Monday, March 11, 2013

February 25, 1966: Longshoreman's Hall, 400 North Point Street, San Francisco

Delano Grape Strikers Benefit

I have always had a soft spot for hand-pulled silkscreen posters and this "Blow Your Mind" poster is one that I have, almost certainly irrationally, seen as important.  By no stretch of the imagination is this a psychedelic poster in the purest sense, but the event itself, and the participants are important. The Delano Grape Strike had started only a few months earlier and at this time I guess no one thought it would lead to years of strikes, protests and boycotts of companies such as Safeway. By 1967 the Berkeley Barb was publishing lists of organisations and products to be avoided.

As for the bands, John Handy was already a name act. He had played with Charles Mingus in the late 50s and was a regular performer in the Bay Area with his Quintet that also included Jerry Hahn. However, each of the other acts was still in their infancy as far as performances were concerned.
In their early days The Final Solution were occasionally augmented by the vocals of 18 year old Jane Dornacker and in such cases changed their name to Earth Mother and The Final Solution. Dornacker would go on to have a reasonable musical, stand-up comedienne and acting career before turning newshound and broadcaster. Unfortunately she lost her life in a helicopter accident whilst reporting a traffic incident in New York in 1986.

At this point the Sopwith Camel were living and rehearsing in the Firehouse in Presidio Heights. This was only their fourth public performance.

Nelveton Butler’s name crops up on a couple of posters – I always wondered if he was one of the other members of The Skins (with Ulysses S Crockett) who used to play drums between sets at the Fillmore in the early days – I rather suspect he was.

So who were the unbilled “other big names”?

The first were the Family Tree which was one of the earlier musical vehicles for Bob Segarini. They had formed after The Brogues (I Ain’t No Miracle Worker) went their separate way.

The final act was Quicksilver Messenger Service – again featuring remnants of The Brogues in Gary Duncan and Greg Elmore. Although the members of QMS had come together at the first Family Dog dance in October 1965, this was again only their fourth public performance using the QMS name – although there were a couple of earlier performances where the band performed without a name. Obviously someone pulled the event together – perhaps Ambrose Hollingworth was involved in some way.


  1. This is a pretty fascinating little artifact. Note that is says "Labor Donated," a crucial issue in pro-labor SF.

    I also wonder if A. Sopwith Camel was an early variant of the band's name, or just some sort of printer's confusion.

    Family Tree had some guys at the time who had been in The Brogues with Gary Duncan (nee Cole) and Greg Elmore. They may even have had Lee Michaels, who was probably using the name Mike Olsen at the time.

    The sound was probably done by old Cipollina pal Dan Healy, then a local recording engineer, so all the genetic material for the next evolution of the Fillmore scene was already in place.

    Jane Dornacker did not become well known until about 15 years later, but she was pretty notable around the Bay Area. She had performed with the Tubes in the 70s, and then had her own band Leila And The Snakes, and then became a hip traffic reporter. It was quite crushing when her helicopter crashed.

  2. I thought about doing a Family Tree family tree which would pick up some of the the Merced bands and, of course QMS. It is on the list with a bunch of other stuff I struggling to get with time wise. The masterwork remains the Rod Albin (San Mateo) FT but I have drafted a Garcia FT which I will need your help with - I guess once JGMF resurfaces.

  3. And sad news that Jim Murray has passed.

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