Monday, January 12, 2009

Nuts, Hot Nuts, You get them from the Peanut Man

The weekend after Christmas I received a Christmas card from an old friend (Fonse). He had originally sent it to my old address on Treasure Island. The Post Office returned the card to him saying that the time for forwarding mail to my new address had expired. However they included my new address.

If I had sent someone a Christmas card and it was returned to me, I would have put it in the circular file next my desk. But not my friend! He put in a larger envelope and sent it to my new address.

I was touched by this, so I called him. He wasn’t at home so I spoke to his spouse (who used to dislike me with a passion because of a canoeing trip incident in 1981). But two days later, I finally reached him. We spoke for nearly an hour; I have a tendency to get long winded when speaking to people that I haven’t seen or spoken to in a year or so.

In the course of our conversation, he brought up the fact that I hadn’t fulfilled a promise that I had made to him 17 months before. I made the usual excuses, but decided that come hell or high water, I would keep my promise to my old friend.

My friend is a member (of high standing) in the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He attended Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois) which has the Beta Chapter of TKE. As he explained to me once; it is a part of the Golden Triangle (original chapters) of Teke Houses in Illinois – Alpha (Illinois Wesleyan – Bloomington), Beta and Gamma (University of Illinois - Urbana) chapters.

The old saying on Illinois campuses, back in the early 1960’s, was “If you can’t go Greek go Teke”.

It has been purported that the film Animal House was based on the activities of the Fraters at the TKE Gamma Chapter. And in that movie the band (Otis Day and the Knights) that played in the Delta Frat House was based on a group called Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts.

And now, at last, I am finally getting to the point of this Blog.

In 1963 I bought a Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts album titled On Campus. It was a collection of bawdy songs that were popular in frat houses throughout the US. We would play it at all of our parties (along with Rusty Warren’s Knockers Up) in the 1960’s. Needless to say the album is scratched very badly.

My good friend Fonse asked me to transfer the songs from my vinyl album to a CD (something I had done for others in the past).

Fonse is still active in the TKE Fraternity system and wanted the younger Tekes to know what it was like to be a Teke in the late 50’s and early 60’s. He wanted them to be able to sing along with him when he sang Barnacle Bill and Roly Poly (Two Old Maids).

Although the Hot Nuts are still an active R&B band, very few college kids know who they are and what they were known for in the 1960’s.

I started the project in July 2007, but put on the back burner when I moved that August. I started working on it again last week and hope to finish soon.

After all, how can you break a promise to an old friend that spent an extra 42 cents (a total of 84 cents) in postage to send you a generic 25 cent Christmas card?

The Beach Bum

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What the hell kind of friend sends a you a 25 cent christmas card?

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