Friday, 5 February 2010

September 16, 1969 - Hot Tuna at the New Orleans House, 1505 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA

In September 1969 Hot Tuna were scheduled for a three day run at Berkeley's New Orleans House. Jorma and Jack, as billed were joined on harmonica by local denizen Will Scarlett on harmonica and support was provided by the all-girl band the Ace of Cups (on the 16th) and the redoubtable Mt. Rushmore (on the 17th the 18th) who were concluding their career at that time.

The tape box shown above is in the ownership of Jeff Gold or Record Mecca. Jeff has it up for sale at present at what is a remarkably low fee - particulary given that is an alternate mix given to Ralph J Gleason.

The New Orleans House was located at 1505, San Pablo in West Berkeley. Kitty Griffin, the proprietor, taught handicapped children by day across the street and ran the club at night. The club was open from August 1966 to 1975 as a restaurant and music venue, shifting quickly from the traditional jazz that gave it its name to a rock venue. While the New Orleans House always had a diverse mixture of music, including blues and zydeco, its principal focus was on rock. Rock bands playing original music dominated the bookings, and there was usually a light show on weekends. Bands that were 2nd or 3rd on the bill at The Fillmore or The Avalon would headline at the New Orleans House, and newer bands would get their start there also. Since the concept of “Roots” or “Americana” had not yet been invented, the New Orleans House was known as a “Music” club. In the mid 70s, the new Orleans House briefly becomes West Dakota.

The first night was the basis for the first Hot Tuna album, with Jorma and Jack playing acoustic along with Will Scarlett on harmonica. The show was advertised as Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy [sic] recording for RCA. The favourite remains the tribute to the recently late Steve Mann - Mann's Fate.

1 comment:

  1. One interesting byproduct of this recording session was that Will Scarlett has been considered a permanent member of Hot Tuna as a result of playing on this album. In fact, he was more like an adjunct who showed up once in a while.

    Hot Tuna had a number of casual regular guests, but since Will made the album only he gets the recognition.