•Solomon King
COLIN: DECEMBER 21:04 I know there are stories about this tour. I wasn't on it.
DICK: JANUARY 9 :05 I remember when we were on the first Solomon King tour, Solly, ever the democrat at heart, took to riding in the bus with the band ("his boys").

We were driving from the north towards Cork, and were in the very heart of the midlands at lunch time when we entered this town. I can't remember the name of it now. We decided we would have something to eat, so we pulled up outside what appeared to be the only eatery around that didn't have a "closed for lunch" sign on the door.

We all trooped in, with Solly at the head of the line, and sat down at a long table to wait for service. Solly appeared to be most at ease when attention was generally in his direction, and so he asked Keith to go to the jukebox and put "She Wears My Ring" on. After a short pause Keith, with I am sure was deep regret, announced that this landmark hit hadn't yet been loaded into the machine.

I have to hand it to Solly, for he put on a brave face in spite of this setback, and presently the waitress arrived. We all duly ordered from the nicely laminated menu - typical vielle-cuisine of the region. Solly, however, didn't see what he really wanted and asked for a steak, which apparently wasn't one of that day's selections.

The waitress, with a worried look, hinted that this may not be possible and said she would have to ask senior management. She returned in a couple of minutes and said that indeed steak was not available. Solly, not a man to be so easily put off, and confident that his notoriety would surely overcome all difficulties, then asked, "Can I see the Chef?"

The girl affected a puzzled look. "Who does the cooking around here?", trying to be helpful to this obviously flustered fan. "The Missus", she squeaked. "Well, you tell the Missus that Solomon King would like to see her.", in a kindly, folksy drawl.

Off she went into the kitchen again, and Solly looked around the table with a smile that reassured us to a man that everything would, after all, turn out for the best. A couple of minutes went by, and then sure enough she returned - alone! She looked at Solly with the innocence of a lamb that doesn't realise that next week its ribs will be sticking up on somebody's plate in a restaurant far removed from the one in which we were then bating our breaths.

"She says she's busy."

Was it the look of bewilderment on Solly's face? Was it the sheer joy of seeing this pompous ass of a one-hit wonder being shot down? Or was it pity for these poor rustics that didn't know a major star, even when he was in their very presence? I don't know, but I'd tend to discount the last possibility. Whatever the reason, however, it was one of the most satisfying meals the band had on the tour.
KEITH: JANUARY 24 :05 Ah...alas, I see from the obituary columns that Solomon King is no longer with us. Time for some reminiscences on the site, I reckon. Those tours we did with him were in 1968, incidentally. I think we were actually playing in the Castle Ballroom in Dungiven (lovely spot) when he reached No. 3 in the charts.
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