comment on the BMI of Joe Sullivan, at 190 pounds, those comments will be deleted.
There isn’t much to say about this beyond WOW, or OH MY GOODNESS . . . and to be thankful that nightclubs had roving photographers who would capture such moments, have the shots developed, put in a cardboard folder for purchase so that properly reverent fans could get their heroes’ autographs. My photograph came properly framed in black wood, but the seller noted that it “came in original folding cardboard souvenir frame from Condon’s club, displaying the Condon guitar logo.”
I admire such wackiness with all my heart.
May your happiness increase!