Good-bye Donnie

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I’d reported earlier that long-time Torch Club bartender Don “Donnie” Jensen had recently died.  There will be a memorial service in West Sacramento at noon this coming Friday, followed by a wake at the Torch Club.  For more information, see the Sacramento Bee story about Donnie at www.sacbee.com/news/local/obituaries/article7827222.html

When I moved to Sacramento in July 2008 one of the first places I checked out was the Torch Club, and Donnie was behind the bar to greet me as a welcome newcomer.  Over the years before he retired he regularly manned the bar during the Wednesday evening acoustic open mic, and frequently rang the bell or honked the big taxi horn for some of my numbers, particularly when I sang one or another of his favorite Frank Sinatra hits.   As the article in the Bee notes, Donnie loved all sorts of music.  When he was in charge of the juke box at the Torch Club he mixed it up between and among blues, rock ‘n roll and classic performances by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Al Martino, et al.   In retirement, he still came by frequently to support the musicians he enjoyed.

So long, Donnie.  Rest in peace, and may God bless you for all of the happiness you brought along and shared during your all-too-short time here on Earth.

More Chances to Sing!

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Sandra Dolores’ weekly acoustic open mic show (Wednesdays, 5:50 – 8:00 p.m.) is off to a good start for 2015, but in the meantime, the Torch Club has now added a regular “you front the band” feature (usually at least one Sunday a month), where you can sing with a real live band to back you up!  Check the Torch Club’s calendar at www.torchclub.net, or www.facebook.com/thetorchclub.  Come down to either (or both), sign up, and have fun singing and playing to Sacramento’s friendliest audience.

Following tonight’s open mic, stick around for the Peter Petty review!  (Nominal cover charge.)  And a week from tonight, Beth Grigsby is back in the post-open mic slot with another fabulous guest star, Sacramento’s own Kyle Rowland:

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In sad news, last week longtime Torch Club bartender Donnie Jensen passed away.  Even in retirement, he was a regular at the Torch, and always a pleasure to cross paths with.  Memorial service plans are pending.

Bottom line:

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January 8th — Ring Any Bells?

January 8th.  This year would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday.  Happy birthday, “King,” wherever you may be.

Some media outlets have run computer-aided representations of what Elvis would look like today were he still living (and assuming he hadn’t had as much plastic surgery as a few other folks, e.g., his former wife).  Interesting, but with his all-too-early death, Elvis lives as very different images in our minds.  And almost all of those images include his smile, whether smiling with friends or fans, or smiling as he enjoyed singing or playing a musical instrument … like a ukulele:

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1961.  He was just 26 years old, and just a year out of the Army.  Enjoying playing a ukulele with an unidentified fellow uke-ist in the recording studio.  (If you recognize the other player, please comment.)