Saturday, April 4, 2015

Norbert at the Organ

For those who sympathize with my frustration and fascination with the mysterious Joe Peppy the Singing Bartender, here's another piece of puzzling evidence gleaned from an old Miami newspaper: Norbert at the Organ.

Norbert. Norbert. At the organ.

Googling him, and his outfit The Russ Ramsey Trio brings up next to nothing. It never fails to astound me and frighten me how many of these intrepid pioneers of the Mad Men era of glory led such swingin' lives only to find it undocumented, unrecorded, unremembered, lost, as Roy Batty said, like tears in rain.

The only other scrap of evidence I could find that the Russ Ramsey Trio ever existed was a short squib in the Miami News, December 14, 1967. In Herb Kelly's entertainment column he makes a very slight, very passing, reference: "The Russ Ramsay [sic] Trio is drawing in dancers and listeners at the Happy Hour Tavern." No mention of Norbert. And that's all we know at press time.

We know a little more about the Happy Hour Tavern itself - it was operated by one Frank Whale, and was at 3680 Coral Way, where Miami becomes Coral Gables. A google search shows the address listed as being a Blockbuster Video and/or a Direct TV sales place, but a look at Google Maps shows the spot now inhabited by a Chase Bank. It would appear that the original structure is gone, as is the building that had been next door to it. (We can see the original Happy Hour Tavern building on an old postcard.)

All of this, however, gets us no closer to our goal: who the hell was Norbert, and where is he now?

1 comment:

  1. From the St Petersburg Times Online 12/2000

    Senior center holds tea dance on Tuesday

    Harbor Senior Activity Center will hold a tea dance from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at 1500 16th St. The Russ Ramsey Trio will play Big Band and contemporary music, and complimentary coffee and dessert will be served. The cost is $5. Call (727) 771-6000 for information.