RHYTHM & BLUES records were not easy to purchase in the Northwest back in the 1940s. At that time some of the bigtime labels -- like Decca -- had their own exclusive retail stores, while other shops mostly peddled the polite pop heard on the mainstream whitebread radio stations.

In order to hear honest-to-dog genuine hard-core R&B or jazz, fans had to tune-in to pioneering African-American DJs like Fitzgerald "Eager Beaver" Beaver (1922-1991) or Bob "Bop" Summerrise (1925-2010) at tiny radio stations like Bremerton's KBRQ or Tacoma's KTAC.

And to actually buy such discs required a visit to a neighborhood store that catered to the black community -- like Tacoma's Broadway Record Shop, Portland's Bop City Records, or Seattle's legendary Groove Record Shop (1223 Jackson Street). This circa 1947 10" Modern Music Co. 78rpm disc includes "Shuffle Boogie" & "You Won't Let Me Go" by the Los Angeles-based Johnny Moore's Three Blazers. Interestingly, that trio's singer -- the soon-to-be-famous Charles "Merry Christmas Baby" Brown -- is often cited as an early stylistic inspiration to Ray Charles, the soon-to-be-famous singer/pianist who arrived in Seattle in 1948. Lastly, in 1952 Summerise bought out The Groove Shop (which had moved to 1211 Jackson St.), renamed it the World of Music Record Shop, and (while there, & then later at 1412 23rd Avenue / Jackson Street) it remained a cornerstone of the nascent local R&B scene well into the 1960s -- & a place where kids like Jimi Hendrix (& members of teen-R&B bands including the Dynamics & Pulsations) hung out and soaked up all the hip new sounds.


THAT TINY OLD Cascade Mountain mining town of Cle Elum was the site of what was surely a memorable evening of entertainment on Saturday June 28, 1947. It was there, at the local Eagles Temple (220 Pennsylvania Avenue), that the homegrown Peggy Miner's Band provided music for public dancing at an event sponsored by a local equestrian organization -- the Cle Elum Riding Club.

But for the basic admission price of $1 (for men) and 50¢ (for "Extra Ladies"), attendees would also thrill to a bonus "Special Attraction." Brought over "Direct from Vogue Studios, Seattle" (315 Marion Street) were the dynamic dancing duo of Jack & Paula.

As advertised, Jack & Paula were booked to perform "5 Big Acts" that night -- such daring and exotic presentations as an: "Exhibition of Fantasy In Dance," a "Tango, a "Rhumba," an "Afro-Cuban Dance," & even the spine-tingling & no doubt, death-defying, "Primitive Knife Ritual Dance."

In hindsight though, the greatest spectacle for witnesses that particular summer night must have been Jack & Paula's version of the stately and dignified "Viennese Waltz" -- as rendered in their matching Me- Tarzan-You-Jane leopard loincloth and bikini stage apparel.