Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Thursday January 20, 1966: Questing Beast, 2504 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA

Although advertised as a Joe McDonald show, evidence points to this being the first true Country Joe and The Fish show as a band. Country Joe McDonald, Barry Melton, Paul Armstrong, David Cohen, John Francis Gunning and Bruce Barthol played "Bass Strings" and other songs. There is a chance that David Cohen, who was also still playing regular solo shows, was not present on this occasion.

In Joel Selvin's book San Francisco: The Musical History Tour, Selvin discusses an Instant Action Jug Band show in late 1965 that took place at the Cabale Creamery. By his account McDonald, Melton and Barthol played "Bass Strings". If this were correct then it would date it to well before late 1965 as the Cabale had been closed since the Spring. After November 19, 1965 the 2504 San Pablo location was home to the Questing Beast - the venue having also been called The Good Buddy and Caverns West since it was the Cabale Creamery. Therefore either the date is wildly incorrect, or (much more probably in my view) the location correct (2504 San Pablo) but the venue name and date incorrect. Furthermore, in an interview with Mojo Navigator (Issue 10), John Francis Gunning states that the first Country Joe and The Fish show was at the Questing Beast. The implication is that earlier shows had either been Instant Action Jug Band shows or Country Joe and The Fish as the McDonald/Melton duo - with augmentation by others – typically the Jabberwock irregulars.

The first steady line-up of Country Joe and The Fish featured Joe McDonald and Barry Melton (The Fish – or Blind Ebbets Field), Bruce Barthol, David Cohen, John Francis Gunning and Paul Armstrong. Armstrong would stay until the June of 1966 when he would be unable to sustain his commitment to the band.

At the time of this performance, the band would still have been very much an acoustic set up.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Norton Buffalo Remembered

Update: This is now a two day event. The first day of Norton's Benefit is Sunday November 22nd and is sold out. They have added another show Monday evening November 23rd and have added Maria Muldaur, Barry Melton's Band, Linda and David La Flamme, and others. $40 General Admission. Toll Free 1-877-397-3363 for tickets. Lisa wants the proceeds from the second show to go to PPAC in Norton's name because he loved the theater and was working to save it before he passed.

Somewhat off topic, but I have been asked if I could provide a little pointer to a good cause or two.

November 22, 2009: A Benefit for Norton Buffalo

Tickets are now available for the Benefit for Norton Buffalo at Paradise Performing Arts Center. Carlos Reyes & Friends, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, and Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings will perform at Norton's request.

The benefit will be held on Sunday November 22nd. Call toll free 1-877-397-3363(10am-10pm) to order tickets with a credit card, or call to reserve your tickets. Send check payable to PPAC to Bill Anderson, 6848U Skyway, Paradise, CA 95969. Tickets are $40 General Admission. I will mail the tickets to you or hold them at Will Call. Doors open at 5:30pm, show starts at 6:30pm.

The family are looking forward to seeing all of Norton and Lisa's friends at the show! For those who cannot attend but still want to support the benefit, donations may be sent to Norton Buffalo and/or Lisa Flores, 5905D Clark Road, Paradise, CA 95969. Norton and Lisa's wish is for you to not forget others who may be in similar circumstances but may be less fortunate than they are.

January 23, 2010: A Celebration of Life: A Tribute to Norton Buffalo

Fans and musicians will gather to honor the Buffalo during a concert in early 2010. A Celebration of Life: A Tribute to Norton Buffalo will feature the Steve Miller Band, the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis and others that worked with the harmonica over the years. The concert will take place January 23 at the Fox Theater in Oakland.