It suddenly dawned on me that Stu needed none of my help at all, and only a little from Kathleen, in order to scout out a club suitable for a surprise appearance of the Rolling Stones.
Somewhere toward the middle of the Stones' stay at Long View Farm — I think about the time that Keith fell off the deck 1 — the radio station 'KNX in Los Angeles called Long View and got Kathleen on the phone, and Kathleen gave a very sweet interview about the horses and cows at Long View, and how we loved to cater to our guests — particularly famous ones — and how Stanley's cows down across the valley are giving more milk ever since the Rolling Stones came to stay. Only, they asked her one question which she had no answer to, and which she chose to save for me.
"Gil," she said to me that evening, "what's this about the surprise club date that the Stones always do, usually in a small bar, just before their concert tours are supposed to begin? Are we going to have to deal with this, too?"
Ian Stewart, the unofficial, extremely influential and "sixth" member of the band, happened to be within earshot, as was not uncommon during those rare moments when Kathleen found the time to take a few sips of wine, and laugh about things, and he gave an audible grunt and cough from the next room which startled us both.
Kathy and I exchanged a terrified look, wondering if we'd been overheard saying something wrong.
Stu coughed again, and lumbered down the library stairs into the office where Kathy and I always hung out. Stu is a most affable, friendly, and unflappable fellow, and he's said to be the best Boogie-Woogie piano player in all of England. He loved our Baldwin, and liked us a lot.
"Not to worry," he said. "You're not going to have to worry about that. But you could help me a bit, the two of you." (He was looking mostly at Kathleen, and not at me.)
"What, Stu?" she said, taking him by the arm and looking up at him with her brown eyes.
"Just thought I'd take a spin around town tonight — see a club or two — and get away from the craziness for a while. Don't know the area too well, and thought you'd like to come." (He was now looking directly at Kathleen, and not at me at all.)
Kathleen had an extremely good relationship with Stu, through whose good offices much reliable and inside information about the band was passed to us day-to-day, and it would have been inappropriate, maybe even professionally dangerous, for her to refuse. And Kathleen liked Stu, besides.
"Not him, though," Stu continued, hooking a thumb in my direction, "otherwise they'll know what we're up to. Him they all know."
"I'll need to do something with Robert," Kathleen said, not looking to me for any sign of encouragement, much less permission. "I know, I'll leave him with Julie."
"Kathleen," I said, "are you sure that Julie's free, and what clubs are you going to, anyway? You can't just bring Stu anywhere you know. And besides . . ." But no one was listening to Gil. Kathleen was already moving toward the phone to call up Julie, and Stu already had an ignition key in his hands, and it suddenly dawned on me that Stu needed none of my help at all, and only a little from Kathleen, in order to scout out a club suitable for a surprise appearance of the Rolling Stones.
That was the night that Ian Stewart decided on Sir Morgan's Cove, a dark, dank, and fairly unknown bistro on Green Street, deep in the bowels of Worcester. He might have chosen Ralph's — the chic and trendy club owned by friends of mine — but Ralph had packed the bar that night with a deliberate hint to a reporter that the Rolling Stones might put in a surprise appearance, and Kathleen and Stu couldn't get near the place. There were hundreds of people mobbed outside, all grumbling and exchanging Stones rumors. And so they went down to Sir Morgan's Cove, the two of them, where they might not have gone otherwise, and had a wonderful time. Kathleen was talking about it for days.
As it turned out, the world's most famous rock 'n' roll band played Sir Morgan's Cove some ten days later, and under circumstances which caused such great upheaval, consternation, and excitement throughout the entire Northeast as to deserve greater elaboration in what follows here. 1
1 I've found out what Gil is referring to here. Seems that Keith did twist his ankle one morning, careening off the porch just outside his room. They thought it was broken for a while, which would have been very bad for the upcoming tour. The whole thing was hushed up. No one, except Woody, knew about it until it was clear that Keith was all right, and just a bit hung over. B.S.
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.