11 July 2013

Rochester After Dark

Joe Squeezer owned a bar on Lake Avenue, near where State Street ended and Lake Avenue began.  He featured live music; the stand was in the middle of the bar, up so everyone could see.  We were just old enough to be legal, drank 7 & 7 and smoked Raleigh cigarettes – you know, where there was a coupon in every pack you could save up to send for merchandise, but we never seemed to save up enough for the good stuff.  When we walked in and saw the organ on the stand, we knew it was Doug Duke and it was gonna be a great set, with those sounds only Doug could coax out of the organ.  Some jazz, some danceable stuff.  Our dates didn’t like that we only wanted to watch and listen, so we tried to keep them occupied with stuff like who was that in the back room who didn’t want anyone to see who they were with, or who was the doll in the fur that just walked in and who was she with and all kinds of things like that.  We were busy with the music.  And sometimes it was a piano and Joe Mooney up from Florida for the summer.  Joe was to the piano as Duke was to the organ.  Pure rapture.  Smokes and 7 & 7 and live music.  Life couldn’t be any better than this!  Afterwards, we’d head to Cutali’s, before he moved south, for spaghetti and meatballs and a glass of beer, just around the corner from Sibley’s.  Rochester after dark, in the 50’s, was a great place to be and we made what of it we could.

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