A CHRONOLOGY OF APPEARANCES
Compiled by Simon Montgomery, © 2001
 

1964.10    The Village Corner  Toronto, ON

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RonG on 2009-Sep-03 at 11:15:12 GMT-5:
I wish I had flyers on hand...I wish I had a lot of stuff that seems to have gone missing. But I have the memories...well most of them.

I recall the 1st Mariposa Folk Festival, 1961...I was 14, went from summer camp. It was then I really got hooked on folk, bought a guitar and started from there...

Landed up in Yorkville, (Toronto) hung around the coffee houses, during the transition time from beatnik to hippy....really strange. I recall 50 cent espresso at Club 54 in Yorkville...the only club on the street at the time. We would play for free drinks and pass the hat. As the street matured, and time wore on it became a mecca for songwriters and performers from all over, including Joni.

I can't recall the first time I met Joni, or the first time I saw her perform...she was Joni Anderson then, and was, like the rest of us, just trying to find anywhere to play...church basement coffee houses were the rage then...I think I played them all.

But I do recall the impression she left with us...beautiful in all respects...experimental...her open tuning of her guitar, her angelic voice and not only the way she looked, but her unpretentious open attitude. Not only that her enthusiasm, and innocence, was just infectious...you just wanted to be around her. She had this love of life...I never heard her say a bad word about anybody...despite her detractors.

For instance...one notable club owner who refused to hire her for some long forgotten reason, once stated he wouldn't hire her to wait tables...let alone perform. This club was the real pinnacle to reach in Toronto folk circles...only name acts played there...

Boy that was a mistake...later, she would up playing that club...and sold out every night.

By then I was playing autoharp, (still do) mouth harp, even spoons (we had a fun act) and my guitar playing partner, Eric and I would, at times, open up for Joni at clubs in Toronto and in Michigan. In the mid 60s she hooked up with her husband Chuck, and she was starting to take off...with Chuck, and as a solo artist.

I honestly don't recall when we first opened for her...or how we hooked up. My partner Eric handled most of the booking arrangements for us, so I can't say for sure...much of it at the time was word of mouth, or it may have been through one of the local booking agents at the time, and could have been Toronto or Michigan.

We used to travel around small towns in Ontario during the summer months, and when we weren't doing that, in the fall and winter on weekends, we were the house group at a local coffee house called The Left Bank, next to the Gaslight Restaurant, a few doors down the street, and across the road from the Penny Farthing, where Joni played, probably in 1965. I think I first saw her at the Village Corner, late 1964, early 1965, which was a great club just outside the village (Yorkville). She also played the Purple Onion, around this time on Avenue Road...

The Riverboat was our big club then...if you played the Riverboat you had arrived...acts like Tom Rush, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and more played there in the early days...

There was a Hootenanny at the Riverboat on Mondays, ...where we used to congregate and try out new material, swap songs and licks, and hopefully pick up a gig...I recall Joni playing there and just blowing everyone away...

I remember one time, we were with her in Detroit...Maybe 1966... we crashed at a fellows place, a friend of Joni's (can't remember his name but I remember he had a great Gibson guitar with gold tuning pegs), and we played and jammed all night. We went to a club in Detroit with Joni (I think Chuck was there, can't remember) to watch a friend of theirs from New York, Jim & Jean Glover (great duo...Jean had a voice, like you wouldn't believe). In between sets, Joni would be scribbling notes...and I asked her what she was doing and she said was getting some lyrics down for a song. I asked if she had a title and she said "Carnival Time in Kenora" And we laughed...it was all so "Joni" at the time...everything was fun and innocent and she was so full of life. I don't recall her every recording that song...or even if she ever completed it.)

Several months later, Eric called me that we were going to play with Joni at a club in Toronto, and we were going to pick her up at the airport, which we did...so if Eric didn't have his parent's car, then the 3 of were probably jammed into my 1958 VW Beetle...and we drove her into town. Can't remember where we dropped her, but we did open for her that night, probably a Friday. (Most coffee houses with live music were only open in Toronto Fridays and Saturdays in those days) The club has a relatively new one at the time....I recall a ship motif...perhaps Windjammer, or something like that... ).

This was coming around to 1967...maybe late 1966. I think we played the Sippin Lizard in Flint around that time, and another club in Saginaw, and then Joni went down to the states for a while and came back to Toronto, got the headline gig at the Riverboat, and then just took off from there.

Over time, Joni left, went down to the states, Eric, a superb guitarist, went down to the US to do session work, I stayed up north, hooked up with another guy here and continued the club thing, for a while, then life opened up different paths for me.

I still play for my own amusement, and I think old age is creeping up on me...I am, of late, fondly remembering those days, nearly 45 years ago, when the world was ours to change, and all we had was each other and the music...

She had been on my mind of late for some reason...hence me checking in, to see any postings on You Tube of any old recordings, and I stumbled onto this site. This is a great site, by the way, and yes, feel free to use my musings as you wish...I am also open to correction on time lines, so if anyone wants to fill in some gaps, I am cool with that.