My friend, Mimi Drake Osmun, is a longtime member of the Liverpool Community Concert Band, which rehearses every Monday at Liverpool's American Legion Post 188 on Cypress Street. Mimi's an amazingly versatile musician who can play piano, trombone, ukulele ... and she sings!
I'm particularly partial to her light-blue parodies of jazz standards. For instance, she takes Leo Wood's 1918 hit, "Somebody Stole My Gal," and turns it into "Somebody Stole My Pants."
Besides performing with the Liverpool Band, Mimi plays keyboard for The Rhythm-Airs, the big band that previously entertained Wednesday's at Le Moyne Manor on Old Liverpool Road before moving west to McNamara's Pub in Camillus last year.
Some four decades ago, Mimi led a small combo which held forth weekly at a small rural roadhouse on Route 57 in Clay.
"From 1966 to 1973 one of the most interesting places where I've ever played was Provo's Little Country Club on Route 57, almost to Moyers' Corners," Mimi recalls. "It was run by Estelle Provo, whose dad had owned a construction company on the premises, so there was old equipment in evidence. There was a winding, ruddy driveway to the place and Christmas lights year-round on a tiny tree near the entrance."
A sign on Route 57 advertised "Provo's Driving Range," which was situated behind the club.
"Miss Provo played piano, and musicians came and sat in with us," Mimi remembers. "My hours were Saturdays from 11:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m., so I'd often catch a show at Three Rivers Inn first. I saw the likes of Louis Armstrong, the McGuire Sisters plus the Bobbies -- Rydell, Vinton and Darin. I also invited some musicians to stop in at Provo's when they were through at Three Rivers at 1 a.m., when bars in Oswego County closed. Provo's was in Onondaga County, where bars were open 'til 3 a.m. Some fine players such as Bill Harris, Frank Shetron, Fred Hickey and Bruce Fairbanks would join our jam sessions."