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Forum Home > Your news items > Kid Bastien - early days

John Grimley
Site Owner
Posts: 453

From Gary LeDrew, via http://ledrewledrew.blogspot.com (~2015):

Kid Bastien's Camellia Band

I was manager of Kid Bastien's Camellia Band for about a year. I thought my job was to promote the band, get them gigs, make them successful etc.I couldn't have been more wrong. I made a deal with the owner of Yonge Station for his second floor bar. I made a dream contract with big money for everybody and artistic control and design control -  everything you could think of. Everybody in the band was ecstatic; it was they all wanted.
Cliff turned it down.
He had his life sorted out the way he wanted. He like making signs and gold leaf etc and playing a few times a week and wasn't going to change. This brought an end to the Camellia Band and the start of The Happy Pals. I sold my motorcycle and went down south sailing for a year or so. 

Fats Domino was playing the El Macambo. I was sitting in Grossman's when out of the blue Cliff Bastien asked if I wanted to go up the street and see Fats, so I agreed. We went up and caught the first set. Fats did his schtick, lots of hits to play with and had the place jumping. For the last number of the set he thumps really hard and pushes the piano across the stage with his stomach as he plays.

When the set was over, Cliff led me up to the dressing room and rapped on the door. Fats opened the door with a big smile and a hug for Cliff and invited us in. After the introduction we sat down and Cliff gave Fats the lowdown on a bunch of people in New Orleans. Fats smiled at me and said 'Damn he knows more about my family than I do." I learned that Cliff had lived in New Orleans for a while and Fats' uncle had taught Cliff how to play the banjo and Cliff was friends with quite a few of Fats relatives. Fats dedicated a song to his friend 'Kid Bastien' in the second set. It was a night to remember.

January 14, 2019 at 6:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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