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Thread: 1964-01-30? Smalls' Paradise, Harlem, NYC

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    1964-01-30? Smalls' Paradise, Harlem, NYC

    End of January 1964
    New York City, Smalls’ Paradise, 135th Street & 7th Avenue, Harlem, NY.
    Faye Pridgon: “Then we used to go to Palm’s Cafe, and-uh, places like Small’s, The Spotlight, ‘n’ places ‘round 125th Street, in the Harlem scene, you know. And-uhm, he’d tell them he wanted to sit in, right? And these old, fuddy-duddy, rough-dried, ain’t never beens, you know, they ain’t gonna him a break. So, like they just-ah, act like they don’t even know that he’s there? And, ah, you know, he’d sit there with this, kind of, look on his face for a few minutes, you know, an’ he says, ‘I’m gonna speak to ‘em again,” you know, an’ I say, ‘Hey, don’t say nothin’ to those cats, you know, ‘cause its obvious they don’t want you, you know, to play.’ Finally they would let him come in, you know, and play and then they’d get up and really just mess up so bad behind him it was incredible, you know. And he’d be lookin’ all disgusted on the stage and he’d keep lookin’ back at ‘em and then the, the other guys ‘d come and tell him he’s got to turn it down, you know. Takin’ him through all kind of changes... He was a star when he was there and they knew it. That’s why they didn’t want him to come out and plunk the guitar with his teeth and that’s why they didn’t want him to shake his long process and come near the edge of the stage and lick his tongue at the girls – because they would all scream.”

    Tommy Smalls[no connection], August 5, 1926 – March 8, 1972, known as Dr. Jive, was an influential “black”-American radio disc jockey in New York City during the early days.
    Born Thomas Smalls in Savannah, Georgia, he attended Savannah State College, and, after a period in the US Coast Guard, became the first black disc jockey in Savannah in 1947 on radio station WSAV. In 1952 he moved to New York, and became the original “Dr. Jive” on radio station WWRL. His weekday afternoon radio shows – with the slogan “Sit back and relax and enjoy the wax. From three-oh-five to five-three-oh, it’s the Dr. Jive show” – became popular with teenagers and featured vocal groups, blues, rock and roll and Latin music. In 1955 he began to present live rhythm and blues revues from the Rockland Palace [See Isley’s gig there (with many other acts), that JH likely played - for another famous DJ, ‘The Magnificent Montague. Ed.] and the Apollo Theater, and in November 1955 presented an unprecedented 12-minute segment on the nationally-networked The Ed Sullivan Show featuring Bo Diddley, LaVern Baker, the Five Keys, and Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson.
    By the end of 1955, he had purchased the Smalls’ Paradise club in Harlem, and in May 1956 he was elected to the unofficial post of “Mayor of Harlem”*, with a parade held through the town in his honor.
    In the late 1950s, he marriedteen model Dolores De Vega, who years later in 2009, appeared on the TV Land series, “She’s Got the Look.”

    In 1960, Smalls, along with fellow disc jockey Alan Freed [see close connection at this time with his business partner Johnny Brantley - producer of several songs using Lonnie “Youngblood” and Jimmy Hendrix. See my CTT article for details of their connection. Ed.], was arrested and charged in the “payola” scandal, when both were accused of taking bribes to play records on their radio shows, and his radio career ended. He later became promotions manager for PolydorRecords in New York. He was also one of the founding members of the National Association of TV and Radio Announcers (NATRA).
    *Note: Lonnie “Youngblood” (Thomas) later claimed this as his title
    Last edited by stplsd; 6 Days Ago at 03:40 PM.
    Frank Zappa: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

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