Prelude to making magic 


Keith-&-LesliHelen shook Sherry’s hand and welcomed her to the crew. “Thank you, Ms. St. James,” Sherry said.

“Helen. Helen.”

Sherry nodded. “Helen.” From the look in her eyes, she wasn’t sure what she’d got herself into but had an idea it was going to work out. They jammed some more, and then it really was time to get out of there and go crash, not to mention catch a shower. The gals all went to Faith’s crib, Luis and Keith went to his.

He chewed his buddy’s ear off the whole trip from West 72nd St. to the East Side.  Bemoaning how things with his woman — no longer his — had again gone to hell in a handbasket. How he was determined to not let it derail him. How Faith was looking good, but it’s never a great idea to mix business with getting busy.

How this, how that. Then he noticed Luis was sound asleep. The cab pulled to the curb. He woke him and they went upstairs to grab some rack.

Before they knew it they were in a taxi headed right back to work.

Sherry had joined too late to make the album but was invited anyway, to start becoming part of the crew. Which she was happy to do. Thrilled, in fact, watching Gerry, a pro’s pro, play bass.

Christensen, in his usually pleasant, easygoing fashion, breezed in the door around late night, early morning. He had caught a flight in, got some rest at the hotel, and was ready. Lola came a few minutes behind him. In a jeans pants-suit that clung like a second skin. And could cause a car wreck.

Soon as Helen walked in, she headed straight for Lola, and the amount of womanly flesh involved in their hug had Luis and Keith all eyes, blatantly gawking. Luis said, “Wish I had a picture of that.”

“You and me both. Suitable for framing!” They laughed and slapped each other five.

It was great to see Christensen. About the baddest session man born, and didn’t have anything near a swelled head. All they needed, now was for Gerry to show up.

Which he soon did, grousing about the hour and about having to explain it to Denise. Helen went in her purse, handed him his check. Gerry looked at it, whistled, and quit griping.

Truth be told, nobody was crazy about the schedule, but that’s the way it was laid out. By necessity. Practically non-stop, and things got fit in where they got fit in.

Helen hurried up and cornered Lola, who listened intently. By the time they were done, Lola threw back her head and shook that lustrous mane, roaring laughter. “All you had to do was ask!”

“Yes!” That was Keith and Luis in unison. This outfit was going to make magic. And, the guys were quick to notice, look mighty good doing it. Especially on-stage where all that beauty is put to heightened effect.

There was nothing in the world like witnessing one skilled, sunburn-hot woman throw down on stage. And four at the same time? Keith had to laugh. Luis snickered. Then they went to go warm up.

Lola asked Helen, “How on earth did you get Keith Jackson to join a band? I thought it was against his religion.”


Helen chuckled. “It is.” She leaned on Lola’s shoulder. “He owed me a favor. This is cashing in.”

“Must’ve been some favor.” They both snickered. Then Lola spied Luis, went over and hugged him. Much to his delight. She said over her shoulder to Helen, “This Satan spawn, I guess he followed Keith in the door.”

Helen answered, “That’s about the size of it.”

Lola spotted the food and let Luis go. “Hey, looks like good grub.”

“Tastes like it, too,” Helen responded. “Come on, get a plate.”


Next week: Butch and Sundance come along.

Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.