Baldy Wetzel and the World's Longest Honky Tonk collection Jim Linderman
Baldy Wetzel, or Charles "Baldy" Wetzel played in speakeasies, tent shows, and for phony doctors selling snake oil. What he also did is shown here...setting the record for the longest continuous piano performance. 48 and 1/2 hours. That is one considerable piece of honky-tonk, but Baldy played for well over 50 years, so what's a few days?
As you can see, Baldy was hurting when the photo was taken. Not only do his friends place a wet compress against his neck, one helper massages his foot sore from damping the foot peddle.
Baldy started out in Pennsylvania and was playing 42nd street in the 1930s. Soon he added musical director for Ziefield Follies and George White's Scandals. Baldy was Paul Shaffer before there was a Paul Shaffer. He was proud to claim to have led the first dance band to feature a vocalist. He passed away in Toledo at the age of 79 in 1970.
Original Photograph circa 1930 (Inscribed to Fritz Savers from "Baldy" Wetzel) collection Jim Linderman
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