When Would You Like to Have Been A Fly On The Wall......

OK, how about fantasy music instead of Fantasy Football.

One night I was thinking about all the blues and early rock and roll stars at Chess Records in the mid-50's and was wondering what it would have been like hanging around the studio as those artists were jamming and cutting their new singles.  Folks like Muddy and his band, the Wolf, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Little Walter, as well as the great session men who played on the records of many famous musicians.

This led me to think of some other wonderful examples of large collections of music stars:

(1)  Newport Folk Festival in the early to mid-60's when the folk revival was taking place, up to the time Dylan electrified the crowd

(2)  Sam Phillip's Sun Records studio (Memphis Recording Service) in the early to mid-50's where folks like Howlin' Wolf, Presley, Perkins, Orbison, Cash, and Jerry Lee rubbed elbows.

(3)  The live music scene in the clubs of Central Avenue in LA during the 40's and 50's where all the prominent jazz and blues artists would jam until daybreak.  This scene is immortalized in Dave Alvin's song "Boss of the Blues" where the Alvin brothers drove Big Joe Turner on a reminiscing tour of the area.

(4) Woodstock (original)

Can you think of a music scene that you would like to have been a part of?

The first few "Acid Test" events, set up by Ken Kesey & The Pranksters, where The Grateful Dead was the house band.

How about being a helper to the guy who recorded delta bluesman Robert Johnson in the hotel room in San Antonio?  I suppose I share this fantasy with Clapton and many others.  I think I still have the vinyl version with the "picture" of the scene.

It would have been great to be at some of the LA clubs in the early-80's when groups like Los Lobos, the Blasters, Dwight Yoakam were revving up.  Speaking of the LA area, McCabe's guitar shop in Santa Monica most any night since 1958 


The Nashville folks will swear by some of their favorite night spots such as The Bluebird Cafe, Robert's Western Wear, The Station Inn.  There is no telling which music celebs you might run into sitting in the audience or being asked to come to the stage on a given night.

Great idea for a blog. I can think of a few moments: Being there when the members of what became Buffalo Springfield ran into one another in a traffic jam in LA. Being at the session when Kooper and Bloomfield backed Dylan on "Like a Rolling Stone"-"...and none of that BB King shit". Smaller moments that I always wondered about would include the session for "Beck's Bolero" with Jimmy Page, Beck, Keith Moon, and John Entwhistle; the original session for the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie"; being on the plane when the Beatles landed in New York in 2/64; and watching Jimi Hendrix record his solo for "All Along the Watchtower".

Watching Richard Thompson and band record ELECTRIC at Buddy's Miller's home studio.  You think Buddy might have traded some licks with RT?

I'm not a fan of modern day "beach music" that is popular along the coast of southern NC and Myrtle Beach SC but I love the first generation stuff.  It would have be great to be in some of the clubs and ballrooms when prominent jump blues bands came through town and to watch the shaggers developing the next dance style.  I'm not sure what the music was called in the early days as "beach music" came much later.

How about being backstage at Monterey Pop in 1967 with Hendrix, Joplin, Redding, the Who hanging out.

One of my favorite live CD's is LIVE SHOTS by Joe Ely and band, back by The Clash in a London Club.  I would love to have been there.

Wasn't Jerry Lee's manic live show in the 1960's done at the Star Club in Hamburg?  He was really stoked that evening and the band could not keep up with his tempo.

Would love to be there when humankind discovered music!  Was it some dude pounding on something with a rhythm? Or trying to sound like a bird? Did dancing come before music or did music begat dancing?

With Steve Marriott and The Small Faces recording 'Itchycoo Park' mustn't grumble.

Bo Diddley, Shep and the Limelights, Gladys and the Pips, Chuck Jackson, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, the Coasters and more performed on the Chitlin Circuit and played at the Howard Theater in Washington around 1960. A few high school kids from the suburbs would drive down and take in the shows. I was lucky enough to be one of them. Now I'm an old guy, but the music is still inside me.


Wow, this thread finally generated some great action!

Another "scene" that comes to mind is Alex Korner's blues club in London in the early-60's when many of the British rock and blues acts were forming.

How about being on the American Folk and Blues tour during the same period watching Memphis Slim, the Wolf, Sonny Boy Williams II, etc.

In the liner notes of the Blasters compilation, TESTAMENT, the band talks about a magical night in a club somewhere in SoCal where the band was supporting Big Joe Turner.  It was one of those extraordinary nights where the band wished someone had the video rolling.

At Merlefest in late April each year folks talk about legendary pairings and call them "Merlefest Moments".  I'm sure this is happening at other big festivals.  My favorite is from 2012 at Merlefest.  About 3 songs into the Sam Bush Band's set he brought Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi to the stage to do "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Gimme Shelter", with Sam strapping on his electric guitar and playing the primary leads.  After those two songs, Bella Fleck joined the assembled crowd to do a tribute to Levon and Earl Scruggs.  Fortunately it was captured well on 28 minutes of video


In the same festival, Tedeschi, Trucks and Sam joined Los Lobos for some rousing songs




- The Bristol Sessions in 1927, the big bang in country music;

-Gerde's Folk City in 1961 attending Bob Dylan's first professional performance;

-the church in Montgomry, Alabama in 1963 when  Mavis Staples and her family first met Martin Luther King and sang "March Up Freedom"s Highway" for him;

-the hotel room in Houston in 1974 the evening after Emmylou  Harris and Gram Parsons played Liberty Hall when Emmylou and Linda Ronstadt met and stayed up all night singing together for the first time;  and

- Guy and Susannah Clark's living room in the early-to- mid 1970s when folks like Guy,  Townes Van Zandt and young punks like Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle sat around playing new songs for each other.


When Crosby was fired from The Byrds. When Young left Stills with Eat A Peach.

I wish i could go back in time to new orleans and just take in some of those Cosimo Matassa sessions .

I just ran across another one....touring with the Ike and Tina Turner Review!!!  WoW!!!

Riding on the rails with Jimmie Rodgers. Or San Antonio in 1928, when Lydia Mendoza made her first recording at age 12. La alondra de la frontera--the lark of the border.


Was at a friend's house a couple days and he had on some BBC early recordings of them and we were saying the exact same thing.

Crosby, Stills and Nash singing together for the first time, at Joni Mitchell's house.

Any day that Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings were in their apartment at the Fontaine Royal at the same time.

Love to have been 'half a mile from the county fair,' in the room when Van Morrison put together his Moondance album.


The Star-Club in Hamburg during the Beatles' last residency, which ended on New Year's Eve, 1962. I just finished Mark Lewisohn's 900-page opus on the band's early years, and loved every word. It drove me back to the widely bootlegged recordings of that gig. The sound quality is terrible, but in spots – like "Shimmy Shimmy" or "Roll Over Beethoven" – it comes through just how tight, loud and wild they were before the great repackaging known as Beatlemania. 

Johnny Cash live at Folsom or San Quentin.  The energy of those performances comes through on the record, must have been amazing.  Of course, to be in the audience....

Gram Parsons and the Byrds at the Opry 

Awesome stuff Ms H!!

I think my Black Keys show will probably someday be a memory like that as well!!  One of the best shows I have seen in a long time!!  Just going on 2 years ago now though....

And like they said about Woodstock back in that day....."If you remember it man,...you were NOT there!!"





#1 seeing The Clash during their first tour of America

#2 seeing R.E.M. right after Chronic Town was released

I was around for both, but not--if you know what I mean.

You are a blessed man Walter!!!


Very Cool Experience!!



I was that fly. I went to Newport in 1963 and 64 and will never forget it. Watching Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James take the stage after decades out of the spotlight was magic. I first saw Doc Watson there, and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon (then a member of the Freedom Singers). Bob Dylan had just a single album out. He came on stage hopping on one foot and pulling his cowboy boot on with one hand.  There were so many others: The Reverend Gary Davis, John Hammond, Joan Baez. The Vietnam War wasn't an issue then, but music sure was. Sweet as that Candy Man's stick.



The nightclub in Washington DC area where Gram Parsons first went to hear Emmylou Harris sing.


Cool question!

I have a good friend named Steve that is the biggest Elvis fan in the world.  We have often talked about going on the Chitlin Circuit with Elvis and running into all the rock and blues players in those venues of the South.  This is before Elvis was big as well as a lot of the other artists.

I also thought being around the Andy Warhol days with all the music artists and other folks interacting in NYC.  That would be a cool period to witness live!  I love that famous picture of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed!!!

My third is to be at the recording of Exile on Mainstreet in France with the Stones et. al.!!





1945 at the Grand Ole Opry, when Bill Monroe brought Earl Scruggs to the world on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.  I've read an account of this night, from Tut Taylor, who was a BIG fan of Bill Monroe's music PRIOR to this night (and is still a fan to this day).  He listened in, via the radio.

Tut described expecting Stringbean's claw hammer style of playing to show up, but when Earl Scruggs brought his machine gun-like approach, he reported that the crowd went wild.  Folks have talked and talked about Elvis' Opry debut in the mid-50's and getting 3-4 encores from the crowd.  On the night of Scruggs' debut, there were 4 encores, a feat that had never happened on the Opry stage, prior to that night.

There have been many great musicians, who have become identifiable to their respective instruments, but there has never been but ONE Earl Scruggs.  An artist who, still to this day, immediately comes to mind for almost everyone that mentions the banjo.

Questions? Dennis Jones asked this question of Earl Scruggs:

"I asked Earl once if he ever thought that his playing and music would become so big. "Oh Lordy no...I was just tryin' to feed my family. We didn't know." We do now...God Bless Earl Scruggs; God Bless Bluegrass Music."

The basement at the Big Pink to watch The Band rehearse..