MIZMARILYN'S MISSIVES

MIZMARILYN'S MISSIVES... THE MANIACAL MUSINGS ON THE MEANDERINGS, MISADVENTURES, AND MISHAPS OF A MISGUIDED MISCREANT...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spotlights-Ledbetter's-Randy Sparks


Ok... so to get to the good stuff first, John Denver played bass for me. Yep... little ole' me...

Let me go back a bit. In the 60's, as most of you know, I was a Folk Music person. That one phrase doesn't begin to sum up all that happened during those years, but it will have to do in this mostly G rated blog. Some of you know more, but the rest of you ain't gonna hear it here...

There was this club on Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles called Ledbetter's. It was started by Randy Sparks, a name unknown to many of you, but a huge persona at the time. He was the founder of the New Christy Minstrels. They were a group of 'modern' folk singers who sang many of his songs. Ledbetter's was started to keep a smaller group or groups 'trained' in the music to be able to fill in for any member who left the group. Some of the groups became quite well known on their own. He had an old truck on the roof (purpose unknown other than to mark the spot), and I have the jacket (see above).

So... It was a place to go and hear some really good music and, on some nights, to be able to sing. Remember "hootenanny's"?

I was one of those people on occasion. I had a fair voice, and occasionally piqued Randy's interest, although he really thought I might make a better comedian (I can't imagine why) at one time wishing to team me up with George McKelvey (again, unknown to most of you).

So.. one night as I was singing, John got up and played bass, and I think someone else also got up to either sing with me or play back up. John Denver was a casual acquaintance and one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was still married to Annie and was just a doll. One spotlight.

There were many spotlights during the years I spent hanging out at that magical place. I met some really great musicians and watched some go on to great fame. I learned that I didn't have the drive to do it myself, which was a terrific lesson.

I even made a fake Tiffany "EXIT" sign for Randy when he sold the place, having forgotten that it was in place during the sale. As you know, I'm quite clever...



The Back Porch Majority was one of the groups that sprang from the club.. the picture was taken on the roof where the old truck was lodged for a long time.

I could give you a list of some of the names, but that might be 'telling'..

let's just say

John Denver played Bass for me one night...

5 Comments:

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Jean said...

I went to Ledbetters every week-end when I was a teenager. I knew some of the Back Porch Majority, especially Kin Vassey. What a sweetheart. I did meet John Denver once. I agree, a nice guy. Those were the days.

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved going to Ledbetter's in Westwood in the late 60's. Saw Kenny Rogers, Hoyt Axton, I could swear James Taylor played there too....so many others, but I can't fail to mention Steve Martin. He was the host several times and honed his comedic skills, plus dazzled with his banjo playing.

 
At 6:42 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Oh yes, Steve Martin. He was/is so funny. I loved it when he was here. Remember the "Live Bouncing Baby Rabbit"? lol Kenny Rogers had just left when I started going. I wonder if I ever met You? Did you work there with your Mother?

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger suzanne hickman said...

I was there too....and the Mecca ...and the troubadour..and the whiskey and the golden bear...and sid's blue beat.

I

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Were you related to or married to Larry Hickman?

 

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