There was an article in the Tennessean this week about Tootsie’s celebrating 50 years. I first stopped in there when Tootsie Bess was still running it, and thought it was pretty dang cool when I saw stuff on the walls that I’d hear about on records.
I’ve worked Tootsie’s many times since then. When they had a grand re-opening back in the 80’s I played it with Faron’s band and we had a pretty good time. Working the upstairs room is OK, because you can park in the alley long enough to load your stuff in, but working the downstairs stage is a bitch. You have to pile your stuff on the sidewalk, because there’s no room in the club, get somebody to watch it, and then go try to find a place to park and run back to get set on stage when the other band gets done. Some of the best tips I’ve made on Broadway have been at Tootsies, but of course that depends on how good your front man is at soliciting them, and Jimmy Snyder does an outstanding job. They don’t have real good air conditioning, and I showed up for work one sweltering summer night in a tank top and one of the infamous bouncers tried to throw me out until he found that I was in the band, and he grudgingly let me stay. Wow, what a guy!
It’s noisy and there’s not a lot of elbow room, but it’s worth a look-see when you’re in town. Here’s a cool pic of Buddy and Willie from the Tennessean.