Saturday, April 26, 2014

National City and a Mile of Cars

Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. This week we continue our drive up the old Highway 101 in San Diego County, California. Last week week we toured Chula Vista and the old highway route as described on the site EFGH.com, I marked the turn they mention on the map with a pin to help you see it.
mile 04.63 - Cross over the Otay River and enter Chula Vista. Old U.S. 101 becomes Broadway.
mile 08.87 - Enter National City. Old U.S. 101 becomes National City Blvd.
mile 10.57 - Turn left onto Civic Center Dr.
mile 10.93 - Pass under Interstate 5 and turn right onto Harbor Dr., which was part of Old U.S. 101. It has bike lanes in most places, although the pavement is quite rough in spots. Be especially careful when crossing railroad tracks.


As Broadway enters National City becoming National City Blvd, very little is there to show you that this was once the main North/South Highway in the area. The area is now the "Mile of Cars" and one of the more popular places to place a car dealership in San Diego County. It is pleasant enough and evokes Southern California since few things are more emblematic of Southern California than palm trees and cars. If you were there you would find you were close enough to the ocean to smell salt in the air. This video from Chula Vista Productions provides us with a view out the windshield.




Skid Roper, Mojo Nixon's Sidekick

Stay with me here. National City makes me think of cars. Cars make me think of Hot Rods. Hots Rods Make me think of Rockabilly Music. Rockabilly music makes me think of the 80's. The 80's make me think of MTV. All of which make me think about the comedic cult roots rocker Mojo Nixon. Mojo Nixon makes me think of his straight man sidekick and band mate Skid Roper. Skid Roper makes me think of National City because this is where he came from.



Richard Banke was born in 1954 in National City, CA. He first achieved prominence in 1983 when he began performing in dive bars in the San Diego area with his musical partner Neill McMillan. Richard would use the stage name Skid Roper and Neil would perform under the pseudonym Mojo Nixon. Skid was the sort of the straight man and sidekick to Mojo, who was the real star of the act. He would accompany Mojo on washboard, mandolin and other instruments. In 1984 they released a demo following up with their debut album in 1985. The description found on the YouTube Mojo Nixon Theme Page describe him well:
One of the most outsized personalities on college radio in the '80s, Mojo Nixon won a fervent cult following with his motor-mouthed redneck persona and a gonzo brand of satire with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Nixon had a particular knack for celebrity-themed novelty hits ("Elvis Is Everywhere," "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child," "Don Henley Must Die"), but he was prone to gleefully crass rants on a variety of social ills ("I Hate Banks," "Destroy All Lawyers," "I Ain't Gonna Piss In No Jar"), while celebrating lowbrow, blue-collar America in all its trashy, beer-soaked glory. All of it was performed in maximum overdrive on a bed of rockabilly, blues, and R&B, which earned Nixon some friends in the roots rock community but had enough punk attitude -- in its own bizarre way -- to make him a college radio staple during his heyday.

The duo would record a half dozen albums before splitting in 1989. Each continuing on with other projects, neither with a lot of success (although Mojo seemed to do better). They have reunited a few times recently for special occasions. Skid still lives in  National City and performs with Skid Roper Band in the San Diego area.

Playlist Additions

I like Mojo Nixon a lot. He is definitely a pioneer of the alt country sound and his songs were sort of like Weird Al Yankovik except that played Americana originals rather than polka parodies. Like Yankovik it could be some of the funnier stuff on MTV back in the 80's when the station still played videos. I am almost emabarassed about the fact that I only have one official release and one live audience recording in my collection. The additions to this week list are:






Moving On

National City gave the world Skip Roper, but it also sent a far more successful artist into the world as well. Join us in 3 weeks as we return to old Highway 101 in San Diego County for more Old Highway Notes. Don't forget to stop by next week when we return to Interstate 95 in Miami to close out our prelude to destruction in the hippie scene. In two weeks we will back Chicago on Route 66 looking at the history of blues music in that city. Thanks for stopping by and until we meet again, "Hi-ho mateys yo! Turn on the Pirate Radio, land of the free and home of the brave, FCC crawl in your grave. Crawl in there, you lily-livered scabs!"



Mileage Stats


Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/466 Tracks/93 Videos/22 Posts
Highway 101: 13  Miles/1 State/433 Tracks/129 Videos/16 Posts
Interstate 95: 0 Miles/1 State/10 Tracks/20 Videos/4 Posts

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pre Electric Chicago Blues Pt 3

This is a Multi Part Post.Route 66: Chicago: Blues: Pre Electric Chicago Blues
Pt. 1
Pt. 2
Pt. 3

Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. Last time that we visited Route 66 we were in Chicago talking about the acoustic blues music that predated the electric blues that would later become Chicago's signature sound. To provide direction in our exploration of early Chicago blues, I have been using a list of musicians found in an article in TimeIsOnOurSide.Com:
Among the pre-eminent artists of this era and style are Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson, Robert Nighthawk, Washboard Sam, Willie Dixon, Scrapper Blackwell, and, of course, Big Bill Broonzy.
We have already discussed Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson, Robert Nighthawk, Washboard Sam, and Scrapper Blackwell. We will get back to Willie Dixon later, so that leaves us with Big Bill Broonzy.

Big Bill Broonzy

Childhood

He was called Big Bill Broonzy because he was a big man in a muscular, not fat, way, The early details of Broonzy's life are a bit unclear and during his lifetime Broonzy did not help matters any as he tended to be the kind of guy who values a good story more than a factual one. He was born in either 1893 or 1903 in either Scott, Mississippi or Jefferson County, Arkansas. Regardless, it is known that he grew up in a family of 17 children in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. By 1915, Broonzy was married and working as a sharecropper. He was planning to give up sharecropping to become a preacher, but was offered 50 to play fiddle for four nights. Before he could reconsider to pursue his calling he spent the money and was obliged to perform. He was unsuccessful as a sharecropper and went bankrupt being forced to work at outside jobs until enlisting in the army in 1917 to serve in World War I.

After serving two years in the war, Broonzy was discharged and returned to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. When he returned he wasn't given a heroes welcome. Typical of the racial attitudes of the day, he was greeted with a racial epitaph and was told "hurry up and get his soldier uniform off and put on some overalls." Disgusted, Broonzy left Pine Bluff to live in Little Rock. He would be there for less than a year before relocating to Chicago in 1920.

In Chicago

In the booming Chicago of the 1920's Big Bill Broonzy would set down his fiddle and pick up a guitar. He would steadily improve at the instrument, playing house parties and social gatherings while working odd jobs as a Pullman porter, cook, foundry worker and custodian.

In early 1930's, Broonzy began to record for various labels with varying levels of minor success at best. In 1934 he began to record for the popular Bluebird label. It was then that fame struck. In 1938 He was asked to appear at Carnegie Hall For a production called Spirituals To Swing that featured many of the most respected black artists of that time. In addition to his own output on the Bluebird label, he was close friends with Tampa Red and was a half brother to Washboard Sam. He wrote many songs for both and was likely playing guitar on several of their recordings. Due to contractual obligations, Broonzy was careful to make sure that he was only listed as composed on the credits and not as a performer,

During the 1940's Broonzy continued to record as well as improving his writing chops. He wrote many songs that were picked up and used by the emerging 1940's electric blues artists. Broonzy was said to have a big heart worthy of his name and reportedly did a lot to help younger struggling blues musicians a foot up into the music business. He would begin preforming in combos that featured piano, drums and upbeat song structures, His biggest hit during this period was "Keys To The Highway", re popularized later by Eric Clapton. Big Bill Broonzy was building a bridge between the older styles of the Chicago blues and the electric version that was emerging on the horizon.

As the 1940's rolled on into the 1950's, the sound of blues music in Chicago had become more and more electric. Other blues men were taking the upbeat rhythms Broonzy had pioneered and working with new sounds that the electric instruments were capable of evolved into the popular Chicago blues sound we think of today. Big Bill Broonzy zigged when the others zagged. In the 1950's he adopted a spare stripped down acoustic style,

A Song About Race

In 1951, he recorded a song called "Brown, Black, and White" that seemed to recall his reception upon arrival home from World War I. It was an expression of the frustrations black Americans were feeling under Jim Crow as the civil rights movement began to take off. Here are the lyrics and a video:

    This little song that I'm singing about,
    Brother you know it's true.
    If you're black and gotta work for a living
    This is what they will say to you.

    Chorus:

    They say if you's white, should be all right,
    If you's brown, stick around,
    But if you's black, well, brothers, get back, get back, get back.


    I was in a place one night,
    They was all having fun.
    They was all buyin' beer and wine
    But they would not sell me none.

    Me and a man was workin' side by side.
    This is what it meant:
    He was making a dollar an hour,
    They was paying me fifty cent.
    I helped build this country,
    I fought for it too.
    Now I guess you can see
    What a black man have to do



European Success At The End Of His Life

Also in 1951, Broonzy was toured Europe to great success with standing ovations in many places. This left him able to make a comfortable living from his music, traveling and recording extensively during the decade. Much of his success was in Europe. While in the Netherlands, Broonzy met and fell in love with a Dutch girl, Pim van Isveldt. Together they had a child named Michael who still lives in Amsterdam. In 1954, legendary journalist Studs Turkel took Broonzy to Circle Pines Center, a cooperative year-round camp in Hastings, Michigan where Broonzy had worked years before as a dishwasher. On July 4th, Pete Seeger joined Broonzy for a concert on the Center's lawn which was recorded by Seeger for the new fine arts radio station in Chicago, WFMT-FM. The following interview with Studs Turkel is likely from that appearance.



In 1955, with the assistance of Belgian writer Yannick Bruynoghe, Broonzy published his autobiography, entitled "Big Bill Blues". He would also undertake a worldwide tour that included Africa, South America, the Pacific region and Europe continuing into 1956. Sadly, in 1958, he passed away as the victim of throat cancer and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery, Blue Island, Illinois.

Route 66 Play List Additions

My music collection features a compilation Of Big Bill Broonzy;s output from his later period that is our first addition to the Route 66 play list this week.

Album: Trouble in Mind Big Bill Broonzy 2000
  • Hey, Hey, Baby 2:54 
  • Frankie And Johnny 2:09 
  • Trouble In Mind 3:19 
  • Joe Turner No. 2 (Blues Of 1890) 5:16 
  • Mule-Ridin' Blues 3:45 
  • When Will I Get To Be Called A Man 2:20 
  • Poor Bill Blues 3:15 
  • Key To The Highway 2:35 
  • Plough-hand Blues 3:27 
  • Digging My Potatoes 3:00 
  • When Things Go Wrong (It Hurts Me Too) 3:00 
  • C.C. Rider 2:35 
  • Saturday Evening Blues 3:35 
  • Shuffle Rag 2:07 
  • Southbound Train 4:51 
  • Hush, Somebody's Calling Me 4:01 
  • Louise 4:01 
  • Black, Brown, And White - (spoken introduction) 1:25 
  • Black, Brown, And White Blues - (sung) 2:44 
  • Willie Mae Blues 3:30 
  • This Train - (spoken introduction) 1:21 
  • This Train (Bound For Glory) - (sung) 3:02 
  • In The Evening - (spoken introduction) 1:05 
  • In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down 4:22 
I had no music from the 1930's and 1940's Broonzy so I turned to Archive.Org who once again gave me some new music for our play list. It did not disappoint. So to our play list we can add a group of 80 songs that aren't sorted by time, but rather alphabetically:



Album: Bill Broonzy-01-75 Big Bill Broonzy
  • All By Myself
  • All I Got Belongs To You
  • Boogie Woogie
  • All By Myself 1941
  • Baby, I Done Got Wise
  • Baby Please Don't Go
  • Banker's Blues
  • Big Bill Blues 1927
  • Big Bill Blues
  • Black, Brown and White
  • Black Widow Spider 1936
  • Blackwater Blues
  • Bull Cow Blues 1932
  • C. C. Rider
  • Cotton Choppin' Blues 1939
  • Don't You Be No Fool 1939
  • Frankie And Johnny
  • Friendless Blues 1934
  • Goin' Down This Road
  • Going to Chicago
  • Good Jelly
  • Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down 1935
  • Goodnight Irene Goodnight
  • Hattie Blues 1937
  • Hell Ain't But A Mile And A Quarter
  • Hey Hey Baby 1956
  • House Rent Stomp 1951
  • I Don't Want No Women (To Try and Be My Boss)
  • I Feel So Goody 1941
  • I'm Woke Up Now
  • It's a low down dirty shame
  • It's Your Time Now 1938
  • John Henry 1951
  • Just A Dream
  • Key to the Highway
  • Kind Hearted Woman Blues 1952
  • Little City Woman 1953
  • Lonesome
  • Long Tall Mama 1932
  • Midnight Special
  • Mule Riding Blues
  • Night Watchman Blues 1941
  • Old Man Blues 1946
  • Out With The Wrong Woman 1936
  • Pneumonia Blues 1936
  • Rockin' Chair Blues 1940
  • Rukus Juice Blues 1932
  • Saturday Evening Blues 1947
  • Saturday Night Rag 1930
  • Sittin' and Thinkin'
  • Southern Flood Blues 1937
  • Stack O' Lee
  • Starvation Blues 1934
  • Stove Pipe Stomp 1932
  • Stuff They Call Money
  • Summertime Blues 1947
  • Tell Me Baby 1942
  • The Southern Blues 1935
  • Three Spirituals
  • Tomorrow 1951
  • Too Too Train Blues
  • Trouble And Lying Woman 1938
  • Trouble In Mind
  • Trucking Little Woman 1938
  • Unemployment Stomp 1938
  • W.P.A. Blues 1936
  • W.P.A. Rag 1938
  • Water Coast Blues 1949
  • What Did You Do That 1945
  • What's Wrong With Me
  • When Did You Leave Heaven
  • When do I get to be called a man
  • When I Been Drinkin'
  • Willie Mae
  • You Do Me Any Old Way 1937
  • You Got The Best Go 1945
  • All By Myself (with Memphis Slim)
  • Life is Like That (with Memphis Slim)
  • Bright Eyes (With Washboard Sam)
  • Diggin My potatoes (With Washboard Sam)
That draws us to a close of this weeks Old Highway Notes. Thanks for stopping by. Join us in three weeks when we return to Chicago on Route 66 for more blues stories. Meanwhile, next week on old Highway 101 in San Diego County of Southern California we will continue our drive North checking out the sights along the way. In two weeks we will be back on Interstate 95 with more stories about hippies in Miami. Join us, wont you and tell a friend! Until we meet again, take good care of the Keys To The Highway.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jimi and a Prelude to Beauty/Hippies in Miami Pt. 1:

This is a the first of a Two-Part Post: Hippies in Miami
Pt. 1: Jimi and a Prelude to Beauty 
Pt. 2: Jim and a Prelude to Destruction


Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. When last we were in Miami we spent some time driving up I-95. This week we go back in time to visit Miami in the 1960's where events in the world of hippies and rock music would converge as preludes to both beauty and destruction.

In the mid 1960's Miami was a swinging vacation destination attracting youth from around the country to come down to Florida to play in the sun and the sand. It was a pretty clean cut swinging scene.



By the later parts of the 60's a lot had changed. A new movement had swept the youth of America. Psychedelic drugs and harder rock music were popular and the kids created the hippy lifestyle. The movement centered around freedom in response to the repressed lifestyles of the 1950's and early 1960's. The freedom was celebrated in rock music, underground newspapers and comics, freaky fashion styles, "free love", communal living arrangements and alternative lifestyles. It showed up in trips taken both on the highways and in the mind. Psychedelic drugs became a staple in the scene with intrepid explorers pushing the limits of their consciousness. In the "real world", a nomadic culture of road trippers emerged that would travel from commune to commune and from rock concert to rock concert in beat up old jalopies, on motorcycles, and in in old vans and school buses converted to rolling crash pads. It was all a part of the hippy scene.  Here is some footage of hippies in action from the 1960's.




A Prelude To Beauty
Miami Pop Festival May 18-19, 1968

In 1966 as the hippy scene was gaining momentum, a young Michael Lang had relocated from New York City and had opened a 'head shop" in the Miami area. A head shop was a store that specialized in selling all of the accessories of the hippy lifestyle  from bootleg rock records to paisley scarves to pipes and rolling papers and other illicit drug supplies. As part of the emerging hippy movement, Lang was reported to have gone to California in June of 1967 to attend the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey, California. Like many in attendance, Michael was impressed by the scale of the event, the beautiful feelings that washed over the crowd, and the music. Jimi Hendrix put on a memorable performance in Monterey that likely also provided inspiration for the young Lang.

Students of music history might recognize the name of Michael Lang, he was to become the youthful promoter who created the legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York. But in 1968 he was a small business owner in Miami who was putting on his first music festival closer to home at the Gulfstream Park, a horse racing track which is actually located just North of Miami in Hallandale, Florida. He had been inspired by the success of the Monterey festival and had decided to attempt recreating the festival for the East Coast. He announced a lineup that included Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and the Mothers of Invention, Blue Cheer, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown.


Source: Poster Mania


Scheduled for May 18-19, 1968, the festival was a relatively simple affair with stages set up on flatbed trucks with acts alternating on the stages. The bands would play short festival sets twice a day. Of note were the performances by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. A live album of that days set has since been released: Miami Pop Festival  Also, PBS's American Masters aired a biography of Jimi Hendrix called Jimi Hendrix : Hear My Train A Comin' DVD/All Region that featured previously unreleased performances from the festival.



When the Jimi Hendrix Experience arrived in Miami for the festival there was a mix up with cars at the airport. To speed things along, Michael Lang had a helicopter contracted to fly them to the festival grounds. It provided a dramatic entry that energized the crowd. It was a move that would would late be made again to get acts to the stage at the Woodstock Festival when traffic clogged the highways of upstate New York leading to that festival. This excerpt from the film talks about the Miami Pop Festival.



After a grueling tour of 60 shows in 66 days this would be one of the last performances of the Experience. In addition to the footage that PBS found, this super8 home movie clips from a festival goer is a raw but very authentic artifact.



The sets scheduled for May 19 were cancelled for several of the artists, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, due to heavy rains. This may have been a blessing in disguise as the rains (besides foreshadowing the Woodstock Festival) inspired Hendrix to write the song "Rainy Day, Dream Away". I have in my collection an unreleased demo version of the song that will be our lone addition to the Interstate 95 play list this week.
  • Rainy Day Dream Away    Demo    Jimi Hendrix    1:52
In less than a year, the Jimi Hendrix experience would be broken up and in August of 1969 Jimi would be performing at Woodstock with a different group of musicians. Michael Lang will have returned to New York and began making plans for the horribly mismanaged, yet legendary, Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Miami Pop indeed was a prelude to beauty that happened the next year in a small town in upstate New York.


Postscript
Miami Pop II December 28-30, 1968

The first Miami Pop Festival was such a success that a follow up was nearly inevitable. Promoters Tom Rounds and Mel Lawrence, who had previously promoted the KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, were able to put together an outstanding line up of the top acts of the day. For the 7 dollar price of admission, festival goers were treated to performances from Procol Harum, The Turtles, The Grass Roots, Three Dog Night, José Feliciano, The Blues Image, The Box Tops, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Hugh Masekela, Pacific Gas and Electric, Fleetwood Mac, Richie Havens, The Sweet Inspirations, Joni Mitchell, Jr. Walker & The Allstars, The McCoys, Sweetwater, The James Cotton Blues Band, Canned Heat, The Charles Lloyd Quartet, Ian & Sylvia, Country Joe & the Fish, Buffy St. Marie, Steppenwolf, The Amboy Dukes, Terry Reid, These Vizitors, Iron Butterfly, Chuck Berry, Flatt and Scruggs, Grateful Dead, Marvin Gaye, and Joe Tex. With that sort of value 100, 000 young people, some hippies some not converged for a musical party. It was a continuation of the growing momentum of the festival scene in the US that would culminate with a half a million people at Woodstock the following August. 
 
Source: Wikipedia



The Harvard Crimson Review published a mixed opinion review in January, 1969 that was not favorable of the more West Coast laid back noodley psychedelic music. Rather, the author more preferred harder edged shorter songs such as the English and East Coast bands were producing, Regardless of his musical  biases he does provide an excellent description of the festivals atmosphere:


Held for three days in late December in a gigantic race-track cum park just outside Miami the Festival unrolled smoothly. It represented in its music a cross-section of the entire rock scene today: folk (Joni Mitchell, Buffy Ste. Marie, etc.), blues (James Cotton, Butterfield), jazz (Charles Lloyd), rock, progressive rock, Motown (Marvin Gaye, Jr. Walker) and even top-40 rock (the Boxtops, the Turtles). All this in a setting of serene scenic beauty.

There were two stages far enough apart so as not to interfere with each other's music, one in a meadow dotted with trees and the other in front of the racing track's grandstand. Vast open spaces in between with enormous Pop-Artifacts strewn along the way deliberately aimed at re-creating the Pepperland atmosphere of the movie "Yellow Submarine" and in the unfettered Florida sunshine amid throngs of healthy young people (46,000 on the last day) it came as close as is possible in real life to achieving its purpose.

Performers were carefully scheduled on each stage so as not to overlap, by catering to people's different tastes (thus Steppenwolf on one stage while Joni Mitchell was playing at the other, Ian and Sylvia in the meadow while Iron Butterfly played the grandstand) though even with diligent shuttling from stage to stage I inevitably missed some performances. This kind of sensible planning on the part of the Festival organizers marked most aspects of the three day show. Facilities were thoughtfully and adequately provided: free parking, food stalls, seating, elaborate and powerful sound systems. Not to mention the whimsical diversions on the site such as a "Meditation Grove," a display of walking fish (only in Florida . . .), and a giant three-layered slide. Above all, though, there was the music.

I had no recordings in my collection from this festival, so no tracks make the play list from this day. But, dear reader, I did find the Grateful  Dead's set available streaming on Archive, as well as on YouTube. Of course that is not really surprising, there is so much Grateful Dead music available.on the Internet. I have embedded both versions for you to enjoy. 


>

The Miami Festivals were a prelude to a beautiful time in rock history when weekend after weekend provided festivals of enormous size with incredible line ups. It would be a short era peaking at Woodstock before tragedy would strike at Altamont Speedway in California making the large rock festival an increasingly rare event in the 1970's and 1980's. It remained so until the Lollapaloozas and Bonneroos of the 1990's revived the concept for a new generation. But Miami also was to be the prelude to destruction. That is the story we will discuss when we next meet in three weeks on Interstate 95 for some more Old Highway Notes. Before then, we will return next week to Route 66 for more blues in Chicago and in two weeks we will be back in south San Diego County looking at the sights on old Highway 101. Join us, won't you. And until then: stay Experienced!

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

San Ysidro, Chula Vista, The Grateful Dead and the Sleep Country Amphitheater

City Of Chula Vista Flag
Chula Vista
Hello and welcome back to Old Highway Notes. When we were last together on Highway 101 we were enjoying some coffee and pie after a grueling border crossing returning from Tijuana, Mexico. To see Highway 101 in south San Diego County will require a bit of time travel. Fortunately for us we have the help of a website, AARoads who chronicles the route:
U.S. 101 has been completely decommissioned in San Diego and Orange Counties. Starting at the International Border at San Ysidro, U.S. 101 roughly paralleled Interstate 5 all the way through San Diego County. It began at the southern trolley terminus in the city of San Diego along San Ysidro Boulevard, continued northwest via Beyer Boulevard through the Otay-Nestor community, then entered the city of Chula Vista as Broadway.

Frankly, San Ysidro is a pretty bland town to look at and it had no significant musical history to loiter on so we slowly cruise North. This realtors video has some images of the city as we pass through.


 
Heading North on the old highway we leave San Ysidro and enter Chula Vista.YouTube gives us a song about the Chula Vista.:



The old highway ran north on what is now Broadway Blvd in the city Chula Vista. Here is a view out the windshield:




Fans of the Grateful Dead may remember the name of Chula Vista as one of the most acclaimed shows of their 1985 tour, It was a summer afternoon, quite hot and the band kicked out a nice show. The song "She Belongs To Me [Live, September 15, 1985]" that was performed here was later included on the compilation album Postcards Of The Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform The Songs Of Bob Dylan. I found you a tasty version of the show to check out on archive.org. and the show is now part of the Highway 101 playlist. There is also a YouTube video of the show after the Archive links.

AlbumL Grateful Dead Live at Devore Field, Southwestern U on 1985-09-15 (September 15, 1985)




Many years after the Grateful Dead performed their concert in Chula Vista, Universal Concerts purchased an industrial park of 72 acres, and with the cooperation of the city, began building. In 1997 the White Water Canyon (now Aquatica San Diego) water park was opened. The next year, 1998, the Coors Amphitheater opened on the site as well, with the first concert by the Spice Girls in August of that year. A 10,000 seat venue, it is one of the largest concert facilities in the San Diego area, In 1999, shortly aftyer it opened, the Universal Concert chain was purchased by the House Of Blues taking the Coors Amphitheater along with seven other amphitheaters and 11 clubs. In 2006, Live Nation purchased the chain. They would rename the Theater the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in 2008, changing its name again in 2013 with a change in sponsorship. The Sleep Country Amphitheater was christened in what has to be one of the more ill considered corporate brandings I can think of. As I did my research into this post I could not find any particularly noteworthy performances at the venue. YouTube does feature a slew of videos by popular modern performers, but for the most part it seems to be just another stop in the chain of corporate amphitheaters that runs across the country with astonishing cookie cutter sameness, If anyone has memorable experiences from shows there I would love to hear your stories in the comments.

That about does it for Chula Vista, but join us again in three weeks as we continue our drive north on the old Highway 101 and head into National City. In the meantime, stop by next week for some rock and roll history in Miami on Interstate 95 and in two weeks when we continue to explore blues music history in Chicago on Route 66.  Until then, keep your hands on the wheel and the rubber on the road.

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