Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday At Del Morocco II

Del Morroco II Sunday in THE City of Chicago

During the years 1980-1982, I played at a club called Del Morocco II. The joint was actually located on the corner (crossroads) of Lake and Halsted in an industrial area of Chicago. Smilin Bobby was gracious enough to let me sit in, as long as I bought my P.A. speakers. Bob would bring his mixing board. I do not recall what it was. I also lugged along a Pioneer Reel to reel tape recorder and a stereo microphone. This one particular Sunday I took my wife, her work supervisor Bill, his two sisters and another friend. We met at a restaurant in Oak Park, grabbed a bite to eat, and off we went in two separate cars.

I arrived about 5 minutes before the others. I drove the Dan Ryan expressway north and exited at Lake Street. You had to go up a slight rise that traveled back over the Ryan. I stopped at a stoplight at the end of the exit ramp and gazed slowly over my left shoulder towards the club Del Morocco. I saw a bunch of flashing lights as if someone had been pulled over by Chicago's finest. (Police) I drove very slowly up to the club and there were about 12 squad cars and emergency vehicles located in front and behind the DEL. The club was on the corner and the front door was at a right angle to that corner. On the sidewalk was an unmarked squad car. Its front lights shone on the front door.

I looked on the side of the building and there was Jeff's 1976 Caddy with all the doors, trunk and hood open. In the trunk was Jeff's brand new Slingerland Drum kit.

I parked grabbed my guitar, my small amp and headed towards the front door. Standing there was a big burly patrolman.

In a very matter of fact voice he asked, “What the hell are you doing here”.

I just looked him square in the eyes and said the ultimate statement,

“I'm with the band’.

“Wait a minute partner. Stop right there”.

He looked inside and inquired, “Hey Charlie you want to come here”.

Charlie was from the homicide division and was a short little guy who was smoking a cigar; a stogy cigar and it reeked. Now I am standing in front of two officers of the law.

The patrolman asked Charlie, “What should we do with him?” pointing at me with an outstretched thumb.

The detective said biting down on that cigar “

“Let him in he's the wrong color.”

The patrolman waved his arms, as a matador would taunt a bull with a bright red cape. I walked through the doorway and past the open door. Spread eagle, against the bar was every black man that had the misfortune of being in the club that night. There were about two dozen guys being frisked, At the end of the bar were the guys in the band, drummer Jeff, bass man Hicks, Sax man Bill and of course Smiling Bobby. They arrested Jeff and impounded his car, because he had some wacky tabacky. (Marijuana) I believe the car was a1976 Caddy. I asked the detective if we could get the drums out of his trunk and he snapped back they stay they're evidence.

What caused the commotion was a murder just two doors down and in the back alley. It seems a fight broke out during a drug deal that went south. (bad) This one guy pulls a knife and stabs the drug dealer to death. The only lead the police was that someone saw a black man exit the alley.

The cops knew about the bar because it was the only one around and they knew it was a predominantly black club. It was the first place they looked.

I looked at Bob and he was smiling like nothing happened.

I asked him, “Hey Bob. We still Playing?”

The band in unison shouted, “NO”.

I walked out the door just as the other car pulled up.

Bill with all sincerity stated the obvious, “Somebody Die?”

My wife got out of his car and jumped in mine and I replied back,

“Yes, as a matter of fact someone did.”

Terrance "Gatorman" Lape
Copyright by Terrance B. Lape

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