Whisky Magazine Issue 27
This article is 14 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2017. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
Michael Jackson reports from the centre of the universe
Jumping Joe Danno's last voicemail contained four worrying words: “Retirement home” and “Las Vegas”. He sounded uncharacteristically anxious, and that seemed to have made the machine nervous. It chewed up most of the message, but spat out a mystifying question, “Can you handle the stuff?”
What stuff? The machine garbled the next bit, then and coughed up the phrase, “pre-Prohibition bourbon”. Joe had left a phone number, but that had been gnawed senseless. I put my people in Chicago on to the case, but zilch. Half a year passed, then, the other day, I heard that Joe had been grounded, by The Man Upstairs. Worse than grounded: six feet under.
Rest in peace? You couldn't do that in Vegas, where the neons flash all night. Nor would rest accord with Joe's pivotal belief: It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing. They called him Jumping Joe because he had a radio programme on jazz called “The Jazz Philosopher”.
We were listening to a tape of the programme the last time I had a drink with Joe. We were at his bar, The Bucket'o'Suds. I wish the Americans wouldn't call beer “suds”, but I could forgive Joe anything. “Fancy a 1914 Stitzel Weller Old Mock?” he inquired. How could you get mad at a man who put questions like that? He asked me how I would like it. I hummed a few bars of Straight, no chaser. He turned down the tape and asked me to hum the whole song. I turned the tape up, louder.
Not all the spirits at the Bucket'o'Suds were in the bott...