Then we finished our set and the night with a version of Jr. Walker’s “Cleo’s Back.” We did it like the Tower of Power and Cold Blood SF East Bay legends did it, jamming out together from an obscure album called “Voco Presents - Lights Out San Francisco” and they went absolutely wild. It was the best response we ever had. Everyone was clapping to the beat and stompin’ their feet as each member of the Sonoma County Horny Horns took their turn at the plate with Libby and Alan ripping a dual guitar solo at the end to get us all to the final climax. That’s what music’s all about.|
Our final gig was at the fabled Inn of the Beginning. I packed my bags to leave right after the gig but didn’t want anybody to know so after we set up I went back to the apartment to get my things. There was Big Ed Mosley sitting in the living room. He was our roady who worked for us through a federal program for former inmates. He was living with us as we became more well known and it seemed like this train was heading somewhere. I told him that I was leaving and he knew that it was time to get off the Gladden Fields bus. I learned from him to love 50’s music. He sat there with me and showed me the delicate artistry of Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash” and lectured me as to why the doo woppers were really the very first rockers. I believed every word because he felt it so much. There was a mystery to his past world of the 50’s and America growing up. People had to make do and make the best of things and the music was a big part of that. That’s what I heard in the Jr. Walker songs I’d listen to every night. The past was magic and the future was just getting more and more copied and I was just a product of the modern plastic consumer society but he was real. So he understood why I had to leave. When Sam Cooke sang “We’re Having a Party” there really was a party going on. When Gladden Fields went all the way to the top I just had to end it there or it would have failed. I miss Big Ed and wanted to write something about his love of music.
So I went to the Inn of the Beginning where so many of the greats had played like Neil Young. I saw Big Momma Thornton of “Walk the Dog” “You Ain’t Nuthin But A Hound Dog” fame, The Persuasions, Tony Williams, John Cippolina the guitar wizard from Quicksilver Messenger Service and the great local heroes Bronze Hog. So this was it. Brian Bajor had his VW van parked outside for the mobile recording. The movie Dan made called “The Great Gladden Fields Debauchery” when we were still the original power trio was ready for us to jam to. This was it. We had arrived. As the movie played you could hear the packed crowd ooh and ahh. When Julie’s roommate Amy who played the cool groupie rolled over and went down to show written on her back “I’m only in it for the...” they belly laughed. The gig went very well. The movie has since been lost on a train back in ‘78 but I do have a recording of the gig somewhere in my sister’s attic I think. She started all this by begging me to listen to Dylan and go on the road when I was at FIT back in the Fall of ’76. But as far as Gladden Fields, it was the end.
That night as I left the club, I was offered a few things. Someone mentioned a record deal but I left anyway and drove down to 4 mile beach and slept. Then I visited Mel in the Los Gatos and told him that I did everything I set out to do and now I was going to Austin, Texas to find my new dream of playing with the best. I got a job at a Cajun seafood joint called Momma’s Money by answering an ad to play in the oyster shucker’s band right next to Antone’s Blues Club on E. Sixth Street. There I saw Jimmie Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds open and close every night for another blues legend sandwiched in between. Whether it was Bobby "Blue" Bland, the original artist to record "Turn On Your Lovelight" released in 1961 on Duke Records, who taught me what it really takes to sing the blues up close and personal in the back alley behind the restaurant by the tour bus. Freddie King or Clifton Chenier or [insert famous blues legend here] would play their week of shows including a not yet famous brother named Stevie. I was chopped down to size as I chopped those veggies for the flounder stuffing. I was now in school, chef school, blues school, school of hard knocks. The one school i wasn't in was college and with all those UT Austin kids around it wouldn't be long before I felt left out. Lost in Austin with the Austin Blues again.
Steve Gabe ©2005
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