Michael Wanger (vidkid) Thu 29 Apr 99 10:04
Cynthia, during the summer of 64 when the Tangent tapes were recorded, I was traveling around the country in a 56 Chevy wagon loaded with camping equipment, guitars and a banjo. I was with my friend Vance Frost, whom I had met through Bob Weir and with whom I would later produce the Grateful Dead audio documentary in 1969. It was Vance, actually, who sparked the release of the Mother McCrees CD when he came across one of the old tapes in his garage in late 1995. As for any tapes that arent part of this release, I have the 10 original Live from the Top of the Tangent programs, but the other performers on those recordings - The Enigmas, The Jaspers, Bolek and Dave, Buddy Bonn - were not part of Jerrys gang. David Parker, a Mother McCrees former band member, remembers practicing in Jerrys dirt floor garage. He said it was separated from the house, in sort of an orchard, some distance from other houses, making it a perfect place to jam away without bothering anyone in the neighborhood. I remember some of us thinking of Jerry as the old guy, too. He had a white T-bird and was old enough to have already been in the Army. Whoa!
Lenny Bailes (jroe) Thu 29 Apr 99 10:23
Where do the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers fit into this?
David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 10:42
I thought it was a Corvair.
Michael Robert Wanger (vidkid) Thu 29 Apr 99 12:15
Most of the playing that Bob and I did together was just the two of us on our own. When I re-connected with Bob in 95 to give him a copy of the Mother McCrees tape, he said, I think youre the first guy I ever played guitar with. For a while, Michael Cooney, the musician who beat Jerry in the banjo contest at the Monterey Folk Festival, was a major inspiration for us. Debby Peckham, who Bob knew from the progressive school in Palo Alto, knew a lot of Cooneys stuff and taught it to Bob, who then taught it to me - still some of the best stuff I can play. One Open Mic night at the Tangent, Bob and I both showed up to play, independently of each other. He asked me to join him in a version of Long Black Veil because hed worked out a harmony part and needed someone to sing lead. In the fall of 63, Bob asked me to join a band he was forming with Debby and another friend, Rachel Garbett. (Rachel is the sister of Mike Garbett, one of the Mother McCrees band members.) At my fathers suggestion, we called ourselves The Uncalled Four. Bob and Debby played guitar, Rachel played autoharp, and, since we were all way into bluegrass music, they needed someone who could play Scruggs-style banjo. I barely knew the rudiments, but it was better than no banjo at all. We had a great time working up arrangements to old-timey stuff that we found on a popular album, "Dian and the Greenbriar Boys." We performed only once at Top of the Tangent. It was another Open Mic night and, as I recall, we played "Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down," "Alabama Bound," "Green Corn," and "Brown's Ferry Blues."
Michael Wanger (vidkid) Thu 29 Apr 99 12:19
The Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers was one of Jerry's bluegrass bands that preceded The Wildwood Boys and The Black Mountain Boys. And all those preceded Mother McCree's.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Thu 29 Apr 99 13:57
Mike Garbett? I remember him. He had an old Indian motorcycle that he took me riding on once. Cool!
David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 16:40
Was Debby Peckham related to Judge Robert Peckham, by any chance? He was memorable for many progressive decisions, most notably (in my youth) paving the way for kids to wear their hair long as schools in the area. :^) >At my fathers suggestion, we called ourselves The Uncalled Four. Your dad is quite the wise guy!
David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 16:40
Cynthia, did you know Sue Swanson and/or Connie Bonner?
Michael Wanger (vidkid) Thu 29 Apr 99 17:12
>Your dad is quite the wise guy! I'll second that emotion! As to Debby Peckham's family, maybe someone out there knows... Sue Swanson has worked for GDP, I believe, for quite some time now. She knew Bob Weir at Menlo-Atherton H.S.
David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 17:16
*I* know that, Michael! I'm wondering if Cynthia knew her back then.
Michael Wanger (vidkid) Thu 29 Apr 99 17:44
I assumed you knew that, David. I just threw it in there for general consumption as another small piece of the Palo Alto scene.
With catlike tread (sumac) Fri 30 Apr 99 11:17
Garbett! Good heavens! Mike & Rachel are 2 of the older siblings of my friend Becca Garbett. These connections are news to me.
Reva Basch (reva) Sat 1 May 99 10:12
I love these small-world collisions!
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Sat 1 May 99 10:16
>> Cynthia, did you know Sue Swanson and/or Connie Bonner? No, sorry. At least their names don't sound familiar to me. And as for these "small-world collisions," it's darned amazing, ain't it?
Michael Wanger (vidkid) Sat 1 May 99 16:45
As for Small World Collisions, there's one that I would like to make happen. In the process of producing the Mother McCree's CD, I was able to track down everyone involved except Tom Stone, one of the former band members. If anyone has a lead to his whereabouts, please let me know or have him get in touch with me. GDP will soon have a royalty check waiting for him. Thanks.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Sun 2 May 99 18:28
How cool *that* would be -- to get a royalty check for something you did 35 years ago, with no expectations except to have a good, goofy time!
Gail Williams (gail) Wed 5 May 99 18:50
Michael, how is the CD selling... I don't mean how much, but to whom. Does this CD have appeal for bluegrass fans, or is it mostly of interest to those who are (also) deadheads? And are you getting reviews... ?
Michael Wanger (vidkid) Mon 10 May 99 11:03
I don't have any demographic information about CD sales. However, from what I hear, beyond its historical significance, it's such fun music played with so much enthusiasm that both folkies and Deadheads alike are really groovin' on the tunes. There have been several articles written about the release, but the only review I've seen was in the San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook, Sunday, April 11, 1999, page 49. They gave it 4 Stars!
poorly-contained perioxide accident waiting to happen (castle) Mon 10 May 99 13:34
We have been enjoying it!
David Gans (tnf) Tue 11 May 99 11:05
Michael, what's the deal with the spelling of the band name on that poster in the CD booklet?
Michael Robert (vidkid) Tue 11 May 99 21:58
<scribbled by vidkid Mon 17 May 99 16:26>
David Gans (tnf) Tue 18 May 99 18:34
I don't know why this message got stuck in my queue, but here it is: From: "Peter Jurew" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 14:27:19 -0400 kudos to those involved for bringing these tapes to public attention.J Part of a renaissance -- Harry Smith, Dylan/The Band '66, Mother McCree -- of a kind of soul music.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Wed 19 May 99 00:59
>Michael, what's the deal with the spelling of the band name on that poster >the CD booklet? That's discussed somewhere in the liner notes -- the band, out of sheer prankster perversity, decided to spell the name differently from gig to gig (I think one of the clubs misspelled it first, and they just decided to go with it!).
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 19 May 99 13:38
A nice piece of email to receive, David!
Michael Robert Wanger (vidkid) Thu 20 May 99 10:21
(Note: This is a modified version of my posting (#46 of 49) regarding the different spelling of the bands name. The first one, which I scribbled on May 17, caused a misprint in the message. - MW) Dave Parker, one of the Mother McCrees band members, provided the poster that appears on the back tray of the CD jewel case. The poster, which incorporates lots of odd little graphics and text styles, was put together by the band, coincidentally, for the series of performances from which the CD recordings were made: July 16, 17 & 18, 1964. It seems that very few people have noticed that the spelling of the bands name on the poster is McRhea. According to Dave, Some of us, or at least me, went around Palo Alto putting these things up because we were totally unknown. Regarding the spelling, Dave says, That was kind of an inside joke. 'McCree' was the way it appeared in ads and on the Tangent marquee. But when it came time to print the flyers, we had a sort of anarchic go 'round about the whole thing and ended up deciding to spell it a different way each time we printed a flyer, just for kicks and general confusion." You can see a copy of the poster on my website: www.vidkid.com From the Mother McCrees link, just find your way to The McRhea Flyer.
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