A 1950 NJ SUMMER BAND & MY VISITS TO CLIFF VILLA
From an old personal 78 rpm vinyl record of old songs, “Jackson the Husker” (my YouTube stage name) digitally recorded 6 songs as played by the Cornhuskers of NJ, an amateur band which existed only during the summer of 1950. The 5 players ( 4 guys and me) were college students working at a hotel dining room in Ocean Grove at the New Jersey seashore. My parents stayed at the hotel for a few days and had their meals at the dining room. I waited on them and got my biggest tip of the season. We played at different hotels in the area and once at an amateur night in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium where this religious town held church services and big revival meetings.
The songs can be found in YouTube through this link:
The sound may be enhanced by connecting an ear piece, headphone, or external speaker to the computer.
In the photo, I’m the one on the left with the harmonica in his mouth and the lead guitar. We all sang but the guys with the good voices were the middle three. The second from the right also did some whistling. The one on the right played a homemade washtub bass fiddle and had on a Groucho Marx nose mask. All of us wore cowboy hats. Attached is a full view photo for our Tales audience.
Our hotel was located in Ocean Grove, next to Asbury Park, not far from Bradley Beach, Chinatown’s old summer haunt. During my off hours, I would often ride my bike along the boardwalk to Cliff Villa at Bradley Beach to see Uncle Jack Chin, the manager, Tommy Chu, the cook, and to hang out with the gang there from Chinatown. I even bunked out at the Villa a few nights but I had to wake up real early to get back to the hotel for the breakfast shift.
Cliff Villa was a dormitory style summer place right off the beach, made available in separate periods to various ethnic groups such as the Chinese, Italians and other nationalities by the Church of All Nations. The girls stayed in the main house and the boys roughed it in a separate shack. In the 1940’s, I spent a number of happy summers at Cliff Villa along with other kids from Chinatown. Visiting the Villa again brought back many wonderful memories of swimming, sunning and enjoying the beach life away from the city. In the evening, we would walk on the boardwalk from Bradley Beach past Ocean Grove to Asbury Park which was like a smaller version of the old Atlantic City, filled with amusements and rides.
I also visited friends at Newark Ave just a few blocks away from Cliff Villa in Bradley Beach where families from Chinatown bought homes. The women with their children stayed there the whole summer and the men came from the city on their days off. “Doc Liu” (Arthur Liu, MD) and others had homes there.The area was like a summer Chinatown but where one thing was missing- a Chinese restaurant.
Those were the days !
Submitted by Newton Chin, 2019
<editor> p.s. here’s two Youtube videos of the group singing “Quicksilver, Have I Told You Lately That-, Tzena Tzena Tzena, and Just Because” and “Cool Water” and “Goodnight, Irene”. Click the photo link below.