Thursday, September 24, 2009

2504 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA: The Longbranch June 1975

As we have discussed earlier, in California as in most places, a Use Permit that allows a nightclub or concert venue tends to remain in force, so that new operators will always find it easier to take over or refurbish an existing venue than start a new one. If a building is in an area that is not subject to robust development, it may remain a nightclub for a very long time. Since many rock venues tend to be in either "nightclub" districts or sleepy warehouse districts that don't mind noise, many buildings have long musical histories. As a result, musicians may find themselves in long-forgotten venues many years after the fact.

The listing above is from the Music section of the Hayward Daily Review for June 6, 1975, advertising the shows at a Berkeley venue called The Longbranch, at 2504 San Pablo Avenue. The venue opened in January 1963 as The Cabale, later changed to The Cabale Creamery, and it presented folk music.In 1965 it briefly became The Good Buddy, then Caverns West and finally The Questing Beast (from November 1965 to May 1966), all of them folk joints, more or less, but with rock bands starting to play some shows at The Questing Beast. The first electric performance of Country Joe and The Fish took place at the Questing Beast, in March of 1966, when Joe McDonald, Barry Melton and Bruce Barthol brought electric instruments to the club and tried out some of their material.

From 1967 to 1969, 2504 San Pablo was a sort of R&B dance joint called Tito's, featuring local bands, but starting in 1970 it became The Longbranch. The listing above is from the June 6, 1975 Hayward Daily Review, and it is interesting to see the number of performers who appear to have some prior history with the building.

Friday, June 6, 1975 Earthquake, Eddie Money
Earthquake had originally been a Berkeley High School band called Purple Earthquake, and it would have been surprising if guitarist Robbie Dunbar had not been to the Cabale as a teenager. Eddie Money, then an unknown local singer, was originally from New York City.

Saturday, June 7, 1975 Keith and Donna
During the Grateful Dead's hiatus from 1974-76, Keith and Donna Godchaux formed their own band to play Bay Area clubs and support their album Keith and Donna. Besides Keith (electric piano and vocals) and Donna (vocals), the band was Ray Scott (guitar), Stephen "Jack Bonus" Schuster (tenor sax, flute, congas), Mike Larscheid (bass) and Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. When the club was called The Questing Beast in 1965-66, it was a nascent psychedelic club, managed by unknown parties with reputed ties to the reclusive acid king Owsley Stanley. Supposedly, the Grateful Dead were going to rent the building as a rehearsal hall in February of 1966, but went to Los Angleles with Owsley instead. The Dead tape that circulates as "Questing Beast Rehearsal" from February 11, 1966 is clearly spurious--the Dead were already in Los Angeles--but that doesn't rule out the fact that Kreutzmann and the others had rehearsed there, or at least checked out the building.

Friday, June 13, 1975 Alice Stuart
Alice Stuart had probably played The Cabale in 1964, but she definitely played Caverns West in mid-1965, and opened the Questing Beast in November of 1965. At the time, she would have probably been a solo folk/blues artist. By 1975, she was generally fronting an electric trio, in her appearance at a fourth incarnation of 2504 San Pablo.

Saturday, June 14, 1975 Stoneground
The original Stoneground had broken up in early 1973, but guitarist Tim Barnes had reformed the group with a somewhat stripped down lineup. I don't know who was in the band.

Mondays (June 9 and 16, 1975) The Shakers
The Shakers were a white reggae group.

Wednesdays (June 11 and 18, 1975) Delicia and The Depressions
This group is unknown to me.

Thursdays (June 12, 1975) Country Joe McDonald and Friends, Energy Crisis
Berkeley resident Joe McDonald found himself back at 2504 San Pablo, where he had first played the Cabale in 1964. His "friends" were the band Energy Crisis, a group featuring lead guitarist John Blakely, guitarist/vocalist Phil Marsh (ex-Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band), drummer Tom Ralston (Sky Blue, CGSB) and bassist Bruce Barthol, also an original member of the electric Country Joe and The Fish.

Energy Crisis had not met with much success locally, so they teamed up with Joe, who was recording for Fantasy and had a new album that would be his biggest hit in years. Joe and Energy Crisis played Bay Area clubs for much of the summer, and the group would form the core of his backing group for some time. Thus Joe McDonald and Bruce Barthol found themselves back at 2504 San Pablo, trying out their new band, just like when they had begun 10 years earlier. They played the following dates at The Longbranch: May 8, 22 and 29, and June 5, 12, 21 and 26, and July 5 (for some reason they played Saturday June 21 instead of Thursday June 19). Thats about as many dates as Joe, at least, had played at The Cabale and The Questing Beast the first time around. When Joe left, the Thursday night residency was taken over by another Fillmore veteran, Jerry Miller of Moby Grape.

After a few more years, some of them as a reggae joint, The Longbranch became a store called Good Vibrations (don't Google it at work). But its still standing--so Joe may be back there one of these days in its next incarnation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3101 E. 14th Street, Oakland, CA: Ann's New Mo-The Naturally Stoned, November 7, 1969

Some mysteries are probably destined to remain mysteries. This ad comes from the Oakland Tribune entertainment section of November 7, 1969. The Trib was Oakland's main paper, and the establishments that advertised in the Friday section were relatively well established destinations. Steakhouses, downtown nightclubs and Nevada Lounges (in Reno and Tahoe) all had regular ads. Certainly some out of town clubs would advertise, but they were larger clubs like Frenchy's, who featured larger acts and appealed to patrons as an evening's destination. For a bar or club, an ad in the Friday Trib was a genuine expense, and some of the smaller clubs only advertised when they had a major attraction.

Ann's New Mo advertised most weeks in 1969, featuring a variety of groups I never heard of. My favorite is this band, The Naturally Stoned. Who were they? What is the semiology of the dancing girl? Is that hip, funky, black, white, what? Who is it supposed to appeal to? Bored businessmen? 20-somethings looking for fun? And what does "Mo" mean? Momentum? Mode? There's a Wednesday jam session, but what do they play? Jazz? Blues?

3101 East 14th Street (now 3101 International Boulevard) is over in the Fruitvale District (near what is now the Fruitvale BART Station at International and Fruitvale Avenue). Presumably the ads were to encourage Trib readers to make the trip down East 14th, but its 4 miles East of downtown, not really on the way to anything. Of course, that's why a club advertises, but the ad seems to be speaking in a language I don't understand.

Its easy to imagine that the coded language is something delicious and exciting, speaking to some kind of musical, ethnic or sexual subculture, but those kind of clubs didn't advertise in the Friday Tribune, since they didn't want squares dropping by unprepared for what they were getting. This ad has to appeal to someone who would read the Friday Trib, looking for things to do and willing to drive a few miles for the experience. "Naturally Stoned" is a clue, sort of, but by 1969 the iconography of drugs was fairly common, and in any case "stoned" still meant "drunk" to a lot of people in the 60s.

I remain perplexed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

4742 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA: The Rock Garden (1967)>The Ghetto Club (1967>1971)

The Rock Garden

When researching the history of a rock band, or a rock scene, venues come and go. In the 1960s, all sorts of promoters tried starting Fillmore type venues, mostly with limited success. For the researcher or serious fan, these venues seem to appear out of the ether and then return to the netherworld. In many cases, however, the venues remain active over the years, and it is only our interest that retreats. In California, as in most places, the Use Permits for most venues that allow musical performances (and/or liquor sales, dancing, and so on, depending on the Permit) tend to remain in force. Thus a new entrepreneur looking to start a live music club has a much easier time using an already established venue. Many venues go through numerous musical lives, even though fans of one incarnation may be unaware or uninterested in another.

For 60s music historians, The Rock Garden in San Francisco has always seemed like such an ephemeral venue. The Rock Garden, located at 4742 Mission Street, is known for beautiful posters for four week-long engagements in March and April 1967, all featuring the best of California psychedelia. The diamond-shaped poster above advertises Love, Big Brother and The Holding Company and CIA (Center For Interplanetary Activity, a sort of "Performance Art" group) for March 21-26, 1967 (Tuesday thru Sunday). The Grateful Dead and Charles Lloyd played the next week, March 28-April 2 (excepting Thursday March 30). The Buffalo Springfield and Electric Chamber Orkustra were advertised April 11-16. For the week of April 18-23, a poster advertises Country Joe and The Fish. Then the Rock Garden appears to be no more.

What do we know about the concerts in March and April of 1967? The answer--just about nothing. Russ Wilson of the Oakland Tribune wrote a piece about the upcoming Dead/Charles Lloyd show, although it was mostly about Charles Lloyd. In the book The Illustrated Trip, Dennis McNally and Blair Jackson say that Jerry Garcia's mother, who still lived nearby, saw him perform at the Rock Garden. Big Brother and Neil Young scholars acknowledge their respective shows, but I know of no reviews, tapes, photos or eyewitness accounts of any of these shows. As for the Country Joe shows, they were plainly canceled, and some comments in the Berkeley Barb from the band's manager about "alcoholic club managers" seems to point at The Rock Garden.

Who ran the Rock Garden? It remains a mystery. I did read once that Garcia knew the proprietor from his old neighborhood, but that sounds apocryphal. 4742 Mission Street is in the Excelsior District, at the very Southern edge of San Francisco, almost in Daly City. It is a long way from downtown and the Haight. Mission Street turns due South and becomes the El Camino Real, but the Excelsior was a long way from the suburbs too, and in any case the Excelsior had the whiff of being too "ethnic" for many white suburbanite rock fans (as did the Fillmore District). The Rock Garden, whoever backed and ran it, drops out of rock history in April 1967.

The Ghetto Club

Of course, 4742 Mission Street was a building, and a building with a Use Permit for musical performances, so it is no surprise to find out that the club simply changed its name. However, since it changed to a Soul music club, and from there to a Latin (or Latin Soul) club, it dropped off rock historian radar. At the same time, many "ethnic" establishments did not advertise in the mainstream newspapers, so the newspaper research performed by rock historians like me turns up no trace of the club. In fact, however, it turns out that for at least several more years, 4742 Mission Street was The Ghetto Club, and it played an important part in San Francisco music.

I had seen peripheral references before to The Ghetto Club, and gathered that it was a Soul music club. However, I was reading a book called Voices Of Latin Rock, by Jim McCarthy with Ron Santos, about the history of Santana, Malo and Latin Rock music in San Francisco in the 1960s and 70s, and The Ghetto Club plays an important role. I was quite surprised to see an ad for the club in the book,  (reproduced above), only to discover that the address was 4742 Mission Street.

Voices Of Latin Rock (published by Hal Leonard 2004) features remarkable research, with hundreds of unique interviews with musicians and friends who are rarely or never participants in typical rock narratives. The book offers an alternative universe to San Francisco music history, with only intermittent appearances from the usual suspects. The book is focused on personal narratives and musical reminiscence, and it is not focused on a careful timeline of people, venues and events (more's the pity for me). However, it turns out that by 1969 The Ghetto Club was a multi-racial stew of Latin, Soul and Rock, with an apparently diverse crowd, very similar to the Excelsior neighborhood it was located in. A musician named Jose Simon recalls
The Rock Garden was a hard club, real party hardliners. The bouncers were two Samoan guys. They kicked the hell out of anybody trying to kick off in there. The Rock Garden was competition to the Nite Life [another club], and was probably the first rock club in the Mission area [the Excelsior is just South of the Mission District]. They had Big Brother, Janis Joplin, Mongo Santamaria (p.49).
The author ads "Later, the club changed hands and became The Ghetto." Another musician, Richard Bean, chimes in
The Ghetto was originally a black club. Then the Latin thing started there. Abel And The Prophets were like the house band. Crackin was another band from around that time (p49)
Abel And The Prophets were a Latin-Rock-Soul fusion group, probably playing a lot of cover versions, but in their own style. Abel Sanchez was a young guitarist, who would go on to work with Naked Lunch in 1970 and then Malo in 1971, where he was an integral part of that band's sound. In 1969, the other happening club was The Nite Life, apparently at 101 Olmstead Street (near San Bruno Avenue), on the other side of McLaren Park, where a band called The Aliens held court with an amazing mixture of funk, Latin and jamming. The Santana Blues Band evolved into Santana, not least by absorbing Chepito Areas from The Aliens.

El Tapatio Nightclub

None of the amazing alternative history of Latin Rock in San Francisco tells us much about the original founding of The Rock Garden, but it is a telling lesson in thinking broadly rather than narrowly. The current (or at least most recent) business at 4742 Mission Street is El Tapatio Nightclub. I don't live in the Bay Area any more, and in any case I don't stay out late anymore, plus I'm old, so I probably wouldn't want to stay out late and see what's happening there. If history is any guide, however, something is happening, even if I don't know what it is.

View Latin Rock San Francisco 1969 in a larger map

700 M Street, Fresno, CA: Selland Arena, Big Brother And The Holding Company/Mint Tattoo April 19, 1968

This article in the April 14, 1968, edition of The Fresno Bee, promoting the forthcoming Friday night rock show, advises that anyone "Over 35" (with proper ID, of course) will receive free admission to the show. Promoter Stuart Golway admits its a gimmick--and one that worked, since they got in the paper--but says "we also want people to have a chance to see a really [great] rock group, and we think they'll really dig this one."

The student promoters of this concert at Fresno's main Civic Arena (built in 1966), Baba Love, had also promoted a Grateful Dead show on February 17 (with Country Joe and The Fish). According to the Fresno Bee articles, the stated purpose of both the Grateful Dead concert and the Big Brother concert were to raise funds to finance publication of Meher Baba's writings. Make of this what you will.

At the time, Big Brother and The Holding Company were underground legends, but their only release was the first album on Mainstream. They had played Fresno before, but the promoters would have had to depend on word-of-mouth for their to be a good show. Their probably wasn't a significant FM rock radio station in Fresno at this time. Thus an absurd gimmick like allowing 35-year olds in for free got the concert free press, and probably served its purpose.  I have no information on whether anyone took them up on the offer.

The group Mint Tattoo featured Sacramento guitarist Bruce Stephens and organist/bassist Burns Kellogg. They had been in the Berkeley group Melvyn Q Watchpocket, and after Mint Tattoo's sole album release in 1968, both members would join Blue Cheer for their third album (1969's New! Improved!), although Bruce Stephens only played on half of it. Burns Kellogg (1946-2003) remained in Blue Cheer for three more albums, and eventually became well known both as an engineer and producer at his own Radio Tokyo Studios and also as a Hurdy Gurdy player. I saw him open for David Lindley once, playing the Hurdy Gurdy.

I'd love to know the identity of the "Fresno Group [promoter] Golway says "is so new they don't even have a name yet."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

29097 Mission Blvd, Hayward, CA: Charlie Musselwhite at Frenchy's November 7, 1969

What to make of this ad? Frenchy's was a fairly large club in Hayward that had existed since at least the early 1960s. In 1965-66, it had actually turned into a kind of happening place, if only by an accident of geography--it was the only rock club between San Jose and Berkeley. It must not have been profitable enough, however, as it went "topless" in late 1966. That too wasn't successful (the ads said "Topless Was A Big Bust") and Frenchy's reconfigured itself into a contemporary rock club in 1967. Since it stayed open, it must have done alright. It didn't hurt that there were a lot of good bands in the Bay Area, and that the rock crowd had finally gotten old enough to buy drinks.

By 1969, pretty good bands play Frenchy's. This ad from the November 7, 1969 features a gig (probably  a week-long engagement) by Charlie Musselwhite. Musselwhite had moved from Chicago to San Francisco in 1967, figuring it was better to be one of the best blues bands in San Francisco rather than one of dozens in Chicago. Although his personnel changed, Musselwhite always had a good band backing him, and he was a terrific harmonica player and a solid singer. He played gigs at the Fillmore and all over the Bay Area. The ad is the odd thing here. It says

If you are over 30, please do not come to FRENCHY'S--you probably won't enjoy it. We have the best rock and roll bands in the world. They are loud, it gets very crowded, sometimes the dance floor is very crowded. We have light shows that are very psychedelic, and sometimes its hard to see. We have a special Ladies Night on Wednesday. Lots of Ladies come, few are over 30. We have a one thousand dollar dance contest for girls on Thursday. They dance alone on a platform. You probably wouldn't like it. We have Happy Hour on Sunday from 7:30 to 9:30. We drink a lot of beer. We dress very casual and mod. Some of us have long hair. We dig it, you probably wouldn't. Our bartenders won't listen to your problems. They don't have time. Our waitresses won't listen, either, they don't like problems. We always have a lot of fun. If you are over thirty this is not for you.

Obviously this is one of those ads that is "warning" people not to come and have a good time. Given its location on the Oakland Tribune entertainment page, next to ads for Steak Restaurants, Las Vegas and other expensive entertainment, however, my theory is that the purpose of this ad is to get people over thirty to come to the club. I believe the hidden message is that there are a lot of under-30 women at the club, and middle-aged businessmen who find the Hotels in Jack London Square to be slim pickings would do well at Frenchy's. Whether that's true or not was of course another matter, but I think this litany of cliches only made sense if you were a 30-something square looking for free and easy hippie chicks.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Foothill College Gym: United States of America – May 25, 1968

A show on the one and only lumbering two month tour by the United States of America, Joe Byrd’s experimental rock band. Foothill College is a community college founded in 1957 located in Los Altos Hills, CA. Prior to the tour, the band would play occasional dates only.

Formed in New York in 1967 by Joseph Byrd, who had studied with legendary avant garde composer John Cage and was a contemporary of Yoko Ono, the United States of America membership comprised Byrd, Dorothy Moskowitz, Rand Forbes, Gordon Marron, Craig Woodson and, for the album and tour, Ed Bogas.

The only dates that I know of are:

December 16, 1967 Shrine, Los Angeles Country Joe and The Fish, Moby Grape, United States of America
March 22-23, 1968: Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA Velvet Underground, United States of America, The Road
March 29-30, 1968, Fillmore East, New York City, NY Richie Havens, The Troggs, United States of America
May 2-4, 1968: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA Country Joe and The Fish, Moby Grape, Hour Glass, United States of America
May 25, 1968 Foothill College Gym

Friday, September 18, 2009

412 Broadway, San Francisco, CA: The Matrix Iggy and The Stooges/The Tubes October 31, 1973

San Francisco's Matrix is best known as the club originally backed by Jefferson Airplane vocalist Marty Balin, and through the 1960s it was the local venue for all the Fillmore bands on their way up or their night off. Located at 3138 Fillmore Street, in the Marina District, it was an essential part of San Francisco rock history. There was also a little known second incarnation of The Matrix, however, at 412 Broadway.

The first Matrix closed in early 1971. Original Matrix owner/operator Peter Abram (along with John Barsotti and Dave Martin) re-opened the club at a new site in late Summer 1973 . Although the second Matrix was not really a success, there were a number of good shows there in the second half of 1973. The New York Dolls played there in September (Sep 4-6), and the then-unknown Bob Marley and The Wailers played some legendary gigs there in October (Oct 19-20, 29-30).

In retrospect, an equally legendary gig has to have been the Halloween 1973 show featuring Iggy and The Stooges and The Tubes. The ad (from the Fremont Argus of October 26, 1973) says "Halloween Party with Iggy and The Stooges, The Tubes and Sugardaddy." Iggy Stooge--as he was known in those days--was a notorious engine of destruction. His new album Raw Power featured original Stooges Scott Asheton on drums and Ron Asheton (on bass), along with new guitarist James Williamson (whose presence nudged Ron Asheton over to bass). Iggy's stage act typically featured frenzied madness and self-mutilation. If I remember correctly--I cannot find the direct reference--Joel Selvin's review (he was the SF Chronicle rock critic) could barely describe the lunacy of Iggy's show, including a young lady in the audience performing a certain act (which wasn't described). Iggy soon ended up in the Hospital.

The Tubes would become one of San Francisco's rock legends within 18 months, but at the time they were just hard rocking nuts from Phoenix. They had originally been called The Beans when they arrived in San Francisco, but they changed their name and morphed into a parody of a deranged hard rock band, complete with costumes, props and dancers. In 1973, still playing the local clubs, they were much sloppier players, with low-rent props and stunts, but that of course added to the "performance art" aspect of portraying a deranged and debauched hard rock band with pretensions towards English glam rock. The band that would perform on their debut album (and next several) in 1975 was already intact, including future Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick.

The new Matrix did not last much beyond this show--and indeed how could you top a week of the Wailers, Graham Central Station (on the 26th and 27th, above) and then Iggy and The Stooges with The Tubes? The venue became a soul club called The Soul Train (after the TV show), and then hosted a play called Bullshot Crummond (which I believe I saw) and finally from 1980 to 1990 it was The Stone. The Stone was linked to the Keystone Berkeley and Keystone Palo Alto, and was an important part of the Bay Area rock scene in the 1980s.

Currently the venue is the home of a club called Broadway Showgirls Cabaret (don't google it at work).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

234 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA: The Ice House Captain Beefheart/Nitty Gritty Dirt Band June 28-July 3, 1966

This listing from the June 28, 1966 edition of The Pasadena Independent seems unimaginable today: avant garde legendary mystery man Captain Beefheart paired with the authentic Country professionalism of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, in suburban Glendale to boot. Things were different then.

The Ice House in Glendale was connected to The Ice House in Pasadena, although I do not know which one came first. The Ice House in Pasadena (at 24 N. Mentor Avenue) was one of the popular folk coffee houses in Southern California, and aspiring teenage musicians like Ry Cooder and Pamela Polland were regulars on the stage during hoot nights and in the audience for touring acts. The Ice House in Glendale was, at one point, called The Under The Ice House (although apparently you still had to take an elevator to the club) and many performers played both clubs. By late 1965, 'Folk-Rock' bands were not unknown at either Ice House, as folk venues had to compete with burgeoning rock clubs.

Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band were known in Southern California as the toughest white blues band around. They played "Car Club" gigs, where teenagers drove their cars (often the same make) to a meeting point and had a party. Beefheart had the reputation, at least, of impressing his audiences as well as any of the local black blues bands, and was the first white singer to claim that distinction. Without repeating the entire Beefheart story here, suffice to say he recorded some sides for A&M records, and one of them, the blues song "Diddy Wah Diddy", was even a hit on KRLA. The Magic Band at this time would have been Alex Snouffer and Doug Moon on guitars, Jerry Handley on bass and Paul Blakely on drums. Beefheart had already played the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco (May 20-21).

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were a Long Beach group, initially calling themselves The Illegitimate Jug Band. They had changed their name, but they played "Jug Music", essentially old-time string band music, wearing pinstripe suits and cowboy boots. The band at the time included Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden and Les Thompson, all of whom would be in the band throughout much of the 1970s, along with Ralph Barr, Bruce Kunkel and 17-year old Jackson Browne. At this time, String Band music was serious folk music, learned off very old records, whose heritage was somewhat mysterious. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band would not release a record until about a year later, by which time Browne had been replaced by multi-instrumentalist John McEuen. McEuen was a key figure in the Dirt Band's eventual focus on authentic traditional country music.

From the perspective of the 1966 audience, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band were first-class exponents of a mysterious music--the blues--unseen (if not unheard) in its original form by white teenagers. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, though less well known, were exponents of an equally mysterious music--"old time string band"--equally unseen and even less heard in its original form. Its hard to say how the two bands sounded side by side, of course, but this was not nearly so far-fetched a pairing as it initially looked.

The Ice House in Glendale is currently a theater called A Noise Within. The Ice House in Pasadena remains open, mostly presenting comedy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1099 E Street, Hayward, CA Bret Harte School Amphitheater: Hayward Folk Song Festival, September 26, 1964

The friendly young woman with the guitar, sensible skirt and straight hair is Alice Stuart, one of the performers in the Hayward Folk Song Jamboree, held at the Bret Harte School Amphiteathre (1099 E Street in Hayward) on Saturday, September 26, 1964. The older woman on the left, pretending to play the autoharp, is the organizer, Mrs. Donald Hovenor. This Folk Festival was organized as a fundraiser by the Family Services Guild, a Southern Alameda County "Society" charity. As a result, this event got excellent promotion in the Hayward, Fremont and Oakland papers in the prior week. The photo and clipping above are from an article in the "Women's" Section of the Hayward Daily Review on September 24, 1964.

In the process of planning her fundraiser (we were breathlessly informed) Mrs. Hovenor was directed to Barry Olivier, organizer of the Berkeley Folk Festival, and he simplified the process of organizing a folk festival in Hayward. The performers were regulars at the Berkeley Folk Festival and on the Bay Area Folk Circuit: Sam Hinton, Jesse Fuller, Slim Critchlow and "for the younger set," The Pine Valley Boys, Alice Stuart, Barry Olivier and Merritt Herring. The Pine Valley Boys were a fine East Bay bluegrass band featuring Butch Waller (later in High Country), Herb Pedersen (Dillards, Desert Rose Band, many others) and David Nelson (New Riders, David Nelson Band, etc).

While this performance was probably a fun, and possibly lucrative, gig for the performers, it does show Folk Music at an interesting crossroads. Most serious young Folk musicians, like Herb Pedersen, Alice Stuart and David Nelson, got interested in bluegrass or blues not only because it was good, but because it was unsanitized and possibly a bit dangerous, unlike simper popular stuff like The Kingston Trio. Yet by late 1964, suburban Society matrons are happy to use an exported version of the Berkeley Folk Festival for a fundraiser, and equally happy for their own kids to be attending the show on a Saturday night. This was no criticism of folk music itself, but it had come a long way from the secret society it had once been.

In late 1964, things were certainly on the verge of change. Folk music did, to its credit, turn out to be threatening, if only because it often lead to rock music. Alice Stuart, for example, less than 18 months after this photo was taken, ended up getting hired by Frank Zappa to play in his band The Mothers for a few months in Los Angeles, and if that isn't threatening to parents, what is? In any case, Alice Stuart is still friendly and still has a guitar, even if its mostly an electric one these days, as she is a veteran of many recordings and performances.

807 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA: The Orphanage May 29-30, 1973 Kingfish (first shows?)


The Orphanage was the hot North Beach rock club for a brief moment in the early 1970s. Located just off Broadway at 807 Montgomery (at Pacific), it was the former site of a North Beach topless club called Roaring Twenties. Even Roaring Twenties had a brief rock history, as the venue tried rock in 1967, and featured The Wildflower and then six weeks of The Charlatans before giving it up in late July. By 1973, the Orphanage was a happening spot for up and coming rock bands, as rising local bands like Graham Central Station got their start there, and veterans like Van Morrison were willing to play the room as well.

The above clipping is from the Entertainment Listings of The Fremont Argus of Friday, May 25, 1973. Besides featuring the exceptional Azteca, a groundbreaking San Francisco Latin rock band, the booking for Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29-30 for Kingfish is the earliest booking I have seen for that band. Now, since it was my belief that Kingfish did not even form until spring of 1974, until after Dave Torbert left the New Riders and re-upped with his old friend Matthew Kelly, it is entirely possible that this is some other band named Kingfish, and has nothing to do with the Matt Kelly-led band that worked in some form from 1974 to the 1990s, featuring Torbert, Bob Weir, Patti Cathcart and many others over the years. 

On the other hand, I know that Matt Kelly was working on an album in 1973, originally intended as a harmonica instruction album (tracks from these sessions were released as part of Kelly's 1985 solo album A Wing And A Prayer). Kelly had also been working with a group called Slewfoot, a sort of proto-Kingfish, backing singer David Rea. I believe David Rea had moved on by 1973, but its plausible to think that Kelly might play a few gigs, and he always called his band Kingfish, so its reasonable to think that he started in 1973. Slewfoot featured Kelly, guitarist Bill Cutler, bassist James Ackroyd and drummer Chris Herold (backing David Rea). 

Its entirely possible that the "Kingfish" at the Orphanage had nothing to do with Matt Kelly. However, the venue was at the top of the local tree, and was not going to book an amateur group. Although Matt Kelly was hardly known at the time, he had been a professional musician since the mid-60s, and he's the sort of solid local musician whose band would play The Orphanage on a weeknight. For now I'm going to assume that these performances are a the first live iteration of Matt Kelly's Kingfish.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

40 Cedar Alley, San Francisco, CA

40 Cedar Alley was a coffeeshop located in the lobby to Cedar Alley Cinema. It opened August 14, 1965 (the day after the launch of the Berkeley Barb and the opening of Marty Balin's Matrix on Fillmore Street). Little detail and few memories seem to exist but they did seem to book an eclectic mix of performers ranging from the flamenco of Solomon Feldthouse (later of Kaleidoscope), through the easter influenced folk of Pat Kilroy & The New Age and The Sound of Om, to the bluegrass of the Smokey Grass Boys and the experimental music unleashed by the Electric Chamber Orkustra.

I have yet to really concentrate on figuring out more about 40 Cedar Alley but have a short list of shows that took place there.
14 August 1965 Opening Night
16 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
17 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
18 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
19 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
20 September 1965 Poetry Readings
23 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
24 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
25 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
26 September 1965 Poetry Readings
30 September 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
01 October 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
02 October 1965 The San Francisco Reperatory Company perform Susan Griffin's "The Everlasting Reich"
03 October 1965 Poetry Readings
10 December 1965 The Explainers (portraying on stage the cartoons of Jules Feiffer of the Village Voice)
11 December 1965 The Explainers (portraying on stage the cartoons of Jules Feiffer of the Village Voice)
17 December 1965 Pantomime; The Explainers (portraying on stage the cartoons of Jules Feiffer of the Village Voice)
18 December 1965 Pantomime; The Explainers (portraying on stage the cartoons of Jules Feiffer of the Village Voice)
01 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
02 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
07 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
08 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
09 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
14 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
15 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
16 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
21 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
22 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
23 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
28 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
29 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
30 January 1966 Lee Underwood, Juan Molina, The Step Sisters
31 January 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
01 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
02 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
03 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
04 February 1966 Bill Forshay, Ivan Ulz
05 February 1966 Bill Forshay, Ivan Ulz
06 February 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
07 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
08 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
09 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
10 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
11 February 1966 Congress of Wonders
12 February 1966 Congress of Wonders
13 February 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
14 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
15 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
16 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
17 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
18 February 1966 Jefferey Cain, Alan Higgins
19 February 1966 Jefferey Cain, Alan Higgins
20 February 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
21 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
22 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
23 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
24 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
25 February 1966 The Flemenco Quadro
26 February 1966 The Flemenco Quadro
27 February 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
28 February 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
01 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
02 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
03 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
04 March 1966 Michael Hunt Satyricon
05 March 1966 Michael Hunt Satyricon
06 March 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
07 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
08 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
09 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
10 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
11 March 1966 The Wry Catchers
12 March 1966 The Wry Catchers
13 March 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
14 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
15 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
16 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
17 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
18 March 1966 Lee Underwood
19 March 1966 Lee Underwood
20 March 1966 Hoot with Lee Underwood
21 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
22 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
23 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
24 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
25 March 1966 Ivan Ulz, Robert Trotter
26 March 1966 Ivan Ulz, Robert Trotter
27 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
28 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
29 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
30 March 1966 Spontaneous Sound (gongs, timpani, bells, cymbals, chimes and flute)
01 April 1966 Ed Ellison, Mike Gilligan
02 April 1966 Ed Ellison, Mike Gilligan
07 April 1966 Bridge
08 April 1966 Bridge, Mary Goodwin, John & Greg
09 April 1966 Mary Goodwin, John & Greg
14 April 1966 Bridge
15 April 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
16 April 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
20 April 1966 The Wry Catchers, Ale Ekstrom, Linda Uyehara, Ed Ellison, Peg Carter [The Art Focus Club]
21 April 1966 Bridge
22 April 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
23 April 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
28 April 1966 Bridge
29 April 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
30 April 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
05 May 1966 Bridge
06 May 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
07 May 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
12 May 1966 Bridge
13 May 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
14 May 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
19 May 1966 Bridge
20 May 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
21 May 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
26 May 1966 Bridge
27 May 1966 Bridge, Los Flamencos de la Bahia
28 May 1966 Los Flamencos de la Bahia
22 June 1966 Malachi
29 June 1966 Solomon
01 July 1966 Bill Halpern
02 July 1966 Bill Halpern
04 July 1966 Michael Hunt (Parody, Satire and Comedy)
06 July 1966 Solomon
08 July 1966 Tienne and The Red Mountain Boys
09 July 1966 Tienne and The Red Mountain Boys
13 July 1966 Solomon
15 July 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
16 July 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
20 July 1966 Solomon
22 July 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
23 July 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
24 July 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
27 July 1966 Solomon
29 July 1966 Solomon
30 July 1966 Solomon
03 August 1966 Solomon
18 August 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
19 August 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
20 August 1966 PH Phactor Jug Band
01 September 1966 Jack Andrews
08 September 1966 Jack Andrews
15 September 1966 Jack Andrews
16 September 1966 Entropy
17 September 1966 Entropy
22 September 1966 Jack Andrews
29 September 1966 Jack Andrews
30 September 1966 Tienne and The Red Mountain Boys
01 October 1966 Tienne and The Red Mountain Boys
16 October 1966 Hoot with Michael Hunt
31 October 1966 Jazz
04 November 1966 Jim Smith
06 November 1966 Michael Hunt
07 November 1966 Jazz
11 November 1966 Steve Mann, Ruthann Freidman
12 November 1966 Steve Mann, Ruthann Freidman
14 November 1966 Jazz
21 November 1966 Jazz
28 November 1966 Jazz
05 December 1966 Jazz
09 December 1966 Malachi
10 December 1966 Malachi
12 December 1966 Jazz
19 December 1966 Jazz
01 January 1967 Hoot
02 January 1967 New Folk 5
20 January 1967 Wrycatchers
21 January 1967 Wrycatchers
23 January 1967 Hoot with Michael Hunt
25 January 1967 Smokey Grass Boys
03 February 1967 Electric Chamber Orkustra
04 February 1967 Electric Chamber Orkustra
05 February 1967 Electric Chamber Orkustra
10 February 1967 Robbie Basho
11 February 1967 Robbie Basho
15 February 1967 Smokey Grass Boys
17 February 1967 Pat Kilroy and The New Age
18 February 1967 Pat Kilroy and The New Age
19 February 1967 [2pm] Pat Kilroy and The New Age, [9pm] Hoot with Michael Hunt
24 February 1967 Om - The Sound of Om Music of India (played on veena and daduki)
25 February 1967 Om - The Sound of Om Music of India (played on veena and daduki)
26 February 1967 Hoot with Michael Hunt
28 February 1967 Theatre Lab: Sturgis' Shaa, Songs and Empiricalism
10 March 1967 Robbie Basho
11 March 1967 Robbie Basho
12 March 1967 Hoot with Michael Hunt
17 March 1967 Paul Arnoldi
18 March 1967 Paul Arnoldi
19 March 1967 Hoot with Michael Hunt
24 March 1967 Jim Smith, Dave Barnes
25 March 1967 Jim Smith, Dave Barnes
26 March 1967 Vince Olson Quartet, Hoot with Michael Hunt
27 March 1967 Pitschell Players' "Lyndon's Banes"
08 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
09 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
10 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
15 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
16 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
17 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
22 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
23 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
24 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
29 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
30 June 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
01 July 1967 Shaw's Don Juan In Hell
04 April 1969 Long Island Sound, Orion
11 August 1971 Stephen Fiske, Onion

40 Cedar Alley is certainly a venue that we would love to know more about. Given it's locale in the lobby of a the Cedar Alley Cinema it is unclear as to whether it had regulars of its own or relied on those folk visiting the cinema to keep the business turning over.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

May 23-24-25, 1969, 10th and Alma, San Jose, CA: Aquarian Family Festival Band List

May 23-24-25, 1969 practice field, San Jose State College
      Aquarian Family Festival

Ace of Cups/All Men Joy/Birth/Beggars Opera/Boz Skaggs/Crabs/Crow/
Cleanliness And Godliness Skiffle Band/Devine Madness/Denver/Scratch/Elgin Marble/Flaming Groovies/Frumious Bandersnatch/Gentle Dance/Greater Carmichael Traveling Street Band/ Glass Mountain/High Country/Jefferson Airplane/Joy of Cooking/Last Mile/Libras/Lamb/Living Color/Linn County/Mother Ball/ Morning Glory/Mad River/Mt. Rushmore/Nymbus/Old Davis/Red Grass, Green Smoke/Rubber Maze/ Rising Tide/Rejoice/Sunrise/Sable/Sons of Champlin/Sounds Unlimited Blues Band/ Sandy Bull/The Steve Miller Band/ Stoned Fox/South Bay Experimental Flash/Throckmorton/Tree of Life/Weird Herald/Womb/Warren Purcell/Zephyr Grove

The Aquarian Family Festival, a three day free concert held at a Football practice field across from San Jose State's Spartan Stadium, was a remarkable event held in conjunction with and in contrast to the Second Annual Northern California Folk Rock Festival at The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at the same time. I have written about this event elsewhere. This post is an extensive footnote, listing the bands who played the Festival, to the extent that I know who they were.

The Aquarian Family Festival was a free concert, and all the bands played for free. Apparently the organizers simply called every band they knew, and a lot of them showed up. The agreement with the College stipulated that people could only be present when music was playing, so bands played continuously for the entire 72 hours. A specially constructed stage allowed one band to set up while another played. Apparently, bands simply showed up at the site and signed up, like signing up for a tennis court. Its uncertain exactly who played, and I'm not certain where the organizers got a list of who actually played. I wonder if that sign-up sheet survived? 

Even the organizers suggest that their list is only partial. Besides hippie solidarity, playing a free concert was a good way for a local band in the Bay Area to get known. Somewhere between 20,000 and 80,000 people attended the Festival, and for many of these groups this would have been the biggest crowd they had played for. Anyone with further information about who played (particularly if it was yourself), please Comment or email me.

Ace of Cups: The Ace of Cups were a fine band based in Marin, who are primarily remembered for being the only all-women psychedelic band. In fact, they were an excellent group, and much more disciplined than many of their peers, but we had to wait 36 years for their cd to be released.

All Men Joy: All Men Joy, despite what you may read, did not feature Duane and Gregg Allman (Duane and Gregg did have a band by that name in 1966 in Nashville, but by this time they had formed the Allman Brothers and moved to Macon, GA). All Men Joy was a San Francisco band featuring keyboardist Lu Stephens, and they were regulars at the Avalon Ballroom and Straight Theater. 

Birth: The group is unknown to me.

Beggars Opera: Beggars Opera were a Lafayette (Contra Costa County) band. As a result, they played a lot of gigs with Frumious Bandersnatch, but otherwise I know little about them.

Boz Scaggs: Boz Scaggs had left The Steve Miller Band at the end of 1968, but had not started playing around town. I doubt he had a band. I assume somebody recalls him playing (he was fairly well known locally), so I assume he sat in with another group.

The Crabs: The Crabs were a Berkeley band, regulars at The New Orleans House. They played in a style that would be called "roots-rock" today (the term did not exist at the time).

Crow: The group is unknown to me.
Cleanliness And Godliness Skiffle Band: The Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band were a group that had formed at Berkeley's Jabberwock. They played electrified skiffle music, a sort of old-timey New Orleans rock sound. They had an album on Vanguard. 

Devine Madness: The group is unknown to me.

Denver: The group is unknown to me.

Scratch: The AFF site lists the Doobie Brothers as playing the festival, but the band had not yet formed. I have assumed that Pat Simmons's group Scratch was the one who actually played.

Elgin Marble: Apparently a San Jose band, but I have been unable to find out anything about them.

Flamin' Groovies: The Flamin Groovies were a "British Invasion" (Rolling Stones/Who/Yardbirds) style band from San Francisco. They did not find a big following in San Francisco until after the 1960s.

Frumious Bandersnatch: Frumious Bandersnatch were from Lafayette (Contra Costa County), and featured three guitarists. They were managed by the Millard Agency (part of Bill Graham's Fillmore operation) and played on many bills on the Fillmore West and elsewhere. They were a very popular local band, but no albums were released until well after they broke up. Most of the members of Frumious Bandersnatch ended up in the Steve Miller Band at some time or another, and one (bassist Ross Valory) ended up in Journey. Bandersnatch road manager Walter "Herbie" Herbert ended up as road manager of Santana and the manager of Journey

Gentle Dance: The group is unknown to me.

Greater Carmichael Traveling Street Band: The group is unknown to me.

Glass Mountain: The group is unknown to me.

High Country: High Country was a bluegrass band from Berkeley, regulars at Berkeley's Freight and Salvage. Their was some fluidity in their membership, but the founding members were Butch Waller and Rich Wilber. High Country has played continuously since 1968.

Jefferson Airplane: Jefferson Airplane were one of the headliners at the huge (paying) festival at the Fairgrounds, a mile away. True to their Haight-Ashbury roots, they came over and played a set at the free event as well.

Joy of Cooking: The Joy of Cooking were a newly formed band that had a regular gig at a club called Mandrake's in Berkeley. The group was fronted by two women, guitarist Terry Garthwaite and pianist Toni Brown. While both women sang and wrote, Joy Of Cooking defied expectations by being a very musical band that played extended jams, rather than falling into the cliche of sensitive girl singers. At this time, the band was very new. They would release several albums on Capitol, and occasionally they reform.

Last Mile: The group is unknown to me.

Libras: The group is unknown to me.

Lamb: Lamb was originally a duet featuring Bob Swanson on guitar and Barbara Mauritz on piano. Later they expanded to a full group, and they released an album on Fillmore Records and two more on Warners.

Living Color: The group is unknown to me.

Linn County: Linn County was a fine group originally from Cedar Rapids, IA. After some success in Chicago, they moved to San Francisco in mid-1968. They released two underrated albums on Mercury. Lead vocalist and organist Stephen Miller (1942-2003), perpetually confused with the guitar playing Steve Miller, had an extensive career with Elvin Bishop, Grinderswitch and other bands.

Mother Ball: The group is unknown to me.

Morning Glory: Morning Glory was a Marin band featuring singer Gini Graybeal and guitarist Danny Nudalman. They released the album Two Suns Worth on Fontana.

Mad River: Mad River were a remarkable band from Yellow Springs, OH. They moved to the Bay Area in 1967, but even San Francisco was not quite ready for them. Prophets before their time, both their albums became collector's items that were re-released to much acclaim. This show would have been one of their very last gigs.

Mt. Rushmore: Mt. Rushmore was a San Francisco band who released two albums on Dot. They played the Fillmore and the Avalon many times, and were regular performers in the Bay Area.

Nymbus: The group is unknown to me.

Old Davis: Old Davis was a South Bay band that had been together since at least 1968. In 1970, their guitarist was a teenage sensation named Neal Schon, who promptly joined Santana (after turning down Eric Clapton), but Schon would not have been in the band at this time.

Red Grass, Green Smoke: The group is unknown to me.

Rubber Maze: The group is unknown to me.

Rising Tide: The group is unknown to me.

Rejoice: The group is unknown to me, although I have some their name on other handbills. 

Sunrise: The group is unknown to me.

Sable: The group is unknown to me.

Sons of Champlin: The Sons of Champlin were one of Marin's finest bands, who had already released two albums on Capitol. However, the world wasn't quite ready for the swinging, ultra-musical Sons, and they did not have the following they might have had later. The group has intermittently broken up and gotten back together, but fortunately they have remained active since the late 1990s. Lead singer/organist Bill Champlin was a member of Chicago from 1981-2009.

Sounds Unlimited Blues Band: The Sounds Unlimited Blues Band was a San Francisco group that featured singer Robert Lazaneo and lead guitarist Jorge Santana (Carlos's younger brother). Jorge left at the end of 1969 and went on to success with the group Malo.

Sandy Bull: Sandy Bull (1941-2001) was a unique musician, playing guitar and other stringed instruments in a style that would have been called "World Music" if the term had been invented. He was a very influential guitarist in the early 1960s, not least because he was one of the first to overdub numerous guitars (and other instruments) to create unique compositions. Bull generally performed solo, but with tapes and loop effects that gave him a different sound.

The Steve Miller Band: The Steve Miller Band were regular headliners at The Fillmore West, and had played at the Folk Rock Festival at the Fairgrounds. Miller and his band (bassist Lonnie Turner and drummer Tim Davis) dropped by the free festival to play some blues.

Stoned Fox: The group is unknown to me.

South Bay Experimental Flash: The South Bay Experimental Flash were a funky jazz-rock band from Richmond. They, too, were regulars at Berkeley's New Orleans House. Some members of the group ended up in Norton Buffalo's Stampede, as Buffalo (also from Richmond) made his stage debut at The New Orleans House at age 17, sitting in with the band.

Throckmorton: Throckmorton were a San Jose band. Lead singer Chris Mosher was also instrumental in helping to put on the festival.

Tree Of Life: The group is unknown to me, but they appear to be a San Jose area band.

Weird Herald: Weird Herald was a psychedelic folk rock band from San Jose, featuring guitarists Billy Dean Andrus and Paul Ziegler. They put out a 45 on Onyx Records in 1968 ("Saratoga James"/"Just Yesterday"). After the demise of Weird Herald, guitarist Paul Ziegler, an old pal of Jorma Kaukonen's, was in an early version of Hot Tuna, around 1970. Guitarist and vocalist Billy Dean Andrus had worked with Pat Simmons (and later with Skip Spence in a band called Pachuco), but he died in 1970.  Both the Doobie Brothers "Black Water" and Hot Tuna's "Ode To Billy Dean" are tributes to him.

Womb: Womb was a jazzy psychedelic band whose lengthy compositions bordered on progressive rock. They released two albums on Dot in 1969. Lead singer Rory Butcher had been in The Hedds.

Warren Purcell: Thanks to a Commenter, we know that Warren Purcell was a country singer from San Jose. He performed at the Grand Ole Opry, and also played with a Las Vegas-based touring band. He passed away in 2002.

San Jose had a substantial country music scene that dated back before World War 2, and continued on through the 1960s, and there was a popular San Jose country music station (KEEN-AM 1370, which opened in 1947). There were many fine players in that circuit, although they tended not to be famous outside of the region. By the 1970s, when some of the more agricultural communities around the Bay Area were converted to suburbs, the musical audience evolved as well towards more rock and soul orientations. Purcell's performance at the Aquarian Festival was a rare known instance of a San Jose country performer appearing at a hippie rock event.

Zephyr Grove: The group is unknown to me.

Honorable Mention-Jimi Hendrix: Jimi Hendrix didn't play the Aquarian Family Festival, but not for lack of trying. Hendrix headlined the huge Folk Rock Festival at the Fairgrounds, and as such came on last on Sunday afternoon (May 25) to close the show. After his set, he brought his guitar over to the Aquarian stage, hoping to jam, only to find that the stage was being broken down and the generator unplugged. 

Given that there was 72 hours of continuous music, this can not have been all the performers who played. Anyone who recalls other performers, or performed themselves, should contact me or Comment.

Washington at Murphy, Sunnyvale, CA: Wayne Manor 1966-67

How popular was ABC-TV's Batman show? While it only ran for two and a half seasons (Jan 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968), it was on twice a week for most of its run. It rapidly went from hip to camp to passe. When it was popular, however, it was a huge hit, in an era when there were only three TV channels, so its appeal cut a wide swath.

By the middle of 1966, there was a club in Sunnyvale called Wayne Manor, designed to look like the "Bat Cave" from the TV show. Mind you, this club sold drinks and was intended for adults. It was successful enough to stay open at least into the middle of 1967. I don't know exactly when the club closed, but the Batman show ended in early 1968, so I'm sure the club had closed or changed its name by then.

The top ad is from the July 22, 1966 edition of the San Mateo Times, and the lower one is from the October 21, 1966 San Mateo Times. Sunnyvale is the town just South of Mountain View, which in turn is just South of Palo Alto. Washington and Murphy is roughly between El Camino Real and Central Expressway (Alma), next to Los Altos Town Center and the train station (now the Cal Train station). Since there isn't a precise address, I can't say if the building is still standing.

Sometimes you will see 60s South Bay musicians refer to this club, although they usually call it "The Bat Cave." According to the San Mateo Times (October 21, 1966), the owner or manager of the club was named Joe Lewis. I believe Emilio Castilio's first band, The Gotham City Crimefighters, were regularly featured here, before he formed The Motowns, who then evolved into Tower of Power. In the various ads I have seen for the club, the only group I have heard of is The Music Machine, who were scheduled to play on October 25, 1966 (they were mentioned in a notice, but not in the weekly advertisement above).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

August 7, 1969 Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA: Pop, Bach & Rock

This advertisement from the July 7, 1969 Oakland Tribune shows an interesting attempt to find a middle ground between rock and classical music. Arthur Fiedler, conductor of The Boston Pops Orchestra, was the big name here.  Boston Pops attempted to make classical music a middle-class phenomenon, using Boston Symphony players to perform both classical pieces and pop hits of the day. The Boston Pops Orchestra was a best selling ensemble, and Symphonies in major cities formed similar ensembles. By the late 1960s, Arthur Fiedler was a major star in his own right, of the stature to headline at the 15,000 seat Oakland Coliseum Arena.        

The New York Rock and Roll Ensemble was headed by future film soundtrack composer Michael Kamen. Supposedly, three members of the Ensemble were Julliard students who figured out that there was more money in rock than in classical music. Their debut album (Atco Aug 68) featured string quartets and oboe duets mixed in with rock and roll. On stage, they would play Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale,” based on a Bach Cantata, with a cello and an oboe. By 1969, they had released a second album, Faithful Friends.

In the late 1960s, some more forward thinking people believed that it was only a matter of time that popular music merged with more "sensible" music. This turned out to be true, in a way, but it was more a matter of the economic dominance of rock subsuming other forms. The New York Rock And Roll Ensemble was a fine idea, in principle, but it turned out that they didn't really have any outstanding songs. In a way, they were the forerunner of The Electric Light Orchestra, a less pretentious band with better songwriters from Birmingham, England. In the late 1960s, however, it seemed like Rock was just about to become a normal part of the pop music spectrum.

Michael Kamen (1948-2003) had an extremely successful career in the music industry, particularly as an arranger for other artists like Pink Floyd and scoring films. Mark Snow (born Martin Fulterman), the co-founder of the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, also had an extensive career recording soundtracks, most famously with the theme for the TV show "X-Files."

Monday, September 7, 2009

1814 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA: Boss A-Go-Go, October 1, 1965

This advertisement for the "Boss A-Go-Go" is from the Oakland Tribune of September 24, 1965. At this time, promoters were looking to capitalize on the "Teen" Market. I believe the "Boss A-Go-Go" only operated throughout late 1965, although I am not yet certain. I know little else about it. While Oakland had plenty of teenagers, they didn't necessarily live near downtown, and in any case parking may not have been ideal.

For photos of what remains of the Hotel Leamington Ballroom, at 1814 Franklin Street in downtown Oakland, see here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

37266 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA The Yellow Brick Road 1967

Update: thanks to commenters, I have discovered that the name of the venue was actually Yellow Brick Road, and the performing band was Garden Of Chaste Refreshment. See my subsequent post.

This partially-reproduced flyer for a club at 37266 Niles Boulevard in suburban Fremont, California advertises a few shows for a mysterious venue called The Garden Of Chaste Refreshment The Yellow Brick Road. The advertised shows are

June 23-24, 1967 The Plastic People/Yellow Brick Road Garden Of Chaste Refreshment
June 30-July 1, 1967 Purple Earthquake
July 7-8, 1967 The Loading Zone/Wakefield Loop

Fremont is a town halfway between Oakland and San Jose. Fremont was actually only incorporated in 1956, a merger of five smaller communities (Centerville, Niles, Mission San Jose, Irvington and Warm Springs). Although Fremont was and is a prosperous suburb, as a result of being a business-like merger of smaller communities it lacked a larger identity. Niles, where The Garden Of Chaste Refreshment was located, was originally a critical railroad Junction, and was even the location of one of California's first film studios (many early Charlie Chaplin films were made there). Whatever the story of this venue, it appears to be an attempt to capitalize on what was happening in bigger cities to the South and North, but I know of no other shows at this venue, and otherwise I know nothing about it. Did it close soon after? Become a Top 40 joint? Anyone with further information is encouraged to share it in the comments or email me.

The site was most recently "Boss Hogz Bar-B-Que", although it appears to be closed.

Notes On The Bands

The Plastic People (June 23-24) are completely unknown to me. Anyone with any insights, please comment or contact me.

Garden Of Chaste Refreshment (June 23-24) were a Southern Alameda County Band, probably based in Fremont or Hayward.
Yellow Brick Road (June 23-24) were a group featuring singer Jean Piersoll, along with Fuzzy John Oxendine (drums), Bing Nathan (bass), Terry Clements (saxophone, I think) and Henry Salas (not certain of his instrument). They apparently played some sort of rock/soul hybrid. When guitarist Darby Slick (ex-Great Society, co-author of "Somebody To Love") returned from India, he joined as lead guitarist and they changed their name (to the rather poorly chosen) Hair. Slick and Piersoll later recorded two singles for Cadet Concept in Chicago. Yellow Brick Road was the venue name, not the performing band.

Purple Earthquake (June 30-July 1) were a Berkeley band, founded at Berkeley High School in 1966. They were later known as Earthquake, and released albums on A&M and Berserkeley.

Loading Zone (July 7-8) were an Oakland band, one of the first to mix rock and soul music, adding psychedelic guitar to danceable soul. Although successors like Sly and The Family Stone, Cold Blood and Tower of Power were bigger and better, Loading Zone was the first to kick the door open. At this time, they did not yet feature Linda Tillery on vocals.

Wakefield Loop (July 7-8) Nothing much is known about Wakefield Loop (they opened for Loading Zone on July 7-8, but the band name is not visible on this scan). However, Wakefield Loop regularly appears in lists of Bay Area bands, because Ralph Gleason's daughter included them in a famous list of Bay Area band names that has been reprinted several times. It is informative that the band played Fremont, because a Google map search turns up a tiny cul-de-sac in Fremont called Wakefield Loop, distinctly suggesting that Wakefield Loop was founded or based on that street. Update: unknown no more.

update: see here for another post about The Wakefield Loop 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

25100 Mission Blvd, Hayward, CA: Call Girl A-Go-Go, 1965

Most fads don't age well, and the "Go-Go" phenomenon seems sexist and dated now, but this particular establishment kind of takes the cake. This ad for the Call Girl A-Go-Go at Chef Fone is from the Hayward Daily Review of June 18, 1965. 25100 Mission Boulevard is on Hayward's main thoroughfare (about a mile South of Jackson Street, on the Eastern edge of the "Jackson Triangle").

Here's what I wonder--the women who danced here would be in their sixties now. What do they think of it today? I suspect a lot of Go-Go dancers look back on their employment fondly, because it was fun and life was full of possibilities. It's one thing, however, to work at "Tiger A Go Go" or "Frenchy's A Go Go," and quite another to work at Call Girl A Go Go.

"Call Girl" meant the same thing then that it does now, although perhaps the term wasn't so publicly known. What was the marketing angle? The general idea of Go Go clubs was "good clean fun." Of course it was sexy, and men were supposed to desire the dancers, but it was basically an inducement to dance, get hot and bothered and buy drinks. Would you go there on a date? "Hey honey, we could go to Frenchy's or Call Girl A Go Go?"

I'm pretty much speechless over this one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

1968 Band Names, Winnipeg, Manitoba

This clipping from the Winnipeg Free Press of February 10, 1968, in the "As I See It" column by entertainment writer Ron Legge, claims to list the name of every rock band in Winnipeg. I haven't heard of any of them, but there are some good names. Among them

  • The Overly Inflated Ego's
  • Athem Zuzu Ukamunga Sewing Circle And Timing Association Book Review
  • The Quid
  • The Yawning Peals

There are some familiar names, like The UFOs and Boston Tea Party, but every region had bands with those names.

None of these groups matter, in the big scheme of things, but most of them were probably important to the people who were in them.