Lucky Millinder is a big name in the music business in 1946. And one day he and his big band happen to blow into Orlando for a gig. Some cat suggests that I go over and audition for him. Baby, I'm ready. I've been listening to Lucky for years, and I like his sound. His band's got a real snap. I also like Sister Rosetta Tharpe who's singing with him back then. "That's All," I remember, is a smash hit.
I decide to give it a shot��� It's my first attempt to go with a national outfit, and I'm pretty confident��� After all, everyone's been telling me how good I am���
I go over to the club. And there he is, just sitting in a chair and waiting for me to play. So I do, I sing a couple of songs, I play a couple of tunes. I give it all I got. And when I'm through, I just sit there, waiting for the verdict. Lucky is straight with me; he doesn't mince words:
"Ain't good enough, kid."
"W-w-w-what?" I stammer.
"You heard me. You don't got what it takes."
No one��� had ever said that to me before. And for a self-assured little motherfucker like me, that was a very heavy blow. I just wasn't prepared for out-and-out cold rejection���
I met Lucky again years later, after I had done some things on my own, and talked about what had happened. He explained his feelings to me in a way which made sense, particularly considering the times.