I started the evening by giving our audience bad news; on November 19th. The Crosspointe Life Church of La Mesa, with Reverend Barry Sappington at the helm, had taken over the coffee shop just last February and last week the board of directors determined that it was a losing proposition which they could no longer fund. We thank them for their support these last several months; it appears that maintaining the lease on a location of the Friendly Grounds size, with just coffee to provide income, is a losing battle. It, and the fine people involved, will be sorely missed.
We still have four Thursdays left before the proposed closing date, but once again, we find ourselves homeless. It’s a humongous job finding a suitable venue with the suitable criteria, ie:
Big enough to accommodate an open mic stage and the 35 to 50 people we usually attract.
Freeway-close, and not too far out in the boonies; with adequate, convenient parking.
Family-friendly, and offering a menu of good, reasonably priced food to feed the hungry.
Is it too much to ask? We are open to suggestions and have already received and pursued a few.
On with the show:
6:20 Tim Woods: My solo set consisted of the Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried”; Gordon Lightfoot’s “In The Early Morning Rain”; Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind”; John Lennon’s “Imagine”; and Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.
6:45 The Pony Tales: Doreen and Mary started with a sing-along of Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”; followed by Peter, Paul & Mary’s “All My Trials”; and finished with Tom Paxton’s “I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound”.
7:00 Bob Cool & Bob Arsenault: Bob Arsenault took a stab at picking “Big Sandy River”, a number normally known as a fiddle tune—he did a nice job; “Red Haired Boy” was a natural segue along the same vein. Bob Cool was also in a guitar picking mood; he played “The Beer Barrel Polka”; Sharon Cool joined them to sing “Lonesome Pine”; and the boys finished with “Arkansas River”.
7:15 Gregory Martin Campbell: Has a tongue-in-cheek sound check tune he calls “Guitar and Microphone”; it’s a bit nonsensical, but a lot of people have adopted it. He proceeded with the Beatles “Because” combined with “Til There Was You”; Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel”, including his really cool walking bass line; Gerry and the Pacemakers’s “Ferry Across the Mersey”; and another Beatles’ tune, “Bad to Me”.
7:30 Blake Sapp: Blake used his phone for the lyrics on his first tune, in this case “Fire”, a song by a friend of his, Jordon Lucero; then he did his own originals “I Want You Here”; and “There’s No Harm”.
7:45 Les Armstrong, Alton Simpson & Ray Poe: The Western trio gave us Ernest Tubbs’ “Thanks a Lot”; Ray Price’s “Burning Memories”; Merle Haggard’s “Swinging Doors”; the Carter Family’s “Daddy Sang Bass”; an instrumental of Hank Snow’s “Under the Double Eagle”; and Ronnie Milsap’s “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me?”.
8:00 John Movius & Greg Gross: John started his set with a surf tune that is a mix of Dick Dale’s “Banzai Washout” and Jack Marshall and Bob Mosher’s “Munster’s Theme Song”, for a timely October theme; then he responded to an audience request for “Apache” by the Shadow’s; they finished with Duane Eddy’s “Forty Miles of Bad Road”.
8:15: The Bluegrass Babes (Rose Scibelli, Doreen Harlow and Mary McGerald & Greg): The ladies and Greg threw together a set of bluegrass tunes for us, including Flatt & Scruggs’ “Don’t This Road Look Rough and Rocky”; “Once More” (recorded by the Osborn Brothers, amongst others); The Carter Family’s “Your Love is Like Flower”; and Bob Wills’ “Redwing”.
8:30 Becky Williams & Greg Gross: Greg accompanied Becky (do you see a trend here?) on “The Rose” (made famous by Bette Midler); then she jumped to a CD, with Dixie Chix’ version of Stevie Nicks “Landslide” (she also used her phone for the lyrics); and finally the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”.
8:45 Bob Holyday: Returned for a second time to play for us; with his harmonica for accompaniment, he played Bob Dylan’s “Sally Gal”; “Fixin’ to Die” (Bukka White); then a well written, but unnamed, original he wrote for a friend; he closed with a tune he heard a friend, Robert Zimmerman, play--another Dylan song called “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down”.
9:00 Mitch Wilson: A talented finger-style guitar player, was next. He played one of the first tunes he learned, the Beatle’s “Something”; a collection of three tunes in D (3D?), “One Hand, One Heart” (from Westside Story), “Time in a Bottle”( Jim Croce), and “Sunrise Sunset” (from Fiddler on the Roof). Next was a new one for him, “One Meat Ball”, Recorded by : Bjorn Berge; Ry Cooder; Bing Crosby; Baby Jane Dexter; Ella Jenkins; Mustard's Retreat;
Ann Rabson; Red Clay Ramblers; Annie Ross; The Andrew Sisters; Tinklers; Dave Van Ronk; Josh White Jr.. (a tune, I had never heard, but given the audience’s participation, not totally unknown).
9:15: Greg Gross: Closed our evening appropriately with John McCutcheon’s “They’re Closing the Bookstore Down”; which he followed with Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon”; and Eric Bogle’s “The Sound of Singing”. I joined Greg in leading the house in “Happy Trails”.
Once more we had a pleasant evening of good music and a wonderful human experience. Come on by soon and join us for our last few weeks at the Friendly Grounds.
God bless, and be of good cheer,
Tim Woods, Greg Gross, and the Wood ‘n’ Lips open mic crew