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Fillmore Poster Series #23

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - May 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – May 1967

 

Design by – Bonnie MacLean
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – May 12th – 14th 1967
Performances From –
Jefferson Airplane
The Paupers

 

The Paupers were a psychedelic rock and folk band from Canada, who recorded and released two studio albums and appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival during the relatively short period of 3 years of their career.

 

The band’s line-up consisted of four members: Skip Prokop (Drums), Denny Gerrard (Bass), Chuck Beal (Guitars), and Bill Marion (Guitars/Vocals).

 

The Paupers’ sound is often described as and compared to that of the mixture of the Byrds, Lovin’ Spoonful and the Blues Project. The band’s determination to rehearse for 14 hours a day is what made them ‘one of the tightest bands around’ in the mid-1960s in their hometown Toronto.

 

There is a travelling rumour that once the audience booed the Jefferson Airplane off the stage because what they really wanted to hear and see was The Paupers performing their set (more on Jefferson Airplane, see Fillmore Poster Series #15). We do not know if to believe it or not, but we definitely recommend you listen to the band’s truly outstanding debut album, Magic People (1967):

 

 

Shortly after the album was released, the band was set to perform at the Monterey Pop Festival. However, this would be the beginning of the end for the psychedelic rock quartet from the North. Marios from Rockasteria writes: ‘Everything that could go wrong for them did. Band members took doses of acid that were way too strong and had equipment/sound check problems.’ Internal disagreements followed, and even though the band managed to release another LP, Ellis Island, there was no future for them after that.

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Fillmore Poster Series #22

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - June 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – June 1967

 

Design by – Bonnie MacLean
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – June 2nd – 3rd 1967
Performances From –
Jim Kweskin Jug Band
Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Sparrow

 

Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band played an important role in the 1960s folk revival movement – almost just as important as the role of The Grateful Dead. In the words of Eugene Chadbourne, the band’s ‘roots lay in the same coutry-folk-jug band smorgasbord’. Their first album, Jug Band Music, was released in 1965 and was more bluesy than the records yet to come later in the band’s career after Bill Keith ‘the banjo whiz’ joins in.

 

 

 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy formed in mid-60s after the split of the not-so-well-known folk-rock group the Ashes. The former members of the Ashes John Merrill (guitar), Alan Brackett (bass) and Jim Voigt (drums), recruited a new singer Sandi Robison and added Lence Fent to the line-up – another guitarist who also played harp. Soon enough, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy released their first single ‘Time Is After You’, which landed them a record deal with Columbia. Producer Gary Usher worked with them on The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading, the band’s debut LP, which was released in 1967.

 

The LP did not achieve much commercial success, nor did its follow-up The Great Conspiracy, on which Bill Woolf replaced Lence Fent on guitars. The band attempted to break through once more with their third studio album For Children of All Ages in 1969. This one was from Robinson (vocals), Merrill (guitar) and Brackett (bass) as a trio. The band split soon after.

 

Even though The Peanut Butter Conspiracy did not reach huge commercial success, they left their footprints in the history of psychedelic rock.

 

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #21

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Fillmore Gig Poster - June 1967

Design by – Clifford Charles Seeley
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – June 20th – 25th 1967
Performances From –
Jefferson Airplane
Gabor Szabo
Jimi Hendrix

 

Gabor Szabo was a Hungarian-born guitarist, highly influential in the contemporary jazz music scene in the mid- and late-1960s.

 

Szabo’s first American band, The Three Strings, formed in the early 1967 and was originally a four-piece. The band consisted of Gabor Szabo himself, Jimmy Stewart on guitar, Louis Kabok on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums. In the next few months, the band members would change and develop into a quintet, which Szabo said was his ‘preferred and most ideal situation’.

 

The line-up that played the Fillmore dates was Gabor Shabo, Jimmy Stewart, Louis Kabok, Chuck Christian replacing Jim Kelner on drums, and Hal Gordon adding subtle touches of percussion. They appeared under the name the Gabor Szabo Quintet (you guessed it!), second billed after Jefferson Airplane as headliners, and before the Jimi Hendrix Experience as an opening act. A recording from the Newport Jazz Festival from the same year is available for listening here (it is worth signing up for a free trial if you have not got an account): http://www.concertvault.com/gabor-szabo-quintet/newport-jazz-festival-july-01-1967.html

 

In the review of the group’s appearance at Sausilito’s Trident club in early 1968 John L. Wasserman talks about ‘Szabo’s unique sound’ as ‘a light, mellifluous, rolling one; basically jazz with influences from Brazil, Cuba, the East and Karlheinz Stockhausen(!).’

 

By mid-1968 the band had six members but soon the number went down to five and eventually to four, as the guitarist Jimmy Stewart left to pursue his own musical project. The two performed on stage on a few occasions throughout the 70s. It is known that Szabo was suffering from liver and kidney disease throughout the years, from which he died in 1982.

 

For a more in-depth content and reviews, see http://www.dougpayne.com/p67_69.htm (thanks to Mr Douglas Payne).

 

 

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #20

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - July 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – July 1967

 

Design by – Bonnie MacLean
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – July 4th – 9th 1967
Performances From –
Bo Diddley
Big Brother and the Holding Company
Big Joe Williams Lights: Headlights

 

Bo Diddley was another artist signed to Chess Records – the same label as Chuck Berry – but he never achieved the same level of success as his label-mate. Despite that, Bo Diddley has had a strong influence on the development of rock music as we know it. He was admired by everyone from The Rolling Stones to the Yarbirds, from Buddy Holy to The Clash. Various contemporary artists mention him as an inspiration, too, which shows that rock’n’roll is indeed timeless and can (and it certainly will) stay alive for decades.

 

Bo Diddley’s music ranges from blues and R&B to the more dance-oriented rock’n’roll, ‘mixing a Chicago blues sound with Memphis-styled rockabilly riffs’ (you can read the full review of Ride On: The Chess Masters, 1960-1961 compilation here: http://blues.about.com/od/cddvdrevie2/fr/BoDiddleyCD1.htm).
Bo Diddley is also renowned for being the first African-American artist to set up a recording studio in the basement of his own home. In the early 1960s, breaking away from his label with an intention to follow the DIY path was a very brave move to make.

 

Bo Diddley, among many other great bluesmen in this playlist (thanks to SURFSTYLEY4) from 1965:

 

 

The Fillmore performance must have been one of the best in the Big Brother and the Holding Company’s career, when the band was fronted by Janis Joplin, one of the most iconic voices in rock history. In a year’s time, the band would release their second studio album, Cheap Thrills, featuring their best songs that defined the sound of the generation we now know as ‘psychedelic’. It is difficult to say any more than has already been said – when this lady opens her mouth, our jaws drop…

 

Check out this live footage from the documentary ‘Come Up the Years’ from San Francisco, 1967, followed by the band’s performance on ‘The Hollywood Palace’ show, 1968, below:

 

 

 

The man who sang the original version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ was the last one to go on stage that night at Fillmore in San Francisco. Let us introduce you to Mr Big Joe Williams:

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #19

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - May 1968

Fillmore Gig Poster – May 1968

 

Design by – Wilfred Weisser
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – May 16th – 18th 1968
Performances From –
Country Joe & The Fish
Incredible String Band
Albert Collins Lights: Holy See

 

Country Joe & the Fish was a band who appeared in the right place and at the right time, by releasing their debut album Electric Music For The Mind And Body six weeks before the Summer of Love hit the ground.
Their songs were not only embraced by the hippie culture but what this band was doing was the hippie culture, and Country Joe were the ones defining it.

 

Here’s what the Uncut magazine had to say about songs from the band’s first release: ‘In the daring “Superbird”, the Fish harboured the suggestion that Lyndon Johnson retire to his Texas ranch and, oh, drop some LSD. And then things got really weird without any lyrics at all in “Section 43”, a virtually indescribable swirl of fog and sound, a psychedelic masterpiece assembled in movements that simulated an acid trip.’

 

Coached by Mr Samuel Charters, a producer and music historian known for his writings on blues and jazz music, the band climbed their way up to stardom and earned themselves a status equal to the one of The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Uncut carries on: ‘Lyrically, the Fish were provocative, outrageous, absurd. Politically strident, yes, but their protests, like the scathing “Superbird” – Melton’s wildfire guitar front-and-centre – carried plenty of good-natured, common sense humour.’ These lyrics work well with the instrumental arrangements. The band absorbs the influences from country and blues, and then takes the music to another dimension.

 

Here is the clip from the Monterey Pop Festival ‘67, showing people having the time of their lives while the music from Country Joe & The Fish is playing in the background. It definitely emphasizes the whole experience and makes you wish you were there!
The following video shows the band appearing on the Woodstock stage in ’69.

 

 

 

The Incredible String Band was another band to play the Fillmore Auditorium that evening. BBC has done a documentary telling their story. The beginnings of it can be found here:

 

 

And their most famous album in its fullest:

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #18

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - September 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – September 1967

 

Design by – Bonnie MacLean
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – September 21st – 23rd 1967
Performances From –
Blue Cheer
Vanilla Fudge
Sunshine Company
Lights: Holy See

 

Blue Cheer were another up-and-coming band of the late 1960s from LA. They were described by both the media and their fans as being ‘louder than God’ – so loud, apparently, that their music could have caused you hearing damage… However, the thing to remember here is that this was the psychedelic (pre-metal) rock era, when the PA systems could only push as high as 10 (not 11 just yet!). So saying that we are talking about some serious loudness here explains why this band could have been labelled as ‘the first Heavy Metal band’ in the world. Check out their live performance from the 1968 TV show, the American Bandstand, below:

 

 

Vanilla Fudge’s first single from an all-cover self-titled debut album was their own version of ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’, the Motown classic originally recorded by the Supremes. The single and the album were positively received and both reached the 6th position in the charts. The album was described as being ‘unified in a distorted haze of psychedelia, with powerful drums, swirling organ and almost choral harmonies’. In other words, in 1967 it was already possible to spot the signs of the early development of heavy metal and especially in this band’s work, even if the name of the genre was not used when attempting to describe this type of a heavy rock sound. Below is the footage of Vanilla Fudge performing at The Beat Club in 1968:

 

 

The third act to appear on the Fillmore stage that night was the Sunshine Company.

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #17

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - September 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – September 1967

 

Design by – Jim Blashfield
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – September 14th – 16th 1967
Performances From -
Electric Flag
Mother Earth
LDM Spiritual Band

 

These September evenings at Fillmore were dedicated for jazz/soul/rock music, featuring Michael Bloomfield’s group Electric Flag, Tracy Nelson’s vocal-driven ensemble Mother Earth, and a considerably less well-known LDM Spiritual Band.

 

It was Electric Flag who first incorporated a horn section into the structure of a rock song. Michael Bloomberg wanted his band to sound like the records coming from Stax and Atlantic. He also wanted America to have their own band playing American music, as opposed to bands such as The Beatles or The Stones bringing the American music back from across the Atlantic.
The band’s first big hit was a soundtrack they wrote for James Fonda’s movie ‘The Trip’ about a new drug called LSD. In 1967, Electric Flag released their debut album under the same name. The album is thought to be the first album to feature the Moog synthesizer, played by a jazz organist Paul Beaver who then became a full time session musician.
Electric Flag debuted at the Monterey Pop Festival that summer. According to Bloomberg himself, their set did not go as well as he would have wanted due to not enough time spent rehearsing and the stage fright that followed. However, a much looser performance by the Byrds proved that one does not need to be the greatest artist in the world in order to become a music celebrity.
Electric Flag first played the Fillmore Auditorium in August, where they felt outshined by Eric Clapton’s Cream and their lengthy jams and extensive improvisations. Then the band flew to Columbia Studios in L.A. to begin recording their second studio album, returning to perform another set of dates at Fillmore later that September.
For a more in-depth history of the band see:
http://www.mikebloomfieldamericanmusic.com/flaghistory.htm

 

Another group who had emerged from the flower power movement was Mother Earth, described by Nik from the Rising Storm Blog as ‘one of the best American rock and roll bands to have been forgotten’. Instead of taking an experimental approach like many of the other bands whose sound now represents what we call the psychedelic rock of the late 1960s, Mother Earth were more influenced, again, by soul music. Indeed, discovering Tracy Nelson’s powerful voice is like finding a hidden gem in the musical field that has already been explored quite well. When Nelson goes solo later in the 70s, she chooses country as her stylistic direction.

 

 

 

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #16

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - July 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – July 1967

 

Design by – Bonnie MacLean
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
Dates – July 25th – 30th 1967
Performances From –
Yardbirds
The Doors
James Cotton Blues Band
Richie Havens

 

It is a shame that there is so little information on the Internet about this particular show. However, the notion of unknown is what makes the performance so interesting and attractive.

 

First of all, thanks to Keith Relf for uploading the very rare live recording of the Yardbirds playing an instrumental composition from their 1967 US-only LP Little Games. This is close enough to get the feel of what it was like to be in the crowd that night, despite the poor quality of the recording. The song is called ‘Glimpses’.

 

The Yardbirds released Little Games three days before their gig at Fillmore. This was their fourth official release, with Jimmy Page as now the official guitarist, and featured the demo of the song ‘No Excess Baggage’. Unfortunately, there is no official record of any comment on their Fillmore performance. However, Jimmy Page recalls about a week later:
‘After another strenuous and frustrating episode at the Canadian border, we had come from San Francisco to Vancouver to play a psychedelic bonanza at the Kerrisdale Arena on this day and at the Garden Auditorum on the 1st’.

 

The Doors performance at Fillmore was extraordinarily smooth and very successful indeed. According to a brief review we found at www.doorshistory.com, the band performed a 10-minute extended version of ‘Light My Fire’, for which the auditorium went completely nuts.

 

Also check out the links to hear some good ol’ blues below…

 

 

 

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #15

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - February 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – February 1967

 

Design by – Wes Wilson
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco.
Dates – February 3rd-5th 1967
Performances From -
Jefferson Airplane
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Dino Valenti

 

February the 5th performance was a very special event for Jefferson Airplane. The Summer of Love was soon to hit the scene, and the band was just about to have their first taste of international recognition.

Since the release of their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, followed by Surrealistic Pillow with Grace Slick as a new singer, these musicians had really grown up and matured as a group. Looking at the footage of some of the band’s live performances of that period it is not difficult to understand why.

Alan Bershaw observed: ‘In concert, Grace Slick is beginning to display a much stronger, more charismatic stage presence; and instrumentally, the band has become significantly more aggressive and adventurous, particularly Kaukonen [guitar] and Casady [bass], who are already beginning to propel the group’s sonic directions into areas previously unexplored.

 

The full review of the show together with the full set list can be found here:
http://www.concertvault.com/jefferson-airplane/fillmore-auditorium-february-06-1967.html

 

Other acts to play these dates included Quicksilver Messenger Service and Dino Valenti, who was soon to join the band too.

 

Here you can check out the nearly two-hour footage of bonus performances at the Monterey Pop Festival ’67, with QMS performing ‘Dino’s Song’ at 27:34, Jefferson Airplane doing ‘Somebody to Love’ at 48:24, and lots of other great acts from the 60s.

 

 

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Fillmore Poster Series #14

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Fillmore Gig Poster - April 1967

Fillmore Gig Poster – April 1967

 

Design by – Wes Wilson
Venue – The Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco.
Dates – April 21st-23rd 1967
Performances From -
Howlin’ Wolf
Big Brother and the Holding Company
Harbinger Complex

 

From the 21st to the 23rd of April 1967, influential American blues singer Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf, headlined San Francisco’s very own psychedelic rock paradise, the Fillmore Auditorium.

The booming voice and incredible musical abilities he possessed made him a firm fan favourite, but he wasn’t the only one to blow the audience away.

Big Brother & the Holding Company’s progressive style of instrumental rock gave lead singer Janis Joplin the perfect opportunity to showcase her transcendent vocals while American garage rock band Harbinger Complex, best remembered for their 1966 fuzz-punk classic “I Think I’m Down”, brought the show to a close.

Below you will find some live footage from the 60′s as well as the 1966 classic mentioned above!

 


 

 

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