Showing posts with label 1969. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1969. Show all posts

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2201 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA The Electric Factory: Concert List July-December 1969 (Philadelphia IV)

[this post continues the series about rock concerts at and presented by the Electric Factory in Philadelphia in the 1960s]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of America's great cities, but its proximity to New York has always made an unfair comparison. Philadelphia has an exciting music history, and an exciting rock music history in the 1960s, but that history can only be documented in the most fragmented of places. These posts about the Electric Factory marks the beginning of my effort to organize and analyze Philadelphia rock history in the 1960s. There are probably more dates to be found, but these posts will make a good starting point (thanks to Bruno for some fantastic research).

The Electric Factory, 2201 Arch Street
The Electric Factory, a former tire warehouse, opened in early 1968 at 2201 Arch.  The owners were the Spivak brothers, all experienced bar owners in the Philadelphia area. Their booker was Larry Magid.  They rapidly dominated the concert scene in Philadelphia, and the Electric Factory were the most important promoters in Philadelphia until they ultimately were purchased by larger corporate interests in the 1990s.

The Electric Factory was a critical stop on 60s concert tours, and an integral part of the "Premier Talent" (Booking Agency) circuit that included both Fillmores, the Boston Tea Party and Chicago's Kinetic Playground. Philadelphia was a big, important city and Philadelphia fans were not shy about showing their appreciation or displeasure (a trait that has endured). However, since the Electric Factory did not generally use posters with collectible art for advertisements, the venue has been somewhat lost to 60s rock history. There were many relatively trivial 60s venues that had a famous poster or two, often printed in The Art Of Rock or otherwise promulgated, that are recalled much more often than the Electric Factory. Outside of Philadelphia, the early history of the Electric Factory is largely ignored, and I am attempting to begin to correct that here.
This post presents the lists of Electric Factory concerts from July through December 1969, as well as major Philadelphia rock events during that period. The list is almost certainly not complete. Our knowledge of shows at venues like the Fillmore, the Avalon or Detroit's Grande Ballroom comes from the wonderful (and collectible) posters that lived on in dorm room walls long after the venues ceased operating. However, the Electric Factory rarely used colorful, artistic posters to advertise the shows. I think the Electric Factory advertised on the radio and with print-only ads in various newspapers, making it harder to discern their schedule.
This post represents my best efforts at determining late 1969  shows at the Electric Factory, as well as shows promoted by Electric Factory concerts. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or recovered memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or email me, and I will update the list accordingly. 
(For earlier efforts at psychedelic ballrooms in Philadelphia as well as the first half of 1968 for the Electric Factory, see here, and for the second half of 1968 see here, and for the first half of 1969 see here)
Electric Factory Concerts in Philadelphia, July>December 1969
By the second half of 1969, rock concert promotion was big business, and Larry Magid and The Electric Factory were the dominant promoter in Philadelphia. Ironically, however, the market had gotten so big that many of the concerts were now held at the much larger Philadelphia Spectrum. The Electric Factory was also the primary promoter at the Spectrum (at 3601 Broad), though not the only one. I have tried to include all the major rock events at the Spectrum from this period, even though I am not always certain that the events were promoted by the Electric Factory. 

At the same time, the Electric Factory was under pressure from police commissioner Frank Rizzo, who managed to get the Electric Factory shut down for most of the Summer of 1969. The Electric Factory was busy promoting events at the Spectrum as well as the Atlantic City Pop Festival, but the Factory itself was closed for some portion of the Summer.
July 11-12, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Spectrum Pop Festival
>July 11, 1969:  Sly and The Family Stone/Mothers of Invention/Ten Years After/Jeff Beck/Savoy Brown
>July 12, 1969: Blood, Sweat & Tears/Edwin Hawkins Singers (afternoon show)
>July 12, 1969: Led Zeppelin/Johnny Winter/Al Kooper/Jethro Tull/Buddy Guy’s Blues Band

Many of the acts who played the Spectrum Pop Festival had previously headlined at the Electric Factory. The Summer of 1969 was the Summer of Rock Festivals, however, and bands had started crisscrossing the country.

July 16, 1969: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Blind Faith/Delaney & Bonnie & Friends/Taste
The Blind Faith tour was probably the biggest National rock tour up until this time. Taste featured Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher.

July 19, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Tom Rush
July 23, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown/Sweet Stavin Chain


July 25-26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: AUM/Sweet Stavin Chain

July 29, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Dr. John The Night Tripper

July 30, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lothar and The Hand People
Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo managed to get a judge to close the Electric Factory ("corrupting the youth" seemed to be the charge) for the rest of the Summer.

August 1-3, 1969 Atlantic City Racetrack, Mays Landing, NJ: “Atlantic City Pop Festival”
Although held outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey, about 50 miles to the Southeast of Philadelphia, this show was promoted by the Electric Factory. During this time, the Electric Factory was holding “Be-Ins” at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park, but the city would not have allowed a rock festival outdoors.  Even in freewheeling Atlantic City, the event still had to be called a “Pop” Festival.

Like most 60s festivals, it is difficult to determine who actually showed and who played, much less in what order. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 1, 2004, the festival was a commercial and musical success.  It was promoted by Philadelphia’s Electric Factory (who could not get a permit for anywhere in Philadelphia), and crowds of about 40,000 showed up all three days.  There was a campground next door, and adequate facilities (as well as a fence) at the horse racing track.

The advertised acts appear to have varied significantly from who actually played. I am unable to determine even whether bands appeared for two days or three. My guess is that three days were planned, and after a series of cancellations the show was scaled back to two days. A program circulates with only two days of acts, differing dramatically from what was advertised. Such changes were common occurrences in late 60s' festivals. I suspect that the first night featured Philadelphia area bands, since many people would have started camping out on Friday August 1.

Poster courtesy of the collection of Ed Galm

Atlantic City Pop Festival: Advertised Acts
Friday, August 1: Iron Butterfly/Johnny Winter/Crosby Stills Nash & Young/Chicago Transit Authority/Procol Harum/Joni Mitchell/Mother Earth/Santana Blues Band/Booker T & The MGs

Saturday, August 2: Jefferson Airplane/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Tim Buckley, B.B. King/Butterfield Blues Band/The Byrds/Hugh Masakela/Lighthouse/American Dream

Sunday, August 3: Janis Joplin/Canned Heat/Mothers Of Invention/Moody Blues/Three Dog Night/Sir Douglas Quintet/Joe Cocker/Little Richard/Buddy Rich Big Band/Dr. John The Night Tripper

The actual reality of who played seems somewhat different. CSNY canceled, apparently because Graham Nash had vocal nodes, insuring that he would be well enough to sing at Woodstock two weeks later. Johnny Winter was unable to play because his equipment did not arrive, although it appears he borrowed a guitar and sat in with Janis Joplin.

A program exists listing acts only on Saturday (Aug 2) and Sunday (Aug 3). It includes some of the acts scheduled for Friday night. Did some bands play twice, was Friday's billing re-organized or was it canceled? My guess is that there was a concert Friday night, but it featured mainly local bands.

Atlantic City Pop Festival: Programmed Acts
According to a circulating program (above), these were the acts on Saturday and Sunday, in order of appearance, from 1:00-9:30 pm.

Saturday, August 2: American Dream/Tim Buckley/The Byrds/Booker T and The MGs/Hugh Masakela/Butterfield Blues Band/BB King/Lighthouse/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 3: Sir Douglas Quintet/Santana Blues Band/Canned Heat/Three Dog Night/Joe Cocker and The Grease Band/Mothers Of Invention/Buddy Miles Express/Johnny Winter/Janis Joplin/Little Richard
Janis Joplin is actually listed on the program twice. I assume this was just a misprint, and some other act came on between Joe Cocker and The Mothers (I don't envy them). Johnny Winter was reputed not to have made it, but of course I can't be sure. Keep in mind that many of the big names booked for these days were not big names at the time. Acts like Santana, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night and Joe Cocker would have just released their first albums at this time, and would have been big surprises to the Festival audience.

Anyone with more specific memories of the acts playing the Atlantic City Pop Festival is encouraged to Comment. For a more general picture of the Atlantic City Pop Festival, there is an interesting website by one of the promoters of the event.

September 5-6, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Spooky Tooth/Chicago Transit Authority

September 9-11, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Tyrannosaurus Rex/Chris Smither
I suspect that the Electric Factory was closed for most of August 1969, just like the Fillmore East. I don't really have a sense of how many 1969 shows I am missing from the Electric Factory itself, as I'm not sure if they tried to be open every weekend no matter what.

Although Tyrannosarus Rex featured Marc Bolan, it was not the hard rocking glam of "Bang A Gong," but a hippie folk duo featuring Bolan and a conga player. They would have been a sort of cult act at this time, a clear indicator that the bigger acts were playing the Spectrum or elsewhere, at least in the Summer.

Chris Smither was a Cambridge, MA based folk blues guitarist. 

September 12-13, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Junior Wells/Mandrake Memorial


September 19-20, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Buddy Miles Express/The Stooges


September 26-27, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: MC5/American Dream

October 3-4, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Mountain/Lonnie Mack

October 10-11, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: War featuring Eric Burdon/The Raven/Lee Michaels
Eric Burdon was a big star, but his collaboration with War was a new venture. Lee Michaels was shy of his first big hit as well. This was probably a terrific show, but the bands were not major acts at the time.

October 17-18, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Aum/Elvin Bishop
Aum and Elvin Bishop were both managed by Bill Graham's organization, and they both had new debut albums.

October 19, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Who/American Dream
There were two shows at 4 and 8 pm, where The Who memorably played all of Tommy. The Who had probably been booked prior to the album, which broke The Who into another level of stardom. The band would not play venues this small again.

October 24-25, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Byrds/Litter/Elizabeth/P.I.L.T


October 26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Benefit For Burned War Children


November 7-8, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lee Michaels/The Flock


November 14-15, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Joe Cocker/Holy Modal Rounders


November 21-22, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Youngbloods/Rockin' Foo

November 21, 1969 The Palestra, U. Penn, Philadelphia, PA: Jefferson Airplane/Lighthouse/Sweet Stavin Chain
The Palestra was Penn's basketball arena. I'm not sure whether Electric Factory promoted this event, but I thought I would include it for completeness.

November 25, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Rolling Stones/B.B. King/Ike & Tina Turner/Terry Reid
The Fall '69 Rolling Stones tour eclipsed the Summer's Blind Faith tour as the biggest rock event so far. This was near the end of the tour (Altamont was only 11 days away).

November 28-29, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Sons/Jacobs Creek

November 30, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Jethro Tull/The Sons
This date is from the Jethro Tull list.  If this is accurate, Tull would have been opening for someone else, as they were not yet at the level of Spectrum headliners.

December 5, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Chambers Brothers/The Kinks/Spirit/American Dream
The Kinks, having settled their issues with the American Musicians Union (Ray Davies had punched someone important in the face in Los Angeles in 1965), had begun to join their peers in touring across America.

December 7, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA “Benefit For Help”
Elizabeth/Stone Dawn/High Treason/Stock Yard/Sweet Stavin Chain/Hard Road/Edison Electric/The Max/Maholo Reigns/American Dream  (Sunday afternoon show)
I'm not sure whether this concert benefited the Electric Factory itself or some other cause. All of the groups were local Philadelphia bands who had probably played the Electric Factory many times.

December 12-13, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Edison Electric Band/Sweet Stavin Chain/Max

December 26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Cold Blood/American Dream/Pookah
December 27, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Grand Funk Railroad/American Dream/Pookah

December 31, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lighthouse/Catfish/Elizabeth

Although my concert list is not entirely complete, the general trend makes it clear that the rock market had outgrown the Electric Factory venue. In fact, 2201 Arch Street would remain open through November 1970, but Electric Factory promotions increasingly moved to the larger Spectrum. Even when the Arch Street facility closed down, Electric Factory promotions remained active in the Philadelphia area. Electric Factory was far and away the biggest promoter in Philadelphia through the 1990s, when it was ultimately merged with larger corporate interests.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2201 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA The Electric Factory: Concert List January-June 1969 (Philadelphia III)

[this post continues the series about rock concerts at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia in the 1960s]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of America's great cities, but its proximity to New York has always made an unfair comparison. Philadelphia has an exciting music history, and an exciting rock music history in the 1960s, but that history can only be documented in the most fragmented of places. These posts about the Electric Factory marks the beginning of my effort to organize and analyze Philadelphia rock history in the 1960s. There are considerably more dates to be found, but these posts will make a good starting point (update: thanks to Bruno, the list is largely complete).

The Electric Factory, 2201 Arch Street
The Electric Factory, a former tire warehouse, opened in early 1968 at 2201 Arch.  The owners were the Spivak brothers, all experienced bar owners in the Philadelphia area. Their booker was Larry Magid.  They rapidly dominated the concert scene in Philadelphia, and the Electric Factory were the most important promoters in Philadelphia until they ultimately were purchased by larger corporate interests in the 1990s.

The Electric Factory was a critical stop on 60s concert tours, and an integral part of the "Premier Talent" (Booking Agency) circuit that included both Fillmores, the Boston Tea Party and Chicago's Kinetic Playground. Philadelphia was a big, important city and Philadelphia fans were not shy about showing their appreciation or displeasure (a trait that has endured). However, since the Electric Factory did not generally use posters with collectible art for advertisements, the venue has been somewhat lost to 60s rock history. There were many relatively trivial 60s venues that had a famous poster or two, often printed in The Art Of Rock or otherwise promulgated, that are recalled much more often than the Electric Factory. Outside of Philadelphia, the early history of the Electric Factory is largely ignored, and I am attempting to begin to correct that here.
This post presents the lists of Electric Factory concerts from January through June 1969, as well as major Philadelphia rock events during that period. The list is almost certainly not complete. Our knowledge of shows at venues like the Fillmore, the Avalon or Detroit's Grande Ballroom comes from the wonderful (and collectible) posters that lived on in dorm room walls long after the venues ceased operating. However, the Electric Factory rarely used colorful, artistic posters to advertise the shows. I think the Electric Factory advertised on the radio and with print-only ads in various newspapers, making it harder to discern their schedule.
This post represents my best efforts at determining early 1969  shows at the Electric Factory, as well as shows promoted by Electric Factory concerts. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or recovered memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or email me, and I will update the list accordingly. 
(For earlier efforts at psychedelic ballrooms in Philadelphia as well as the first half of 1968 for the Electric Factory, see here, and for the second half of 1968 see here)

January 10-11, 1969: Buddy Rich/Sweet Stavin Chain/Virgin Spring

January 17-18, 1969: Iron Butterfly/Sweet Nothin'

January 24-25, 1969: Mother Earth/Edison Electric Company/Virgin Spring
An early ad featured the group Genesis. Whoever, "Genesis" was, it wasn't the English group featuring Peter Gabriel. There was a Los Angeles group called Genesis, featuring at least one former member of The Sons Of Adam, and it may have been them. On the other hand, probably ever region had a band named Genesis, so I wouldn't jump to conclusions yet. A Commenter reports, however, that Genesis leader Jac Ttanna says
We were scheduled for an east coast tour around that time, but the band broke up in Houston after playing only three shows, and we never made it up the coast. It's possible that gig was part of the tour schedule, but we didn't play it. Maybe they brought in some imposters to take our place, or maybe it was just a local band with the same name. It definitely wasn't us.
I am more inclined to the theory that the booking was indeed for the Los Angeles Genesis (it fits some other details), but they must have been replaced or the show canceled altogether.

Mother Earth were based in San Francisco, and featured singer Tracy Nelson. Like many San Francisco bands in the 60s, the members were actually from elsewhere (Nelson from Wisconsin and the rest of the band mostly from Texas).

January 31, 1969 Baltimore Civic Center, Baltimore, MD: Blood, Sweat & Tears/Rhinoceros/Spirit/The Nazz/Mother Earth "The Electric Factory Presents The Baltimore Rock Festival"
I do not know if Electric Factory did a lot of promotions in Baltimore, or if this was a one-off. It appears, by default, that the Philadelphia venue was closed that weekend.

February 7-8, 1969: Spirit/Chicago Transit Authority/Noah's Ark


February 11-12, 1969: Mothers of Invention/Paul Pena
Although this booking was a Wednesday-Thursday show, rare for the Electric Factory, keep in mind that Thursday February 12 was a National Holiday (Lincoln's Birthday). Thus the two days were kind of like a weekend. The Mothers had headlined the Electric Factory the previous year (March 22-24, 1968).

Paul Pena was a bluesy solo performer. He later moved to the Bay Area, and rather unexpectedly one of his songs, "Jet Airliner" was rearranged by and became a huge hit for Steve Miller.  Pena replaced the British band Gun, which featured Paul and Adrian Gurvitz, then calling themselves Paul and Adrian Curtis.

February 14-15, 1969: Grateful Dead/Paul Pena
The Grateful Dead had also headlined the Electric Factory the previous year (April 26-28, 1968). The venue had been in business long enough that they were starting to become a known stop on "the circuit."

There are tapes of the Grateful Dead performances from both nights. The Saturday night tape (Feb 15) is nearly 3 hours long, typical of Dead performances in those days. These tapes are among the relatively few that survive from the Electric Factory in the 60s.

Pena also replaced Gun on this bill.


February 16, 1969: Tim Buckley/Good News

February 21-22, 1969: Canned Heat/American Dream

February 23, 1969: Blood, Sweat & Tears/Sweet Stavin Chain
Blood, Sweat and Tears had been scheduled to play Electric Factory in April 1968, but they had canceled, probably because Al Kooper had just quit. Now they were back with new lead singer David Clayton Thomas.

February 28-March 1, 1969: Rhinoceros/Valentine


March 7-8, 1969: Three Dog Night/Flying Burrito Brothers
The Magical Mystery Tour movie also played.

March 14-15, 1969: B.B. King/Sweet Nothin'/Damion

March 16, 1969: Pete Seeger/Jean Ritchie/Michael Cooney "Sing Out Benefit"

March 21-22, 1969: Woody's Truck Stop/Thunder & Roses/Fire Eye and The Farm/Black Flag

March 23, 1969: Ian and Sylvia and Great Speckled Bird/Cashman/Pistill & West

March 28-29, 1969: Taj Mahal/Donny B. Waugh/Mountain

March 30, 1969: Procol Harum/Edison Electric
Edison Electric bassist ‘Freebo’ recalls meeting Bonnie Raitt around the time of this show (whether at the show or not isn't clear). Freebo went on to accompany Bonnie for some years.

April 1-2, 1969: Steppenwolf/Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation

April 4-6, 1969: Ten Years After/Gun/Sweetwater
Ten Years After was one of many English bands working through the Premier Talent Agency. A fantastic live band, they made no less than 28 American tours from 1968-74. Every time they played a show like the Electric Factory, they created a buzz for the next time they came through town.

Sweetwater were an interesting group from Los Angeles. They played Woodstock, but broke up soon afterward when lead singer Nancy Nevins was hurt in a car accident.

April 11-12, 1969: Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity

April 12, 1969: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Jimi Hendrix Experience/Fat Mattress
 Hendrix had played the Electric Factory the previous year, but by this time they were among the biggest acts in rock. I believe that this show at The Spectrum was promoted by the Electric Factory.

April 18-19, 1969: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown/AUM
According to one account, the Electric Factory was shut down around this time by the Philadelphia police, as a public nuisance and a gathering place for drug dealers. Bruno found numerous advertisements for shows, but some of them may not have been played.

May 2-3, 1969: Pacific Gas & Electric/Raven

May 9-10, 1969: Iron Butterfly/Black Pearl

May 16-17, 1969: Sea Train/Elizabeth
Sea Train was an outgrowth of the old Blues Project, but by this time the band had migrated to the Bay Area and lived in Marin County. Violinist Richard Greene may have been a member by this time.

May 23-24, 1969: The Who/Sweet Stavin Chain
The Who had just released their new album, Tommy. They would never play a place in Philadelphia as small as the Electric Factory again. It must have been a heck of a weekend.

May 30-June 1, 1969: It’s A Beautiful Day/American Dream/Fat Band

June 6-7, 1969: Bobby Darin/The Churls or Lighthouse/The Churls
This was a rather unexpected booking. Bobby Darin was a much more interesting performer than most people give him credit for, and he had a sort of "folk" side that was later forgotten when he started framing himself as the next Frank Sinatra. In that respect, it would be very interesting to know whether Darin played with his usual Vegas-style ensemble or appeared in some other configuration.

Lighthouse were a Canadian group who had a sort of orchestral sound. I don't know who actually headlined in the end--I suspect it was Lighthouse.

June 11, 1969: New York Rock And Roll Ensemble/Good News
The New York Rock And Roll Ensemble, some mostly Julliard trained musicians who figured there was more money in rock, were a sort of 60s highbrow act. I assume they played opposite Sly at the Spectrum since it was presumed they didn't draw from the same audience.

I don't know why the band played on a Wednesday night. The NYRRE often played in conjunction with local symphonies or "Pops" orchestras.

June 11, 1969: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Sly and The Family Stone
I think Electric Factory promoted Sly at the Spectrum, but I'm not certain. Sly was starting to become huge throughout the US, but I have to imagine he was even bigger in Philadelphia.

June 13, 1969: Alice Cooper/MC5
June 14, 1969: Alice Cooper/Sweet Stavin Chain
An ad says “Frank Zappa Debuts Bizarre World of Alice Cooper.”  Zappa had signed Alice Cooper to his Warner Brothers imprint, Bizarre Records. The ad also has Edison Electric as the opener for both shows, instead of MC5 and Sweet Stavin Chain. I don't know who really opened.

June 20-1969: Elizabeth/Sweet Nothin'/Sweet Stavin Chain

June 22, 1969: The Nazz
Philadelphia's The Nazz, named after a Lord Buckley reference, featured guitarist Todd Rundgren, and were a popular band in the Philadelphia area. June 22 was a Sunday. I have to assume that some other acts were booked for the weekend of June 20-21. It may also be that local acts regularly played Sunday, but little record of them survives.

In the Summer of 1968 and probably in the Summer of 1969, the Electric Factory regularly put on at least some free concerts at the Belmont Plateau in nearby Fairmount Park, but I have been unable to determine further details. These seem to have featured the local groups that mostly opened the shows at the Electric Factory, like American Dream, Elizabeth or Sweet Stavin Chain. I assume these were on Sunday afternoons, but I have almost no direct information.

June 27-28, 1969: Velvet Underground/American Dream
There are still numerous weekends where I have been unable to find out who played at the Electric Factory, but these posts are making a good start. Anyone with additional information, corrections, insights or recovered memories (real or imagined) about Philadelphia rock shows in the first half of 1969 is encouraged to contact me or Comment.

The Summer of 1969 was a big Summer for rock, and it was certainly big for the Electric Factory and the Philadelphia area, which is covered in my next installment.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady Performance History, January-February 1969 (early Hot Tuna)

(the San Francisco Chronicle listing for shows opening on Thursday, January 2, 1969)

January 2, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jorma Kaukonen/AB Skhy
The Jefferson Airplane were San Francisco's biggest homegrown rock band, but after three frenzied years of touring and recording, they took a well-deserved rest at the end of 1968. Grace Slick had had an operation on her vocal chords in December, so she was prevented from singing. The Airplane couldn't tour, but they focused on beginning work on their next album, which turned out to be Volunteers. However, local Airplane fans must have been surprised to see that guitarist Jorma Kaukonen was listed as a performer at the tiny Matrix club on Thursday, January 2, 1969. I have every reason to believe this show to be the first public performance of what would later be known to this very day as the band Hot Tuna.

Jorma and Jack
Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady had been playing together since they were teenagers in Washington, DC in the late 1950s. Kaukonen had insisted that Casady join the Airplane as bass player in late 1965 without, in fact, having heard him play bass. No matter. Casady turned out to be one of the great electric bassists in rock. While other members of the Airplane came from a folk singing background, Jorma and Jack were more about playing. During downtime on the road, they would play together in their hotel rooms, with Jorma's elaborate fingerpicked acoustic guitar winding in and out with Jack's tasteful electric bass playing.

The two musicians decided that the Airplane simply didn't play enough, and apparently decided in late 1968 to start playing local clubs themselves, rather than trying to goad the other band members to perform more often. Since Grace had already had her operation (reported by Ralph Gleason in the January 8 Chronicle), early 1969 seemed like a great opportunity to get started. Although the Thursday night Matrix show was billed as "Jorma Kaukonen," there's every reason to assume Jack Casady played along with him. However, up until now this show seems to have been ignored by historians, and I know of no tapes or eyewitnesses.

January 9-12, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: County Joe and The Fish/Led Zeppelin/Taj Mahal
Country Joe and The Fish had had difficulties filling their bass chair (Bruce Barthol was in England avoiding the draft, and replacement Mark Ryan had fallen ill), so Jack Casady filled in for some December dates. He also played the four nights at Fillmore West that proved to be the last stand of the most famous configuration of the band. One night of the concert stand (either January 11 or 12) was recorded and ultimately released in 1994 (as Live! Fillmore West 1969). Since CJF was breaking up, in a manner of speaking, all their friends showed up: Steve Miller, Mickey Hart, Jerry Garcia and Jorma Kaukonen sat in for a 30+ minute version of "Donovan's Reef."

Of course, many of the lucky fans attending these shows were still recovering from the blazing performance by the opening act, the then thoroughly unknown Led Zeppelin, just a dozen shows into their first American tour, with only advance copies of their first album available. It's telling, however, that on a night when Jack Casady had another gig, Jorma showed up to jam anyway.

(the San Francisco Chronicle listing for shows opening on Tuesday, January 27, 1969)

January 27-29, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady/Morning Glory
Although there is no telling where Jorma and Jack may have popped up in the rest of January, the next sign of them that I have uncovered was a three night stand at The Matrix from Tuesday January 27 through Thursday January 29. A tape has survived from the January 29, and that is the earliest "Hot Tuna" performance on record (I am using quotes since they would not use the name Hot Tuna until quite some time in the future).

The Matrix
The Matrix, at 3138 Fillmore Street in the Marina District, was San Francisco's primary hangout for hippie musicians. It was actually a pizza parlor that served beer, rather than a bar per se, and dancing was not actually allowed (by law). The Matrix had opened in August 1965, owned by Marty Balin, his father and some other partners, and it had been the first place to favor adventurous electric "folk-rock." The Fillmore and the Avalon and other places came along the next year, of course, but they were concert halls rather than clubs, so the musicians used the Matrix as a place to play on off-nights and hang out and jam as well. In the late 1960s, even in tolerant San Francisco, there still weren't that many places where longhairs felt comfortable relaxing, so the Matrix filled the bill nicely.

The Matrix was also the favored stop for bands that were new in town, or newly formed. The Matrix was also the preferred venue--practically the only one--for band members who wanted to try something outside of their usual groups. Since a lot of Matrix material was taped (I'm happy to say), we have at least some idea of what went down, and some pretty weird music got played there. There were regular jam sessions, mainly on Monday nights but often other times as well. Tapes have endured of Jerry Garcia, Jack Casady and various other musicians having some particularly memorable jams in October 1968 (known for various reasons as the Mickey Hart and The Hartbeats tapes, even though they were billed as Jerry Garcia and Friends). So the Matrix was the obvious choice for Jorma and Jack's experiment in modern blues.


January 31, 1969: Londonside Tavern, Glen Ellen, CA: Jack Casady & Jorma Kaukonen, Wingnut Buckboldt
The most remarkably obscure performance I have been able to uncover is this booking at the Londonside Tavern in Glen Ellen. It was mentioned in Ralph Gleason's Chronicle column of that day (above). There is actually a typo in Gleason's listing, and the actual name of the venue is Londonside Tavern, not Longside. Bucolic Glen Ellen is in Northern Sonoma County, 50 very twisty miles from the Matrix. Famed writer Jack London had an estate up there, which is now a state park, and the "Londonside" reference of the venue refers to the writer rather than the Thames Estuary. I do not know where, precisely the Londonside Tavern was located, but Glen Ellen is not large now, and surely was even less so then.

Bay Area groups regularly played the Londonside Tavern in early 1969, but the venue mostly favored quieter and more folk oriented ensembles, like Berkeley's Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band or the very peculiar Golden Toad. Marin-based Golden Toad seems to have had a Sunday night residency for much of early 1969. The Golden Toad mostly played somewhat medieval music on lutes and such, mostly playing Renaissance Faires during the Summer. Their leader was Bob Thomas, an old compatriot of Owsley's, and among many other accomplishments Thomas created the Grateful Dead "Lightning Bolt" logo.

Thus, while it is indeed strange that Jorma and Jack played a show in tiny Glen Ellen, the little venue was part of the circuit of local club bands. The surprising part, in the end, was that Jorma and Jack would go against entertainment business convention and play such small venues even though they were presumably "stars." This interesting pattern would be followed by Jerry Garcia several months later when he played numerous smaller rock clubs with the New Riders of The Purple Sage at the end of 1969.

(Ralph Gleason's Chronicle column from February 17, 1969)

February 17-19, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jack Casady & Jorma Kaukonen/Elvin Bishop Group (17), Weird Herald (18-19)
Jack and Jorma returned for three more shows at The Matrix in mid-February. It seems odd that Elvin Bishop was also booked on Monday night (Feb 17), which I take to mean that Jack and Jorma were added to the bill at the last minute. Weird Herald were an excellent San Jose band. Although their surviving single is sort of folkie, their actual sound was pretty psychedelic and hard driving. The group featured two old friends of Jorma on guitars, Billy Dean Andrus and Paul Ziegler, along with bassist Chuck Bollinger and drummer Patrick McIntire. The band was well regarded in San Jose, and according to McIntire, a long-dormant recording may yet see the light of day.

Weird Herald had other impacts on the history of Hot Tuna. Weird Herald broke up in early 1970, and Paul Ziegler joined Hot Tuna as rhythm guitarist for a while. He took part in some abortive recording projects, but there is little evidence today of his time in the band. Andrus, who had gone on to form the group Pachuco with Moby Grape's Skip Spence, died under unfortunate circumstances in November 1970. Jorma promptly wrote the song "Ode To Billy Dean," and Hot Tuna performs the song to this day (the Doobie Brothers's Pat Simmons, another friend, wrote "Black Water" in Andrus's honor as well). To my knowledge, these two Matrix shows are the only time that Billy Dean Andrus played on a bill with Jorma Kaukonen after the Jefferson Airplane formed.

February 21, 1969: The Bear's Lair, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (two shows 8:30 and 11:00)
Jorma and Jack ended the week by playing two Friday night shows at UC Berkeley's Bear's Lair coffee shop, another typical stop on the local folk-rock circuit. The Bear's Lair was (and is) in the basement of the Student Union building (Pauley Ballroom is two floors above it). Although I'm sure the room has been remodeled numerous times over the years, the basic contours of the building haven't changed. The basement coffee shop is a tiny room now, and it would have been a tiny room then. It's remarkable to think that Jorma and Jack played two shows in a place about the size of two classrooms.

I am not yet aware of any March Jorma and Jack performances. In any case, the Airplane would have been recording Volunteers in earnest and gearing up for a tour (did they play that March 8 show in Hawaii mentioned above?), so there would have been less downtime anyway. Yet by the time Jorma and Jack recorded the first acoustic Hot Tuna album in September, 1969 at the New Orleans House, it turns out that they had been performing live since January, for the lucky few who were able to catch them.

January 10-11, 1969 TNT-Alpine Meadows: Santana Blues Band

(a promotional photo from the Sunday January 5, 1969 San Francisco Chronicle, promoting the Santana Blues Band's appearance at a new Squaw Valley Venue, "TNT")

The Lake Tahoe area has always been a sort of remote suburb of the San Francisco. It is no surprise, then, that in the late 1960s the Lake Tahoe area was a prime outpost for all the bands playing the Fillmore, but this slice of rock history has been largely forgotten. There were no less than three major venues in Lake Tahoe in the late 60s, yet even I was surprised to discover this another remote outpost of the San Francisco ballroom scene, with a press kit photo of the late '68 Santana Blues Band promoting the band's weekend appearance near a ski resort. It appears that TNT-Alpine Meadows (as it was called in the Chronicle) was only open for about a month, but it provides an easy way to introduce some of the mysteries of the Lake Tahoe scene in the late 60s.

Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, straddling California and Nevada, is one of the West’s largest, deepest, clearest and most beautiful lakes. The lake sits six thousand feet above sea level, and the Truckee River feeds the lake, flowing into and then out of the lake. Truckee, California, about 12 miles North of Lake Tahoe and 30 miles West of Reno, was an original train stop on the Transcontinental Railroad. In 1899 the Duane L. Bliss Family built the Lake Tahoe Railway and Transportation Company. The Southern Pacific Railway actively encouraged tourist attractions along its rail lines, and Lake Tahoe became a popular resort for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Many families in both the Bay Area and the Sacramento/Central Valley area would buy or rent second homes in Lake Tahoe, and they would spend much of the Summer and many Winter weekends at Tahoe. Part of Lake Tahoe's specialness was that it was a great resort for both Summer and Winter. After 1960, when the Winter Olympics were held at nearby Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe boomed again, particularly for Winter sports. Since the Lake was on the California/Nevada border, parents could go over to the Nevada side and gamble, leaving their teenage kids to fend for themselves.


View Larger Map

(The site of the American Legion Hall, Post 795, in South Lake Tahoe, CA, at 2848 South Lake Tahoe Blvd [US 50])

Lake Tahoe Music in The 1960s
The first person to catch on to the vast quantity of teenagers in Lake Tahoe was a guitarist named Jim Burgett. He started putting on dances at the South Lake Tahoe American Legion Hall (at 2848 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA) in 1958. The story is complicated, but by the mid-60s Burgett was holding dances at the Legion Hall seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For any teenagers spending a week, a month or a Summer in Lake Tahoe, every night was Friday night, and with the parents often away in Nevada anyway, the Legion Hall dances were the only show in town. Burgett's own band played most nights, but on occasion he hired out of town acts as well. When the Fillmore bands became popular, he would often hire them to give his own band a night off (they also played six days a week at Harrah's Tahoe, believe it or not). The Jim Burgett saga is amazing, and well worthy of a book, which fortunately he is planning to write.

North Lake Tahoe, about 20 miles away, was less crowded and hence had less activity. However, the North Lake Tahoe set considered themselves cooler than the South, and a venue opened in North Lake Tahoe as well. Kings Beach Bowl, a converted bowling alley on North Lake Avenue, was opened in the Summer of 1967, but it was only open on weekends. The sons of the owners had a band, and their dads created a place for them to play. Although the teenagers were not the bookers, they advised the booking agents on what was cool in Sacramento (where they were from) and San Francisco, so some very cool Fillmore bands played Kings Beach Bowl in 1967 and 1968, including Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead and Buffalo Springfield.

By 1968 there were so many teenagers in Tahoe that a third venue opened, The Sanctuary. The Sanctuary took over an old supermarket in South Lake Tahoe, and being just a mile North off Lake Tahoe Boulevard it was a direct competitor to the American Legion Hall. It too was open many nights of the week, starting in June of 1968, with an eight week residency by Santana. In 1968, at least, The Sanctuary was focused a little more on hip San Francisco bands while the smaller but more established Legion Hall depended on Jim Burgett's well known band. The smaller, more distant Kings Beach Bowl retained its hipness factor, but it was too small to compete directly with the two South Shore venues.

Winter Shows
Lake Tahoe had primarily been a Summer resort, but after the 1960 Winter Olympics were held in Squaw Valley, on the Western edge of the Lake, Winter tourism boomed as well. Many of the same families who came to Lake Tahoe for Summers would also go the area to ski, skate and enjoy the Winter. This was exotic fun for Californians, since "Winter" in the Bay Area generally means sunny, 60-degree days with occasional rain. With the increasing number of Winter visitors, it's not a surprise that some Tahoe venues experimented with rock shows to capture some of the teenagers who would have been visiting from the Bay Area on any given weekend.
(The "Trip Or Ski" poster from Kings Beach Bowl, North Lake Tahoe, February 22-24, 1968)

The best known of the attempts at Winter Lake Tahoe rock shows was what I believe to be the first attempt at a "psychedelic" Winter event. Kings Beach Bowl had a three night event from Thursday to Saturday, February 22-24, 1968. The poster (above) was entitled "Trip Or Ski." The date was well-chosen: Thursday, February 22, was Washington's Birthday, then a National holiday, and all schools would have been off. Many families would have gone to Lake Tahoe on Wednesday night, skipping out on work or school for Friday the 23rd. Thus the weekend was perfectly timed for a foray into exporting the San Francisco ballroom scene to wintery Lake Tahoe.

The Grateful Dead had already played Lake Tahoe the previous Summer. They had played a memorable show at the American Legion Hall on August 19, 1967, and then played the next Friday and Saturday night at Kings Beach Bowl (August 25-26). In the intervening week, Jerry Garcia and Mountain Girl, bored of their low-rent motel, went camping. There is even a plausible sounding eyewitness account of a thinly attended American Legion Hall show in Fall 1966. Nonetheless, it hardly mattered: almost all the people in North Lake Tahoe in February '68 would have been from the Bay Area or Sacramento, and the younger people would have known the Grateful Dead well.

The February '68 Kings Beach Bowl shows were part of the Dead's Anthem Of The Sun project, so the shows were recorded. Ultimately, the Friday and Saturday shows (Feb 23-24) were released as Vol 22 of the band's Dick's Picks archival series in 2001 (there were problems with the tape of the first night). Although I have been in touch with someone who attended the shows (a Marin teenager who was mainly interested in seeing the opening act, The Morning Glory), I'm not sure how well attended the events were.


View Larger Map

(Alpine Meadows, just South of Squaw Valley and West of Lake Tahoe)

Winter '69
Clearly the Bay Area rock community was aware that much of their audience decamped to Lake Tahoe on Winter weekends. TNT, whatever it stood for (if anything), seems to be an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of San Francisco bands by extending themselves to Squaw Valley. The location of the venue is described in the (above) photo as "one mile south of Squaw Valley in the Powder Bowl." Squaw Valley and Powder Bowl were both ski areas about 10 miles West of Lake Tahoe. In between them was Alpine Meadows. In contemporary press releases, the venue is described as "TNT-Alpine Meadows." The area was probably unincorporated at the time. I do not know what building was used for the venue. I suspect it was a left over building from the 1960 Olympics, repurposed as a rock venue.

So far, I have only been able to find four booked weekends for the TNT Alpine Meadows venue, all in the month of January. The bookings were
  • January 10-11, 1969: Santana Blues Band (Friday and Saturday)
  • January 18-19, 1969: Cold Blood (Saturday and Sunday)
  • January 24-26, 1969: Country Weather (Friday thru Sunday)
  • January 31-February 1, 1969: Frumious Bandersnatch (Friday and Saturday)
This was not at all a random selection of second-on-the-bill San Francisco bands. All of them were booked by Bill Graham's Millard Agency. The Millard Agency was one of the principal suppliers of bands to the Lake Tahoe venues in 1968 and afterward, and the agency was clearly looking to continue mining the Lake Tahoe market. The purpose of the promotional photo in the Chronicle was that the audience for the concert was in the Bay Area, even though it was 200 miles from the venue.

Santana in early 1969 was not quite the band they would become by the time of their first album and Woodstock, but they were still a great band. The lineup for this show was probably Carlos Santana, Gregg Rolie (organ, vocals), Dave Brown (bass), Mike Carabello (congas) and Doc Livingston (drums). It's possible that conguero Marcus Malone is in the photo above, as it's hard for me to tell for sure. In any case, it probably made for a great night for the young skiers who attended the show.

After
I don't know what happened to the TNT-Alpine Meadows, or anything else about it. I know that Kings Beach Bowl had some low-key shows later in the Winter of 1969, so the idea didn't totally die out. The most unexpected event of the Winter of 1969 was that the owner of The Sanctuary asked Jim Burgett to take over his operation. This was fortunate for Burgett, since at some later point in the Winter heavy snowfall collapsed the roof at the Legion Hall, but he had already agreed to take over The Sanctuary. Burgett changed the name of the venue to The Fun House, and it remained the premier Tahoe venue for several more years. Millard Agency clients from the Bill Graham organization, like Elvin Bishop, Cold Blood and others were regular performers at The Fun House, which became the major Lake Tahoe destination for rock bands and fans. The subsequent history and fate of TNT-Alpine Meadows remains unknown at this time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List July 1969-February 1970 (Sons V)

(a scan of the poster for The Sons Of Champlin at Springers Ballroom in Oregon, on July 4, 1969. h/t Ross for the scan)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969. The previous installments of this series were

This post will look at the Sons Of Champlin's known performances from January through June 1969. Thanks to various people who have helped with this project over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me.

Sons Of Champlin Performance List July 1969-February 1970
In mid-1969, The Sons Of Champlin were a six-piece band. The lineup was
  • Bill Champlin-Hammond organ, guitar, lead vocals
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, Hammond organ, vibes, baritone sax
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
In late 1968 and early 1969 the Sons Of Champlin had recorded Loosen Up Naturally for Capitol Records, their first album.  Chief roadie Charlie Kelly said that the double-lp represented their live set at the time (often augmented by a few covers).  The album was released in the Spring of 1969, probably about May. Throughout the balance of 1969, The Sons regularly played many smaller venues in the Bay Area, and I have only captured a portion of those dates. I have to assume the Sons worked almost every weekend, or at least tried to, plus numerous weekday shows. Anyone with additional information, corrections, updates or recovered memories (real or imagined) should email me or Comment.

July 4, 1969: Springer’s Ballroom, Gresham, OR: Sons Of Champlin/Portland Zoo/Total Eclipse
Springer's Ballroom was an old resort in suburban Portland that was briefly a rock and roll ballroom.

July 6, 1969: Bullfrog Music Festival, near Estacada (Clackamas County), OR: Jefferson Airplane/Sons Of Champlin/Ace of Cups/Portland Electric Zoo Band/Family Tree/Mixed Blood/other local bands
This was a 3-day festival held outside Oregon City (about 20 miles south of Portland) on private land at Bullfrog Lake Trailer Park. Charlie Kelly recalls that Grace Slick dressed in a Girl Scout uniform, and the Airplane started their show with three quick fireworks blasts and hit the downbeat on the four, electrifying the crowd.

Summer 69: Andrews Park, Vacaville, CA: Sons Of Champlin
This show was presented by The Sun Company, a group pf high school kids that produced local shows. Steven Bise of the Sun Company recalls that they had "a cool little Quonset hut (a former Boys Club) that we turned into a dance hall (complete with pretty decent light shows).  Not bad for a bunch of small town kids.  I remember being thrilled that we had the Loading Zone in town {on Aug 2, 69} (Sons Of Champlin, Mad River and others also played) that summer.   It was a big deal to us!"

July 12, 1969: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Nick Gravenites/Brothers/Linn County  Benefit for the 13th Tribe

week of July 13-18, 1969:
Various gigs, Seattle area, possibly at the Eagles Auditorium.  Charlie Kelly describes a road trip from Oregon to Seattle to Colorado and Utah.

July 19, 1969:  unkown venue, Salt Lake City, UT:  Sons Of Champlin
Described in Charlie Kelly’s website. An old stone structure outside of town.  The date is approximate, but Kelly remembers being in Salt Lake City when astronauts landed on the moon.

July 20, 1969:  Folsom Field, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO: The Byrds/Steve Miller Band/Buddy Guy/Sons Of Champlin
This leg was described in Charlie Kelly’s website.  The dates are approximate, but they fit The Byrds touring schedule (the Byrds were in NYC on July 13 and the Pacific Northwest on July 26-27).

In late July, The Sons were in Hollywood recording their second album.

July 27, 1969: Balboa Stadium, San Diego, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Sons Of Champlin/Ten Years After/Congress of Wonders

July 28, 1969: Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups
A Monday afternoon free concert.  The LA Police attended, in full riot gear.

August 1-3, 1969:  Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Everly Brothers/Sons Of Champlin/Frumious Bandersnatch
Baby Huey and The Babysitters canceled (replaced by Frumious), because Baby Huey died.

August 7, 1969: Santa Venetia Armory, San Rafael, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Tamalpais Jungle Mountain Boys/Free and Easy

August 8-9, 1969: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA:  Sons Of Champlin/South Bay Experimental Flash

August 10, 1969: Rio Theater, Rodeo, CA: Sons Of Champlin/South Bay Experimental Flash

August 16, 1969; Gym, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Country Weather/Catharsis
For a brief period around the Summer of 1969, the Millard Agency (the talent booking wing of Bill Graham) helped set up a series of concerts in the Monterey area with San Francisco bands. There were some fine shows, but it didn't extend much beyond this Summer.

August 17, 1969:  Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, CA: Benefit for MPFU
Sons Of Champlin/Country Weather/Cold Blood/Fritz/Old Davis/Sunbear/Congress of Wonders
The Midpeninsula Free University (known locally as "MFU" or "Free You") was a South Bay attempt to shake up higher education, and it succeeded in certain ways. For a few years in Palo Alto, they held a series of free concerts at El Camino Park, and later, after much distress from the City of Palo Alto, moved their events to Stanford University's Frost Amphitheater.

August 20, 1969: Concord Armory, Concord, CA: Sons Of Champlin

August 21, 1969:  California Ballroom, Modesto, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Daybreak/[unreadable]
The California Ballroom was a small venue in the sleepy farming town of Modesto. It held 500 to 800 people.  It is still extant, and is located at 6th and E Street.  An eyewitness reported in an email:

just a comment..........i don't have the date but it had to be 69, maybe
70', because i came from vietnam in may of 69.  while spending some
time with my parents who had moved from santa cruz to modesto,
i did see the sons play at the california ballroom in modesto.  i have
no idea who was on the bill with them..........but i do remember the local
police stopped the show when the sons were on stage.

~laughing to myself...........i can remember the local police, undercover
had wigs on.........turn the lights on..........had all the exits locked 
except
for the front door and for whatever reason made everyone file out the front
door...........
August 23, 1969: Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin with Jimmy Witherspoon/Anonymous Artists of America/Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
This was A Wild West “makeup” gig. According to Ralph Gleason, the Sons backed Jimmy Witherspoon for “Stormy Monday,” presumably among other tunes.

August 24, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/It’s a Beautiful Day/Sons Of Champlin
Another Wild West makeup gig.

August 27, 1969: College of Marin, Kentfield, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Loading Zone/Phoenix/Freedom Highway/Circus/Clover  SDS Legal Defense Fund Benefit
Possibly August 26.

August 28, 1969: The Armory, Eugene, OR: Sons Of Champlin/Searchin’ Soul Blues Band

August 30, 1969: Second Sky River Rock Festival Rainier Hereford Ranch, near Tenino, WA (south of Olympia)
Anonymous Artists of America/Black Snake/Blue Bird/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle     Band/Collectors/Congress of Wonders/James Cotton/Country Weather/Country Joe and The Fish/Crome Syrcus/Crow/Dovetail/Floating Bridge/Flying Burrito Brothers/Frumious     Bandersnatch/Grapefruit/Guitar Shorty/Buddy Guy/Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks/Dr. Humbead’s New Tranquility String Band/Juggernaut/Kaleidoscope/Los Flamencos de Santa Lucia/Fred McDowell/Steve Miller/New Lost City Ramblers/Pacific Gas and Electric/Peter/Terry Reid/Mike Russo/Sons Of Champlin/Rhythm Dukes/Mark Spoelstra/Alice Stuart/Yellowstone/ Youngbloods/Dino Valenti/Elyse Weinberg

September 7, 1969: Folsom Field, U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO: Country Joe and The Fish/Steve Miller Band/Tim Hardin/Buddy Guy/Sons Of Champlin/Conal Implosion

September 12-14, 1969:  Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: It’s A Beautiful Day/Sons Of Champlin/Fourth Way

September 20, 1969: Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA: Little Esther Phillips w/Bobby Bryant and The Soul Festival All-Stars/Roberta Flack/Sons Of Champlin/Lighthouse
Reviewed in the September 22, 1968 San Mateo Times by Jack Russell. Willie “The Lion” Smith was unable to make the afternoon “Blues” program, and according to Russell, the Sons performed admirably in his place.

September 21, 1969:  Benson Cafeteria, University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace of Cups/Freedom Highway

September 24, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: It’s A Beautiful Day/Sanpaku/Sons Of Champlin/Ace of Cups/The Outlaws (Dino Valenti and Garry Duncan)/Terry Dolan  
Bay Area Drug Committee Presents At Bill Graham’s Fillmore West A Benefit Show Save The Children
The only  Outlaws (Duncan and Valenti) show.

September 25, 1969: Peterson Gym, San Diego State College, San Diego, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Kaleidoscope

October 4, 1969:  Lake Amador, Plumas County, CA:  ‘Gold Rush’  Santana/Taj Mahal/Bo Diddley/Albert Collins/Kaleidoscope/Al Wilson/Southwind/Ike and Tina Turner/Sons Of Champlin/John Fahey/Cold Blood/Linn County/Daybreak

>October 5, 1969:  Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Hot Tuna/Sons Of Champlin
The Sons were advertised, but did not perform at this show.

October 7-8, 1969:  Mandrake’s, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Mandrake’s, at 1048 University (and 10th Street, near San Pablo Avenue), was mainly a blues club, although rock bands played there as well. Berkeley’s Joy of Cooking got their start holding down a regular weeknight gig throughout the Spring of ’69.

October 9, 1969: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Sanpaku

October 10-12, 1969:  Family Dog at The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA:  A.B. Skhy Blues Band/The Sons/Brewer and Shipley

October 12, 1969: Applegate Park, Merced, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Crazy Horse/Cloud/Ruben Gomez Rhythm Band (free noon concert)
The San Joaquin Valley farm town of Merced had its own mini-Woodstock, featuring the Sons. Merced was prosperous, and only a few hours from San Francisco, but in some senses it was worlds away. Crazy Horse was not Neil Young's backing band but a local group (as were the other groups).

October 14-16, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Mendelbaum

October 17, 1969: Legion Hall, Merced, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Crazy Horse/Cloud

October 24-26, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Jefferson Airplane/Sons Of Champlin/Doug Kershaw
A board tape from October 24 circulates. Bill Champlin mentions from the stage that the Sons new album was being released the next week. John Leones appears to have played tenor sax with the group at this show; he had been a member of the Opposite Six with Bill Champlin in 1965. I do not know if he was a regular guest or if this was a one-off appearance.

In November, 1969, Capitol released the second Sons Of Champlin album The Sons (SKAO 332 Nov 69).  It ostensibly reached #171 on the Billboard lp charts.  On the back cover, it says “The Sons Of Champlin have changed their name to The Sons,” but in actuality that was far from a pre-determined fact.

Also in November, 1969, The Sons set out on an eight week national tour.  They persuaded Bill Graham to co-sign a loan for a truck, which they beat to death on their tour.  However, I know few details of their tour schedule besides its mileage (8,000, according to Charlie Kelly). The dates at Fillmores East and Winterland presumably ended the tour. What I have been able to piece together is below.

November 1, 1969: Civic Center, Santa Monica, CA: Youngbloods/Sons Of Champlin
Date approximated from an eyewitness account.

November 11-12, 1969:  East Town Theater, Detroit, MI: Jefferson Airplane/The Sons/King Crimson
This gig is very hard to confirm, and I had thought it was canceled. However, in the Comments, Bruno tells us he asked Tim Cain about this, and Cain said
"Bill Bowen and Geoff Palmer got arrested for marijuana by the Detroit Police in our hotel the day before this concert. Bill Champlin had to play drums all night and sing at the same time. Bowen and Palmer were later found to be not guilty - we think the police planted some false evidence when they could not find any pot in our rooms. When they searched our rooms they took our touring money for evidence and never gave it back".
Charlie Kelly confirmed the story about the Detroit police, and since the Sons had ended up lighter in the wallet by several thousand dollars, it meant they could no longer afford hotels.

November 14-15, 1969: The Palladium, Birmingham, MI: The Jagged Edge/The Sons/Promise

November 21-22, 1969: Ludlow's Garage, Cincinatti, OH Lemon Pipers/Ricky Nelson/Sons Of Champlin
A commenter vividly recalls a Sons performance at Ludlow's Garage, Cincinatti's stop on "the Fillmore Circuit" (thanks to Bruno for the dates).

November 28-29, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Sons/Jacobs Creek

November 30, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Jethro Tull/Sons Of Champlin
Although some timelines list this show as having been at The Spectrum, the great site TourArchive confirmed to me that the Philadelphia Flyers had a game that night, so the event was at the Electric Factory instead. Charlie Kelly remembers being billed at the Electric Factory with Jethro Tull, so that is additional confirmation.

December ?, 1969: The Hedges, West Hartford, CT: Sons Of Champlin
A fan posting on the Sons Of Champlin site recalls paying $5 as a High School Junior to see the Sons play a VFW-type hall (with no chairs).

December 8-9, 1969: Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA: Jethro Tull/The Sons Of Champlin
This is an inferred date, but likely.  In a New Musical Express article about Jethro Tull’s American tour, writer Nick Logan refers to Tull bassist Glenn Cornick going to back to the Tea Party for an afternoon jam with The Sons Of Champlin.  I inferred from that remark that the Sons opened these shows at the Tea Party.

Charlie Kelly commented, ”We did the Electric Factory in Philly with Tull.  They were in Boston at the same time, for sure, and one afternoon the bass player and I walked all over Boston together, so maybe we were on the same bill.  I remember seeing Johnny Winter at the Tea Party, but I don't think the Sons were on that show” (private email).

As these shows were on a Monday and a Tuesday (Tull was rapidly becoming huge in America, and could fill up a club on a weeknight), the Sons must have played somewhere in the Northeast on the weekend of December 5-6 (possibly Boston). According to Charlie Kelly, due to their lack of money, the band ended up staying at the Tea Party for several days.

December 17-18, 1969: Ungano's, New York, NY: Terry Reid/The Sons
Ungano's was a club in the West 70s, a showcase and hangout for record companies based in Midtown. The club worked cooperatively with the Fillmore East, so it's not surprising that the band played Ungano's right before their weekend at the Fillmore East(for more about Ungano's, see here).

Terry Reid was a fine English singer and guitarist, so highly touted for stardom that he turned down Jimmy Page's offer to join Led Zeppelin, recommending the unknown Robert Plant instead (h/t Its All The Streets You Crossed blog for the Ungano's ad).

December 19-20, 1969: Fillmore East, New York, NY: The Byrds/The Nice/Sons Of Champlin/Dion (Dion late shows only)

December 31, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA:  Jefferson Airplane/Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons Of Champlin/Hot Tuna

1970
In 1970 The Sons Of Champlin fell into disarray.  Although still signed to Capitol, they would effectively break up by March, 1970.

January 10, 1970: Convention Hall, Community Concourse, San Diego, CA: Grateful Dead/The Sons/Aum
According to eyewitnesses, The Sons were a last second replacement for Savoy Brown, who appeared on the poster.  The Sons ran overtime on their set (according to Charlie Kelly), ending with Bobby Blue Bland’s classic “Turn On Your Lovelight”, already a Grateful Dead concert staple.  As the promoter and the Dead were getting irritated, the promoter started lowering the hydraulic stage to indicate to them that it was time to go.

January 17, 1970: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, Davis, CA: It’s A Beautiful Day/Sons Of Champlin/Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

February 12-15, 1970: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Country Joe and The Fish/Sons Of Champlin/Area Code 615
Area Code 615 was a band of veteran Nashville session-man (led by guitarist Wayne Moss) who had put out a few rock albums.  This weekend was the only live performance of the group, all of whose members were well-paid Nashville session musicians.

February 20, 1970: Community Theater, Berkeley , CA: Youngbloods/The Sons/Lamb
Ralph Gleason's Chronicle column of February 18, 1970 was headlined "Sons Of Champlin In Farewell Shows" (left). The relevant parts said

 The Sons of Champlin, who made their farewell appearance last week, prior to taking a sabbatical from playing, are giving two more farewell appearances this weekend...
The Sons are tired of the road--they just did a tour--and say they are going to take a long vacation after these next couple of dates. Saturday [Feb 21] they play the Contra Costa Fairgrounds in Antioch with Aum and Joy Of Cooking, and there are some other out of town dates later in the month. Then they take five months off.
Bill Champlin, however, will probably work with the Rhythm Dukes. He has been rehearsing with them frequently and they are planning on having him with them in Marin. The Rhythm Dukes is the surviving group of Moby Grape. It has Jerry Miller on guitar and vocals and John Oxantine on drums [sic-Oxendine] (he once played with The Sons) and John Barrett (formerly with Boogie) on bass.
The circumstances of the Sons 'hiatus' has remained obscure over the years. Certainly the group had worked very hard for little reward over the previous years, and their must have been frustration over management, the record company and other issues. Supposedly there was some concern on the part of the band that they were trapped. Unlike many groups at the time, however, The Sons seemed to have made some effort to plan their dissolution, for whatever good it may have done them.

February 21, 1970: Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, Antioch, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Aum/Joy of Cooking
Whatever brave face may have been presented to Ralph Gleason the week before, this February 21 show in Antioch was the last performance of the initial iteration of The Sons Of Champlin. The Sons Of Champlin still owed an album to Capitol Records, although Capitol was uninterested, and thus Bill Champlin and Geoff Palmer led a recording effort that resulted in Follow Your Heart (Capitol ST 675 Apr 71).  Although the Sons were nominally Haggerty/Palmer/Champlin/Bowen/Strong, the entire group was probably never in the studio at the same time, Indeed, Palmer and Champlin overdubbed many instruments, including bass and drums, which effectively pushed Bill Bowen and Al Strong away from the band.

Aftermath: Spring and Summer 1970
Bill Champlin indeed joined the group called The Rhythm Dukes, whowere  based in Santa Cruz.  The Rhythm Dukes, originally based in Marin, had been playing since late 1969. They had done one tour of the Midwest and Northwest (in late Summer or early Fall), where for at least some gigs promoters billed them as Moby Grape without prior knowledge of the group. By the end of 1969, Rhythm Dukes gigs were apparently mostly in Santa Cruz County, as Jerry Miller lived in Boulder Creek. Champlin was a member of The Rhythm Dukes throughout the Spring and early Summer, but after his foray into Santa Cruz he returned to Marin (as a footnote, The Rhythm Dukes with Champlin were billed on February 20-21, 1970 at The Family Dog, which conflicts with the "Farewell" Sons shows, but in fact the Dukes were replaced by Cat Mother--for Champlin's known dates with the Rhythm Dukes, see here).

Sometime around 1970, the Sons privately released an LP of rehearsals called Minus Seeds And Stems.  The material and sound suggest a 1969 or 1970 recordings, but I am not certain of the exact dates. Supposedly the record was recorded at Sons rehearsal hall, ‘The Church’ (1405 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo). For all their poor career decisions, the Sons were consistently ahead of their time, and a privately released DIY album was about 5 years too early.

Concurrently with this activity, various former members of The Sons and various other groups were playing The Lion’s Share in San Anselmo on Sunday nights as Nu Boogaloo Express.  Bill Champlin returned from Santa Cruz after a few months (the Rhythm Dukes continued without him) and started to work with Nu Boogaloo Express, alternating vocal and keyboard chores with Mike Finnegan.  Other ‘members’ of the group included Haggerty, Geoff Palmer, Dave Shallock, Big Brother drummer Dave Getz and ex-Morning Glory guitarist Danny Nudalman, as well as any friends who wanted to sit in. Generally speaking, the Nu Boogaloo Express was whichever musicians were available backing either Finnegan (who generally sang blues) or Champlin (who generally led a jazzier jam session). Conveniently, the soundman at The Lion's Share was Charlie Kelly.

As an outgrowth of The Nu Boogaloo Express, a loose group formed called Yogi Phlegm
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Bill Champlin-organ, guitar, vocals
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, organ, vibes
  • Dave Schallock-bass
  • Bill Vitt-drums
After starting to get their sound together at The Lion's Share, the band started getting bookings around San Francisco and California. Initially the three former Sons were attempting to distance their sound from the heavily arranged Sons Of Champlin style to a looser fusion jazz style, and in any case they weren’t certain if they had the rights to the name Sons Of Champlin.  However, at most venues they were advertised as ‘Yogi Phlegm-formerly The Sons’ so it hardly mattered. 

Subsequently, Yogi Phlegm morphed back into The Sons Of Champlin and continued on until August 6, 1977 (after which they broke up, reformed, broke up and reformed again—but that’s another story).

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-June 1969 (Sons IV)

(a scan of the ad for New Orleans House, from the January 10, 1969 Berkeley Barb)

The Sons Of Champlin were one of the best and most musical of the original San Francisco bands that played the Fillmore and the Avalon from 1966 onwards. Well ahead of their time, they are fondly remembered now, and since the world has finally caught up to them, they continue to perform this very day. This project is an attempt to identify all the performances of The Sons Of Champlin from 1966 to 1969. The previous installments of this series were
This post will look at the Sons Of Champlin's known performances from January through June 1969. Thanks to various people who have helped with this project over the years, including Ross and the old Yahoo Sons discussion group, but most particularly Sons road manager Charlie Kelly. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or memories (real or imagined) should Comment or email me.

Sons Of Champlin Performance List January-June 1969
In early 1969, The Sons Of Champlin were a six-piece band. The lineup was
  • Bill Champlin-Hammond organ, guitar, lead vocals
  • Terry Haggerty-lead guitar
  • Tim Cain-tenor sax
  • Geoff Palmer-piano, Hammond organ, vibes, baritone sax
  • Al Strong-bass
  • Bill Bowen-drums
Trumpeter Jim Beem was still associated with the band, but he had been having personal difficulties and was not a part of the group during this period.

In late 1968 and early 1969 the Sons Of Champlin had recorded Loosen Up Naturally for Capitol Records, their first album.  Chief roadie Charlie Kelly said that the double-lp represented their live set at the time (often augmented by a few covers).  Throughout 1968 and 69, The Sons regularly played many smaller venues in the Bay Area, and I have only captured a portion of those dates. I have to assume the Sons worked almost every weekend, or at least tried to, plus numerous weekday shows.

January 10-11, 1969: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups

January 15-18, 1969: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA:  Sons Of Champlin/Notes From The Underground (17th and 18th)

January 16, 1969:  Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Steve Miller Band/Sons Of Champlin/Mad River/Mint Tattoo/Frumious Bandersnatch/Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band/Allmen Joy/Other Half/Little John/The Lamb
“Support the Oakland 7 Benefit Dance” emcee Chet Helms
The flyer for this event is in the A Young Man’s Song cd by Frumious Bandersnatch, but no venue is named. However, the Berkeley Barb lists the event as being held at Pauley Ballroom on campus.  Note that the Sons were also playing at The New Orleans House the same night, but since the New Orleans House was only about a mile from campus, it would have been easy to play an early set at Pauley and then go over to the club. I do wonder if they brought along the Hammond organ, however.

January 24-26, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Sons Of Champlin/Initial Shock
Since Chet Helms and the Family Dog had vacated, the Avalon was now being booked by an organization called Sound Proof, which was connected to the group Initial Shock.

January 31-February 1, 1969: Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA:  Steve Miller Band/Sir Douglas Quintet/Sons Of Champlin
Aquarius Productions Presents “A Medieval Happening”
Renaissance Faires had started to become popular events, and the one in Marin County was among the first. This event was a sort of indoor "pseudo-Renaissance Faire."  An eyewitness reported that the Duck's Breath Mystery Theater comedy troupe performed between sets, and that Steve Miller’s set was "the loudest [he] ever heard... Miller's Marshall amps, turned up all the way, sounded like gravel shaken in a bucket, but impossibly loud.”

February 14-15, 1969: Dream Bowl, Vallejo, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Blues Helping
The Dream Bowl had been a long time music venue dating back at least to World War 2. It was located near the intersection of Highway 29 and Kelly Road. It was a country venue for much of the 1950s and 60s, but for a few months in 1969 some promoters made a go of turning it into a sort of Napa Valley Fillmore. Like many of these experiments, it made no financial sense but was remembered fondly by those who attended.

February 17, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: 
“Happy Chinese New Year’s” A Benefit for Lenay Inc
Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites Jam/Sons Of Champlin/Phoenix/Ace Of Cups/Pitschell     Players
The poorly-reproduced poster is difficult to read. It must have been approximately this date (because of Chinese New Year’s), but it could have been any time from February 17th to 20th (Monday thru Thursday).

February 19, 1969: Fairfax Pavilion, Fairfax, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Beefy Red
Beefy Red was a Marin jazz-rock group from the 1969-70 period, led by San Francisco guitarist Barry Finnerty, later with the Jazz Crusaders.  The drummer was Jim Preston, who went on to join the Sons in March, 1972.  Mark Isham, also a future Son, was a trumpeter in Beefy Red at some point (the group had up to 10 members) but I do not know if he was in the band on this gig.

February 20-23, 1969: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Albert King/Sons Of Champlin/Cold Blood

February 28-March 1, 1969: The Poppycock, Palo Alto Sons Of Champlin/Boogie
The Poppycock was at 135 University Avenue (at High Street), and was Palo Alto’s tiny “psychedelic” club venue. Boogie was a trio that rehearsed at the Sausalito Heliport, along with the Sons and many other groups.

March 2, 1969: Speedway Meadows, San Francisco, CA: All Men Joy/Sons Of Champlin/Initial Shock/Morning Glory/Last Mile
An afternoon free concert, sponsored by the 13th Tribe.

March 8, 1969: Peterson Gym, SDSU, San Diego, CA Butterfield Blues Band/Sons Of Champlin/Taj Mahal
Since March 8 was a Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if there was another Southern California show the night before (Friday March 7)

March 16, 1969: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA:  MC5/Boogie/Sons Of Champlin
Detroit’s hard-rocking MC5, headlining at the Straight Theater all weekend, used The Sons equipment for this free gig in the park.  Bill Bowen’s drums took a particular beating.

March 17, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Sons Of Champlin/Red Mountain “Monster Jam” Benefit for Olompali
I have written about Monday Night Winterland benefit featuring the Dead and the Airplane elsewhere. Olompali was a decrepit Victorian mansion in Marin that housed a hippie commune, and the building had burned down.

March 21-23, 1969: Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Santana/Sons Of Champlin/Dancing Food & Entertainment
Parts of an FM broadcast survive from March 23. To my knowledge, this broadcast (I believe from KPFA) is the best circulating document of the early Sons' sound. Besides their first album material, they do a funky but faithful cover of Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill."

Santana were just a popular local band at this time, but the killer lineup that would record their first album and star at Woodstock had finally come together, and they were already a great live band. Dancing Food & Entertainment were booked by the Millard Agency, and featured singer Naomi Ruth Eisenberg (later in Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks) and bassist Tom Glass (aka artist Ned Lamont, formerly in The Jazz Mice with Ian Underwood).

March 29, 1969: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups

April 1 thru 5, 1969: Straight Theater, San Francisco, CA:
Sons Of Champlin/Passion/Marvin Gardens/The Angels Own Band Chorus/Bicycle/Asoke Fakir/Morning Glory/Congress of Wonders/Rush/Last Mile/Glass Mountain
The Straight Theater was at the end of its financial rope. Tim Leary was supposed to headline, and canceled.  Some of the bands may have played on some nights, but it is not certain whether the Sons played at all, on any night.

April 3, 1969: Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Country Weather/Phoenix

April 6, 1969: Provo Park, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Lamb/Frumious Bandersnatch/Ace Of Cups/All Spice Rhythm Band
Provo Park (previously Constitution Park) was the downtown park, near the Community Theater, Berkeley High and the Civic Center. Provo Park served the same function for Berkeley as the Panhandle did for the Haight Ashbury, and bands regularly played there for free.

Spring (?) 1969: Native Sons Hall, Sacramento, CA: Sons Of Champlin
A Commenter recalls this show.
I saw The Sons of Champlin in about 1968/69. They appeared at a small 2nd story ballroom in Sacramento (not Sound Factory(.It was *around* 13th Street between I and J Streets (my memory is fuzzy on the exact locations). The band was driving up from the Bay Area and only the rhythm section had arrived by showtime. It was guitar, organ, bass and drums and they jammed until the other members arrived.
Research from Sacramento sources suggests that the venue appears to have been the ballroom in the Native Sons Hall on 11th and J Streets, across from the Elks Building that housed KZAP, Sacramento's first fm rock station.The Native Sons Hall had been known as The  Trip Room at one point in 1966. I have arbitrarily suggested that the date was Spring '69, but until we have more evidence I can't say for sure.

As a side note, regardless of which Sons had been late to the show, the band members were so versatile that any four of them could have made up a solid rhythm section.

April 16, 1969: [Cowell College], UC Santa Cruz, CA Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Phoenix
I'm not sure of the venue for this show. Given the newly constructed nature of the UC Santa Cruz Campus (it had only opened in Fall 1965), the Cowell-Stevenson Dining Commons seems the most likely place. This was billed as a  Benefit for “Malcom X College.” That too is a mystery, but UCSC had (and has) a residential college system modeled on the Oxbridge system, and they were opening a new College every year. Fall 1969 would see the opening of the fifth College, whose name was in some dispute, which is why it was called "College Five" for many years (and still is by some stubborn alums). My guess is that the "Benefit" was for a proposed name for the new College.

April 17-19, 1969: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: The Band/Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups
This was a very high profile show in San Francisco, as it was the live debut of "The Band" without Bob Dylan (leaving aside eight years on the road with Ronnie Hawkins, of course). Since the shows sold out Winterland instantly (a venue twice the size of Fillmore West), the opening acts were not needed to sell tickets and would have gotten great exposure. The Sons had been signed to Capitol Records, The Band's label, so they would have gotten the nod because of that connection.

April 20, 1969: Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Ace Of Cups/Freedom Highway
This was an outdoor free concert downtown, known from a dated photo by Kenneth Loh. All three bands were West Pole acts.

April 23, 1969: Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Linn County/Mt. Rushmore/Kwane/The Last Mile
A free concert presented by KMPX-fm and The 13th Tribe. Nourse Auditorium was a small hall at 275 Hayes (at Van Ness).

April 25-26,. 1969: The New Dream Bowl, Vallejo, CA  Sons Of Champlin/Rose and Amber Whine
The date is known from a poster from Paul Grushkin’s fine book Art of Rock.  This is the latest date I have ever seen for a rock show at The Dream Bowl, and I am not convinced this show actually occurred.

Sometime in 1969, Capitol released the Sons Of Champlin's first album—a double lp--Loosen Up Naturally (SWBB 200 May 69).  Although release dates in the 1960s are always murky, I am positing a release date of May 1969, based on a second hand comment of Bill Champlin’s that the Sons’ first album was released as the same time as the album Chicago Transit Authority (which was released in May 1969). Certainly various Bay Area fans remember being well familiar with the album by the beginning of summer, and it could have been available in April. The album reached #137 on the always unreliable Billboard Top 200 lp charts.

May 1, 1969: Berkeley Community Theater, Berkeley, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Phoenix/Wilderness/Womb

May 10, 1969: Pacific Memorial Stadium, U of Pacific, Stockton, CA Santana/Cold Blood/Sons Of Champlin/Evlin Bishop/Counry Weather/San Paku/ “Pacific Pop Festival” (noon to 7 pm)
Stockton was a prosperous Central Valley town about 90 miles East of San Francisco. The University football stadium was quite small, and probably only held several thousand. Note that all the groups except The Sons were from Bill Graham's Millard Agency.At this time, none of the groups would have released an album (possibly the Sons record was just barely available). 

May 15, 1969: Nourse Auditorium, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Cold Blood/Country Weather/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band/Tree Wizard/Behemoth
Known from the extant handbill (above).

May 23 thru 25, 1969:  Practice Field, San Jose State College, San Jose, CA: Aquarian Family Festival
Ace Of Cups/All Men Joy/Birth/Beggars Opera/Boz Skaggs/Crabs/Crow/Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band/Devine Madness/Denver/Elgin Marble/Flaming Groovies/Frumious Bandersnatch/Gentle Dance/Greater Carmichael Traveling Street Band/Glass Mountain/High Country/Jefferson Airplane/Joy of Cooking/Last Mile/Libras/Lamb/Living Color/Linn County/Mother Ball/Morning Glory/Mad River/Mt. Rushmore/Nymbus/Old Davis/Red Grass, Green Smoke/Rubber Maze/ Rising Tide/Rejoice/Sunrise/Sable/Scratch/Sons Of Champlin/Sounds Unlimited Blues Band/ Sandy Bull/The Steve Miller Band/ Stoned Fox/South Bay Experimental Flash/Throckmorton/Tree of Life/Weird Herald/Womb/Warren Purcell/Zephyr Grove

The Aquarian Family Festival was a free concert put on in conjunction with (and in contrast with) the Folk-Rock Festival at the Fairgrounds, less than a mile away. It is a remarkable and largely forgotten subplot in the history of Bay Area rock festivals in the 60s. A huge and controversial 3-day rock festival, headlined by Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and the Jefferson Airplane, was held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose. Some local hippies arranged for fans to hang out at a nearby football practice field near Spartan Stadium, at San Jose State College.

Terms of the agreement with the University required that people could be present only during the performance of music. Because part of the purpose of the concert was to provide a safe place to stay for tens of thousands of people traveling to town to attend another concert being held in town about a mile away at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds, music had to be performed continuously from the start at 12:00pm Friday until the close of the festival at 4:00pm Sunday afternoon. Thus the festival featured 52 hours of continuous music. The crowds were huge, with tens of thousands going in and out every day.

The Aquarian Family Festival was produced in 10 days at a total cost of $968 by approximately 30 people who were volunteers with the Institute for Research and Understanding whose Dirt Cheap Productions unit produced the concert. Assistance was also given by the musicians' cooperative Druid Corporation House and the San Jose Free University. Legal services were paid for by the band Led Zeppelin which did not perform at the [free] festival. A modern perspective on San Jose's Aquarian Family Festival was published in 2009.

There is some uncertainty as to which groups exactly played.  Most of these groups were club attractions in the East and South Bay scenes, but not Fillmore headliners . Two stages were constructed so that bands could set up while another was playing, in order to fulfill the obligation that people could be present only when bands were playing. According to the website of one of the organizers,  however, Steve Miller played a nice blues set, and the Airplane showed up Sunday morning (May 25) and played an extended set. At the end of Sunday afternoon, as the Festival stage was being broken down, Jimi Hendrix dropped by, hoping to jam, just as the stage was being dismantled and never got the chance.

June 5, 1969: Thee Experience, Hollywood, CA: Sons Of Champlin
Thee Experience was a sort of “upscale” rock club at 7551 Sunset (at Curzon). It was run by Marshall Brevitz the former operator of Miami's Thee Image. Although a popular musicians hangout, the concept was some years ahead of its time, and the club was only open for about 8 months in 1969.

June 6-7, 1969: Rose Palace, Pasadena, CA: Joe Cocker/Sons of Chaplin/E.T. Hooley
This was Joe Cocker’s first tour of America.

June 8, 1969: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA: Janis Joplin/Sons Of Champlin/Linn County/Crazy Horse/Elvin Bishop/Cedro Wooly/Alice Stuart and Minx/Victoria/Kwane and The Kwan-ditos

June 8, 1969: Unitarian Center, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Bycycle /Freedom Highway/International Press/Indian Gold/Ace Of Cups/Mark of Kings/Dementia/Dr. Zarkof/Phoenix/Freedom/Interplayers Circus/Douglas Waugh/Morning Glory/Kevin, Gino and Cynthia Benefit for The Fellowship Church at the Unitarian Center
The Sons returned to San Francisco for this benefit and the preceding afternoon free concert, having driven up from Los Angeles right after the Pasadena shows. Keep in mind that Interstate Highway 5 was not statewide at the time, and they probably had to maneuver the truck over The Grapevine and up Highway 101 along the Coast, a formidable task indeed.

The church was on Geary at Franklin. The poster for the event is featured in Art Of Rock.

June 14, 1969: The Fun House, South Lake Tahoe, CA Sons Of Champlin/Santana/AB Skhy
The Fun House was the new name for The Sanctuary, which had opened in the Summer of 1968. By Summer 1969, the always remarkable Lake Tahoe scene had gone from three venues to one. Kings Beach Bowl in North Shore had effectively closed. On the more crowded South Shore, the American Legion Hall had been damaged in a Winter snowstorm, so it too was out of commission. However, Legion Hall operator Jim Burgett had taken over The Sanctuary, a converted supermarket a little nearer to the Lake, and changed its name to The Fun House.

The Fun House was open 7 nights a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and Burgett's band played almost every night. Amazingly, Burgett's band also played six days a week at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, just across the Nevada border. However, Burgett also booked San Francisco rock bands, particularly on weekends, so many Fillmore and Avalon regulars played The Fun House. By 1969, however, the headliners who had played Lake Tahoe in the previous Summers (like Jimi Hendrix or the Grateful Dead) had moved to more National markets, but bands like The Sons still found Lake Tahoe a lucrative booking.

The date has been approximated from the Santana timeline.  Its not clear if the bill was for one or two nights.  Based on the Santana timeline, the show (or shows) was somewhere between June 1 and June 14.  Various eyewitnesses (including Charlie Kelly) remember a hot set by Santana, and then the Sons being shut down by the cops because of “suspicious activities.” However, Jim Burgett, who promoted the show, recalls few problems with the police and suspects that any band who was shut down would simply have been running overtime.

By summer 1969, Jim Beem had returned on trumpet, although he did not stay long. He may have also played a little bit on the album. However, I haven't been able to determine his exact tenure. For one month in mid-1969, John ‘Fuzzy’ Oxendine, from the band Boogie, had played drums alongside of Bill Bowen, but I do not know exactly when. According to Bill Champlin (on his site), the extra drummer lasted 4 gigs because Bill Bowen was unhappy with the arrangement.

June 20-22, 1969: Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Elvin Bishop/Congress of Wonders
Chet Helms opened his new Family Dog venture on June 13, 1969. It was located far from downtown, at the Playland Amusement Park at Ocean Beach, on 660 Great Highway. A San Mateo Times article from June 10, 1969 about the opening of the new Family Dog, with Jefferson Airplane headlining, lists the (hitherto unknown) bill for the second weekend that featured the Sons.

June 29, 1969: St. Elizabeths High School, Oakland, CA: Sons Of Champlin/Little John/Post Raisin Band
An Oakland Tribune article in the June 28, 1969 “Teen Age” section describes this forthcoming event. It was a benefit for one Chris Cormier, who was apparently part of the staff at St. Elizabeth’s. St. Elizabeth’s was a private High School in Oakland, but for some reason it had quite amazing groups in 1968 and 69: Quicksilver, The Sons, Ace Of Cups, Blue Cheer, Loading Zone, Mint Tattoo and more.

For the final installment of this series (July 69-February 1970), see here.