Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

That's Gone Too

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

J. J. Jackson

Jackson was a hit. The Black and Tan. There was a pool hall on the corner of 23rd and Jackson called Smokey's. We used to gamble in there. There was a short, black guy who smoked a cigar. His name was Smokey. We used to go in there, and we would bet money on horses and different things and pool. You know, I was like 13, 14 years old, I believe. I would go to the clubs and mop their floors at night to make extra money. My mother always told me, she said, "Well, look here son, in order for us to get you something, you gotta work." So I'd mop the floors and I would hear all these different musicians play, you know. And then there was another club on 14th and Jefferson, called the Blue Note. That was another popular place for blacks to go. Jimi Hendrix played there for the first time. 

I worked with the Dave Lewis band. Dave Lewis put out a song, Little Red Apple, or Little Red Door, I can't remember. And his name was Snippy, the organ player, and he played a Hammond B3. So he played here, and then we had Family Affair, we had Cold Bold and Together,  we had Quiet Storm. And they played at a club called the Golden Crown Up. And there were steep stairs to get up to the club. So if you got drunk, you had to sit on your ass and come down. That's just how it was! And that was the club to go to. And then we had the Cotton Club. Prior to that, the Heritage Club, which was on MLK, where Seattle Housing is now. The ChiLites, the Temptations, all of them came there. 

They paid us 5 or 6 band members, 100 dollars for a night. But it wasn't about the money. It was about us playing. That's what it was about. Like Seward Park! We used to go there every summer, and all the blacks would be there barbecuing. Everybody would be barbecuing! And we'd have different bands there playing, and we'd party. Well, that don't happen no more. That's gone too.