The Sugar Palm
December 31, 1997 thru April 3, 1999

Chapter Ten by Frank Katzenmeyer

    1998 was a successful year, and January 30, 1999 a one year birthday cake was there for all. Barbara, Bob, and Taylor called a few of us to the stage to acknowledge the originals. The admission price was reduced from seven to five dollars. A modest price for the live entertainment and great surroundings.

-Sarah of Gainesville-


    Hundreds of show-off dancing was done at intermissions. From time to time there was prize money involved and a chance to go elsewhere to compete Angel and Jimmie (not pictured) were a couple that accomplished this.

-Up and Away-

-Dave, Kris, Carol-

-Wee Hours of the Morning-

    It is now time to reflect on the great Swing Bands that we had at the Sugar Palm.

    Denise Moore and Then Some were there several times at the beginning and at the Curtis Hixon Festival. Dan Electro and the Silvertones came in April and soon became the House Band, performing about once a month.  They were a very popular band from Sarasota, playing Jump Blues as well as old standards. Dan's real name is Mike Shannon, a construction engineer. He now resides in Spain. From Boston were the Bellvue Cadillacs. From NYC were the Jet Set Six, called back several times, as they were always a big hit with their stage antics. Set Em Up Joe, The Delegates, Ron Sunshine and Full Swing. Their Christmas song Merry Christmas Baby is still very popular; The Camaros led by two very talented and beautiful ladies with song and dancing talent, were a big hit. Chalk one up for the Ladies. From Los Angles came The Eddie Reed Swing Band, still going strong in California. They were my favorites, because he played clarinet. After all it was Benny Goodman and his clarinet who started it all.

   From Atlanta, came the Cigar Store Indians and their unique style of rockabilly, and just broke up after 15 years together. From Orlando came Rocket 88, very popular in the area, led by Charlie Zayas on stand up bass. Their electronic keyboard was housed in an old up right piano. At the end of the night and last song they poured lighter fluid on the top, and lit it. The crowd went NUTS. The Fire Marshall put a stop to that. Four of the group make up The Midnight Ramblers still playing.. The Blue Flame Combo was three members of the same group mostly on Sunday Nights.

    By far the biggest talent and still on the scene is Michael Andrews. His Swingerhead band and Atomic Big Band are going strong. After playing six years in the " Rainbow Room" in New York City he made his home and studios in Orlando in the mid 90's. He is a friend of Merv Griffin and goes to Hollywood to perform at his "Coconut Grove" famous Night Club. A few years ago while there The Swingerhead Group was in the Bobby Jones life story about the great golfer. I have seen Michael and his groups several times in theatres and clubs. He also produces stage shows I have seen; including City Jazz at Universal Studios. He has been doing a steady gig at the Upscale '"Timpanos" in the Orlando Area. He had a very talented female guitarist by the name of Quiche Lorraine. At intermission her and I would dance, and she was good. According to Quiche, she said of all her touring across the country playing music I was the only one who ever asked her to dance. She now resides in Hollywood doing a lot of studio work for music scores and recording sessions.


-Michael Andrews and Swingerhead-

                                                                              To be continued...

Back to the Story's Main Page