The Infamous Sinatra Story

The Sinatra Story

In about 2002 or 2003 in fair Covington Kentucky there was a fairly popular corner bar on the main strip. A good friend and musical collaborator at the time managed to talk his way into a Friday night open mic at this club. Since I would help load, unload, set up, break down and so forth, I would always get to perform a nice long set.

It was in the middle of such a set that a very large, very drunk man began to loudly demand that I play some Frank Sinatra.

This fellow was seated at a table surrounded by cards, friends and empty beer bottles when we arrived. Now, hours later, Frank (yes, he was wearing a gas station shirt with his name stitched over the pocket) was swaying on his feet and looking dangerous. And demanding a solo acoustic guitar guy play Frank Sinatra.

Think fast!

I put the spotlight on him, figuratively speaking, by telling him we were going to do “New York, New York”. “That’s right, Frank…I don’t know it on guitar, but I’ll sing the band parts up here and you sing the words over there, got it?”

I didn’t wait for an answer, just started in singing “Bap, bap, bada-bap! Bap, bap, bada-bap…”, you know – the musical intro. I fed him his cue to start singing at the appropriate point and with an elaborate dramatic gesture in his direction. Silence.

“That was your cue, Frank! You start singing right there. We’ll take it from the top…Bap, bap….”

This time, on cue, Frank meekly mumbled, “…start spreadin’ da nooz…”

He got better as line followed line and within 30 seconds the entire bar was singing along. I was high-kicking like a chorus girl, all the while punctuating this unlikely sing-along with stacatto bursts of horn section enthusiasm..”BAP!….BAP!”

Victory was mine! My friend’s jaw hit the floor and stayed there the rest of the night! As for Frank, I received big hugs and at least one beer from him.

Just another tale…stay tuned for more!

-Tom