My Grandfather, The Cotton Club, And Billy Eckstine


As The Sunsets On Another Sweltering Hot Day
In Manhattan, New York. My Grandfather, 24
Year Old Ira Davis Gets Off The Bus After A Long
Ride From Chattanooga, Tennessee.

His Destination The World Famous Cotton
Club In Harlem, The Black Mecca Of
Entertainment Back In Those Days, Where
Many African American Jazz Stars Performed
Along With The Jazz Swing Bands Of That Era.

It Was 1944 And One Of The Biggest Jazz Singers
Of The Day Was Billy Eckstine Whom My
Grandfather Came All The Way From Down South
To See.

As He Walked The Few Short Blocks To The Club, He
Felted The Need To Just Start Singing And In A Clear
Strong Baritone Voice, He Began To Sing



SINGING

"Alone From Night To Night You'll Find Me To Weak
To Break The Chains That Bind Me.

I Need No Shackles To Remind Me, I'm Just
A Prisoner Of Love.

For One Command, I Stand
And Wait Now From One Who's Master Of
My Fate Now.

I Can't Escape For It's To Late Now, I'm Just
A Prisoner Of Love.

What's The Good Of My Caring If Someone Is
Sharing Those Arms With Me.

Although She Has Another, I Can't Find Another
For I'm Not Free.

She's In My Dreams Awake Or Sleeping, Upon
My Knees To Her I'm Creeping,

My Very Life Is In Her Keeping, I'm Just A
Prisoner Of Love."

END OF SINGING



The Crowd Cheered As He Finished The Billy
Eckstine Song. It Was Then That He Realized He
Was At The Entrance To The Cotton Club.

As He Finish Shaking Hands And Greeting
The Many Fine Ladies, He Walked Into The Swank, Polished
Club, Got Him A Shot Of Bourbon, Lit His
Cigarette And Listened As The MC Came Onto
The Stage

"Ladies and Gentlemen Thanks For Coming
Out This Evening To The Cotton Club. The First
Performer Of The Evening Is None Other Then
The Man With The Golden Voice. Mr. Billy Eckstine."


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Comment by COLOREDPEOPLE.NET on February 2, 2010 at 1:28am
Great post indeed! Wish I could step in time and experience some of that era. Thank you for bringing a glimpse through your grandfather's experiences.
Comment by Lydell Jackson on December 23, 2009 at 8:31am
Great post Sole!

Love the story about your grandfather!!! I was visualizing him takin' that walk to the Cotton Club, singin' along the way, takin' that sip of bourbon and chillin' to Billy Eckstine...Thanks for sharing!

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