Saturday, June 18, 2011

With Youtube All Things Are Possible (Except Those Two Women): Booker T. Laury in Paris

When I was about 25 I was lucky enough to travel from West Africa to Paris, France (and Italy!) for a little holiday.  I met my brother in Paris and the two of us hit the town, eating pepper steak, drinking Bordeaux wine, and, one fine evening, sat right next to the piano at a club where Memphis Slim was playing.  I mean right next to the piano-- so close that Memphis Slim talked to us between songs and sets, because it was like we were at his table.

We weren't alone at the table, either.  We sat on one side, to get a better look at the keyboard, and the hostess brought two extraordinary women to sit across from us.  At one point they went to the restroom or something, and Memphis Slim complimented us.  "You guys got good taste," he said, pointing to the place where the women had been sitting.

"Oh no!" we protested.  "They're not with us!"

That was sure.  Memphis Slim left the bar with both of them half an hour later!

But before leaving, Slim introduced us to someone I'd never heard before or since: the amazing Booker T. Laury, who snuck up to the piano and stole the show as surely as Memphis Slim stole our tablemates.
I've never forgotten the sound of his voice or the piano, but I never heard it again until just now.   So here you go.

 Imagine we were sitting right where those guys are.  Imagine Memphis Slim going out the door behind us, a beauty on each arm.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Peter for introducing me to Booker T.'s music. He plays some great Boogie Woogie Blues!!
CB Forum ID - Busseybootlegger

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finding this great video. At just about the time you saw him in Paris, Booker T. Laury recorded a fine album called "Booker in Paris." One of the songs he sings, with the remarkable voice and big piano you remember, is "Wee Wee Hours."