inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #26 of 51: 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 McCree’s CD
when he came across one of the old tapes in his garage in late 1995.

As for any tapes that aren’t 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 Jerry’s gang.

David Parker, a Mother McCree’s former band member, remembers
practicing in Jerry’s 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!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #27 of 51: Lenny Bailes (jroe) Thu 29 Apr 99 10:23
    
Where do the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers fit into this?
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #28 of 51: David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 10:42
    
I thought it was a Corvair.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #29 of 51: 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 McCree’s tape, he said, “I think you’re 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 Cooney’s 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 he’d 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 McCree’s band members.)  At my father’s
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."
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #30 of 51: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #31 of 51: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #32 of 51: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #33 of 51: David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 16:40
    
Cynthia, did you know Sue Swanson and/or Connie Bonner?
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #34 of 51: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #35 of 51: David Gans (tnf) Thu 29 Apr 99 17:16
    
*I* know that, Michael!  I'm wondering if Cynthia knew her back then.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #36 of 51: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #37 of 51: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #38 of 51: Reva Basch (reva) Sat 1 May 99 10:12
    
I love these small-world collisions!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #39 of 51: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #40 of 51: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #41 of 51: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #42 of 51: 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...  ?
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #43 of 51: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #44 of 51: poorly-contained perioxide accident waiting to happen (castle) Mon 10 May 99 13:34
    

We have been enjoying it!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #45 of 51: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #46 of 51: Michael Robert (vidkid) Tue 11 May 99 21:58
    <scribbled by vidkid Mon 17 May 99 16:26>
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #47 of 51: 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" <pjurew@smartmoney.com>
To: <inkwell-hosts@well.com>
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.
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #48 of 51: 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!).
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #49 of 51: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 19 May 99 13:38
    
A nice piece of email to receive, David!
  
inkwell.vue.36 : Michael Wanger
permalink #50 of 51: 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 band’s name.  The first one, which I
scribbled on May 17, caused a misprint in the message. - MW)

Dave Parker, one of the Mother McCree’s 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 band’s 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 McCree’s link, just find your way to The “McRhea”
Flyer.
  

More...



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