Sunday, July 5, 2009

Leroy Cooper and the Ice Capades?

Leroy always greeted me at the door with a large smile, a hug and a kiss. I miss him terribly. We would go into what he referred to as the prayer room. We sat opposite each other – Leroy on a black and white hounds-tooth chair and me on a white chair. I placed the little recorder on the hounds-tooth ottoman between us. I pushed the tiny red record button and then the stories began.

While Leroy was on a break from the Ray Charles band he told me about an unusual gig he played in Vegas.

“We were working intermissions for the Ice Capades in the Latin Hotel. We were the opening act. They’d put plywood on the ice and we’d be so cold. I was with the house band. The name of the show was Funky Soul. Good show. A lot of people was on the show. A lot of no names. Most of them almost made it. We had one hour of happiness. We played through the show until the end. No stopping.

“I was trying to keep up with the band with the baritone and they were telling me to kick your legs up high. I said, ‘Give me a break.’ I had a little comedic spot. The guitar player was about 6’4” and skinny, and they used to have us stand next to each other because I was so large.

"That’s when Metrecal was popular. All this stuff was going on and then it would get quiet and I’d be standing with Terry and they’d say something like, “I thought you were on Metrecal.” People would howl with laughter.”

For those of you who don't remember Metrecal, it was the magical weight loss potion of the day back in 1960.

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