Hello everyone, hoping everyone who have eyes on this column is well and healthy and their family too. This is the last week for Black History Month and I want to go out with a BANG!
This week I wanted to capture some of our history back in the day, especially in the world of entertainment. I truly hope you enjoy. First of all let me tell you the photos you see on my page this week are a sneak preview on what’s going to be in my new book entitled “Baltimore’s Black History; Who? What? When? And Where?”
These are just some of about 500 photos and stories that will be in my new book. All of the photos in my new book are preserved with a back story. My book will be coming out soon, I hope you will enjoy it as much as you have my last two books.
So let’s talk some history that you and I remember. I said you and I because, I don’t think that no one under 50 years old is reading this column. I want to begin by talking about Everyone’s Place African Culture Center located in the 1300 block of West North Avenue. I am telling you this African-American place is amazing. It is very well-known and popular by people of all walks of life. It is a lovely browsing spot, a place for local and regional artists to share their merchandise, paintings, etc.
The African culture side of the business sells skincare products, oils, scents, clothing, and hand-made jewelry. But my favorite is their undying support to the community. Authors can sell their books and have book-signings; they also house many, many local authors’ books on their shelves. I have so much more to tell you, but you have to wait until my new book comes out.
Now, I want to talk about a guy who was my friend and maybe yours too: a businessman, owner of one of my favorite clubs in Baltimore, not only because he kept so many of the musicians I booked working, but also the entertainment was always first class and the patrons were respectful and loyal. I am talking about the late Herman Clayborne who owned the Club Astoria on Edmondson Avenue near Carey Street. Oh yes! Around 1970, Mr. Clayborne purchased the business connected to a package goods store and never looked back for many years.
Some of the acts Clayborne booked were a Doo-Wop group that I had the pleasure of managing for almost eight years; Sonny Til’ and, the Orioles; and the R&B group, the Swallows; the jazz group Shirley Scott; jazz pianist Mel Spears. Did you know that Bobby Ward and his band was a house band for a long time? You can see the rest of this story in my new book.
Oh! What about Phil’s Lounge that was located on Mount & Mosher Streets? Do you remember? They used to have some of the best food and local live entertainment in the late 1950s. This club was so very intimate and classy. A guy
named Joe Reuben and his brothers owned this one.
Taking you back way back in Baltimore Black history, do you remember the Comedy Club, Buck’s Bar, which was on the “Avenue” between Hoffman and Preston Streets? I can tell you some stories about these clubs including Club
Tijuana and the Ubangi Club which was located in the 2200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.
But not today, maybe another time. I got to go. Stay safe, we will hopefully see you at a concert soon.
Remember, if you need me, call me, at 410-833-9474 or email me at [email protected] or you can send me a note at 214 Conewood Avenue, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136.
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.