Notes for Harley Payne BRINSFIELD: Taken from Wikipedia. This is one of my relatives that I've never met.
Harley Brinsfield hosted “The Harley Show, Music out of Baltimore” on WBAL and later on WFBR from about 1952 to sometime in the 1970’s. Harley, was beloved by his listeners and friends, and probably introduced more people to the magic of Jazz than any other person. He was the owner of the Harley Sandwich Shop, which, largely due to the publicity generated by his show, became one of the first and largest local “fast food” franchises – pre-dating both McDonald’s and Subway by many years. He also made one hell of a sandwich.
Harley purchased two hours in a block and had complete charge of the show. The show lead in with the theme “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” and closed with “Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay” (Played by Bob Scobey's Frisco Band.) Harley stared the show stone cold sober and almost always ended it drunk. He would showcase a particular performer and trace that performer’s development throughout his show.
Harley didn't just play music - he lived the music. He left you with a feeling of who the musician was. One immediatly recognized that, although his job was making sandwiches, his life was jazz, and he didn't really care if you bought a sandwich from him or not, as long as you loved music as he did. Virtually every top jazz musician when they played around Washington D.C. or Baltimore would show up on his show and the performer and Harley would reminisce about old times – Harley seemed to have “Been there, done that” with every jazz musician in the world. I give an example of the fascinating stories related on Harley’s show, this one by Count Basie, from my memory, from early in the 1950’s
“We were broadcasting live from the Reno Club in Kansas City at the time; we used this 12 bar riff as our theme, but it didn’t have a name, we just played. We started our broadcasts at Midnight and went on till 2:00 A.M. At 12:45 A.M. there was a 15 minute break for the news. We would all smoke cigarettes and drink coffee until the announcer would cue us a couple of minutes before we started playing again at 1:00 A.M. This one night the announcer forgot to give us our cue. So, at the end of the news, the announcer said, ‘And now back to Count Basie.’ Then dead air. The announcer finally realized what was happening and shouted, ‘It’s One O’clock! Jump!’ We grabbed our instruments and started playing the theme. From then on our theme had a name – ‘One O’clock Jump!’ “
Harley was absolutely beloved for his kindness and generosity, once, for instance, putting in months of effort assisting a friend in starting a competing sandwich shop.
Harley has the strange legacy of being perhaps the most obscure person in the history of jazz, while at the same time remembered and missed by more people than any other. --krdu
Michael Olesker's Baltimore; Michael Olesker; The Johns Hopkins University Press
More About Harley Payne BRINSFIELD: Date born 2: February 26, 1909, Maryland.104 Died 2: May 06, 1990, Maryland.104