About Blog

This blog will document vinyl records (singles & EPs) of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly on San Francisco Bay Area labels. It will range from the earliest 78rpm records to current 45rpm records. The most updated list can be found at: http://www.westernswing.com/sfba.pdf

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ode To Spade

Tommy Graham, real name Graham Steffen, was a fellow prison inmate of Spade Cooley at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California. With a shared interest in country music, they sang together when not working.

From Spade Cooley wikipedia entry: On August 5, 1968, the California State Adult Authority voted unanimously to parole him on February 22, 1970. Cooley had served nearly nine years of a life sentence, and was in poor health from heart trouble. On November 23, 1969, he received a 72-hour furlough from the prison hospital unit at Vacaville to play a benefit concert for the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Alameda County at the Oakland Auditorium (now known as the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) in Oakland. During the intermission, after a standing ovation, Cooley suffered a fatal heart attack backstage. He is interred at Chapel of the Chimes cemetery in Hayward.

Graham upon hearing the news of Cooley’s death wrote a tribute to Spade. The Prolif label of Fairfield, California released it in September, 1970.

Clipping from Oakland Tribune November 3, 1969

Clipping from Oakland Tribune November 20, 1969

Spade Cooley with Red Murrell at his last performance

Ad for Ode To Spade in Billboard September 12, 1970

Spade Cooley’s final resting place, an above ground crypt in an outdoor mausoleum in Hayward, California

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dusty Dale

Roland “Dusty Dale” Chivers wore a lot of hats: disc jockey, singer, bandleader, and comic entertainer with a hat full of comic charcters like Dan’l Hanby, a hayseed character; Ace in the Hole, a rather ominous looking junkie; Pancho Lopez, the King of Olvera Street; and Wabash Cannon Ball. He led several bands on both sides of the Bay at places like Craby Joe’s Barn, Top Hat, and Mardi Gras in Oakland and Cotton’s in Belmont. He was a regular on the revised Hoffman Hayride (later California Hayride). He continued performing at various clubs and special events until his death in 1968. Below is one of his releases on the Oakland based Trilon label.

Postcard of Dusty Dale and the Trail Herders at Sandra’s

Ad for Sandra’s from Hayward Daily Review February 18, 1949

Sandra’s was taken over by Banchero’s, an Italian restaurant, which expanded on the original quonset structure still visible on this side angle. It is located in unincorporated Hayward near San Leandro.  

Clipping from Hayward Daily Review January 22, 1955. 
Crow Canyon Chateau in Castro Valley area.

Ad from Oakland Tribune, February 28, 1948 showing Dusty Dale 
following Ivory Joe Hunter at the Mardi Gras club in Oakland.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Charline Arthur


Charline Arthur, along with Rose Maddox, was a female forebearer of rockabilly. Charline recorded a lot of great classic country for RCA Victor in the mid 1950s. Before I started this project I had no idea she had lived and performed in the Bay Area in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Thanks to my pal Andy Gallagher, I discovered not only this but that she had released the following single on the San Jose, CA based Rustic label.

Larry and Bobby Black at their Peninsula Sound Studio

The record was recorded at Bobby and Larry Black’s Peninsula Sound Studio in San Carlos, California probably late 1969.

Article and ad from Hayward Daily Review January 30, 1970

The club today

Charline and her combo opened Pat’s Cocktail Lounge the last weekend of January 1970. It had previously been a neighborhood food market in unincorporated Cherryland next to Hayward and San Lorenzo. Over the years it has changed owners and names at least a half dozen times. It is now a neighborhood sports bar (no live music) called Shirlene’s Iron Horse.

Article and ad from Oakland Tribune September 4, 1970

The club today

Charline Arthur and the Country Raiders (probably because they were in Oakland Raiders territory) played every weekend at The Factory in San Leandro, California in the Fall of 1970. Today, instead of Chinese food, it is now Frank’s Tavern, a taqueria sports bar (no live music). Notice the sad trend here.

Recommended Recording & Video:

Bear Family BCD 16279 “Charline Arthur: Welcome To The Club” 32-track CD (1998)
M2kmusic RBWDV401 “Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly” DVD (2004)


Charline Arthur discography on Praguefrank’s Country Discography 2 site.