The Coffee Pot
The story below is an extension of the full story in our Sept./Oct. 2014 issue. For dozens more memories about 13 of Roanoke's oldest and most successful restaurants download our app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
“I went there one afternoon with Willie Bush (another musician) to hear them while they were practicing. Bobby who was naturally high all the time was goofing around and working his beat up Wurlitzer (an early electric portable keyboard with a distinctive, unparalleled sound) and playing it with a profound degree of enthusiasm. Suddenly it begins to smoke and then just whimpers and dies.
“Willie, who had always wanted a Wurlitzer stood up and said. ‘You want to sell that?’ Bobby who was naturally high all the time says ‘sure.’ A price of $50 and a Shure microphone was settled upon and Willie set a date and time for the exchange.
“Willie rebuilt the keyboard, played it at the Pot, took it to Iceland and back on a USO tour, and wore it out once again. He abandoned it in my basement. Years later, my son, Paul, at the age of nine became interested in it and so his father repaired it.
“Paul played it as though his soul were trapped within the deteriorating box that held the magic, after school, weekends, in the middle of the night, anytime he could make time. He ultimately caught whatever spirit passes through instruments and made musical performance his career.
“Forty years later Paul would play that same Wurlitzer at the Pot in a band, just like Bobby, and Willie. I asked him not long ago what happened to it. He replied ‘it died, Mom,’ and with it, that unique and unmistakable sound that only a Wurlitzer can make.”