Bluesberry Jam

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Bluesberry Jam
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Blues-rock
blues
Years active 1960s
Associated acts Canned Heat, Pacific Gas & Electric
Past members Charlie Allen
Ted Greene
Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra
Frank Cook
Al Walten

Bluesberry Jam was a blues rock band active in the 1960s. They were for a time geographically as well as chronologically similar to Pacific Gas & Electric and Canned Heat. Their musical styles were also similar.

They are also notable for the calibre of musicians that passed through their ranks. Among the members of the band were future Canned Heat drummer Adolfo "Fito" de la Parra [1] and legendary guitarist Ted Greene and Charlie Allen future front man of Pacific Gas & Electric.[2] Another notable member was Frank Cook who was with Canned Heat and would end up in Pacific Gas & Electric.[3]

Band info[edit]

The original band was: Albert Walten (Vocal) Joe Matza (Guitar) Ted Greene (Guitar) Richard Fowle (Keyboard) Dave Day (Bass) David Hill (Drums)

It was as this Group that played the Magic Mushroom in Los Angeles with Canned Heat, and the Hullabaloo Club in Hollywood on 10/3/67 David Hill (original drummer) was drafted into the US Army, having received his draft notes later the same day as the Magic Mushroom venue.

Bluesberry Jam came out of Los Angeles and were among the three most popular blues bands of that era. The other two being Pacific Gas & Electric and Canned Heat. Canned Heat shared their first musical bill with Bluesberry Jam at the Magic Mushroom in Los Angeles.[4]

Mexican born drummer Fito de la Parra was in a band called the Sotweed Factor. [5] When Softweed Factor broke up, he joined Bluesberry Jam.[6] He would stay with the band until leaving to Join Canned Heat. The turning point was one night when Bluesberry Jam were playing at the Magic Mushroom sharing the same bill with Canned Heat, there were others watching de la Parra for a certain reason.[7] This was actually arranged by Skip Taylor the manager so that Canned Heat's members could watch Bluesberry Jam drummer Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra at work. The result of this was de la Parra joining Canned Heat. As Canned Heat were looking to get rid of Frank Cook their drummer, the whole thing became a simple switch-over with Cook then becoming the drummer for Bluesberry Jam[8] Frank Cook actually had a Jazz background. He had previously played with trumpeter Chet Baker, pianist Elmo Hope and bassist Charlie Haden. He had also been involved with Shirley Ellis and Dobie Gray.[9]

Cook would stay with them until he joined Pacific Gas & Electric.[10] By that time his former band mate Charlie Allen was with PGE as well. Al Walten who was a member of an early version of Pacific Gas & Electric left to Join Bluesberry Jam.[11]

Venues[edit]

Besides The Magic Mushroom,[12] the band could be seen playing at The Shrine Auditorium on Jefferson Blvd. On November 25, 1967, they shared billing at The Shrine Auditorium with The Doors, Iron Butterfly and Sweetwater. David Hill, their original drummer did not play the Shrine on November 25 '67, but was in that audience, home on leave from the U.S. Army. [13] in mid 1969 playing at venues such as Thee Experience in Sunset Blvd, a venue where Alice Cooper, Sons of Champlin, Poco and Blues Image would also appear. Between the 9th and 11 June that year they shared billing with Joe Cocker.[14]

Confusion[edit]

There are a number of misleading bios [15] and reviews that possibly mistakenly credit Bluesberry Jam members with being in certain bands and certain other members of bands being members of Bluesberry jam. They also mistaken in Bluesberry Jam's position regarding the evolution of Pacific Gas & Electric. While it is true that a number of Pacific Gas & Electric's members did come from Bluesberry Jam and at least one member of Pacific Gas & Electric left that band to Join Bluesberry Jam, Pacific Gas & Electric didn't evolve out of Bluesberry Jam as such. The Pacific Gas & Electric website states that neither Tom Marshall or Brent Block were members of Bluesberry Jam and Fito de la Parra was never a member of Pacific Gas & Electric.[16] There are sites that credit future Pacific Gas & Electric front man Charlie Allen as being the drummer for Bluesberry Jam.[17][18] The fact that certain members of the bands had switched places [19] have added to the confusion.

Pacific Gas & Electric was formed in 1967 and their first album released in 1968.[20] The Canned Heat website places Bluesberry Jam at the Magic Mushroom venue prior to December 1, 1967 [21] and the Rock Archeology website places Bluesberry Jam at the Thee Experience venue on two dates in June 1969.[22] This would indicate that rather that one band evolving out of another, Pacific Gas & Electric inherited some of Bluesberry Jam's members. As both bands were active as separate working bands at the same time, then this would prove the case.

Later years[edit]

  • After leaving Bluesberry Jam and becoming the drummer of Pacific Gas & Electric, Frank Cook would end up becoming the band's manager as a result of being injured by a drunk driver in a car accident.[23] It is believed that in later years Frank Cook would become a Psychiatrist in California.[24]
  • Charlie Allen would stay with Pacific Gas & Electric until 1973 where he would use the band's name to launch a solo career.[25] He died in 1990.[26]
  • Ted Greene would become a well-respected guitarist and teacher. He died in 2005.[27]
  • Fito de la Parra would remain with Canned Heat up until the present.[28]

Past members[edit]

  • Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra (Drums)
  • Al Walten (Vocal)
  • Ted Greene (Guitar)
  • Charlie Allen (Drums)
  • Frank Cook (Drums)

Original Members c. 1967 Albert Walten (Vocal) Joe Matza (Guitar) Ted Greene (Guitar) Richard Fowle (Keyboard) Dave Day (Bass) Divid Hill (Drums)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.putnampit.com Livin' the Blues
  2. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric website Brent's Page
  3. ^ http://www.putnampit.com Livin' the Blues
  4. ^ Canned Heat website The Official Band Biography
  5. ^ Happy Trailers HD "Made in Mexico, from Evolution to Revolution" Press Release
  6. ^ Strumming for Vets.org Artists, Fito De La Parra
  7. ^ Canned Heat Music Goldmine Magazine – 10-12-2007: CANNED HEAT’S HARD LUCK TALE – By Peter Lindblad
  8. ^ Canned Heat website The Official Band Biography
  9. ^ Canned Heat Site The Official Band Biography
  10. ^ Rock on: The modern years : 1964 - present, Volume 2 Norm N. Nite, Page 364
  11. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric website Brent's Page
  12. ^ Canned Heat website The Official Band Biography
  13. ^ hgogonotes.blogspot.com Shrine Auditorium 1960s and 1970s
  14. ^ Rock Archaeology 101 Thee Experience: Performance List March-December 1969
  15. ^ Allmusic.com Pacific Gas & Electric biography
  16. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric website Brent's Page
  17. ^ Answers.com Pacific Gas & Electric
  18. ^ lynnrockets.wordpress.com Saturday Night Music Byte
  19. ^ Piano Files canned heat
  20. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric Website Bio
  21. ^ Canned Heat website The Official Band Biography
  22. ^ Rock Archeology Rock Archaeology 101, Thee Experience: Performance List March-December 1969
  23. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric website Brent's Page
  24. ^ Pacific Gas & Electric Site Brent's Page 2
  25. ^ Pacific Gas and Electric Site Biography
  26. ^ Find A Grave Charlie Allen
  27. ^ Ted Greene Site Overview
  28. ^ Ruf Records Canned Heat biography