[Dixielandjazz] I remember Eddie Calhoun!

Don Ingle dingle@baldwin-net.com
Tue, 25 Jun 2002 07:20:53 -0400

Re: Eddie Calhoun
Eddie lived in Idlewild, just four miles away from my burg of Baldwin. He
played at a roadhouse north of Baldwin called Govt. Lake Inn, and I worked
with him on a number of his dates there. Since I was only a mile from the
gig, I never had to drive with him, so missed the trauma of his weed-fueled
driving. (Shades of drives with Dave Rasbury.) Lovely chap, good player,
though past his prime and energy level made him sag a bit on time by the end
of a gig.
He died after some reoccurring bouts of illness. Big C.
Had a chance to talk to him about his days with Garner, and of course, like
most, had the "Concert by the Sea" album in my stack of LP's.
He almost burned his house down once. Had a barrel trash fire going (at a
time when no open fires outside were being permitted), had gone inside to
take a nap and didn't watch it. Wind drove it out of the barrel and onto the
ground. Sooted up his bungalow pretty good but the local volunteer fireman
managed to save the building, though the backyard down to the lake was a
charcoal view for sometime.
Good memories of a good player
Don Ingle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Hooks" <charliehooks@earthlink.net>
To: "DJML Dixieland Jazz" <dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 12:36 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] I remember Eddie Calhoun!

> on 6/23/02 9:12 PM, Lzch12@aol.com at Lzch12@aol.com wrote:
>       Hey Charlie,
>       Thanks for the word on the List. I probably wouldn't be a big
> contributor anyway but do like to feel like I can say something once in a
> while.
>       In reading about Truck Parham, I was reminded of a bass player that
> Liz and I had met in Northern Michigan. The guy was a heck of player and
> round fine fellow but a very quiet type. He was living in a town called
> Idlewald that used to be a great gathering place for well known black
> entertainers but I did manage to get him to tell me that he had retired
> there after playing in Chicago. Not until he died did I find out that he
> played and recorded with Earl Garner, and the high regard that some well
> known players had for him. His name was Eddie Calhoun. Had you ever run
> him, Charlie?   chuck
>                  Eddie Calhoun?  Well, yes indeed!
> Boy, do you bring back memories!  I first heard of Eddie on Garner
> recordings back in the early fifties and loved listening to him on my AR-1
> speaker that was the greatest bass repro of any monaural system (would
> repreduce the fundamental tone from a 32 foot organ pipe)--"Most Happy
> Piano" and  the "Palisades" album.  Played those recordings over and over,
> as much for the great bass lines and sound as for Erroll.
>    Then when I came to Chicago in 1978, danged if Eddie Calhoun didn't
> and work right here in the city.  He was pretty busy, but I hired him when
> could get him.  He lived on the South side in a fairly decent
> but still behind several sets of steel bars and many chains.  I'd pick him
> up sometimes and we'd listen to his records before or after a gig.  Always
> found it hard to believe that this li'l ole white boy was playing with a
> of Eddie's skill.  He just had that great Black Feel down to an art form,
> natural great talent.
>    Another great talent: he could smoke enormous quantities of weed and
> still play, maybe play better, but who knew: never worked with him on the
> straight.  This is a talent I've never had: pot just freezes me physically
> and mentally: trouble recalling my name, etc.   So I've always left it
> alone, preferring to drink some Bushmills chased by Guinness (or vice
> at times) and still play.  I think.  Not sure about that, either, but of
> course it always sounds good to me.
>    There's a tale here, if I can find it:
>    One spring evening I had booked a job over in Indiana--a Notre Dame
> party--and this time Eddie decided that he'd drive me in his car.   This
> a decision I came soon to repent, for while Eddie could smoke and play
> beautifully, Eddie could not smoke and drive at all, a fact I did not as
> understand.
>    OK.  We packed up.  Then we started west on I-90 back to Chicago.  And
> began to rain.  Brother, did it ever!
>    Visualize: this is no ordinary rain.  This is Noah's Ark rain.   The
> drops are pint-sized, exploding against the pavement, on our vantop, all
> over the landscape and misting into sheets of water dancing in front of
> almost cutting off visibility.  And Eddie is cool.   Eddie is tootling
> the Interstate.  Eddie is (I glance at the speedometer) doing a really
> 37 miles an hour.  I mean, he is a happy man, not a worry on earth and
> humming (to prove to me he remembered it) "I Remember Clifford."   I swear
> I'm not making this up!
>    18-wheelers are blowing by us with airhorns blasting!  On both sides,
> because we are in the middle lane.   I said, "Uh, Eddie?  Do you think we
> might, maybe, better move, uh, over to the slow lane?"   And Eddie, after
> thinking about it for quite some time, said, "Oh...Ah...Yeah...Maybe so."
> Seemed to take most of the 90 miles back to Chicago to get Eddie over into
> the right lane.   Meanwhile cars are sliding off the road, spinning out,
> pontooning over the waterfilled highway--and we are like Mr. Magoo,
> creeping along in utter safety by pure accident.  God loves him, too!
>    Eddie's solution is to light another joint.
>     So, yeah, you might say I "ran into Eddie Calhoun."  Loved him.  But
> never again let him drive!
> Charlie
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