So, to continue my saga of how I got into this particular field of music...
I was 14, lying in my bed listening to the radio, and discovered a local program which changed my life. A local guy, Dave Graham, was hosting a show on KTUC, Tucson's first radio station, about folk music. I don't even remember the name of the program; but I was electrified by what I was hearing. Not only was the music mostly new to me, his presentation was engaging, informative, and conversational, not the usual plastic announcing.
Dave had opened a coffee house where he was presenting live acts--a little place off a tiny courtyard literally in a downtown alley. The alley had a name, and Dave, understanding the main problem in advertising, named his place by its location:
"Ash Alley 241." (This proved its genius when he needed a larger space to accommodate the growing crowds, and opened "30-15 North Campbell;" although a guy did ask me once, "So, where is it?")
My best friend (whom I would later offend and lose), Dan Webster, was 16 and had the use of a car. Nights we weren't going to "the game" he would park up the block a bit and I would sneak out the window of my room for an evening at Ash Alley.
We were sooo young, yet we were welcomed, and became enthralled with the incredible performances of artists presented in an intimate, carefully crafted setting. Sometimes, when Dan wasn't going or couldn't get the car, I'd just hitchhike there and mooch a ride as far back as I could from any willing beatnik. Yes, beatnik--1960.
It was there we saw Michael Grossman, Barbara Dane, The Blue Ridge Boys, and many more. It was there I met Bud & Travis. They were closer to my age, and therefore less intimidating, so I could actually converse with them. They found out I shared their sense of humor and actually began to use a few of my lines.
This led, later, to my getting to work as a writer for Travis after the duo broke up.
Bud and Travis were born on the same day, a world apart. Once they met, the blend of attitudes and talent was beyond chemistry, and they quickly became recognized by their peers in the burgeoning folk market as musical masters who understood the power of comedy to turn a recital into a show. The Limeliters, The KT, Judy Collins,
and The Smothers Brothers all acknowledged to me, at one time or another,
their admiration for these two young men.
Of course, their similarities also made for a volatile relationship, to put it mildly. Once, Bud actually stabbed Trav with a knife in an argument over a girl. Their brilliant partnership produced several albums, college concert tours, and even a world tour, but lasted less than five years.
Bear in mind all these artists were in their twenties (except for Theo Bikel and Burl) in those days. Compare their output with that of today's young "singer/songwriters" and you'll understand a little of the disdain felt by us dinosaurs.
Here's another taste: