Me & Bobby Sherman in “LA LA LA” LAND/Jimmie Rodgers per Ralph Peer/Jug Joint
Today, July 22, is Bobby Sherman’s birthday. Bobby was a late ’60’s/early ’70’s teenybopper idol who had a number of hits, including “La La La,” probably released in late ’69. We recorded the trax for it on Sept. 19 of that year at Columbia Studios (my journal has the words “Metro Media” penned in next to the name of the studio, but I don’t know what it means. Maybe Jason Odd does). Other than that session, the mix of which left no trace of my rhythm acoustic guitar playing to go on the record itself, I have no relationship with Bobby Sherman and never did. I wish I could tell you who was on the session, but in those days I was not an historian, just a struggling session man. Plus, I was prob. hammered, as usual.
Anyway, it’s time for some more Jimmie Rodgers stuff. These are scenes, one worked into dialog, the other waiting to be, that were not yet included in the script outline, but I thought would yield good action and/or dialog and/or character development, once they were turned into screenplay matter.
Exchanges with and about Ralph Peer, Victor A&R man
Jimmie Rodgers is in a small recording “situation” in June of 1931. It’s the old church Victor used for a studio in the Camden. The church is dark inside, except for an intimate glow where the musicians and recordists have located, in the center of the main worship hall. The pews were long ago removed.
Camera starts with wide-angle, all-inclusive shot of whole room from elevation. Sound of the session in progress starts very faint on track, slowly gets louder as camera gradually zooms in. It is a kickass rendition of one the blue yodels, and as camera gets closer and sound louder, the pulse of the track, and Jimmie’s performance in response to it, is hot. All the musicians and recordists feel the beat and the confidence of the music. Including one man who seems to be rocking out in spite of himself. He’s a little stiff about it, but is clearly enjoying it.
The piece ends, the music is over. One of the recordists signals Jimmie and the band for a long second of quiet that they will put at the end of the recording. Everybody knows this is the take to go with.
The recordist indicates the silence is over, and Jimmie and the musicians congratulate each other on a good performance, talk about it lovingly to each other. Jimmie slowly makes his way out of the studio and into the (glassed-off) area where the engineers and the man are, walking through all the other musicians as he does. Except for Jimmie, all the musicians are black.
JR: What do you think, Ralph?
Ralph Peer: What do I think Jimmie? You know what I think without even asking me. It was a very good take. Best one of the day. And it’s a real good arrangement. Different from what you usually do, just like promised it’s be. But…
JR: But what, Ralph?
RP: You know “but what” Jimmie.
JR: Well, now, I’m not sure I do.
RP: Jimmie, we’ve talked about this. A lot. I can’t tell if you understand what I’m trying to say or not. I’m not sure you’re even listening to me.
JR: Humor me. Tell me again.
RP: Oh, let’s just forget it. We don’t list the musicians on the label, anyway. Maybe I’m making too much of it muself. I–
JR: Oh. You mean the colored musicians on the recording?
RP: Jimmie, don’t play naïve with me. It doewsn’t fit you.
JR: Ralph, I know the musical background fits for my songs. And like you say, we’re not going to put the names of the players on the label, so who cares what color they are. I don’t care. You don’t care. Mr. Victor, he don';t really care. So who are we protecting?
RP: Well, first of all, I’m not 100% sure the Victor company doesn’t care who their artists record with. I’m just saying, you’re asking for trouble when you have Niggers in the band. Look, Jimmie, you know how much I like Nigger music. Hell, I’m going down to Atlanta next week just to record–
JR: I do know that, Ralph. I do. But what I can';t figure out is why if they can play the music, and nobody’s gonna see em, what’s wrong with having ’em play we me, on muy records? What difference is it going to make to anyone?
RP: [Long beat] Jimmie, I can';t relly tell you what difference it’s going to make. I’M Just saying coloreds are not like us. They have…a different way of living. Some people don’t like that difference. A lot of folks–your fans, Jimmie–feel they lose some jobs because the Niggers’ll work for less money than we do.
JR: And do some jobs we don’t want to do. Like all the “Georges” on the Pullman cars, like plowing a field by hand. Like picking cotton…
RP: …Like accompanying you. Some of those jobs they’re taking are jobds that could go to our musicians…
JR: You mean white musicians.
RP: Jimmie, if Clayton McMichen finds out you recorded with Niggers, he won’t play with you any more. You understand that?
JR: [beat] So what do you propose, Mister recording director? Throwing these takes out and starting all over again?
RP: [beat] No, not exactly, Jimmie. But, we do have their arrangements recorded. There’s no reason why we couldn’t have Clayton and the Burke Brothers learn them, and then you’d record the sides with them. It’d be the same music, and everyone would be happy.
JR: Almost everyone.
RP: Whay do you mean, Jimmie?
JR: Well, I don';t want to sound boastful, Ralph, but I think Earl and his boys really were proud to record with me. I think they’d b e very disappointed if they were’nt on the record they helped me arrange.
RP: Well, Jimmie, it’s not like we won’t pay ’em. They’ll make over $75 a man. Jesus, that’s more money than any of ’em’ll make in a–
JR: I know you’ll pay ’em Ralph. I rtrust you that way. I just think…well, somehow, it doesn’t seem fair for them to have done all this work, and expect to have something thye could take home, show their families and friends they played with the singing Brakeman on a national record, and now all they’ll have to show for it is as musch money as they woud’ve gotten choppin’ cotton for a couple of weeks.
RP: [beat] Well, what do you want to do Jimmioe? I gave you a good alternative plan for your backup band. You havre to decide if you want to take it or not. You know what I think. But your contract with us says only that you’ll write, prepare and perform x number of songs x times a year. I can’t make you do anything, as long as you live uyp to your end of the bargain. [beat] So, what do you want to do?
RP: Take all the time you want, Jimmie. Hell, take lunch and dinner; we’re not recording again ’til tomorrow. I just hope you make the right decision.
JR: Me too, Ralph. Me too.
(Same scene as recalled by Ralph Peer in an interview 30 years later.)
RP: (Chuckling)…didn’t always know what the implications of his actions were. He wasn’t dumb. Jimmie was actually pretty clever, considering he didn’t have anything but a uyear or two of public education. But Jimmie…all he wanted to do was make friends. Didn’t much matter how he did it. Tho’ thank God one of the ways was with his music. You know, the recordings, the tours, the “impromptu” sitdowns. Wherever he was, he just wanted to be surrounded by people that loved him. Note that I’m saying they would surround HIM. That’s important. He loved people, but he did want to be the center of attention. Nothinhg wrong with that; that’s what every good entertainer has to want, or he woun;t be worth a damn to himself or anyone. You know, I remembver one time he–
Interviewer: But do you recall anything about that session, you know, the one in LouisVille, in June? I mean, about how he seemed to feel about keeping the Negro players as his backup band, or–
RP: Well, see, that’s what I’m trying to tell you about. Now, Jimmie didn’t care much about the, how would you say, the “imponderables” of the recording business. If it sounded good when we cut it, why then, that’s what he wanted to issue. Didn’t matter what we called it, didn;’t matter who played on it. Now, he understood he had to get writing credit. That he understood, thanks to me. But you know, until I showed him he couldn’t get any publixhing royalties unless he was the writer of the songs he recortded, he didn’t care. I think maybe that’s where some of the, uh, Nigra influence came in. I think he heard Nigra fellas playing and singing in the yards, you know, the railroad yards where they’d all stay over until the next connection, and he knew it was kind of catchy and mournful at the same time, and he wanted the sound for himself, and he didn’t see why he couldn’t just ghet the boys who played it to play for him.
But yes, to answer your question, he did seem to have some concern for the colored boys’ feelings. But not like your current-day integrationists, your peace marchers and your intermarriage people. I don;’t think he would have been happy at all to see Kathryun–his daughter, you know– marry a colored boy. No, he wouldn’t have gone that far.
But when it cam to the music, his music, he was color-blind. and it was hell on the rest of us. You can say he was ahead of his time, socially, I mean, but I don’t think it was that at all. it was the music, plain and simple. If he could get an alligator to plkay guitar the way he wanted it, or fill in a good washtub bass part or a big jug, why he wouldn’t care who was playing. But he wasn’t a freedom busrider. What do you call it? A civil rights activist? No way.
Int: What actually happened to the recordings from that session? The ones that had the black sidemen? Do you recall?
RP: Do I recall? Yessir, I recall. Jimmie told me later that day, after the session was over and the colored boys had gone, that it’d be alright with him to have some of our boys–
Int: You mean white musicians?
RP: Well, whatever. Actually, there was a Hawaiian player in there somewhere, a lap-slide guitar player, I don’t actually remember exactly when, tho’ I could look it up if you wanted. But yes, to answer your question, he agreed to let some white musicicans learn the parts from the colored boys’ recorded arrangements, and he’d sing along with them, with the white versions. You call them “covers” now. That’s thanks to me, too. I made up that exprtession, “covers.”
But he insisted that we issue the ones he liked the best, the versions he preferred, colored players or white players. [silence]
RP: So, we got the Burkes and McMichen and Joe Sdchmuck, and they listened to the arrangements Jimmie had done woth the colored bouys, and learned them well. They were all adept ;players. I thought they did real well. But…the fiddle on the clarinet part just didn’t please Jimmie for a low-down blues–that’s what he called songs like My Good Gal’s Gone Blues–“low-down.” That was his term for it. Anyway, the fiddle just didn’t go with the words, at least that’s what Jimmie said. And also the real bass, the concert bass, just didn’t sound the same as the jug. [musing resentfully] That damn jug. I hated that jug. To me, that’s what made it sound so Nigra. The jug.
Int: So you went with the black version of My Good Gal’s Gone Blues and What’s ‘It? when you issued the records?
RP: [beat] We issued Jimmie singing with the Nigra players, yes.
Mfx: Funky, driving jug band recording fades back up; maybe camera pulls back from cu of session it had originally zoomed into.
Same scene from standpoint of aging black musician being interviewed, ca. 1970.
Musician (Morgan Freeman?): Do I think it made a difference to Jimmie whether we were included or not in the recording? (chuckles).Now, you talkin’ ’bout the music or our feelings? ‘Cause if you be asking’ ’bout the music, shit, you be on a fool’s mission. The music was elementary to Jimmie Rodgers. Elementary, see. The music always come first. whatever be the best music, that be what Jimmie Rodgers wanted on his recortds. He take what he could ghet, see, what ever was the best around at the moment he was recortding. But if something was better than something else–you understand what I’m talking about?–,if something be better than something else, Jimmie always take the winner. Once he heard what the song could sound like with good musicians, musicians with the “feeling”–you understand what I’m saying here?–when he could hear the “feeling” in the music we playing, he don';t wanta go backward. He want to keep that music with the feeling. [maybe this guy plays a lick or two on guitar–electric!–or mouth harp, amplified].
Int: And what about your heart? And the other black musicians? Do you think that mattered to him? I mean not the music, but your feelings, how you took it that some of the recording people didn’t want you to play on his records no matter how good it sounded. Did he care?
Mus’n: Well, now, I’m no mind-reader, you understand. And I just knew the man for a few days, you know, not like we grew up in the same county or anything. But I’ll tell you this: When he was in the recording [booth] arguing with Mr. Peer, I had to kind of walk through them all, ’cause I had to take a pee and the toilet was you had to walk through where the recording equipment was to get to it, I saw and heard Jimmie Rodgers arguing vociferously with Mr. Peer. Vo-ciferously. And Mr. Peer, he didn’t look all that happy ’bout the way things seemed to be going for him, and whatever he was trying to hget Jimmie to do. And Jimmie, he looked pretty worked up. I don’t know what he was saying when I didn’t hear him, but I know when I did hear him, he was asking Mr. Peer what difference it made if they weren’t going to put the names of the players on the label. He was saying what does it matter, long as the music was good?
Int: So you’re saying he really didn’t care that much about the muscicians, he just cared–
Musc’n: Well, now, whoa just a bit, Mr. Folklorist/Civil Rights man. that’s not exactly what I said. What I said was he seemed to be fighting hard for the music to be right, no matter who played it. When you ask me how he felt as a man, inside hisself, I have to tell you this: there was another guy in the band, Earl MacDonald, he played the jug. You know what that is, the jug, right? Anyway he played the jug, and he was really good, a virtuAHso, you understand what I’m saying? he could make that jug talk, and still keep the rhythm for everyone else in the band if they lost it, say.
But see, Earl–he’s the one that booked me onto the recording session–Earl knew Jimmie a long time. Earl knew Jimmie from the yards, that’s where they met, in the yuards, the rr yards, and they’d see each other all the time, on the different runs, doin’ different work, of course–colored folks and white folks didn’t do the same kind of work on the roads as each other–, but they seed each other all the time, ahd sort of followed each others’ like careers when they got around each other, or heard from other [rr workers] and asked after each other.
And anyway, what Earl said, was he didh;t ever see Jimmie mad as he seemed to be that day arguing with Mr. Peer. In fact, Earl say Jimmie had a reputation for being just as easy going like most other people in the south. You know, we just don’t get as “up tight” as you people do. Earl, he say Jimmie was campaign shoutin’ in that control booth, and it seemed to be about what’s fair and not fair as much as anything else. Earl say Jimmie tell Mr. Peer, “These boys have worked hard for me for the best part of a week, on these arrangements”–and we had, too. He got that right– “and,” Earl say Jimmie say, “it’s not fair they shouldn’t be able to play on the record, just because they was colored. Esp. since no one listening to the record was going to even see ’em.”
Earl say Jimmie was a friend to the colored man. That he helped the colored man out whenever he could, but most especially in getting the colored man noticed for his musibility, if you understand what I’m saying.
Int: But Mr. Peer said he’d be glad to pay you guys for your services. He wasn';t trying to rip you off financially.
Mus’n: That’s right. Mr. Peer say he pay all us boys for our trouble. Decent money, too. Almost a hundred dollars apiece. [beat] And you know what Earl say Jimmie Rodgers say to Mr. Peer when he say that?
Int: No, I don’t.
Musn: Well, I don’t think I can say it on this tape recording you’re making. I think you better turn it off, first.
Int: Well, I’ll tell you what: it’s my tape and my tape recorder, and no ones’s going to hear this that I don’t want to hear it. What’d Jimmie say to Peer?
Mus: [beat]. He said, “Fuck you. These are my musicians, and Ill record with ’em if I want to.” That’s what he said, “Fuck you.” Earl like to died when Jimmie said that to Mr. Peer. And then Jimmie took four crisp new $100 bills out of his wallet and pushed them at Mr. Peer. “Here’s your outlay for the first session, Ralph.” Then, so everybody could hear, you know, all us colored guys in the recording studio and all the recording engineers and Mr. Peer, he says real loud, like someone just got the faith or something, “Day after tomorrow, everybody. Ten AM sharp.” That’s what he said. I heard him myself. “Everybody be here day after tomorrow”–that would be a Wednesday as I recollect–“at ten o’clock in the morning.” And then he said, “And whoever’s bringing the hootch, don’t forget it this time.” Honest to God, that’s what he said.
[If this guy had picked up a guitar or harp and hit a lick or two during the interview, I think we go out on some good, raunchy Chicago R&B, ala Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters, etc., and make that connection]
Smalltown RR crossing at night. Bell clangs, red lights blink, white crossingarm falls into position. Train rounds a last curve before coming into view, approaches slowly, brakes hissing and squealing. There is no reason for it to stop here, and somehow it knows it.
High atop one of the boxcars a man with a lantern traces an arms-length circle in front of him, like the outline of a shield, then pumps the lantern straight up and down. He does this every few seconds as the train gets closer and closer to the crossing. On the fourth repeat of the pattern another lantern, just outside a small shack up the track, is waved straight up and down. A whistle moans one long, three short tones and the train slows down some more. It comes into the tiny station at maybe a fast walk.
Boxcar rider scurries down the steel ladder that runs up the side of the boxcar, right next to the open doors where three men crouch. The man on the ladder climbs down to the men in the doorway and talks to them.
JR: OKAY, GENNEMENS, THIS IS IT.
One of the men jumps from slowly moving train, trots a couple of steps to equalize his own speed with that of the train. The other two men are right behind him. When the boxcar man is sure the other two are free of the tracks, he signals one more time to the Stationmaster, who is now about a hundred yards up the track. He signals back. A moment later, the whistle blows and the train starts to pick up speed, the whoofing and clacking of the engine and wheels gradually drowning everything else out as it struggles to get to a speed it is more comfortable with. The three men walk toward the small shack and the Stationmaster.
JR [to Stationmaster]: OBLIGED, SAMPSON. [Hands lantern to Stationmaster]
Stnmstr: GLAD TO HE’P, JIMMIE. [Takes lantern from Jimmie, gives the two black men the once-over, shrugs, turns back to Jimmie. WHEN YOU THINK Y’ALL BE BACK?
JR: HARD TO SAY, SAMPSON. DEPENDS ON HOW LUCKY WE GET.
Stnmstr: WELL, WE GOT THE 11:45 AND THE 1:13…
Arnel: LAWD, I HOPE WE BE LUCKIER THAN THAT.
Stnmster: TELL YOU WHAT, MISTER RODGERS: THE SILVER ROCKET’LL BE COMIN’ THRU AT 5:46 IN THE MORNING. WHY DON’T I JUST ROLL IT ONTO THAT SIDETRACK AND HOLD IT FOR YOU ‘TIL YOU GET HERE? I DON’T THINK THE OTHER PASSENGERS WOULD MIND ALL THAT MUCH, DO YOU ?
JR: WHY, THANK YOU, SAMPSON. THAT’S VERY KIND OF YOU.
Stnmstr: OH, THINK NOTHING OF IT, MISTER RODGERS.
JR: THINK NOTHING OF WHAT, SAMPSON? OH, AND DON’T FORGET SAMPSON: TWO MINUTE EGGS. LAST TIME THEY WERE SO HARD I THOUGHT COOK FORGOT TO TAKE ‘EM OUT OF THE SHELLS.
Stnmstr: NO, THAT WAS ME, JIMMIE. HAD ‘EM MADE UP SPECIALLY MADE FOR YOU.
JR gives famous “thumbs up” gesture to Stationmaster. Both men laugh.
Stnmstr: WELL, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR, JIMMIE?
Wave to each other. Jimmie and the three other men start walking along the road that crosses the tracks.
JR: WHOA, I’M HET UP, ARNEL. AREN’T YOU, OR ARE YOU TOO COOL? HOW FAR IS THIS PLACE?
Arnel: WELL, LESSEE. YOU GOT A COMPASS AND SLIDE-RULE?
Jukie: SHIT, MAN, IT’S COLORED TOWN. WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU SEEN COLORED TOWN MORE THAN TWO BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE RAILROAD TRACKS?
Arnel: ANYWAY, YOU BE HEARING IT BEFORE YOU SEE IT.
At that moment a noisy, ragged jalopy turns the corner into the street they’re walking along and pulls up beside them. One of the guys leans out the front window and greets them.
Rider: HEY! ARNEL! WHATCHA DOIN’, BABY? HOW’S LIFE AMONG THE EM-PLOYED?
The jalopy pulls over, Arnel walks to the curb and chats with the people in it. In a second the rope that is holding both doors closed is unlooped, and Arnel is motioning Jimmie and Jukie to get in.
JR: YOU SURE YOU GOT ROOM?
Driver: SHIT, MAN, WE GOT ROOM FOR A WHALE IN THIS THING.
Arnel: GOOD, CAUSE WE GOT A WHALE IN OUR PARTY. JIMMIE, JUKIE, GET YOUR ASSES IN HERE.
Everyone piles in, and the jalopy chugs off.
[They find a parking place and the seven men pile out and start walking down the street. It’s a down-at-the-heels neighborhood, with few lights and fewer neon signs. Just over the threshold of hearing there is a pumping pulse, audible only as a low, single note line. Gradually, as the men get closer to its source, the line is joined by other, less elemental sounds. Band instruments!
The six black guys are reserved and poised as the excitement builds, but Jimmie’s having trouble containing himself. He looks at Arnel, who just keeps looking cool and purposeful as he and the other guys step thru a battered, mud-silled doorway. The door is open, and music fills the room. It’s a jug band, and they’re cooking (see Minglewood Blues in Smith collection). Inside the Club it’s a casual atmosphere, with some people dancing, some drinking at a ratty bar, some playing cards. There’s a pool table across the room from the jug band, and some sharply dressed Negro men are standing around it. There are hookers in evidence, and Arnel and Jukie move directly toward a couple of them. But Jimmie just stares at the band, transfixed by the chugging rhythm of the orchestra and naked rawness of the vocalist’s delivery.
“DON’T YOU NEVER LET ONNNNNE…WOMAN RULE YOUR MIND.
DON’T YOU NEVER LET ONNNNNE…WOMAN RULE YOUR MIND.
‘CAUSE SHE KEEP YOU WORRIED, TROUBLED ALL THE TIME.”
Gradually, some of the bar patrons become more attentive to the music. Sly observations and comments are made.
Crowd: YOU SAY IT, BROTHER, YOU SAY THE TRUTH. LAWD, YES. HE BE SAYING THE REAL THING, YOU BELIEVE IT, ETC.
One voice, young, female and earnest, stands out amidst the general murmuring.
Crowd: WHOOOOEEEE! UH OH. NOW YOU DONE IT, GUS. ETC.
Vocalist: “YOU BE A MARRIED WOMAAAN…COME SEE ME SOMETIME
YOU BE A MARRIED WOMAAAN…YOU COME SEE ME SOMETIME
YOU BE A SINGLE WOMAN…I’LL SEE YOU BY AN’ BY.”
Thelma: YOU BE LYIN’ LIKE A ROPE, GUS. YOU A SNAKE.
Gus (the vocalist) laughs and sings another verse, then tells the band to comp while he and Thelma do the Dozens. They’re good at it. It’s a real show. Then, finally…
Gus: YOU BE SUCH AN AUTHORITY ON MATTERS OF THE HEART, WHY’NT YOU GET YOUR BLACK ASS AND TITTIES OVER HERE AND SING THE SONG FOR ME? COME ON, THELMA, GET ON OVER HERE.
Crowd: YEAH, GO ON, THELMA. WHOOOEEE, THELMA GONNA TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
From someplace in the shadows of the dim room, comes the owner of the voice mouthin’ like Rev. Al Sharpton [I HOPE YOU GOT IN-SURANCE, GUS, ‘CAUSE I’M GONNA HURT YOU, YOU UNDERSTAND? I’M GONNA CUT YOU A NEW ASSHOLE, ‘CAUSE THE ONE YOU GOT, ETC. ETC.] When she finally gets into lights near the “stage” she is revealed as a young black woman, pouting and attractive, with a lewd smile. She walks over to the slightly raised platform where the band is playing, steps onto it, gives Gus a scornful onceover, and starts to sing.
Thelma: “I SEE YOU DON’T NEVER BRING YO’ BLACK SNAKE HOME
NO, YOU DON’T NEVER, EVER BRING YO’ BLACK SNAKE HOME
‘CAUSE I GOT ME A HACKSAW GONNA MAKE THAT SERPENT MOAN
The crowd hoots and hollers, and Thelma sings a couple more verses. Then Gus sings a couple more verses, before he motions to the Band to go into stop-time.
Gus: “YOU KNOW YOU–MESS WITH MY VIPER
HE GONNA GET SORE
HE GONNA BITE YO’ LITTLE COOKIE ‘TIL YOU CAN’T STAND IT NO MORE
SUCK THE MILK FROM YO’ MILK COW
TAKE THE HONEY FROM YO’ BEES
LEAVE YOU CRAWLIN’ ROUND MY BEDSIDE
SAYIN’ ‘MERCY, MERCY, PLEASE.’
[Hoots and hollers from audience]
Thelma: “YOU KNOW YOU–BRING THAT BLACK SNAKE NEAR ME HE GONNA GET STUNG
GONNA TIE HIS LITTLE BLACK CIGAR INTO A LITTLE BLACK SNAKE BUN
PULL HIS EYEBALLS THROUGH HIS ASSHOLE SQUEEZE HIS RATTLES ‘TIL THEY SQUIRM
‘CAUSE THIS BLACK SNAKE YOU BE TALKIN’ ‘BOUT
AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A LITTLE BROWN WORM
Jimmie’s glued to the to the performance coming off the humble little stage–and to at least one of the performers; so much so he doesn’t see or hear Arnel sidle up to him.
Arnel: HEY, BOY, WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT?
JR [surprised]: I…UH…WELL, I…
Arnel: HEY, I THOUGHT YOU JUST HERE FOR THE MUSIC.
JR: WELL, YEAH, I AM. BUT I LIKE WHERE ITS COMING FROM, TOO.
Arnel: WELL, SHIT, I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE LIKE THAT. JEEZ, THAT CLARINET PLAYER LOVES BOYS LIKE YOU. SHIT, I CAN–
JR: HEY, THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT! LISTEN, ARNEL–
Arnel: I KNOW WHAT YOU MEANT, MAN. BUT A INTRODUCTION TO THELMA GONNA COST YOU.
JR: DON’T FOOL AROUND, ARNEL.
Arnel grabs a pack of Old Golds Jimmie’s been carrying in an inside pocket of his jacket, takes him by the arm and hauls him over to the bar, where Thelma is. She is surrounded by admirers, but acknowledges Arnel. They exchange a few words, have a couple of laughs, then he pulls Jimmie up to the bar.
Arnel: THELMA, YOU GOT AN ADMIRER, HERE. MUSICIAN, TOO. PRETTY GOOD GUITAR PLAYER. I’D LIKE YOU TO MEET MY CO-WORKER AND FRIEND, MR. JAMES F. RODGERS. THE “F” IS FOR “FOOL.”
JR: I’M VERY PLEASED TO MEET YOU, THELMA. I…I DON’T THINK I’VE EVER HEARD A WOMAN…UH…DELIVER A LYRIC LIKE THAT.
Thelma: THANK YOU, MR. RODGERS. BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW RIGHT AWAY, I DON’T DELIVER.
Bar people: UH OOHHHH. THELMA BE TALKIN’ HER JIVE, ETC.
JR: WELL, THAT WORKS OUT FINE FOR ME; I’M STRICTLY A TAKE-OUT MAN, MYSELF. [Pulls a flask from inside pocket of his jacket.]
Bar People: WHOOOEEEE. NOW WE ALL IN TROUBLE, ETC.
JR [to Thelma]: BUY YOU A DRINK?