I know there are stories about this tour. I wasn't on it.
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
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.
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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