“…So Sorry, Uncle Albert” | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

The 1966 photo above has nothing to do with anything.
I’ve been fighting a summer cold for two weeks now and if I can’t breathe, I can’t review.
You become a senior citizen, like 4 of my readers, and your battles with viruses are a little tougher than when you are in your 40’s.
So, for those of you that think I’m lazy for not writing or just fell over dead…

“We’re so sorry Uncle Albert
But we haven’t done a bloody thing all day
We’re so sorry Uncle Albert
But the kettle’s on the boil and we’re so easily called away.”

I am getting better now but I’m impatient and felt the need to reach out to you so I feel better.
I have fingers crossed that in a couple of days, I will be up to snuff as I have a bunch of new sticks to review and I’d like to get to them before 2020.

A short one about the photo above…
I was 16. That’s my Hofner. I bought it used in 1965 for $80 ($660 in 2019 dollars). I believe it was a 1965 model but I cannot be sure.

I did high school plays and a friend got me to audition for “Take Her, She’s Mine,” being produced at Long Beach Community Playhouse in California. The two girls in the photo, with the legs up to their necks, were the leads. The one on the left was a real prima donna. She insisted that the play become a musical if they wanted her in it.

The director picked out a bunch of current folk and pop songs for everyone to sing. I actually don’t remember the tune from that one scene in the play.

Both chicks were in their early 20’s and the guitarist was an architect who played out for fun…also in his 20’s.
And then there was skinny little me who got a boner just looking at those chicks.
Unfortunately for me, they treated me like a pesky gnat.

I also played 5 string banjo in one of the big numbers; playing something like “Michael Row the Boat Ashore.”
And I believe I had 5 or 6 lines in the show.

The musical ran most of the summer and I had a great time at the parties even though no respectable chick would have anything to do with a 16 year old bass player.

One aside, for those musicians that read me…I, stupidly, put a garter belt over the headstock of the bass covering up the Hofner name. And a stupid ass looking decal. It was 1966 and I was dumb as a rock. I think I had a cutout of the Playboy bunny logo on the bridge of my 5-string banjo. I shudder when I see the photo below. It was also during the summer of 1966. All the high schools in Long Beach provided 3 students in music, art, and drama to go to this day camp sort of thing and at the end, put on a production for parents and friends.

I was picked to be in a play as well as play music. I played an Italian count who spoke only Italian. My dad had an Italian friend who agreed to teach me how to say the lines correctly.

He took one look at the script and said, “This is gibberish.”

He taught me how to use the right inflections for the make-believe words so at least I would sound convincing.

I channeled my best Sid Caesar and went over the top with my performance and got laughs…but I didn’t know if it was because I was funny, funny looking, or the audience was Italian.

The happy ending for the story, at least for me…is that the two hot chicks, whose shit didn’t stink, had high hopes for show biz. They accomplished absolutely nothing. And that skinny kid went on, 8 years later, to England and a bit of fame as a bassist. Too bad, so sad.

To finish up, I haven’t been able to smoke a stick in these last two weeks. I’m jonesing hard.

I’ll be back.


12 replies

  1. Thanks for the update! I love your reviews. I hope you fully recover soon. Take your time and get all the way well. I’ll be right here waiting. – Abe

  2. Great story – sounds like you got what you deserved for putting a garter belt on your bass headstock and a playboy rabbit on your banjo. For shame, Katman.


    Great minds think alike and so do ours – I think that the brunette on the left is the better looking of the two.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. Shame on me, indeed, Eric.

  4. You seem contrite enough considering the infraction.

  5. Phil, I trust no boners were involved in the hootenanny girls. The other two are definite “blue veiners” as my pervert high school buddy called a chubby. 🙂

    Heal up real good now. Y’hear?!

  6. Hope you get to feeling better soon. Just so you can enjoy a cigar. Reviews will come. I’m going back to your past reviews, besides the entertainment value, your stuff is great. Your views inform my choices a good deal. Thank you

  7. Phil
    Speaking of being 16 and akwardness
    Back in the late 70’s when you came back from England I use to work in San Pedro
    At an antique photo studio at a place called Ports O Call.
    I was the only guy (youngster) who worked there and it was all hot older chicks!
    The things they would talk about in front of me back then like I did not exist!!!!!!!
    One of those hot chicks was your girlfriend at the time I think her name was April .
    She told us a crazy story of when she was with you in England with Curved Air. Something about Darrell a groupie and a plastic orange juice bottle.?
    I would love to hear the full version and catch up with you.
    Back the I was playing drums and just got my drivers license.
    It was very always inspiring to hear April tell me of the different gigs you were doing back then.

  8. Wow…Carter…what a trip down memory lane…that must have been around the late 70’s. Yeah, she worked at Ports O’ Call at the place that did the old time western photos where you got all dressed up and they made a tin type photo. I remember the best part of that was there was a nut store nearby and April became friends with the manager. We got pounds and pounds of free macadamia nuts. I got really fat.

    Yeah, that’s one of my favorite sex, drugs and rock n’ roll stories. It is pretty graphic. X rated. But that never stopped me before. I will post it on my next review. Buckle up.

  9. No way you will post all the details!,
    Are you sure you want to do that ?..
    Macadamia nuts! Did they cost a fortune back then like they do now?
    April talked about how you guys had an apartment above Gaffey Street with an amazing view of the harbor.
    I live in San Pedro below Gaffey st. and sometimes look up at the apartments wondering which one it was somewhere around 28th St.?
    Were you at home that Friday night when the oil tanker blew up?
    You Musta had a great view of it.
    I hope you didn’t lose your windows.

    I never got to ask April why you went over to England in the first place.
    Online I connected with Drumner Andy Newmark and he told me that during the 70s a lot of American musicians hang out over there because a lot of touring bands were put together and favored U.S. Players.
    Anyways if you can elaborate or direct me to any place in one of your previous blogs for explain in detail .
    I never knew you were originally from Long Beach .

  10. I don’t know where to start…
    I’ve written thousands of reviews along with hundreds of stories about my time in the music industry…concentrating on the years 1974-1985.
    My best advice is to type the words Curved Air in the Search Window. Go past the numerical rating of the cigar and there are stories. I’ve re-posted many of the stories over the last 10 years…just a heads up that you may see a story more than once.
    I remember San Pedro but just barely. Don’t remember the oil tanker event.
    The day I auditioned for Darryl Way, Mick Jacques, and Stewart Copeland, they had all gone the night before to see Beck, Bogert & Appice. They loved the rhythm section as it was new and vibrant to English ears.
    The other bassists all played like Chris Squire…all technique but no feel or funk. I was in the perfect place at the right time. Sheer luck.
    I had studied the great artists on the early CTI label. So, I flew over the pond with the skills of someone they were looking for.
    As far as the story about the OJ bottle, I’ve published it more than once. No big deal. My middle name is “Inappropriate.”
    Say hi to April for me.

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