Welcome to Pete’s Place, a spot to discuss the world of music, and even the world in general.
(To find posts, use the search box at the right.)
The Bluebird Café fifty years later. Stories, photos, music.
1965: Whiskey Flat Fiddle Contest: Field recordings, east of Bakersfield!
Very popular: The Folk Music Revival (Getting things started in 1963, a panel discussion with Bill Monroe, Tom Ashley, Mance Lipscomb, Doc Watson and much more.)
An important series: Folk Music in Santa Barbara. (This spring, we published a new work on Folk Music in Santa Barbara, conceived and edited by Marilyn Brenner, former owner of the folk club The Iopan.) To read this series from the start, Click Here.
We’ve published have quite an array of articles, mainly dealing with music and musicians. See the column to the right for our menu and archive system. Articles are listed by category and date published. Links to adjacent articles (by date) are located near the top of each page to the left and right, and you can search for names or topics using the search field at the very top right of our black menu bar (magnifying glass.)
NOTE: The header photo was taken during the winter of 1967-68 at a place in Northern Nevada called “Sutro”. These were buildings, then more than 100 years old, that were part of the installation for construction of the Sutro Tunnel, located east of Dayton along US Highway 50 and near the foot of Six Mile Canyon, below Virginia City, Nevada. Swiss mining engineer Adolph Sutro constructed this tunnel to intersect the vertical mine shafts sunk during the silver mining operations in the early 1860s, to help drain water out of the mine shafts. By 1869, when the tunnel was completed, the mines were about played out, Sutro lost a fortune, and moved on to San Francisco where he built a famous museum and bath houses. Almost one hundred years later, Graham Ross & associates converted the building to the right (originally a warehouse) into a saloon. My friend Pierce Powell tended bar there in the late 60s. The buildings are (in part) gone now, mostly destroyed by vandal-caused fires, but water still flows from the tunnel opening to this day . . . a bit of Nevada history.
Thanks for visiting . . . please consider a donation to help us keep it going.
-Peter Feldmann ** BlueGrassWest.com
CONTACT US HERE.
BlueGrass West provides this educational service on American Traditional Music at no charge. If you would like to support our outreach for folk, old-time, bluegrass and related musical styles, consider making a small donation. Every little bit helps!
I was wondering about permission to print some of the information from the article on the differences between Old Time and Bluegrass music in the newsletter of the Idaho Bluegrass Association. I would be adding the source and authors of the article and your website location. There are a lot of our members that don’t look on the internet for some of the information that you find on your site.
Appreciate anything you can do relating to this request.
You would be welcome to use the information. Please do mention BlueGrassWest.com when you credit the info.
Hi Pete: My band played at the Sutro Saloon in 1967 I think it was. We were Vegetable Soup Jug Band. I still have a poster from those events. I would be happy to send you a pdf if you like.
It was a wonderful place. There was a wood burning stove in the middle generally fed by one long log – folks would feed the log in as the night went on. There were, of course, lots of characters around. One guy call himself Bear Claw. He was a very big man dressed in Nevada cowboy garb and had a necklace of bear claws around his neck.
The back of the bar featured a petrified cat as a decoration among other artifacts.
I remember stepping outside during our breaks and watching the bats fly close to the front door. The smell of sage was intense – particularly on wet nights.
I remember one evening I was sitting on the couch in front of the fire when a tail wrapped around my neck. Then a pair of eyes very close to my nose. It was someone’s pet lemur.
So many memories of that great, wonderful crazy place. Thanks for posting the photos. They brought a lump to my throat.
Thanks for your note. I like your band name, and am sorry I missed you, back in 1967. I enjoyed your memories of Sutro, and they invoked more of my own. I remember sitting in front of that wood stove during the day, with the sliding warehouse doors open, and just enjoying the quiet and solitude of a winter Nevada morning, watching the sun rise over the sage-covered hills.
Hope you’re still making music . . . my best to you.
I’m enjoying memories of the saloon at Sutro, especially sitting on a couch watching bogart movies. At the moment I’m going through photos I’ve scanned in that I took of a movie filmed there showing mostly locals. I can’t remember the name of the movie or what it was all about. Do you recall anything about a movie and when, thanks, Susan Crowell
Thanks for your comments. No, I haven’t seen this film. Please let me know if you hear more abut it.
I’m Bob Long, ragtime pianist. Grew up in Santa Barbara, knew many people in the folks scene in the late fifties and throughout the sixties. David Feldman and I had competing jug bands, his was Colonel Ragamuffin’s and mine was the Opereezoo. Phil Pritchard was one of the sweetest, kindest, most encouraging individuals imaginable, when he was 18 and I was 14. I played with banjoist, Pat Cloud whenever he’d come to Santa Barbara. Stan Tysel was my dear friend. Everybody’s dear friend, actually. Peter, you were the main guy, the biggest name on the scene back then and for decades following. You did more for the SB music scene than anyone. God bless you! I’m glad you’re still doing it. I have a lot more random thoughts, but that’s enough for now. My wife and I live in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and if you want to talk about a bluegrass scene, every Tuesday for 30 years, up until the covid, Clyde Manness’ Barn in Carthage hosts jams and performances. He will again. Folks come for miles around. You can find “Clyde Maness’ Pottery Barn on YouTube. I encourage all you Santa Barbarians to come to North Carolina and check out the robust bluegrass scene here! Love to all, Flint Long (formerly Bob Long).
Flint / Bob,
Thanks for your very kind comments. And of course I remember the jug bands! Phil Pritchard still lives in Santa Ynez, and I catch a glimpse of him ever five years or so. Sightings of Pat Cloud are even rarer, but I have fond memories of him working for me in bands. I sorely miss Stan Tysell, who was a musical compadre. How hard it is to find some one who can play guitar and can sing!
If I wander down towards NC, I’ll give you a holler. My old banjo student David Holt lives in Ashville. I remember sharing a birthday dinner with him and his wife on his 50th birthday.
Pingback: Why Black Folks Don’t Fiddle | California Bluegrass Association