Being a musician whilst growing up in the Orange Free State was a challenge to say the least. Every Saturday morning I would hop on my festering two-wheeled phaeton of rusted spokes and big black baboon tires, and head on down to the O K Bazaars record bar. Occasionally I would come across a gem or two featuring Oscar, Coltrane or some such.
During this time, I was introduced (through my dad) to a local man who worked for Shell oil. His name was Tickey Linsell and he played the saxophone, rather poorly as I recall. He had a quartet known as “Tickey Linsell and the three Pennies”. The band was very popular in the goldfields region: Welkom, Kroonstad, Odendaalsrus, Cloclolan etc and worked a lot. Tickey needed a drummer replacement as his regular guy had become unavailable due to a certain “brandy and coke” incident and I was elected to fill his spot.
Soon I was “pumpin’ up the jam” with Tickey on alto, Joyce Sharp (with the wooden leg) on piano, and Frikkie Wolfswinkel (window dresser for the OK Bazaars by day) on bass. We would routinely bring the house down with our smokin’ hot version of “Tijuana taxi”! I would so look forward to the musical “hole” and the two bars of bass drum solo (outlining the quarter notes) at the end of every chorus! This music business was for me!!!
With my ten rand securely in my gig pants pocket, Frikkie and I would drive back to Kroonstad and enjoy a great, “off the grill” hamburger cooked lovingly by “Shortie-the Burger Man” at his all night grilling stand located opposite pump number 5 at the Shell gas station!
Aah, the glory years!