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You Gonna Lose That Good Thing, Baby– Oh, YEAH!

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I found this on YouTube today and can’t stop playing it. It’s from the early-1960s and had Barbara Lynn and her band live playing You’ll Lose a Good Thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=jAnSyQA_fT4

Please notice that’s she’s playing, not a Telecaster, but a Fender Esquire– no neck pickup– lefthanded. Many folks don’t realize that Leo Fender’s original design for what became the Tele was what was later called the Esquire, as it was a bridge-pickup-only guitar.

If you think that band behind Ms Lynn is totally locked in a perfect groove, you’re correct! And what a band that is. On piano is Mr. Johnnie Johnson who played behind Chuck Berry on all his sides, and many believe he actually at least co-wrote many of the songs Berry took credit for. He was just a stunning piano player. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 after Keith Richards waged a campaign for years for his inclusion.

On bass is Mr. Billy Cox, who was Jimi Hendrix’s first and last bass player. He’s played with everybody at one time or another and is still going strong. He was in both the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsies. He met Jimi when they were in the Army together and encouraged his guitar playing. That bass he’s playing appears to be a Fender Precision fitted with a Jazz Bass neck.

On the maple-glo Rickenbacker guitar is none other than Mr. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, who was a guitar legend. Originally a drummer, he got his first break as a very young man filling in for an ailing T-Bone Walker on guitar and never looked back. He’s in the Blues Hall of Fame and may be better known in Europe than he is here in the States. Guitar-slingers study Gatemouth Brown and take careful notes.

As for Ms. Lynn, she’s living in Beaumont, Texas, and still plays out regularly. I refuse to give her precise age, but she’s two days shy of being ten years older than yours truly.

Notice her left hand; she’s using a thumb pick and her strumming is almost all upswings. Also, that Esquire has a rosewood fretboard and she kept the bridge cover on it. Cool guitar– and a pink strap! Oh, YEAH!!! Ms Lynn plays a white Strat nowadays but I hope she still has that Esquire in a closet somewhere.

Long-Lived Mooney!

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Here are a couple of shots of what was, to me, one of the prettiest planes my dad ever had: a Mooney Mark 20C. These photos are from 1962.

You can easily spot a Mooney by the 90° leading edge of the vertical stabilizer; I don’t think any other plane has that design feature. It always looked to me like the tail was on backwards!

Also, the Mooney had retractable tricycle landing gear; before that it seems that my dad’s planes had all been tail-dragging Pipers or Cessnas.

This particular plane had a Lycoming 180hp engine in it, if I remember correctly, and my dad had some sort of test arrangement with that engine-manufacturing firm to see how many hours he could put on that engine between overhauls.

Here are some mechanics busy working on something or other on that Mooney:

This particular plane, which my dad owned in the early 1960s, is still in service, owned by a gentleman in China Spring, Texas.

Flying Boats

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My dad was in love with the idea of flying boats; we’ve seen photos of his small float plane earlier in this blog. In this photo, taken by him in 1958, we see a Catalina PBY flying boat which was then owned by the Brazilian Air Force. It was in the U.S. being converted to a cargo plane; the plane itself was probably built in 1944. I don’t know where this was taken, but it was probably an airfield in Texas:

These planes are large; the photo doesn’t convey a sense of scale. The lovely blue-and-white plane also shown is a Piaggio P-136-L1 seaplane, and it isn’t small. I’m willing to bet Dad was there trying to buy that smaller plane when he took the photo.

This photo below gives a better idea of the size of a Catalina PBY; these two men are standing on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers of a Catalina; the rudder of the plane is missing:

Dad wanted to own one of these planes in a bad way; the second photo was taken by either my dad or me at an airplane graveyard out West. I was dragged there by my dad on a search for a PBY he could buy, but that’s a story for another day. Today, we’re discussing one particular aircraft.

Here’s what I found on the Net.

This PBY was in air-force service in Brazil until the late 1980s, from what I can find. Here’s the same plane seen in the first photo above, wearing a different paint livery:

Planes can have a very long service life, as we are seeing today! At some point in the last 20 years, this Catalina was purchased by the U.S. Navy and given a new registration. U.S. planes have a reg number with the letter N in front of the numbers; Brazilian aircraft use two letters in front of their registration numbers, but they all start with a P.

In this final photo, we see the same plane recently, being lovingly restored by volunteers at Floyd Bennett Field, in Brooklyn, New York. She’s currently at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida, though she was in Long Beach, California for at least a while. Pretty cool for a plane that’s at least 68 years old. I’ll try to find a photo showing the plane after this restoration.

It’s About TIme!

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Back in the early 1960s, there was a lot of interest in time capsules. Usually these were a big deal and there were World’s Fair time capsules, scientific-society time capsules, and, of course, home-made ones. I buried one, made of a big metal coffee can, in our backyard in 1961. That was the year JFK was inaugurated, and I thought it was the beginning of a brave new world.

Being nine years old at the time, I chose what was important to me for my gift to the people of the future. I remember stuffing a Superman comic book into the can, some toys, and a couple of silver dollars I had saved. It was fun imaging how impressed people of the year 2061 would be when they found it!

Of course, my brother and his troops could have dug it up a week after I buried it for all I knew. But it was something to have fun doing.

Fast-forward to today. Remember the post a couple of weeks ago where I identified the home we lived in 50 years ago? Well, I just sent them a letter telling them about the time capsule. Photos taken in 1961 show them where the thing was buried, and I told them if they found anything at all, they were welcome to it.

Whether or not they’ll find anything, or do more than simply toss the letter in the trash, I can’t say. If nothing else, they may get a kick out of seeing what their home looked like over 50 years ago. But if anything interesting turns up, I’ll share it here!!!

UPDATE:

As of the end of November, three and a half months after I sent the letter to the folks at our old address, the people there haven’t responded.

Ship Flagging

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My dad rented a big house in the summer of 1959 on Highway 82 in Sabine Pass, Texas, right on the Intracoastal Waterway where it met the Sabine River. This remote place must have been close to an airport my dad liked flying out of; there wasn’t another house for miles. As the photo shows, huge tankers and other ships would pass within 100 feet or so of our front yard, all day and night long. Sometimes they be lined up like cars on a highway.

Those boats were enormous; the one in this photo is typical; it’s the Texaco tanker Caltex Glasgow, and it was 524 feet long, according to a Net history of Texaco tankers.

Being stuck out in the middle of nowhere was boring for a seven-year-old kid. My only companion besides my brother was an ancient black man named Jim, who lived rent-free on the property in a ramshackle frame house. Jim wore a big white cowboy hat and made a living catching and penning alligator gars in the river and bayous and selling them to folks. Gars are ferocious fish, as much as seven feet long and well over 150 pounds each, as I learned watching Jim feed them horsemeat scraps every evening.

I followed Jim everywhere, as he was quite a storyteller, though some of his history was a tad off. He told me his daddy had been a slave freed by President Teddy Lincome, and that President Garfield had been shot by a maniac named Charley Guitar (close; it was Charles Guiteau).

Other than pestering Jim, there was little to do, but my mom didn’t like me getting close to that pen full of alligator gars.

My dad solved this problem by buying me, at a ship chandlery, a big cardboard box of about twenty three-foot by five-foot flags of various countries and a little flagpole. When a foreign ship went by our front yard, I’d put their flag on the pole and wave it with all my might. My mom wouldn’t let me walk across the highway to the Waterway, but usually someone on the ship would see me waving their country’s flag and I’d be rewarded with a mighty blast from the ship’s horn. Sometimes the fellows on the ship would yell and wave to me. It took about ten minutes for each ship to go by, and I’d see many ships a day.

It became a pretty nice summer, after all.

You Can Go Home Again, Thanks To Google Maps . . .

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Google Street Views is so cool! Thanks to it, I was able to find the house we lived in over 50 years ago, as seen in these two photos.

The photo on the left is from 1961, with my first-grade brother Jeff in the foreground. On the right is the Google street view, present day. The three-car garage has been modified to what looks like living space, but otherwise it looks much the same.

Leaving The Station With A Lunchbag In My Hand . . .

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For the train buffs out there, here’s a photo from 1961 showing our cub-scout pack bravely going off to camp.

Behind me (I’m the kid being scolded by his mom) is the Kansas City Southern’s “Southern Belle” passenger train, which provided service between New Orleans and Kansas City, and the Pullman car shown is the “Siloam Springs” double-bedroom sleeper.

My mom was the most nervous den mother the Scouts ever had! I’ll never forget her trying to teach our pack how to make a Play-Doh Thanksgiving scene. She finally wigged out when it came time to teach us how to make a covered bridge out of toothpicks.

My little friends and I were shocked when she grabbed the toothpicks and paste and threw them into the trash, saying “To Hell with it!” while lighting a cigarette. Those were the days!

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