As Leroy was reminiscing, sitting in that black and white chair in his living room he got that faraway look in his eyes. I knew he was visiting a special memory. Then he told me this little story.
I quit Ray’s band just to prove to myself that I could survive musically. While I was out of the band I played with the Righteous Brothers.
Glen Campbell was on the show. He was from Arkansas. Those guys didn’t even pay attention to him. He played so good we used to have him in the dressing room playing. He liked to play harmony with everything we played. That sucker would put his foot up in the locker room up on the place where he was sitting and be playing some impossible stuff on the guitar. He’s a great guitar player! Oh, he’d be eating that guitar up! Ooh, that sucker could play the guitar. He’d get wrapped up in it and start sweating.
After we were done he’d be heading to the bar.
He used to say “Anybody want to go with me?”
“We don’t want to listen to no more corny jokes.” Everyone said.
I said, “I’ll go with you.” I’d go up there and he’d be talking this Arkansas stuff.
After awhile I’d say, “I’ll be back in a minute.”
I’d go straight up to my room and wouldn't go back down. Then Glen messed around and got a hit and I didn’t see him again.
Glen was tight with Ray Charles and he used to be on Ray’s records for free, just to play with him. I was in the middle of this tight group and didn’t realize it.
When I was with the Righteous Bros it was Hatfield, the blond who sang real high and a replacement for Medley. When I left, Medley came back. I had met him before I was with the group. He was the bad boy. He used to come to Ray’s gigs.
Guys said, “Bill you’re selling all those records. You could at least buy us all a drink.”
Bill would say, "Come on over to my car" and then he’d give ‘em a beer.
They said, “Man you’re tight.”
He said, “I gave you a beer didn’t I?”
After I proved my point to myself I went back to Ray. You know, you owe it to yourself to see if you could survive on your own.
Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.