Rocking Chair


115 14th Ave. S.

Sometime in the 1940s the Blue Rose became the Rocking Chair, still run by “Big Lewis” Richardson, who had the good sense to hire Ray Charles in the summer of 1948. Charles later recorded a single, “Rocking Chair Blues,” in memory of the club. A classy joint where pimps, prostitutes and gamblers came to relax, the Rocking Chair was difficult to get into if you didn’t know someone who would let you through the first door. And if you happened to be a cop, an alarm would light up at the bar before you got tthrough the second door. The bartenders poured quality bonded liquor and served it across an elegant bar made of glass blocks. Upstairs there was a restaurant and gambling. Elmer Gill, who would later open the Ebony, worked at the Rocking Chair in 1946 and Fred Greenwell used to come by to sit in with Ray Charles. The club continued operating into the ’50s under the auspices of one Vernon Baker, who was sent to prison in 1957, when the club appears to have ceased operation.

Jackson Street After Hours (print only).