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The Seven #1 LIVE Albums of the 1970s 🎸 

   Only seven live albums released during the 1970s reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard music charts. 

     The Beach Boys In Concert holds the distinction of the first Live Album to reach the top of any pop music charts when it hit #1 in 1964. After the Billboard Magazine charts were reconfigured and the the top Billboard chart expanded to 200 in 1967, only one live album in the sixties (Johnny Cash - At San Quentin, 1969), and seven during the 1970s reached number one. Here are the 7 from the 70s.

Crosby Stills Nash and Young - 4 Way Street (1971)

    CSN&Y were introduced to the music universe at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 and quickly ascended to one of the most popular acts of the post Woodstock period. The groups first live album (and second overall), 4 Way Street reached #1 shortly after its release on April 7, 1971. The double LP contains recordings from three different stops along their 1970 tour and has been certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA.

Elvis Presley - Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite (1973)      

     The King reemerges with this classic double-LP performance recorded at the Honolulu International Center and also broadcast live via satellite to audiences around the world on January 14, 1973. Aloha From Hawaii was certified gold within a month of its release on RCA Records and was Elvis’ last chart topping album going 5x Platinum in the United States.

Earth Wind & Fire - Gratitude (1975)       

   Earth Wind & Fires 1975 live double-LP consists of both live material and a few newly recorded tracks led by two hit singles including the #1 “Sing a Song,” and the Grammy nominated “Can’t Hide Love.” The album hit #1 on the Billboard 200 charts and Billboards Top R&B albums chart in 1976 and has been certified triple-Platinum. 

Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive! (1976)      

     Of course, a given in the pantheon of pop/rock live albums and a loss of credibility to those who don’t include it! Recorded at multiple locations during the summer and fall of 1975 and released in January of 1976 the LP hit #1 on three different Billboard charts. It was voted album of the year by readers of Rolling Stone Magazine, and remains the gold standard of Live albums. Frampton Comes Alive! was induced into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2020. 

Paul McCartney & Wings - Wings Over America (1976)      

     The only former Beatle to release a number one live album as a soloist, Wings Over America  showcases one of the great songwriters of all-time in his post-Beatles element. The triple-LP was recorded during the US portion of the Wings 1975 tour and released in December 1976 to critical acclaim. The certified Platinum album features Wings songs as well as five Beatles classics and hit #1 on the US Billboard 200 charts in 1977.

Barry Manilow - Barry Manilow Live (1977)      

     Barry Manilow’s fifth album release Barry Manilow Live became his first #1 album. Released in 1977 the double-LP has been certified 3x Platinum and captures Manilow during a run of shows at the Uris Theatre in New York City in late 1976 and early 1977. The album contains a medley of commercial jingles Manilow was involved with, either as a writer or performer, before he became a recording artist.  It remains one of Manilow’s top selling albums.

Donna Summer - Live And More (1978)      

     Music was changing in the later half of the 1970s and the popular but short-lived disco scene left it’s sonic imprint on nearly aspect of pop culture. Live And More was Donna Summer’s second double album and first live album. Recorded at Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, California on June 17, 1978, and released in August, the album contains Summer’s first #1 Billboard single, “MacArthur Park.” The album reached #1 the Billboard 200 chart and is certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. 

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#VinylRecords #NumberOne #Records #Billboard 

7 Essential Classic Albums 🥁 Released in June 

     Kick off your summer music journey with these iconic albums that made their debut during the month of June. Here's a roundup of seven essential LPs from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones that have left an indelible mark on the world of pop and rock.

The Rolling Stones - Some Girls (June 9, 1978) 

     The Rolling Stones' Some Girls dominated the charts in 1978, featuring chart-toppers like "Miss You" and "Beast of Burden." With 6x Platinum certification and unforgettable cover art, this album is a cornerstone of the band's legacy.

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (June 3, 1977) 

     Bob Marley's Exodus revolutionized reggae with tracks like "Three Little Birds" and "Jamming." This album catapulted Marley to global fame and remains a summer classic, ranking among the greatest albums ever.

Bruce Springsteen - Born in the U.S.A. (June 4, 1984) 

     Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. defined an era with hits like "Dancing in the Dark" and "My Hometown." With 17x Platinum status, it's a cultural touchstone that continues to resonate.

The Cars - The Cars (June 6, 1978) 

     The self-titled debut from The Cars is a masterclass in new wave rock, featuring hits such as "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Just What I Needed." Recognized for its significance, this album has earned 6x Platinum certification.

The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (June 21, 1965) 

    The Byrds' debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, ushered in the era of folk rock with tracks like the Bob Dylan penned “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better." It's a timeless record that captured a pivotal moment in music history.

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (June 1, 1967) 

     The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's redefined the concept album and became a soundtrack for the Summer of Love in 1967. With its innovative sound and cultural impact, it's no wonder this album remains one of the best selling of all time.

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (June 16, 1972) 

     David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust introduced the world to glam rock and his iconic alter ego of the same name. With hits like "Suffragette City," it solidified Bowie's status as a music legend and continues to inspire generations.

     Experience the magic of these now classic LP’s, each a testament to the power of music to shape culture and endure through the ages. 

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Flashback! 📻 The Ultimate Nostalgia Trip: Explore the Legendary "Cruisin'..." Record Series 

     Step back in time with the meticulously curated compilation series capturing the essence of the history of Rock'n'Roll Radio and Pop culture, complete with vintage ads, jingles, and authentic radio DJ experiences from 1955-1970!

by Geo Thelen …as seen in Ultra Swank Magazine 

    If you dig through enough record bins, you will eventually come across one of the 16 different compilations of the Cruisin’: A History of Rock n’ Roll Radio record series. This is a very cool and historically significant vinyl record series first produced in 1970. The album collection is truly the quintessential American Rock'n'Roll and Pop music radio anthology compilation spanning the incredibly influential years of 1955 to 1970. The 40 minute albums were released on Increase Records (a subsidiary of K-Tel) and authentically documented the musical landscape of the mid-20th century. Each album is like tuning the radio back in time, complete with retro ads, news updates, catchy jingles, and DJs straight outta the history books who introduce tunes and dish out the local gossip.

     Behind the scenes, Cruisin’ series producer Ron Jacobs embarked on an exhaustive quest, scouring through archives, traversing thousands of miles, and delving into forgotten repositories to unearth authentic commercials, station promos, and jingles. Jacobs cleared rights and meticulously curated a selection of 84 records, (42 certified million-sellers from the Top 30 of their respective years). In doing so, Jacobs ensured a historically accurate sonic journey. Meticulous research, spanning decades of Billboard archives and audience rating services, guided the selection of iconic disc jockeys, scrupulously matched to a year representative of their popularity. The historically accurate DJ recreations, such as the Cruisin’ 1965 with Robert W. Morgan album, were mostly recorded in the production room of KGB AM/FM, San Diego according to Bill Hergonson who worked on Cruisin’ albums 1955, ’63, 64, 65, 66, & 67. Some parts, including Cruisin’ 67 featuring Dr. Don Rose, were recorded in San Francisco and Los Angeles using actual air check scripts, and numerous DJ parts were recorded in the same studio as American Top 40 during the 1970s. Albums ’56-’62 were released in 1970 with the remaining nine featured years released in 1972, ’73, ’88, ’89 and 1995. 

     And let's not forget the cover art – a visual trip through time over 16 album covers, following the adventures of a couple whose style evolves as fast as the culture and music they're tuned-in to. The comic book style artwork captures the nuances of changing fashion trends, hairstyles, and societal norms, and offers visual artistry to complement the auditory odyssey presented within. A Martini mixed with any of these albums on a summer afternoon will have you waxing nostalgic.

🎶 #MusicHistory #NostalgiaTrip #RoadTrip #Summer #Summer2024 #Retro #Vintage #RecordCollection #Vinyl #MusicNews #NewMusic #ClassicRock 

7 Essential Beach Boys 🌊 Jukebox Hits of the 1960s 

     The sonic vibrations of The Beach Boys' extensive discography spans over 30 studio albums, a dozen electrifying live recordings, and an array of timeless compilations. With a staggering collection of 10 chart-topping singles worldwide, we dive into the surf-rock sensation's golden era with a curated selection of jukebox hit singles from the 1960s. Here, we present seven of The Beach Boys' highest-charting U.S. singles, capturing the essence of their iconic sound and cultural influence. 

Surfin’ U.S.A.          Capitol Records
Shut Down        

    "Surfin’ U.S.A.”, a pivotal moment in The Beach Boys' journey, was recorded on January 5, 1963, hitting the shelves two months later on March 4. This track marked the band's breakthrough, soaring to #2 in Canada and securing the #3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the U.S.A. An homage to Chuck Berry's “Sweet Little Sixteen,” co-written by Berry and Brian Wilson, it ignited the spark of the Southern California Surf Music Sound. Complementing this iconic hit, the B-side, “Shut Down,” also made its mark on the charts, peaking at #23. Adorned with the classic Capitol Records orange & yellow swirl label, this record is the first of many hit records to come for the young group.

I Get Around 
Don’t Worry Baby 

    "I Get Around" marked a monumental milestone as The Beach Boys' inaugural #1 record. Recorded at the prestigious Western Studios in Hollywood, California, in early April 1964, the track was unveiled to the world on May 11. A meteoric rise saw it claim the top spot on the U.S. Billboard charts on July 4, 1964, making history as the first #1 for an American band since November 1963. Paired with the popular hit, the B-side, "Don’t Worry Baby,” also emerged as one of the group's most beloved songs, peaking at #24 on the charts that same year.

Help Me, Rhonda    
Kiss Me Baby

    "Help Me, Rhonda," recorded on January 8, 1965, and unleashed on March 8, swiftly ascended to the coveted #1 position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts, cementing its status as a cornerstone of The Beach Boys' live repertoire. Following the album release, the group revisited the track, infusing it with a dynamic guitar lead and subtle lyric adjustments, culminating in a reimagined version released in April 1965. This rendition marked the band's second #1 hit, showcasing the talents of renowned musicians like Glen Campbell on the 12-string acoustic guitar, Leon Russell on grand piano, and Hal Blaine on drums. The "Help Me, Rhonda" session is etched into #musichistory not only for the recording but also for a noteworthy altercation that played a role in the group's separation from their father and manager, Murry Wilson, captured for posterity on tape. The exchange can be heard HERE

California Girls    
Let Him Run Wild

    "California Girls," released as a single by Capitol Records on July 12, 1965, from the Summer Days (and Summer Nights! album, solidified the quintessential surf group sound. Recorded over multiple sessions spanning April to June 1965 at Western and Columbia Studios in Hollywood, California, this iconic track soared to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, captivating audiences worldwide with top-ten status in multiple countries and clinching the #1 spot in South Africa. Recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the pivotal songs shaping rock and roll, it holds a revered place among the top 500. Notably, this recording marked the debut of longtime member Bruce Johnston on backing vocals and showcased the unparalleled talent of the renowned Wrecking Crew musicians.

Barbara Ann        
Girl Don’t Tell Me

    Originally recorded by The Regents in 1958, "Barbara Ann" found new life when The Beach Boys decided to cover it, inspired by the moderate success of a rendition by surf contemporaries Jan & Dean in 1962. Their interpretation, featured on the Beach Boys Party! album released in late 1965, swiftly became another international sensation for the California-based ensemble. Scaling the charts in Norway, Germany, and Switzerland, and reaching an impressive #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1966, it quickly became a jukebox staple and enduring fan favorite.

Sloop John B        
You’re So Good To Me

    "The Sloop John B (Sails)," (originally a Bahamian folk tune dating back to the early 1900s), underwent a transformation when The Beach Boys recorded it in July and December of 1965 for inclusion on their landmark Pet Sounds album, released in March of 1966. Their rendition swiftly gained momentum, selling over half-a-million units within its first fortnight, sailing to #1 in seven countries, and reaching #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Notably, The Kingston Trio's cover a couple years prior served as a significant influence on The Beach Boys' interpretation of this timeless classic.

Good Vibrations    
Let’s Go Away for Awhile

    Recording of “Good Vibrations” spanned eight months and was tracled using four different SoCal studios, culminating in nearly 100 hours of tape. The masterpiece that emerged was unveiled to the world in October 1966 and is arguably The Beach Boys' most iconic anthem. The song resonates as a timeless classic, consistently earning placement in top 100 all-time song rankings. Its global impact is undeniable, with the track soaring into the top three in ten different countries and reigning supreme at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for weeks. Recognized for its enduring influence, "Good Vibrations" earned a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1994 and secured its place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's esteemed "Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll" list in 2006 and is an all-time jukebox hit.

DID YOU KNOW?

“Good Vibrations” was the Beach Boys last #1 record until the release of “Kokomo” twenty-three years later in 1989.

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7 Essential Classic Rock Albums 🌷 Released in the Month of May 

     April showers bring May albums. Some of the all-time great albums in the history of pop/rock music have been released during the month of May. Classics from the Beatles, Who and the Rolling Stones all saw releases during the month of May. Here are 7 Essential Classic Rock Albums Released In The Month of May.

The Beach Boys  
Pet Sounds
May 16, 1966 ● Capitol Records
    Pet Sounds, the 1966 album by the Beach Boys, is a timeless masterpiece that epitomizes the epitome of musical innovation and creativity. A new sound was budding in 1965 & ’66 and this seminal work showcases Brian Wilson as a songwriter and producer, blending intricate harmonies with lush instrumentation to create a sonic tapestry that has now transcended generations. From the infectious melodies of "Wouldn't It Be Nice" to the introspective depth of "God Only Knows," each track on Pet Sounds is a testament to the group's evolution and artistic prowess. With its rich arrangements and emotive lyrics, this album continues to captivate audiences worldwide, solidifying its place as one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience  
Are You Experienced?
May 12, 1967 ● Track Record [UK]
    Are You Experienced, the groundbreaking 1967 debut album by Jimi Hendrix, represents a seismic shift in the landscape of rock music. Hendrix's virtuoso guitar skills and innovative soundscapes redefine the boundaries of rock music, captivating listeners with his electrifying performances. The album was released in the UK on May 12, 1967 and peaked at #2 before being released (with a different album cover and track listing) in North America where it hit #5 on the Billboard Top LP chart. The US release contains the iconic hits "Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” “Foxy Lady,” and “The Wind Cries Mary,” and showcases Hendrix's unparalleled talent and visionary artistry, solidifying its place as a cornerstone of rock history.

Crosby, Stills & Nash  
Crosby, Stills & Nash 
May 17, 1969 ● Atlantic Records
    The self-titled 1969 debut album by Crosby, Stills & Nash is a notable work that embodies the essence of folk-rock brilliance. With sublime vocal harmonies and introspective songwriting, this iconic record captured the spirit of a generation in tumultuous times. From the ethereal harmonies of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" to the heartfelt introspection of "Helplessly Hoping," each track on the album showcases the the individual and collective talents of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. The album influenced numerous musicians and  continues to captivate listeners with its enduring musical legacy.

The Who  
Tommy 
May 23, 1969 ● Track Record [UK]
    The 1969 rock opera Tommy by The Who stands as a monumental achievement in the early days of the concept album genre. With its gripping narrative and electrifying rock anthems, Tommy explores themes of enlightenment, trauma, and resilience. From the iconic "Pinball Wizard” (#2 UK / #4 US Billboard 200) to the epic "See Me, Feel Me," each track on the album showcases the Who's musical prowess, showmanship, and guitarist / vocalist Pete Townshend's early visionary songwriting. 

The Beatles  
Let It Be 
May 8, 1970 ● Apple Records
    Let It Be, the legendary 1970 album by The Beatles stands as a poignant testament to the band's enduring legacy and creative evolution. With its raw authenticity and intimate production, this record captures the essence of The Beatles' final chapter together. From the uplifting title track "Let It Be" to “Get Back,” and the heartfelt ballad "The Long and Winding Road," each song resonates with emotional depth and musical brilliance and showcases the Beatles' unparalleled ability to craft timeless melodies.

Rolling Stones  
Exile On Main Street 
May 26, 1972 ● Rolling Stones
    Exile on Main Street, the iconic 1972 album by The Rolling Stones, epitomizes the essence of rock 'n' roll grit and swagger. With its raw energy, bluesy undertones, and infectious grooves, this double album captures the spirit of rebellion and decadence. From the timeless hits like "Tumbling Dice" to the soulful depths of "Shine a Light," Exile on Main Street showcases the band's musical virtuosity and untamed spirit. Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of The Rolling Stones' classic album, a testament to their enduring legacy as one of rock's greatest provocateurs.  

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band  
Stranger In Town
May 5, 1978 ● Capitol Records
    Stranger In Town, the acclaimed 1978 album by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, epitomizes the spirit of heartland rock in the late 1970s and contains one of the top jukebox records of all-time. With its gritty vocals, driving rhythms, and poignant lyrics, this album captures the essence of blue-collar America. From the iconic anthem "Old Time Rock and Roll” (top 3 Jukebox hits all-time) to the poignant ballad "Still the Same," the album showcases Seger's emotive storytelling and features tracks with the famed “swampers” of Muscle Shoals Sound. A classic album that continues to captivate audiences with its raw energy and authenticity.

…and 5 Non-Rock Albums Released in May


Stevie Wonder 
Up-Tight (Everything’s Alright)  
May 4, 1966 ●  Tamla Records
Features instrumentation by Motown’s Funk Brothers and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, with background vocals from The Originals, The Andantes, and the Temptations among others.

Bob Marley & The Wailers  
Legend 
May 7, 1984 ● Island Records
A compilation of Marley’s greatest hits, Legend is the best-selling reggae album of all-time.

The Jackson 5  
ABC 
May 8, 1970 ● Motown Records
Reached #4 on US Billboard 200 in 1970 producing two #1 hits: “ABC” & “The Love You Save.”

Herbie Hancock 
Maiden Voyage 
May, 17 1965 ● Blue Note
Perhaps Hancock’s finest album of the 1960s, Hancock himself has said it is his favorite.

Paul Simon  
There Goes Rhymin’ Simon 
May 22, 1973 ● Columbia / Warner Bros.
The album was produced using five different recording studios including the famed Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, Alabama. #2 Billboard Pop Album.

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Sweet Home Alabama 🎙 6 Jukebox Hit’s Recorded at Historic Muscle Shoals Sound 

Celebrating 55 Years of #MusicHistory @ Alabama’s Iconic Muscle Shoals Sound.


  “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers” -and a great sounding studio. The building located at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, Alabama was established as a recording studio in 1969. The site quickly became the backdrop for the creation of countless jukebox hits from a variety of notable artists and their collaboration with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section known as “the Swampers.” The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Cher, and Paul Simon all recorded hit records at Muscle Shoals Sound helping to earn the studio a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Here are a half-dozen essential records recorded at the historic studio.

R.B. Greaves - “Take a Letter Maria” 
(Atko/Atlantic)
B-Side “Big Bad City“
Recorded: August 19, 1969 /   Released: September 1969
#2 on Billboard Top 100 in 1969 and first hit recorded at newly formed Muscle Shoals Sound.

The Rolling Stones - “Brown Sugar" 
(ABKCO / Rolling Stones Records)
B-Side: “Bitch ” (US) “Let It Rock” (UK)
Recorded: December, 1969 / Released: April 16, 1971
#1 Billboard Top 100, 1971

Dr. Hook - “When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman” 
(Capitol)
B-Side “Knowing She’s There” (US) 
Recorded: 1978 / Released: April 4, 1979
#1 on UK Singles chart, 1979 / #5 Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Chart & #6 on Hot 100 

Staple Singers - “I’ll Take You There” 
(Stax Records)
B-Side “I’m Just Another Soldier“
Recorded: 1971 / Released: February 1972
#1 Billboard Hot 100 and US R&B, 1972

Paul Simon - “Loves Me Like a Rock” 
(Columbia)
B-Side “Learn How to Fall“
Recorded: 1972 / Released: July 17, 1973
#1 Billboard Easy Listening & #2 Billboard Hot 100, 1973

Bob Seger - “Old Time Rock and Roll” 
(Capitol)
B-Side “Sunspot Baby“
Recorded: 1978 / Released: March, 1979
#2 on Amusement & Music Operators Association's survey of Top 40 Jukebox Singles of All Time (1996) Top Ten Most Played Jukebox Song of All-Time

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7 Essential Albums 🇧🇷 Evolution of Bossa Nova via the Gilberto’s 

Bebel Gilberto's 2024 Record Store Day Vinyl Release of 2014's Tudo Highlights Progression of Música Popular Brasileira.

     In 1958, the world was introduced to bossa nova through the soul-stirring strains of "Chega de Saudade" ("No More Blues"), sung by the enchanting Brazilian vocalist Elizeth Cardoso on her seminal album Canção do Amor Demais. Crafted by a genius collaboration of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joāo Gilberto (with lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes), this song garnered both acclaim and debate for its groundbreaking rhythmic and harmonic innovations, diverging from the conventional samba norms. Merely months later, Joao Gilberto (1931-2019) etched his name in music history with the release of his inaugural single, "Chega de Saudade”/"Bim-Bom." The song serves as the trunk of the evolutionary tree of the bossa nova genre. The single paved the way for Gilberto’s debut album, Chega de Saudade in 1959, and heralded the dawn of a musical revolution. Joāo’s wife, vocalist Astrud Gilberto, first showcased her interpretations on the Antonio Carlos Jobim penned “The Girl From Ipanema,” and continued to create and perform for nearly forty years after her commercial debut. Combined with later work by Joāo’s daughter (with Brazilian singer Miúcha) Bebel, these artists provide sixty-five years of audio documentation exhibiting the progression of this form of música popular brasileira. Here are 7 Essential Record Albums capturing the evolution of the bossa nova sound via “Gilberto.” 

    Joao Gilberto - Chega de Saudade, 1959
    The album that started it all! Chega de Saudade is the debut album of Joao Gilberto and is considered the first true bossa nova album. Recorded and released in 1959 (April) on the Odeon Records label in Brazil, this groundbreaking album features 12 tracks, showcasing Gilberto's unparalleled talent. With two compositions by Gilberto himself and three tracks by the renowned Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chega de Saudade introduces a fusion of Samba rhythm with innovative instrumentation and jazz influences. Despite initial skepticism from traditional Samba aficionados, the allure of bossa nova captivated audiences, birthing a distinctive sub-genre that continues to captivate listeners worldwide

    Joāo Gilberto - The Boss of The Bossa Nova, 1961 (1963 US)
    Joao Gilberto can be credited with introducing a new era of music to American audiences. Originally released in 1961 on the Odeon label in Brazil, João Gilberto's self-titled album captivated listeners with its enchanting melodies and innovative rhythms. In 1963, the album was re-released in the U.S. under the title The Boss of Bossa Nova by Atlantic Records and became a major influence on numerous American artists. Collaborating again with acclaimed arranger and composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto crafted a musical journey that transcended boundaries, earning praise from critics and audiences alike. Billboard writer Jack Maher lauded the album upon its release for its revolutionary rhythm, intricate musical structure, and thought-provoking lyrical themes, highlighting the profound impact that bossa nova was about to have on the world stage.

    Stan Getz & Joāo Gilberto - Getz / Gilberto (featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim), 1964
    This groundbreaking Verve records release Getz/Gilberto solidified bossa nova in the United States becoming a hallmark of influence for generations of artists to come. The album fussed the Jazz mastery between American saxophonist Stan Getz and the Brazilian allure of composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and guitarist Joao Gilberto. Getz/Gilberto not only revolutionized musical genres but also catapulted Joao Gilberto's wife, Astrud Gilberto, into stardom with her enchanting rendition of Jobim's masterpiece, "The Girl from Ipanema." This enduring classic soared to the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1965, solidifying its place in the annals of music history. The recording features Getz on sax, Gilberto on guitar, Jobim on piano, and a great performance by Milton Banana on drums. Honored with three Grammy Awards and at the first Jazz album to win the prestigious Album of the Year title, Getz/Gilberto remains a timeless testament to the boundless creativity and innovation of popular music.    

      “America’s Topp Jazz Tenor 
       Joins Brazil’s Great Young 
      Singer In The Most Exciting 
      Album of The Year.”    
       - Getz/Gilberto liner notes, 1964

Astrud Gilberto with The New Stan Getz Quartet - Getz Au Go Go (Live), 1964
    Following their collaboration on the iconic Getz/Gilberto album in 1963, Astrud & Joao Gilberto separated, with Astrud immigrating from Brazil to the United States. Seeking exposure and stability, Astrud embarked on a transformative U.S. tour alongside Stan Getz, a journey marked by a passionate affair that unfolded amidst the music. One of the results of this relationship was the live album Getz Au Go Go, a timeless recording capturing the magic of performances at New York City’s Cafe Au Go Go on May 22, 1964, and snippets from a memorable Carnegie Hall show on October 9 (later released as Getz/Gilberto #2).
    While Getz Au Go Go delves deeper into the jazz stylings of Stan Getz, it also serves as a remarkable introduction to Gilberto's enchanting presence for American audiences. Released in December 1964 on Verve records, this album stands as Gilberto’s sole live vinyl recording (with a 1964 New York City performance alongside Joao & Stan available on CD). Featuring 12 tracks, including six soulful renditions by Gilberto, the album showcases a rich repertoire. Notably, it boasts two compositions by Gary Burton, vibraphonist of the esteemed Getz Quartet.

    Astrud Gilberto - The Astrud Gilberto Album, 1965
    Following her captivating rendition of "The Girl From Ipanema" on the iconic Getz/Gilberto collaboration, Astrud ventured into her own musical journey upon her move to America. Her solo debut, The Astrud Gilberto Album on Verve records, showcases the ethereal vocals of Astrud, accompanied by the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim, whose enchanting melodies grace the album alongside his impeccable guitar skills.
    Crafted with soulful melodies and poetic lyrics, the album is a testament to Jobim's genius, with all but one track penned by the maestro himself. Recorded at the renowned RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, following the culmination of Gilberto's tour with Stan Getz in January 1965, this timeless gem soared to number 41 on the Billboard 200 charts, solidifying Astrud's position as a trailblazing independent female artist in the United States. The Astrud Gilberto Album, is an essential addition to any music aficionado's collection, capturing the essence of bossa nova's golden era with its seamless blend of sophistication and allure.

    Stan Getz & Joāo Gilberto - Getz / Gilberto #2 (Live @ Carnegie Hall), 1966
    The 1966 Verve record label LP release featuring “The Stan Getz Side” and “The Joao Gilberto Side” captures songs taken from a live performance October 9, 1964 at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The sold out performance captures two inseparable icons at the pinnacle of their U.S. acclaim. Interestingly, Astrud Gilberto also performed at this concert, however, none of Astrud's captivating performances from this event were included on the original vinyl release, despite her undeniable popularity and shared record label affiliation with the other two luminaries. Fortunately, a later CD release of the live Carnegie performance rectified this oversight by including five additional tracks showcasing Astrud's mesmerizing vocals, ensuring her rightful place alongside her esteemed male counterparts.

    Bebel Gilberto - Tudo, 2014 (2024)
    With a rich heritage in music, Bebel Gilberto has gracefully carved her own path, captivating a devoted fanbase with her unique blend of influences. The daughter of Brazilian music legends Joao Gilberto and Miúcha, has released numerous albums, EPs and remixes in multiple genre’s. In her 2014 release Tudo, Bebel effortlessly melds her ancestral musical roots with the infectious downtempo vibes of the 80s, creating a hip sound that is both familiar and refreshingly original. Available only on cd for a decade, Tudo is now available on vinyl. This exclusive reissue for Record Store Day (April 20, 2024) offers fans a chance at a rare full length vinyl release by Gilberto.
    Limited to just 1000 copies on stunning white marbled vinyl, this 10th Anniversary edition features twelve tracks, including the Latin Grammy-nominated title track "Tudo." With lyrics in both English and Portuguese, the album showcases Bebel's versatility and transcendent talent. Each Record Store Day release includes a special 4-page booklet adorned with captivating pictures and written lyrics, offering fans an intimate glimpse into the continually ever-evolving world of música popular brasileira.

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7 Essential Debut Albums 📆 Released in the Month of April 

     April heralds the arrival of spring and fresh beginnings. The sentiment is echoed in the music industry through the decades as April has witnessed the emergence of numerous iconic artists who launched inaugural studio albums during this vibrant month. In this curated list, we highlight seven essential classic rock/pop debut albums released over the years in the month of April, showcasing a few iconic works that have shaped the landscape of music.

April 9, 1965 ● The Zombies — Begin Here 
    Our list begins with Begin Here, the inaugural studio album by the iconic English rock ensemble, The Zombies, emerging onto the scene April 9, 1965, via the Decca Records label. Notably, the American rendition, titled The Zombies, mirrored several tracks from its British counterpart and was released in January 1965 on the Parrot label. Stand out songs include “I Can’t Make Up My Mind,” “I Remember When I Loved Her,” and the hit “She’s Not There” which made it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December of 1964. Begin Here, encapsulates the timeless essence of the Zombies' and was the first of only two studio albums made by the group until reforming nearly thirty years later.

April 17, 1964 ● The Rolling Stones —— The Rolling Stones
       The Rolling Stones, the inaugural studio album by the legendary English rock ensemble, the Rolling Stones, made its debut on April 17, 1964, under the banner of Decca Records in the UK. Following its UK release, the album swiftly crossed the Atlantic, hitting U.S. shelves in May of the same year. Although the album features only one original Mick Jagger / Keith Richards penned track, The Rolling Stones bursts with the raw energy and unmistakable charisma, showcasing the beginning of the band's distinctive sound.

April 17, 1964 ● Dusty Springfield —— A Girl Called Dusty
    Released on the same day as The Rolling Stones is A Girl Called Dusty, the stellar debut studio album of the esteemed English singer, Dusty Springfield. Originally released on April 17, 1964, by Philips Records in the United Kingdom, this album rapidly garnered much deserved acclaim and accolades. Boasting a compelling blend of soulful melodies and emotive vocals, each track on this album resonates with timeless charm and artistic depth. It's no surprise that A Girl Called Dusty ascended to No. 6 on the UK Album Charts and secured the No. 5 spot on the influential NME charts in May 1964.

April 23, 1969 ● Joe Cocker —— With A Little Help From My Friends
     Released on April 23, 1969, Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends quickly captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. This album, certified gold in the US, introduced the world to Cocker's exceptional vocal prowess and songwriting abilities. Its dynamic range and emotional depth resonate with listeners, earning it a place among the classics of its era.
     With a Little Help from My Friends peaked at number 35 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. In May 1972, when re-released in the UK as a double pack with Cocker's second LP Joe Cocker!, the album charted at number 29, further highlighting its enduring popularity and solidifying Cocker's presence in the music industry.

April 28, 1969 ● Chicago —— Chicago Transit Authority
    Chicago Transit Authority, is the groundbreaking debut studio album by the renowned American rock band Chicago -originally known as Chicago Transit Authority upon its release. Unleashed upon the world on April 28, 1969, this album quickly gained momentum, eventually becoming a sleeper hit reaching an impressive number 17 on the Billboard 200 chart by 1971. Boasting a captivating blend of musicality and innovation, Chicago Transit Authority spawned several chart-topping singles, including the timeless classics "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Questions 67 and 68," and "Beginnings." With its enduring popularity and timeless appeal, this debut album remains a cornerstone of Chicago's legendary career.

April 17, 1970 ● Paul McCartney —— McCartney
    Okay, so he had some experience on other albums, that said, McCartney, is truly Paul McCartney’s debut solo album. Released on April 17, 1970, under the former Beatles Apple Records label, this album signifies McCartney's bold foray into the realm of solo artistry. A testament to McCartney's virtuosity, McCartney showcases his multifaceted talents as a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist on a clandestine recording journey, opting for the intimacy of his home in St John's Wood. Utilizing home-recording equipment, McCartney crafted an authentic and unfiltered sonic experience, distinct from the polished productions of his Beatles-era endeavors. While some sessions occurred in professional London studios for mixing and additional recording, the album's essence lies in its raw, somewhat lo-fi aesthetic. Notably, the album features the timeless hit "Maybe I'm Amazed," a poignant anthem that continues to resonate with audiences across generations.

April 7, 1978 ● Prince —— For You 
   For You is the debut studio album from Prince. Unveiled by Warner Bros. Records on April 7, 1978, this seminal work marked the genesis of Prince's illustrious musical journey. Produced and performed by Prince, each track within For You bears the unmistakable hallmark of his genius to come, with Prince assuming complete control as producer, arranger, composer, and performer having played all but the horn parts. Upon its release, For You made its mark on the music scene, debuting at No. 163 on the Billboard 200 and ascending to No. 21 on the esteemed Billboard Soul chart.

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7 Essential LIVE Jazz Albums 🎷 Record Store Day 2024  

Discover rare gems and timeless classics with these exclusive releases on Record Store Day 2024.

   Prepare for a treasure trove of live music experiences as Record Store Day 2024 unveils over 50 captivating live albums, including a stellar lineup of 12 live jazz LP releases. From legendary performances captured in iconic venues to rare gems resurrected from the archives, this year's lineup promises to delight music enthusiasts and collectors alike. Discover historic live jazz with these essential releases, each offering a unique glimpse into the vibrant world of jazz music history.

Cannonball Adderley - Burnin’ In Bordeaux: Live In France 1969 (Elemental Music) 2x-LP 
     The first official release of Burnin' In Bordeaux: Live In France 1969 captures legendary saxophonist Cannonball Adderley with a stellar band, featuring Nat Adderley (cornet), Joe Zawinul (piano), Victor Gaskin (bass), Roy McCurdy (drums). Transferred from the original tape reels recorded by the ORTF and housed in the INA (Institut national de l'audiovisuel) archives, this limited-edition 2 LP set is released for Record Store Day 2024 in cooperation with the Cannonball Adderley Estate and INA France for Elemental Music. The package includes an extensive insert with rare photos, liner notes by acclaimed author and historian Bob Blumenthal, and interviews and statements from Quincy Jones, Charles Lloyd, Hal Galper, and Roy McCurdy. Mastered by the legendary Bernie Grundman and pressed on 180g vinyl by Memphis Record Pressing. -It is one of two Live Adderley offerings on RSD 2024.

Nat King Cole - Live At The Blue Note Chicago (Iconic Artists Group) 2x-LP / 4000 (pressings)
      Truly unforgettable melodies from Nat King Cole as he takes center stage in the heart of Chicago's iconic Blue Note. Crafted by the esteemed Iconic Artists Group, this exclusive 2x-LP release offers a rare glimpse into a legendary performance.
     Featuring meticulously restored audio sourced directly from the original tapes, every note resonates with the purity of Cole's timeless vocals. Mastered by the renowned Kevin Gray and expertly pressed onto 180g vinyl by RTI, each track exudes warmth and depth, delivering an unparalleled listening experience.
     Encased in a deluxe double-gatefold tip-on jacket by Stoughton, this collector's edition boasts extensive liner notes by Grammy-nominated writer and Nat King Cole biographer, Will Friedwald. Transport yourself to the bustling streets of 1953 Chicago with Friedwald's captivating narrative, complemented by a six-page booklet adorned with rare photographs of Nat King Cole in his element. Delve even deeper into the era with a replica of the original Blue Note Chicago newsletter, providing fascinating insights into Cole's historic visit. Don't miss your chance to own a piece of music history and rediscover the magic of Nat King Cole in his prime.

Charlie Parker - Norman Granz’ Jazz At The Philharmonic (Verve) LP / 3500
     Celebrate the 75th anniversary of a monumental recording with the reissue of Charlie Parker's legendary performance at Norman Granz' Jazz At The Philharmonic. Available exclusively for Record Store Day, this limited edition LP brings Parker's groundbreaking music to a new generation of jazz enthusiasts.
     In September of 1949, Charlie Parker, alongside Swing Era luminaries Roy Eldridge and Lester Young, electrified the stage at Carnegie Hall. Backed by a stellar ensemble featuring Ray Brown, Hank Jones, Flip Phillips, Buddy Rich, and Tommy Turk, they delivered an unforgettable performance, blending classic standards with electrifying improvisations.
     Remastered from the original analog sources and pressed onto vibrant yellow vinyl, this LP captures the essence of Parker's genius in stunning detail. Experience the energy and innovation of one of jazz's most iconic figures with every groove.

Sonny Rollins - Freedom Weaver: The 1959 European Tour (Resonance) 4x-LP / 2500
     Embark on a journey through jazz history with Sonny Rollins' iconic 1959 European Tour, brought to life in the first official release of Freedom Weaver. Join the legendary 'Saxophone Colossus' alongside bassist Henry Grimes and drummers Pete La Roca, Kenny Clarke, and Joe Harris as they captivate audiences across Europe.
     Previously available only as a bootleg, this exclusive release marks the first official collaboration with Sonny Rollins himself. Presented as a limited-edition 180-gram 4-LP box set, this collector's item is a must-have for jazz aficionados and vinyl enthusiasts alike. Available exclusively for Record Store Day, seize the opportunity to own a piece of musical history. Immerse yourself in the deluxe 56-page booklet featuring rare photos by renowned photographers such as Ed van der Elsken, Jean-Pierre Leloir, and Bob Parent.
      Enrich your understanding of Rollins' legacy with insightful liner notes by esteemed jazz scholar Bob Blumenthal. Gain exclusive insights from Rollins himself and fellow musicians Branford Marsalis, James Carter, Joe Lovano, James Brandon Lewis, and Peter Brötzmann through new interviews included in this comprehensive collection.

Shelly Manne - Jazz from The Pacific Northwest (Reel to Reel) 2xLP / 1500
     Experience the timeless brilliance of jazz legend Shelly Manne with Jazz From The Pacific Northwest, a captivating double LP showcasing previously unreleased concert recordings. Recorded at iconic venues like the Monterey Jazz Festival and Penthouse jazz club, these performances feature celebrated musicians including Monty Budwig, Russ Freeman, Hampton Hawes, and Conte Condoli.
     Crafted with care, this limited-edition set offers unparalleled sound quality, pressed on 180g vinyl and accompanied by a 16-page booklet featuring insightful essays and rare memorabilia. Mastered by Kevin Gray, the collection pays homage to Manne's profound influence on the West Coast Jazz scene, and his collaborations with jazz luminaries such as Andre Previn and Sonny Rollins. Manne's rich musical legacy spans from his rise to fame in the 1950s to his versatile contributions across various mediums, including television and film scores. With an extensive discography across renowned labels, Manne's impact on jazz remains unparalleled.

Sun Ra At The Showcase: Live In Chicago 1976-1977 (Jazz Detective) 2x LP / 3000
     The magic of Sun Ra shines on this exclusive album reissue, featuring previously unreleased live recordings from Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Produced by Zev Feldman's Jazz Detective record label in collaboration with Elemental Music and the Sun Ra Trust, this official release brings forth the visionary compositions of the intergalactic composer/pianist. Researched and curated by Sun Ra archivist Michael D. Anderson, these recordings are meticulously transferred from original tape reels for optimal sound quality. This limited-edition 2-LP set, pressed on 180-gram vinyl, includes a comprehensive insert boasting rare photographs, liner notes by GRAMMY-winning author Ashley Kahn, and exclusive interviews with music luminaries.

Art Tatum - Jewels in the Treasure Box: The 1953 Chicago Blue Note Jazz Club Recordings (Resonance) 3x LP / 2000
     Uncover the brilliance of jazz virtuoso Art Tatum with Jewels In The Treasure Box, a previously unreleased 3-LP collection capturing Tatum's mesmerizing performances at Chicago's Blue Note jazz club in March 1953. Accompanied by guitarist Everett Barksdale and bassist Slam Stewart, Tatum showcases his unparalleled mastery of the piano in these intimate recordings. Engineered by Matthew Lutthans, known for his work on Resonance's Grammy-nominated Nat King Cole release, these recordings are meticulously transferred from original tape reels for optimal quality.
     This deluxe limited-edition set features nearly 3 hours of never-before-heard Tatum, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and presented in a gatefold format. Dive into rare photos and memorabilia from the archives of Herman Leonard, Bob Parent, and the Holzfeind family, owners of the Blue Note jazz club. With liner notes by Brent Hayes Edwards and statements from jazz luminaries like Ahmad Jamal and Sonny Rollins, this collection is a must-have for any jazz enthusiast. Limited edition.

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7 Essential LIVE Jazz Albums 🎹 Recorded At the Lighthouse Cafe Hermosa Beach California 

Exploring the Timeless Legacy of West Coast Jazz Albums Recorded at the Historic Lighthouse.

   In the heart of Hermosa Beach stands a legendary establishment that has witnessed the evolution of jazz music since the clubs inception in 1949. Originally built as a restaurant in 1934, this venue transformed into The Lighthouse in 1940, later evolving into The Lighthouse Cafe, a renowned jazz club that has hosted some of the most influential musicians of all time.

  From the mesmerizing melodies of Art Pepper and Cannonball Adderley to the enchanting sounds of Vince Guaraldi and Denny Zeitlin, The Lighthouse Cafe has been a beacon countless virtuosos, earning its place as a cornerstone of West Coast jazz history.

   In its early days, bassist and band leader Howard Rumsey spearheaded the club's jazz movement, forming the iconic Lighthouse All-Stars in 1949 and attracting luminaries Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Miles Davis to its stage. These jam sessions not only defined the club's identity but also propelled it into the spotlight as a premier destination for jazz enthusiasts.

JAZZ @ THE LIGHTHOUSE 

    Moreover, The Lighthouse Cafe became a hub for groundbreaking recordings, with esteemed artists such as Lee Morgan, Mose Allison, and Ramsey Lewis immortalizing their performances within its walls. The club's acoustics and intimate atmosphere provided the perfect backdrop for legendary albums, showcasing the raw talent and improvisational genius of jazz icons.

   As we delve into the archives of The Lighthouse Cafe, we uncover seven must-have albums that encapsulate the essence of this historic landmark. From soulful ballads to exhilarating improvisations, each recording offers a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of jazz history woven within these hallowed halls through time and melody. We celebrate the enduring and continuing legacy of The Lighthouse Cafe Hermosa Beach, California. 

The Cannonball Adderley Quintet At the Lighthouse 
(Riverside,1960)
  Dive right in to the soulful depths of Cannonball Adderley's unforgettable live session At the Lighthouse, captured on his second live album in 1960. This masterpiece of soul-jazz not only showcases Adderley's brilliance but also elevates him beyond the shadows cast by former bandmates John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
  At the helm of his ensemble, Adderley's magnetic presence is palpable, with standout performances on tracks like the mesmerizing "Sack O' Woe" and the vibrant "Azule Serape." These compositions not only highlight Adderley's virtuosity but also underscore the collective synergy of his group.
  Joining Adderley are stalwarts of the jazz scene: his brother Nat on cornet, the skilled Sam Jones on bass, the dynamic Louis Hayes on drums, and the versatile Victor Feldman on piano, who also contributes as a composer on two of the album's six tracks.
  One of the album's distinctive features is Adderley's poignant introductions to each piece, providing listeners with a glimpse into the historical context surrounding the music—a testament to the album's significance beyond its sonic allure.
  In 2018, this seminal recording was reintroduced on 180-gram vinyl by the esteemed Jazz Images label, offering a renewed opportunity to appreciate its timeless brilliance. For aficionados and newcomers alike, At the Lighthouse is an essential addition to any discerning record collection, encapsulating the essence of Cannonball Adderley's enduring legacy. The original album cover image was shot on the beach near the club.

Cal Tjader - Cal Pugs In! 
(Skye, 1969)
  Indulge in true west coast jazz with the captivating rhythms and vibrant energy of Cal Tjader's live album, Cal Plugs In! Recorded at a club frequented by Tjader himself, this electrifying performance showcases his mastery of the fused latin-jazz genre. The album title pays homage to the distinctive sound created by the electric Fender piano and bass featured during the performances on February 20th and 21st, 1969.
   Released on the esteemed Skye/Buddah label, Cal Pugs In! boasts a track list of eight songs that perfectly encapsulate Tjader's musical genius. From soulful ballads to upbeat Latin grooves, each track showcases Tjader's virtuosity and improvisational skills.
   Despite its relatively short duration of 33 minutes on the original pressing, this live album leaves a lasting impression on listeners, and wanting more of Tjader's captivating melodies and infectious rhythms.

The Ramsey Lewis Trio - Hang On Ramsey! 
(Cadet, 1965)
    Experience the lively swinging styling of Chicago-born piano virtuoso Ramsey Lewis as he takes the stage for his iconic live album, Hang On Ramsey! Live at the Lighthouse. Recorded during a series of unforgettable performances at the renowned venue from October 14th to the 17th in 1965, this album captures Lewis at the height of his musical prowess.
   Released on the Cadet record label in the same year, Hang On Ramsey! follows the success of Lewis' hit album, The In Crowd. Featuring Lewis on piano, alongside Eldee Young on bass and Isaac "Red" Holt on drums, the album comprises nine captivating tracks, including renditions of popular Beatles tunes like "And I Love Her" and "A Hard Day's Night," as well as a dynamic cover of the McCoys' 1965 hit song, "Hang on Sloopy.” It also captures an enthusiastic crowd in a working 1960s jazz club and the occasional cash register bell ringing! An historical audio artifact!

Chet Baker & The Lighthouse All-Stars - Witch Doctor 
(Contemporary, 1953) 
   The infectious rhythms of Chet Baker's Witch Doctor album, captures the essence of West Coast jazz at its finest. Originally recorded live on Sunday, September 13, 1953, this masterpiece remained unreleased on vinyl until its eventual debut in 1985.
   Boasting a lineup of esteemed musicians including Russ Freeman on piano, Shelly Manne and Max Roach on drums, and Howard Rumsey leading the Lighthouse All-Stars on bass, the album showcases a mesmerizing blend of hard bop styles.
   Featuring five captivating tracks from the second set of three performances that day, Witch Doctor offers a glimpse into the vibrant energy and improvisational prowess of Baker and his ensemble. Although other albums may better spotlight the traditional Lighthouse All-Stars, this recording remains a testament to Baker's enduring legacy and the rich tapestry of West Coast jazz.

Miles Davis and The Lighthouse All-Stars - At Last! 
(Contemporary, 1985)
  At Last! was recorded on the same day as the Chet Baker Witch Doctor album (September 13, 1953) using primarily the same group of “All-Star” performers including Max Roach on drums, All-Star band leader & bassist Howard Rumsey, and a notable cameo appearance by Chet Baker himself on the track “At Last.” Mirroring the delayed unveiling of Baker's work, Davis' At Last! saw its vinyl debut much later, in 1985 under the Contemporary Records label -reissued in 1990. Characterized by a spontaneous jam session ambiance, Davis' album encapsulates vibrant renditions of timeless compositions by Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. The well-recorded virtuoso performances by Roach and pianist Russ Freeman punctuate the album, rendering it indispensable for any devotee of Miles Davis's oeuvre.

Modern Jazz Quartet - Live at the Lighthouse 
(Atlantic, 1967)
   Revisit the sounds of the Modern Jazz Quartet with their live album, Live at the Lighthouse, recorded in 1967. This seven-song LP, recorded on March 16th and 17th by Wally Heider Studios, captures the essence of the MJQ's East Coast style in a classic West Coast setting.
   Released later in the same year by Atlantic Records, Live at the Lighthouse may be considered somewhat obscure, but its impact on jazz aficionados is undeniable. Featuring fresh compositions and inspired improvisations, the album showcases the quartet's signature blend of swing and creativity.
   Led by the legendary Milt Jackson on vibraphone and John Lewis on piano, accompanied by Percy Heath on bass and drummer Connie Kay, the MJQ delivers a performance that is both dynamic and soulful. Each track on the album is a testament to the quartet's exceptional musicianship, innovative arrangements, and their ability to push the boundaries of jazz. Whether you're a seasoned jazz enthusiast or new to the genre, this album promises a rewarding musical journey.

Art Blakey and the New Jazz Messengers – Buttercorn Lady 
(Limelight, 1966)  
    No jazz list would be complete without giving the drummer some. Explore the dynamic rhythms and exceptional talents of jazz legend Art Blakey with Buttercorn Lady, a seminal album from 1966 that showcases Blakey and the New Jazz Messengers at their finest. Recorded during two electrifying performances at the Lighthouse on January 1st and 9th of 1966, this album was released just two months later on Limelight Records.
   While Blakey is renowned for his hard bop jazz style, particularly in live recordings from New York City's iconic Birdland club, Buttercorn Lady offers a unique glimpse into a different facet of his artistry. Featuring a stellar lineup including Chuck Mangione on trumpet, Frank Mitchell on tenor saxophone, Reggie Johnson on bass, and the recent addition of Keith Jarrett on piano. Jarrett's masterful performance truly shines on this live set, making Buttercorn Lady a standout among Blakey's recordings.

5 Other Albums LIVE At The Lighthouse!
1.    1951: Art Pepper and Shorty Rogers – Popo (Xanadu, 1978)
2.    1953: Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars – Sunday Jazz a la Lighthouse (Vol. 1) (Contemporary)
3.    1962: The Jazz Crusaders – The Jazz Crusaders at the Lighthouse (Pacific Jazz)
4.    1966: Mose Allison – Mose Alive! (Atlantic)
5.    1972: Elvin Jones – Live at the Lighthouse (Blue Note)

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🎸 The Untold Story of Infamous PSYCHEDELIC rock hall

50 Years ago...

🎙 Pepperland : Woodstock West 🎸 (1970-1973)

By Geo Thelen
with Contributions from
  Big Brother & The Holding Company drummer, Dave Getz
  Clover guitarist/vocalist/songwriter, Alex Call
  Sons of Champlin roadie (42yrs), Charlie Kelly
  Cold Blood mgt. / Fillmore East & West Stage Mgr. Charlie Ellicott
  Pepperland ownership family, Charlie Litchfield
  Pepperland Promoter, Skip Whitney
  Pepperland Stage Manager, Mapes Root

        The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich history of showcasing musical performance. From gold rush-era piano saloons to smoky 1950s jazz clubs and the psychedelic ballrooms of the 1960s, numerous Bay Area music venues have served as the backdrop for the region's ever-changing eclectic musical expressionists. Longtime sites like the Fillmore in San Francisco and the Trident in Sausalito are today reminders of the Bay Area's historic musical evolution.
   
     As the honeymoon from the Summer of Love was wearing off in the late 1960s, many Bay Area musicians were migrating north from the increasingly seedy mad scramble of San Francisco into easygoing Marin County. The influx of musicians inspired several new North Bay music venues. Places like Lion's Share in San Anselmo and The Sleeping Lady in Fairfax had long runs and showcased great talent, while other clubs closed as quickly as they had opened. Although short-lived (1970-1973), the former Pepperland rock hall in San Rafael is one of the most historically underrated music sites in the Bay Area, having hosted some of the biggest names of the post-1960s era -including dozens of artists who had played Woodstock, earning it the nickname "Woodstock West."  

A Place in the Sun 

    The specifics regarding the establishment of Pepperland remain as hazy as the air in the club itself. Nevertheless, in late 1969, work began to transition music performances from a club at the Litchfield's Bermuda Palms Motel (737 E. Francisco Boulevard) in San Rafael, California, to a much larger building on the same lot (now 721 E. Francisco). 
   
     Litchfield's Bermuda Palms Motel was constructed in 1949 by Marin County, California resident and construction mogul Irving "Whitey” Litchfield. The motel resort ultimately included a ballroom, upscale dining room, Bali Hai Cocktail Lounge, and convention rooms. The Bermuda Palms Club hosted nightly dancing and was known by locals as the dance hall at Litchfield's Bermuda Palms. The original motel is still recognizable by the refurbished Litchfield's sign along Highway 101, twenty minutes north of San Francisco. According to Marin resident Charlie Litchfield, "My grandfather, Irving "Whitey” Litchfield, built the original Bermuda Palms motel complex in the late '40s, including the iconic Litchfield's sign. It was originally a resort motel with an Olympic size pool. Sometime later, he built over the pool and created the club, centered around the large ballroom that hosted shows and entertainment." 
  
     The Bermuda Palms club attracted several name artists during the 1950s & 60s, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Etta James. It was a popular California gateway and drew many entertainment influencers, including American Bandstand host Dick Clark. Movie stars John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and Robert Mitchum stayed at the resort while filming "Blood Alley" at nearby China Camp (State Park) in 1954. Whitey Litchfield also facilitated a boxing camp during the 50s frequented by boxing greats Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and Don Cockell, -who trained at the site for his World Heavyweight Championship fight against Marciano on May 16, 1955. Alex Call, lead guitarist / vocalist for the popular Marin-based band Clover, shared this description of Litchfield from his autobiography, 876-5309/Jenny. The song that saved my ass… for a while. “Whitey, who must have been in his sixties at the time, was a real character. He was, short, wiry, and tough; a film noir pug-faced gangster with a heart of gold and a Saturday Night Special in his briefcase kind-of-guy.” Litchfield was a good promoter with an “old school” style. ”The Club was a happening place," said Whitey's grandson, "hosting acts like Frank Sinatra and even an event for Richard Nixon's failed 1962 gubernatorial campaign (my grandfather griped long after that Nixon never paid his bill)."

A Big Empty Room 

       In January 1970, owner Whitey Litchfield announced a new venture based in a former storage Quonset at 721 E. Francisco Blvd. He had recently remolded the building hoping "to host big name bands, entertainers, special functions and one-off events." He called the new music venue The Citadel. However, there is no record of any shows at this location under the Citadel name, only a burglary and vandalism of the club on December 11, 1969. Earlier in September, Litchfield had agreed to lease the space to John Shaw and Lawrence "Larry" Paul Samuels as a concert and civic events venue. Two fellow east coasters, Benjamin Blatt and Natan Shind, would operate the site. According to a July 1970 mention in Billboard magazine, "four independent backers are providing the funds to open the rock ballroom, which will not compete for audiences with Bill Graham's Fillmore West in San Francisco, some 12 miles away." They didn't know it then, but Graham's Fillmore would close less than a year later -eliminating the competition altogether. 

   According to Charlie Litchfield, "It (site) was an existing industrial Quonset used for storage by the Litchfield Construction company, and it was converted into a concert space. It used to extend all the way back to Front Street, so it was a 16,000-square-foot venue. Whitey cut the building in half in the late 70s/early 80s to build another section of (Bermuda Palms) motel on the back half of the lot."

    Big Brother and the Holding Company drummer Dave Getz recalls performing at one of the first shows in the "new" music venue. "I remember a show we did there that was put on by the Hell's Angels. The stage was rather low, there was an area behind the stage for bands and friends to hang out, and the room itself was pretty much just a big empty room with nothing architecturally interesting."

    Although the former Quonset at 721 E. Francisco may have been uninteresting, the Hell's Angels event was not. Sunday, May 21, 1970, was a far cry from the former Bermuda Palms club shows. The event was a fundraiser for the Bay Area chapter of the Hell's Angels and featured Bay Area performers Big Brother and the Holding Company, Gold, and Janis Joplin with her band Main Squeeze. Janis was asked to perform at the benefit by one of her Hell's Angels "friends" named Sweet William. Her former band, Big Brother, and her current band, Main Squeeze, were each booked. Before the show, Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew said, "This will be the first time that Janis' old band and her new band will be at the same venue, so everyone is a little on edge." Andrew was right, as the scene was intense. Several "rent-a-cops" wandered through the crowd, and motorcycles lined the parking lots as attendees took over the surrounding neighborhood. The event had a coat check and a weapons check.

    Big Brother and the Holding Company drummer Dave Getz, shared a story about the Hell's Angels benefit at Pepperland from his upcoming memoir, Death of Janis. Getz writes: "Big Brother with Nick Gravenites singing, played before Janis and ‘Main Squeeze’ (a tentative name that was later changed to 'Full-Tilt Boogie'). During BBHC's set a girl took off all her clothes and jumped on stage, dancing around. A guy took off all his clothes and proceeded to try to go down on her while she was dancing around. No one tried to stop this and some bikers were banging pool cues and hands on the stage -which was only about two feet high- yelling for him to 'get it up' and fuck her. Nothing much happened, and at the end of the evening, I saw the two of them huddled together in a blanket, talking, possibly getting to know each other. Maybe they eventually married and had a family. While this was happening onstage, Janis was backstage prancing around like a Peacock with a couple of friends and a bottle of Jim Beam. A biker from another club -I was told he was a Gypsy Joker- said to Janis something like, 'Hey mama, gimme a taste of that' and reached for the bottle. She told him to 'Fuck off, man,' and he either slapped her or punched her in the face. I personally saw the black eye. The story I got from Janis was that two or three Angels immediately jumped on him and punched his lights out. When Janis came out on stage, she was a fucking mess, and her band was trying to find a way to sound coherent, being her rant went on for at least 20 minutes. She ranted about the events that had happened and was full of self-pity about how what had happened was the story of her life. Her set was awful. I know that's hard to believe but she knew it later and told me she knew it. To redeem herself, she had Big Brother open for her in San Diego a few months later when she was about one month clean, and her band had been touring -her act was smokin'. We sat next to each other on the plane back from San Diego. That was the last time I saw her." After Joplin's "performance" at the Hell's Angles event, the band helped her to a waiting car. Her roommate, Lyndall (Erb), had driven and did not find it unusual that Janis was upset that she'd been "punched around" or that "she'd gotten so drunk that she was unable to remember the performance. It has happened before," Erb shrugged. The Angels paid Joplin $240 for the gig and had officially christened "the big empty room."
 

EUPHORIA 

         A month after the Hell's Angels fundraiser, the venue began operations as Euphoria, with shows presented by Euphoric Entertainment. The first lineup under the new name was Ike & Tina Turner, Boz Scaggs, and A.B. Skhy, who performed on Saturday, June 27, 1970. Shows by the Marin County group Clover and by Big Brother and the Holding Company on the first weekend of July helped spread the word about this "out of sight" new space in Marin booking great acts. The former Quonset at 721 E. Francisco quickly became a happening scene. Euphoria touted "organic foods" and "good people," with performances by Boz Scaggs, The Grateful Dead, and The Youngbloods during its three-month run from May to July 1970. Many local attendees recall Janis Joplin joining the Grateful Dead on July 16, and singing a sultry duet ("Turn On Your Lovelight") with Grateful Dead keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan -with whom Joplin had a romantic relationship. Most of this performance was captured on a bootleg recording that is still popular in the boot world. Joplin (who was living in nearby Larkspur at the time) would die from a drug overdose in Los Angeles less than three months later. You can hear McKernan and Joplin's original Pepperland bootleg HERE . 

       Events at 721 E. Francisco Blvd. were produced and presented over two-plus years by a handful of promoters, including Berkeley Folk Music Festival founder Barry Olivier, Skip Whitney of Fun Productions, and most notoriously by Larry Samuels and two East Coasters, Nat Shind, and Ben Blatt. "Two drug dealers from New York," says former Pepperland promoter Skip Whitney. "They did a number of shows. We took over from them (in Sept. 1971.) They eventually got into some pretty major trouble." 

      That trouble was a drug raid at the Bermuda Palms motel on June 30, 1970. The raid netted seven arrests, including club operators Nat Shind for marijuana possession, Larry Samuels for heroin, and Ben Blatt for battery on a police officer. The police also found and confiscated $15,000 in cash and charged each with being under the influence of narcotics. It was the first of many impediments the trio would face operating the club. "From the very beginning, it was like, is there going to be another show?" recalled Pepperland Stage Manager, Mapes Root. "I don't know how they funded it, but they had a source (laughs)… and it wasn't probably good. No question the money came from lord knows where!" 

       The venue closed for a remodel and rebranding at the end of July 1970. The "new" club was set to open on Labor Day Weekend 1970 with a bill featuring Deep Purple. However, the gig never happened. A week later, on September 18, 1970, 721 E. Francisco Blvd. officially opened as Pepperland. 

The Purple Palace 

       Pepperland was billed by proprietors Ben Blatt and Nat Shind as the "biggest ballroom on the West Coast" and as "Marin's First Rock Hall," both of which were untrue. The building was painted a loud (and locally controversial) purple color as the re-imagined club had an unapologetic Beatles Yellow Submarine influence. The venue featured a quadraphonic sound system developed by Meyer Sound founder John Meyer with giant molded fiberglass speaker cones big enough for diehards to sit in -and many did. In an interview with MixOnline magazine, John Meyer said he "started a company called Glyph to design and build sound reinforcement systems. Glyph's first installation was at Pepperland. It was a pure exponential horn-loaded bi-amped quadraphonic sound system. Each stack included a white fiberglass bass, mid-range, and high-frequency horns. The bass horns were huge, measuring 8×8 feet with 30-inch drivers." The system was big enough to fill Pepperland's giant interior (and most of the surrounding neighborhood) with sound. 

     Fitting with the "Yellow Submarine" influence, Pepperland's interior support girders were adorned with painted portholes mimicking those of a submarine. Although large, the performance space had low ceilings and poor ventilation, with cigarette and pot smoke dominating the air. According to Pepperland Stage Manager Mapes Root, "The place was not a good set-up for music. It had concrete floors throughout, and the exposed rafters in the ceiling… not a good place for sound. But man, what incredible shows! Just incredible acts." Root had toured with the Johnny Winter Group after working at Woodstock less than a year before being hired by Blatt and Shind to become stage manager at Pepperland. "I worked on the stage at Woodstock. Friday night, the crew they hired got stoned on acid and couldn't go on, so I worked the whole weekend. I met the road manager for the Johnny Winter Group and toured with them for a while. Then I drove cabs in New York, saved some money, and moved to Lagunitas (Marin County). I met these two guys from New York (Blatt & Shind), and I told them about my experience at Woodstock, and they said you can be our stage manager!" 

      Whether there was ever competition for artists or not, the roster of performers at Pepperland was entirely on par with that of Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Many artists that played at Graham's Fillmore West also played at Pepperland, and a couple of groups Graham “managed” (including Lydia Pense and Cold Blood) began playing Pepperland after the closure of Fillmore West. "I don't think Bill had any official association with Pepperland, though. He had Winterland (Ballroom) and other things still going on," recalls Cold Blood management and one-time Fillmore Stage Manager Charlie Ellicott. "I was out of there by that time anyway. Things were really changing in the city, and it got more violent and dark. I moved up north." 

     Pepperland's September 18th opening night lineup included Captain Beefheart, Charles Lloyd, and San Francisco staples Hot Tuna (featuring Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin & Papa John Creach -who had played Woodstock just a year before). It also happened to be the day Jimi Hendrix died in London. The music world was in shock. Hendrix fan Steve Miller showed up to Pepperland that night unannounced and played a tribute to the 27-year-old musician. Miller's performance at Pepperland was captured on a bootleg recording and later released in 2020 as Peppa Sauce (Sailor Records / Capitol Records). HEAR it HERE

The Scene 

        Pepperland bills usually featured at least three artists, and shows often lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Monday nights were only a dollar, and most shows were all ages. From September 1970 until mid-1971, the performance space was enhanced by the Brotherhood of Light (BOL) shows led by Bob Pullum. Pullum had produced light shows for many notable San Francisco venues in the late 1960s, including the Avalon Ballroom, Carousel Ballroom, and Bill Graham's Fillmore and Winterland Ballrooms. Pullum came to Pepperland after the Fillmore West closed.  

      Pullum recalled those days in a 2002 interview with Pooters Psychedelic Shack, "In the late spring of 1970, my (BOL) partners, Brian and Ed, had left, and Bill Graham was talking about shutting down (the Fillmore). I took an offer to do the light show at Pepperland in San Rafael with the promise of complete creative control. We had great shows there." Pulllums' Brotherhood of Light shows splashed Pepperland's relatively small stage and exposed ceiling, adding some much-needed ambiance to the former construction Quonset. 

       According to a review of Pepperland's first night printed in the September 25, 1970 issue of the underground newspaper Berkeley Tribe, "the new concert-dance hall has a 5000 (person) capacity. The place is reminiscent of the Fillmore, including a light show by people (Brotherhood of Light) from Bill Graham's Fillmore West." Bill Graham was also at Pepperland that evening, hanging "in the back with the performers, groupies, etc." As for the new club itself, the reviewer noted it had "a snack bar that serves organic foods, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, organic juices, cucumber sandwiches; an $18,000 quadraphonic sound system and remote controlled lights revolving in circles around the walls." Although he was not on the bill, Steve Miller and his new group opened the show, paying tribute to guitarist Jimi Hendrix. The Berkeley Tribe review stated, "Miller is now playing with ex-members of the old Frumious Bandersnatch, and they haven't quite got it together yet. The harmonies are weak, the music is sloppy, and at this time, the entire thing just isn't together. Miller had a few good moments of his own, but the rest of the band wasn't cutting it." Less than three years later, the "rest of the band" would get it together as founding members of the group Journey. 

      The remainder of the opening night featured performances by Charles Lloyd, followed by Bay Area favorites Captain Beefheart and Hot Tuna. The reviewer noted, "Security was running through the crowd keeping the people out of the doorways and booting those without tickets. It was very crowded. Very hot. Several people on intense trips had to leave. Greed, shadiness, and contempt for the people who pay to support all this have made it all but impossible to feel at home in places like the Fillmore (East and West) as well as their bastard offspring like Pepperland. It's a social event. But no one gets it on. No one dances; there is very little motion. All you can do is sit down or lie down and listen. As far as the people at Pepperland go, they're nice. Marin freaks. So are the people who work there. You can rap to them. They listen and understand… and care about people, or at least they say they do."   

 Sigh of Relief        
      
         Despite the lukewarm review of Pepperland's official launch in the Berkeley Tribe, the show was a success, and the club was drawing people and big-name acts. The following weekend (Sept. 25&26, 1970) Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention performed as part of their 'reunion' tour. The set was recorded and later released in 2020 as a part of the Mothers 1970 cd box-set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Mothers (Zappa Records / Universal Music). Two weeks later, on October 16 & 17, 1970, Pink Floyd performed two somewhat sparsely attended but highly memorable shows. Certainly well-regarded by those lucky enough to see it. "Pink Floyd. Wow! Man, I was there!" Pepperland stage manager Mapes Root recalled proudly. "Incredible show!" -and Roots' sentiment is shared by many. 

      "I went to both Pink Floyd's Pepperland shows on Oct.16 & 17, 1970, and I still remember to this day how awesome the whole experience was!" attendee Ezra B. Eddy IV wrote in 2022. "It's hard to believe that it didn't last longer than it did!! The whole submarine effect was really well done!!! And those speakers were fantastic; it was like an "Alice in Wonderland "experience come to life!!!!" 

       The Pink Floyd performance is among the most celebrated in Pepperland's history. The venue's low stage was too small to accommodate the groups' massive gear, which was largely set up on the dance floor. Pullum and The Brotherhood of Light projected fish-eye photos of farm animals at the painted portholes on the walls in reference to the Atom Heart Mother album released a few days before -Pink Floyds' first #1(U.K.) album. An estimated 500 people, primarily teenagers, attended the first of the two-night performances. 

      "My girlfriend and I drove up from Palo Alto to see Pink Floyd," shared an anonymous attendee. "Pink Floyd was set up against the back wall, opposite the entrance, on a very low riser. The floors and exposed metal rafters reminded me of a roller rink I used to go to as a kid. There were slide projectors up in the metal rafters projecting fish-eye photos of farm animals. Keyboardist (Richard Wright) had a joystick that he used to swirl his synth and other sounds around the room or have them rip through the room, front to back, to great effect. The big Glyph horns were set up in the corners, and there were Shure vocal columns set up every 20 feet or so along the walls in between. There were no more than 500 people sitting on the floor in the center, with some folks sitting up inside the big Glyph bottom horns!" 

       The first night of Floyd's two-night engagement became well-known for the group's brilliant performance and also for its technical difficulties. In the weeks leading up to the Floyd shows the venue had been having some issues "blowing fuses." The weekend before the show, Pepperland was shut down to "get everything together" and give electricians time to "rewire the stage." But to no avail. Pink Floyd's massive set-up taxed the venue's power supply to four power failures during the group's opening song, "Astronomy Domine", ultimately taking the group nearly twenty minutes to complete. Another failure on the finale of the two-hour show forced the band to re-play the ending of the song for the recording. The entire performance, including the power failures, was recorded using a single-point stereo microphone about ten rows from the stage. All of this can be heard on a two-hour bootleg of the show officially released as a 2-CD set in 1998 called Pepperland in the West (Highland Records). Listen HERE

      Concert-goer Richard Gillen recalled the two nights, writing, "Just as the Floyd were finishing the last song, the P.A. power failed! The band was as shocked as we were in the audience. After anger and groping around, they finished with what you hear at the end of the recording. I brought friends to the next night, and you could see Roger Waters just cringing as they hit the last notes. Thankfully, the power held up, and we all breathed a sigh of relief."

Pot Problem? What, pot problem? 

       The last four months of 1970 earned Pepperland the moniker Woodstock West in more ways than one. Accusations of open and frequent drug use at the venue caught the attention of city leaders, and promoters Ben Blatt and Nat Shind were under constant pressure to toe the line from local officials. On one occasion, San Rafael City Councilman Harry Barbier falsely claimed he was a fire marshall upon barging into the Pepperland and threatening to put the rock hall and the Bermuda Palms "out of business," later stating, "it ought to be closed. They're all smoking pot down there!" The quarrel played out publicly in the local Independent Journal with San Rafael Mayor Paul Bettini stating that the "purple-painted building had drawn more complaints than any other item" in his time as mayor. City council meetings turned contentious with continued accusations towards the promoters of catering to large crowds of underage dope smokers getting high. The San Rafael city building inspector declared the venue's legal capacity to be "only 1,850," although shows often drew more than 2,000. Pepperland's attorney Daniel Weinstein fired back, accusing city leaders of not doing enough to give young people a place to go and keep them "off the streets." Meanwhile, memorable performances by Joan Baez, Hot Tuna, Incredible String Band, Leon Russell, and The Grateful Dead with David Crosby filled Pepperland with high-schoolers "jammed together, sitting on the floor smoking marijuana and hashish openly," giving all the rumors and accusations credibly.      
     
    The Joan Baez shows on Sunday, December 20, 1970, were one of Pepperland's most successful events. Baez performed two one-hour shows at 7:p.m. and 9 p.m., billed as “an hour with Joan Baez.” Founder and director of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, Barry Olivier (est. in 1958),  served as the shows producer. Olivier also promoted a pair of Muddy Waters and Big Momma Thornton shows at Pepperland and Berkeley Theater in April 1972. Records show "Folklore Productions" produced the Baez shows in an agreement documented between Olivier and Shind, with Olivier having rented Pepperland for $500 plus $250 to cover staff and crew, including coat check, security, and program salespeople who earned %20 on every program they sold. 
   
    Neither the cold December rain nor a bomb threat could keep people away from the heavily advertised Baez performance; the line for each show reportedly went around the block, and parking was "as bad as Kezar" (Stadium, San Francisco). The shows opened with a popular Sonoma County country-rock group called Frontier. The combined performances drew nearly 7,000 concert-goers, well above the city-stated capacity of 1,850 per show, and markedly better than the Chuck Berry show two nights earlier, -which saw less than 1,000 attendees. Police later reported that around 9:25 p.m. a male caller had phoned Pepperland and stated, "There's a bomb set to go off in Pepperland at 10 o'clock; we don't dig Joan Baez around here." Pepperland security, led by Nathaniel Weathers, had quietly but intensively searched the building, the crowd, and the grounds for over an hour and found nothing. No one at the show even knew. 
     
    The next night, December 21, was advertised on the Pepperland marque as "Acoustic Dead Jam," but it turned out to be an electrified Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann backing up David Crosby. Numerous other Bay Area artists, including New Riders of the Purple Sage, joined the mostly electric jam. While the Grateful Dead (whose rehearsal space on Front Street was directly behind the Bermuda Palms) played at 721 E. Francisco Blvd. when it was known as Euphoria, this is the only known time the Dead performed at "Pepperland." 
   
    Pepperland finished 1970 (having been repainted from "passionate purple" to "subdued gold") by hosting a New Year's Eve show with one of the hottest acts in music at that moment, Sly and the Family Stone. The Bay Area funk group was just a year out from their triumphant performance at Woodstock. The show drew a great crowd, but they waited, and waited. And then waited some more. “Sly didn’t even go onstage until at least 2:30 a.m.," Mapes Root recalled. “But people stayed around.” It was the beginning of an infamous pattern of behavior for the funk legend. "He was so coked up, high out of his mind.”  When the 1970 New Years Eve show finally began, 1971 was already two-and-a-half hours old.  It was a fitting end to a year that saw many highs for Pepperland. 

Good Music, Bad Business 

         1971 would see a slew of great artists perform at Pepperland, coupled with a slew of problems leading to the club's demise. KSAN-FM San Francisco recorded The Youngbloods' live set on January 22, which was remastered and later released on a double CD in 2016 as Live at Pepperland, California '71 (Keyhole Label). Taj Mahal, Tower of Power, John Lee Hooker, Sons of Champlin, Spencer Davis, and Steve Miller were just a few of the fifty different acts who performed at Pepperland in 1971. The creative side certainly attracted the best. However, the business end suffered from inconsistent scheduling with shows often losing money.

    According to Charlie Kelly, (a 42-year roadie for the San Francisco psychedelic group Sons of Champlin), "When I collected the money for a 'Sons show there, the two (promoters Blatt & Shind) who were losing tons of money, got into the kind of drug-fueled argument that made you want to get out of the building before one of them found a gun." In April 1971, after continued financial, legal, and political pressures became too much, Sameuls, Blatt, and Shind skipped town. According to stage manager Mapes Root, "they were always just skating by and finally run off with the money after a show." On April 13, 1971, local papers reported, "Shind and Blatt had disappeared following their last show two weeks ago." Whitey Litchfield admitted, "The handwriting was on the wall. Bills have been mounting for months and they never paid on the lease. They were harassed with stringent regulations by the city council, and the police chased them out of town. They had no money to live up to their promises." Blatt and Shind (who had been living in Sebastopol after moving from Novato), had already dropped out by the time word hit the press, leaving behind a reported $50,000 in unpaid expenses. The club, considered "out of sight" by local youth, was now out of money. Following a benefit show for Native Americans on April 11, 1970, featuring Hot Tuna, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Lizard, Pepperland would lie dormant for nearly five months. 

Pepperland 2.0

     Pepperland held a "Grand Re-Opening" on the weekend of September 9/10/11, 1971. Opening night was headlined by The Steve Miller Band and the former Sons of Champlin (billed as 'Yogi Phlegm’), alongside local groups Nazgul and Clover, led by vocalist / guitarist Alex Call. Clover first played at 721 E. Francisco when it was still known as Euphoria, and ultimately performed at the venue more than any other artist -sharing bills with Linda Ronstadt, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Elvin Bishop, Cold Blood and Leon Russell, among others. "Some things I see clearly and other things are like the Viking sagas which weren't written down," described Call. Alex would later help write songs for Huey Lewis and the News, Pat Benatar, and Tommy Tutone's 1981 hit “867-5309/Jenny.”

     “Clover was hot right then, I think we were still pre-Huey (Lewis). We had legions of Marin high school fans, who showed up in droves that night. We blew Steve Miller off the stage, but he put us in our place a couple days later by bringing us to his office in San Francisco and showing us his national tour map and room full of guitars -we had neither.”

      Clover performed again two weeks later with Mike Bloomfield, Stoneground, and Mike Finnegan; a well-regarded two-night engagement. Fun Productions presented both events under promoter Skip Whitney. Whitney had managed to retain some of the original employees, and the Brotherhood of Light show. “We took over after them (Blatt & Shind). Pepperland 2.0. It was such a cool time in Marin. We were booking great shows, but  my business partner ran out of money,” and later promoters were unable to maintain what Whitney had continued. Even booking renowned artists Linda Ronstadt, Muddy Waters, Big Momma Thorton, and Van Morrison wasn’t enough to save the club, as the venue presented just over a dozen shows in 1972 under various promoters. The questionable activity of former promoters Blatt and Shind had soiled the reputation of Pepperland in the eyes of a vocal group of city officials. The Marin Performing Arts Guild suggested a partnership with the Marin County Supervisors to revive the concert hall in late 1972, but the county was tired of the  "nuisance" and ultimately declined. Heavy flooding in Marin County during January of 1973 caused some damage to Pepperland -ruining flooring and rugs. The club limped along before unceremoniously closing for good in early 1973, becoming a Carpet King Remnants store later that year. The original building, with its incredible #musichistory still stands today at 721 E. Francisco Boulevard in San Rafael, California. 

Click Here for Full Euphoria / Pepperland Show List   /pepperland-woodstock-west-1970-1973 

Pepperland : Woodstock West - Short Music Documentary 
🏅OFFICIAL SELECTION Lift-Off Global Network Filmmaker Sessions - Short Film Content, 2023
Review
 

Pave Paradise : Jazz at the blackhawk

Jazz at the Blackhawk : Reflections of Cal Tjader’s First Live Album
Fantasy Records San Francisco, 1957 

by Geo Thelen 

with 
Anecdotes from the last surviving member of the Cal Tjader Quartet, drummer, Al Torre. 

    The historic Blackhawk jazz club (1949-1963) was formerly located at 200 Hyde Street on the northeast corner of Turk Street in the heart of San Francisco's tenderloin district. The smoky neighborhood nightclub launched the career of Johny Mathis, helped Dave Brubeck find an audience, and gave numerous national artists such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk a musically intimate space to experiment and record quality live albums. Arguably though, Bay Area vibraphonist Cal Tjader (pronounced Jay-der) was the most synonymous name associated with this historic jazz club.   

    Cal Tjader first came onto the San Francisco jazz scene after returning from U.S. Navy service and meeting future jazz great Dave Brubeck while each was attending San Francisco State (University) in the early 1950s. Over the next decade, the two future Grammy award-winning artists would navigate successful jazz careers as part of a young trio, then as individuals, with the Blackhawk playing a significant role in their development and popularity. Cal Tjader would ultimately record five live albums at the historic venue and was the featured entertainment during the Blackhawks' final two weeks of operation in July 1963. 

More Wires     

    True jazz lovers, young and old, went to the Blackhawk for great music. The dank and dusty 200-person capacity Blackhawk was a great-sounding room, although better seen in the dark. The club had a reputation with patrons and authorities. San Francisco city officials tried numerous times to shut the Blackhawk down, conducting police raids on at least two occasions, but to no avail. The club was one of the few in the city to allow minors, albeit behind a wall of chicken wire separating them from the club's adult patrons and a full-service bar. 

    According to B. Rose on The Cal Tjader Sextet A Night At The Blackhawk liner notes from 1958, "The Tjader audience is a curious amalgam of Jazz, Latin and dance fans. They range from youngsters just barely old enough to use their own I.D. cards in a night club to grey-haired oldsters." 

     Cal Tjader's first live album, Jazz At The Blackhawk was recorded at the end of a month-long run of shows the combo did at the club, culminating on Sunday, January 20, 1957. The group consisted of Tjader on vibraphone, Vince Guaraldi of later Peanuts fame on piano, future Dave Brubeck bassist Gene Wright, and Al Torre on drums. "We played six nights a week at the Blackhawk," recalls Torre, now 92 and living in Southern California. "We were the "home band" for the club. The night of the recording was just another night but with more wires.”        

The Blackhawk Sound 

     The evening of January 20th, 1957 was "under the personal supervision of John Noga and Guido Cacianti with incidental assistance from S. W. Weiss and J. W. Easton." -as stated in the credits of the May 1957 Fantasy Records mono (red vinyl) LP 3241 album liner notes. Noga and Cacianti were owners/proprietors of the Blackhawk, with Weiss having an interest in Fantasy Records. The recorded performance that night has become one of the Blackhawk's most notable live albums. "What you hear on the record is exactly what we did that night," says Torre. "Tjader never had a set list; he'd just start playing, but was a stickler about the group sound.” And the Blackhawk was known for its' sound. “I saw Miles Davis there too, incredible sound. The room had no echo. There was cloth hanging on the ceiling, which helped absorb the noise. It was just good acoustics. The Black Hawk had good acoustics." 

     According to longtime San Francisco Chronicle Jazz Critic Ralph J. Gleason, who was present during the recording of Tjader’s album, "Fantasy's recording engineers set up the tape machines in the Blackhawk's No. 1 dressing room, rigged the bandstand for sound, and went to work." Tjader later said his group had "never been recorded better." Following Jazz at the Blackhawk, the venue would house a "Stereo 6 channel mixing panel cross-mixed to an Ampex 350" better capturing the clubs' unique acoustics and natural reverberation and giving later live albums by Miles Davis, Shelly Manne, and Dave Brubeck the Blackhawk sound. 

A Night In the Life 

     As for Blackhawk proprietors John Noga and Guido Cacianti, their roles were to keep “the bells” from ringing during the Sunday night business-as-usual recording session, mainly the phone and the cash register. The two men "supervised operations from behind the bar," Gleason notes on the album. "During the recordings, it was Guido's responsibility to make sure the telephone bell didn't ring, and with the exception of a single goof, he performed this task admirably. John Noga was responsible for making change quietly and not ringing the cash register whose shrill tone, while music to some ears, clashes with the overtones of the vibraphone." However, despite the Blackhawk being known for one the strictest shut-up-and-listen policies among the Bay Area performance clubs, you can still hear the patrons talking, the glasses clanging, and "the bells" ringing, most notably, twice on Side Two, Track 2; "I've Never Been In Love Before," -sonically capturing the Blackhawk as a working 1950s jazz club (note: these “atmospheric” sounds were removed from the later remastered CD version). 

   The atmosphere of the scene is what Al Torre recalls with vivid senses the most. "During intermission, I would step out and get some fresh air or go up Hyde Street to the Lafayette Hotel Cafe and get a burger. The chef looked like Boris Karloff, but he made the greatest hamburgers in the world. I had to get out and clear my lungs. There were about 75 different types of cigarette smoke and poor ventilation. They would smoke the crowd out (of the Blackhawk) in between sets.” Although it was just another night to some, the evening is noted as a “great success” which Ralph Gleason attributed to the “liveness of the group sound, the good acoustics of the club and excitement of recording before a jazz audience,” with the quickly developing technology of portable tape machines “making it possible to bring the studio to the musicians in their natural habitat." 

Pave Paradise 

    More than sixty-five years later, the long-darkened Lafayette Coffee Shop neon hangs a few doors up from the parking lot at 200 Hyde Street where only diminishing memories of the smokey club remain. The former location of the “Center of West Coast Jazz” was marked with a plaque in 2012 -the only hint of the sites significance. Fortunately, live audio recordings, such as Jazz at the Blackhawk from 1957, offer more than just a hint of memory to the culturally pivotal moments and historic places lost to music history. 

Q: Where Was the Jazz at the Blackhawk Album Cover Photo taken? 
According to Cal Tjader drummer, Al Torre, “The album cover was taken when we got off a plane at Burbank Airport. We flew in and were met by a representative of Fantasy Records and photos were taken outside a building. So now you know, the cover was taken somewhere at the Burbank Airport.” 

Jazz at the Blackhawk - Cal Tjader Quartet 
Released: May 1957, Fantasy Records, San Francisco, California 
Recorded: January 20, 1957 @ The Blackhawk, San Francisco, Calif. 
Cal Tjader, vibraphone; Vince Guaraldi, piano; Gene Wright, bass; Al Torre, drums. 

              “The fine sense of dynamics and vivid imagination displayed (on Jazz at the Blackhawk) make for excellent listening.” Billboard, 1957

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Sources: 
Torre, Al. Jazz at the Blackhawk, drummer. Phone Interview by Geo Thelen. Thelen Creative, March 2023 
Gleason, Ralph. The Cal Tjader Quartet - Jazz At The Blackhawk, Liner Notes, Fantasy Records LP 3241, 1957 
Rose, B. The Cal Tjader Sextet - A Night At The Blackhawk, Liner Notes, Fantasy Records LP 3283, 1958   
Bang, Derrick. Vince Guaraldi at the Piano, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. North Carolina, London. 2012
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, Uptown Tenderloin Historic District  
Thelen Creative Collection

Other Articles by Geo Thelen
Vince Guaraldi - In Person LIVE at the Trident
Marin Magazine - Five of Marin's Top Historical Music Sites
Sly's Last Epic Album
Music Origins Blog - The Record Plant
 

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Recent Writing Project Acknowledgements: 

Lift-Off Global Network Filmmaker's Sessions OFFICIAL SELECTION Short Film Content - 2023
Citizen Journalist Award Winner - Writer / Prod. (TV Doc - PBS SF) 
FINALIST Best Mini Music Film - California Music Video & Film Awards - 2021 
SEMI-FINALIST Best Documentary Music Video - Munich Music Video Awards - 2021 
FINALIST Best Inspirational Video - California Music Video Awards - 2021 
FINALIST Best Doc Music Video - International Music Video Awards, London - 2021 
WINNER BEST MUSIC DOC OF THE MONTH - Tracks Music Awards, Los Angeles - 2021 
WINNER BEST SHORT MUSIC DOC - International Music Video Underground Paris - 2021 
FINALIST Best Micro Film / Best Editing - Oregon Documentary Film Festival, Portland - 2020 
HONORABLE MENTION Best Short Doc - Marin (CA) 2014 Int’l Short Film & Video Fest - 2014 
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