My husband, Cliff Carter, Mr. Nostalgia of RCA Records, was a talented gentleman who played his piano with ease and sang melodies that mellowed his supper club and lounge audiences.
What most people don't know is what goes on behind the scenes. I am talking about the Montreal nightclub scene in the 1980's.
Cliff and I were walking on St. Denis Street in Montreal late one afternoon when we came upon a club called The Casablanca. Anyone who ever met Cliff Carter would understand that The Casablanca would have a special appeal to us. We found the door open before business hours and went in. A couple of gentlemen met us and took one look at Cliff and asked if he could play something for them. And he was hired.
And the owners put a brass star with Cliff Carter's name into the pavement in front of the door of The Casablanca. I often wonder where that star is now.
But it wasn't that simple. Every pay day, the brother of one of these men came for his "cut". Even though he had done absolutely nothing to get Cliff the gig, he claimed he was an agent of the Montreal Musicians' Guild, and maybe he was. But it made no difference. I was too scared to protest, and Cliff was resigned to this kind of business. He just paid him every week.
While playing at Le Touche Bar in the hotel on the north east corner of Sherbrooke and Peel Street, Cliff had to pay another "agent" who had done absolutely nothing to get him his job.
One day we sat in the sun porch of Le Touche Bar with this Musicians' Guild agent who had his hand reaching under the table for his money, and I asked him what would happen if someone didn't pay.
I will always remember his answer, "Well, I'm not one of those who break fingers but..." So Cliff paid. And I remember how helpless we were to do anything about it.