A clear view from the back deck of Fisher's Club. Memories are made of this.
11:30 p.m. Aug. 26-----
Bobby Vee had nearly 40 hits in the 1960s, including "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" and "Come Back When You Grow Up," the latter which will never be covered by R. Kelly. But Vee's collaboration with Sally Fisher, 83, is tender and truly from the heart. Sally is the daughter-in-law of George "Showboat" Fisher, the founder of Fisher's Club, a quintessential supper club on Middle Spunk Lake in Avon, Mn. Vee (born Robert Veelline) has a home Rockhouse recording studio in nearby St. Joseph.
Sally wrote "47 Wonderful Years" as an ode to the supper club and her husband "Junior" not long after they sold the restaurant to a group of investors that included Minnesota author/journalist Garrison Keillor. Here's Sally and Bobby Vee:
"I didn't have to help her out much," Vee said from St. Joseph. "We pressed some up and gave them to her friends. It was so much fun for us to do that for her---it meant everything. After that she said how she had 15, 16 songs she recorded on a little tape recorder so we dubbed them down to CD. She's a saucy little singer."
As people in Avon (pop. 1,114) know, it's a small world.
Vee had just heard about Paul McCartney's trip down Route 66.....
Of course I filled him in on all the details (see previous blogs). At age 15 Vee and his band the Shadows were the emergency replacement act for Buddy Holly after Holly's plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa while heading to the next gig in Moorhead, Mn. McCartney owns the publishing rights to the Buddy Holly songbook.
And Feb. 3, 2009 will mark the 50th anniversary of Holly's death.
Guess who could be hitting America's backroads again?
"Paul McCartney has invited us to come to England three different times to celebrate Buddy Holly week in September," said Vee, who is producing the 50th anniversary show at the Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake. [www.surfballroom.com/] "Now I'm trying to see if he's willing to come in and spend some time with us in Iowa. This year it's a four day event and we just started selling tickets. It sold out in 11 minutes. That blew me away. The music didn't die."
Until then maybe you'll get lucky and see Vee at Fisher's Club. The supper club is a seasonal operation, closing on Oct. 31. An avid fisherman and hunter, Showboat decided to open his lakeside club in 1932 after retiring from major league baseball.
The lake still holds Northern bass, bluegills and walleye and runs as deep as 90 feet in spots. Fisher's Club began as a one room shack with booze and illegal slot machines. Showboat spent summer nights sleeping near the front door with his shotgun and Ike the Hunting Dog to protect the evening's gambling takes. in 1937 he built a small dance hall. The knotty-pined dance room was added in 1944 and seats 225.
But as Vee will tell you, Central Minnesota nights have a thousand eyes.