Freddie B at the Keys

Dupont, Ind., keyboardist
has the rhythm

By Pam Decker
Contributing Writer

MADISON, Ind. – (October 2002) Every Saturday evening from 6 to 9 on the outdoor patio at Cabana Joe’s restaurant, one can hear the Golden Oldies and easy listening performed by Madison’s own one man band, Freddie B. and the Keys.
Freddie B., a.k.a. Fred Black, 61, of Dupont Ind., has been singing since 1974 at clubs, private parties and nursing homes. His latest gig is entertaining the evening diners at Cabana Joe’s, a new restaurant at 621 Clifty Dr. with his Roland EM-2000 Workstation-Synthesizer keyboard and a repertoire of oldies, country classics and other favorites.

Fred Black

Fred & Shirley Black

“It’s really a one-man band,” Black said. He added that his workstation can digitally reproduce any instrument, which makes his Saturday night shows as close to the real thing as possible.
Black started performing at Cabana Joe’s early last May when he approached owner Joe Torline about playing there.
“I just came down and introduced myself, touched base with him, and he hired me,” explains Black.
As for the customers’ responses, the patio fills up every Saturday evening with people enjoying the atmosphere and Black’s songs while eating their steaks and lobster tails. Black’s wife, Shirley, who helps him set up his equipment before his shows, says that the customers who have yet to be seated come out to listen while they wait, and after their dinner come back out to listen to some more. He has even accumulated some regular fans.
“We know people who don’t cook on Saturday nights anymore, they come out here just to listen to him,” says Shirley. “Some people wait an hour just to hear him.”
Black began his passion for music and performing at the age of 5 when he started taking piano lessons in Jefferson county, where he was raised. He played the trumpet in the Dupont High School band but continued to practice the piano into college.
Perhaps his most interesting practice sessions were when he and his friend, who lived in his friend’s parents’ funeral parlor to save money during college, would jam on the parlor’s Hammond 147 Leslie Tone Cabinet organ when nobody was around.
Now retired, Black formerly worked as an English teacher in Indianapolis for 17 years, as well as a sales manager for Public Gas Co. in central Florida, and as a real estate agent with Prudential Gallagher Properties in Orlando and Kissimmee, Fla.
He now spends his time between Madison and central Florida, playing such venues as the Elk’s Club in Kissimmee, the Broadway Fountain in Madison, Cabana Joe’s and nursing homes. The couple resides on a small farm north of Madison and have a son, Darryl, and a daughter, Erica.
Black will often play on a volunteer basis, especially at the nursing homes where he performs at least once a month. “Mainly it’s for smiles, and they love it,” Black said describing his warm receptions there. “The reward is already there.”

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