Tulsa TV Memories      

Tulsa Coffee Houses of the Past

The Open Door Coffee House, late 1970s
(plus: Cedar Creek Saloon & Doug's Soccer Bar)

Open Door flyer, courtesy of Rickey Ray. robi r. was the cigarette girl.
Flyer courtesy of Rickey Ray. Google Maps Street View of 15th and St. Louis today.

(via email, 6/24/2008) Rickey Ray said:

I am a former member of the "original" Empty Pockets band and we got our start playing at the Open Door Coffee House around '78 or '79. In jest, we used to call it the Open Sore - hee hee - we used to sneak a little whiskey in and hide it behind our speaker cabinet .

(I say "original" Empty Pockets band because not long after we broke up in the early eighties, Scott Aycock took on the name for his own band. You might know Scott from KWGS's Folk Salad program on Sunday nights. His son Jesse Aycock is enjoying some local and regional success.)

The Open Door was full of old overstuffed couches and tye-dyed sheets creating sort-of walls to divide the place. Real bohemian. I remember this wonderful folk duet with Marilyn Oldefest and Scott McIntosh, among others, playing there besides us.

We were kind of a wild bunch for that place, so soon as Tom and Don Bomar opened the Cedar Creek Saloon at 11th and Lewis (on the Lewis side - I think it's a lawn mower shop now, or used to be), we moved over there. A lot of great jams went down in that place, but the same can be said for the Open Door Coffee House. (Google Maps Street View of 11th and Lewis today.)

Rickey Ray
Rickey Ray at Cedar Creek Saloon

Karry Kofr
Rickey Ray and Karry Kofr with Promise

The Cedar Creek Saloon was a shotgun place with the bar running all along one side, tables and chairs on the other and the bathrooms at the back. I would be on the drums and and at the end of a set would have to pee so bad I would vault my drums and race down the isle between the bar and tables and chairs to get to the bathroom. One night I ran into this girl's cigarette. She later became my first wife of 17 years!

I was playing there with a band called Promise. Our bass player was Royce Jerome Campbell who was a former fingerpicking champion at Winfield, Doc Bowery on guitar, Linda Scudder on keys, and Karry Kofr, who won the Tulsa Billboard songwriter competition 2 years running at the Appollo Delman back then.

Karry and I later got back together and formed the band Group Therapy (later Inde Skies). One of her songs from that band I produced, and is on the "Songs For The Illinois River" CD (more at the bottom of this page). Scott Aycock played it on his Folk Salad program not long ago. Old friend Randy Crouch used to sit in with us so frequently there, he was an honorary part of the band!

Charlie Mitchell - soccer player and restauranteur (card courtesy of Bill Groves)

Courtesy of Bill Groves

Later on, Empty Pockets became the house band at Doug's Soccer Bar at 15th and Lewis. We had a pretty good run playing there every Friday and Saturday night from mid '79 to '82.

Doug's Soccer Bar was in the same building complex as the Delman Theater (later the Appollo Delman) and Massad's (you know, the local Frederick's of Hollywood-type store?) They would put on fashion shows in the middle of our sets, woo-hoo! Also, that was when Charlie Mitchell and the Tulsa Roughnecks won the North American Cup. I used to know all the players, as they would frequent the place (it was a bar devoted to them, after all!)

There was a great restaurant right across the street called Impressions. The building had a real 70s southern California look to it with round windows looking out on neat gardens, etc. Those were mighty good times!

That little corner of Tulsa sure has changed. Now it's all Walgreens, Albertson's, parking lots, etc. (Google Maps Street View of 15th and Lewis today.)

I'm originally from T-Town and currently live in Tahlequah. I have a recording studio called The Ray Ranch and recently produced "Songs For The Illinois River", a CD to benefit STIR (Save The Illinois River). It consists of 15 tribute songs by local musicians i.e. Badwater, Randy Crouch, Justin Cooper to name a few. Check it out if you get a chance.

Rickey Ray (MySpace)     The Ray Ranch     "Songs For The Illinois River" CD

Tulsa Coffee Houses: The Later Years (1970-1980)

Tulsa Coffee Houses: The Early Years (1960-1970)

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