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Bob Harvey's Journal

Musical roots
By Bob Harvey

From a legendary Bluegrass group called the Slippery Rock String Band, formed in 1963, to becoming a founding member of Jefferson Airplane - then through a reformed Slippery Rock string Band up until 1968. That was followed by a folk-rock period called, Catfish Wakely. At age 40 I went back to school and got a BA in journalism and spent time as Entertainment editor and Managing editor at American Trucker Magazine. In 1990, I went to Saudi Arabia as a journalist and met Brian Fowler whose mandolin playing pulled me back into Bluegrass music. We began recording in 1995 and finished our first album Idiot's Vision in 2000. That was the beginning of "San Francisco Blue".

Last year San Francisco Blue did it's first festival, when we accepted an invitation to appear at the Cartersville, GA Arts Festival. That was recorded and turned into our second album Live on the Cartersville Express. That led to appearances at the "Brasstown Resort". We finished our third album Hurting For People; which was a tribute to Skip Spence who co-wrote the song Hurting for People, with me when we were together in Jefferson Airplane. Next we did the Lake Hartwell Arts Festivel; NASCAR Legend's Jam; and back to Cartersville for the second year of appearing at their Arts Fest. Absolutely the hilite of the whole year was the gig at Lake Hartwell, where we not only knocked ‘em dead with the music, but my ventriloquist dummy “Sam McDuff” made a slam dunk as well. The show was recorded live and turned into our best CD ever. After our "Brasstown" appearance, Brian Fowler stepped back from the music for a time. At that point I brought in Danny Taylor as a guest artist. He is absolutely the finest Violin player I've ever worked with. At that point I changed the name of the band to Georgia Blue. Danny Taylor made the Hartwell gig and the live album, absolutely come to life. The other new member is Alesia Chester. Her vocals are just the addition that was needed. The sound is kind of Bluegrass, sort of country, somewhat folk & a whole bunch based on harmony and a sensative blend of vocals that fit to Danny Taylor’s soulful and intuitive progressions in a way that pulls at your very heartstrings. Wait till you hear Live at ARTS in hARTwell. I like calling it Alternative Country. Mostly it's fun and very fulfilling. We're all from Calhoun, GA and now we're movin' on up - who knows, next thing you know we could be appearing in Rome - Rome GA that is - or who knows, maybe even Rome, Italy.

Bob Harvey's Journal

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"Georgia Blue" has 14 songs in the can at Echota Records. I'm spending the weekend listening to the rough mix of all

14 cuts, so I can pick out the 10 that we want on the upcoming album. We are enjoying having a regular weekly gig at a local restaurant called "Lizzi's" and are trying for another job at a bar in Dalton Georgia called the "Depot". I've just finished a new Bio for the express purpose of helping get more work.

I got a message from Chuck McCabe, banjo player for the Slippery Rock String Band this morning, telling me about a couple named Ray and Louise Nelson who have just moved to Georgia from the Bay area. Ray had a local television show in San Jose for many years. They are now involved in a non-profit organization called "Guitars not guns" which is aimed at young people. I've sent them an email and expressed interest in being involved in their efforts.

I've just finished reading a new novel by my friend Robert Gover, author of many books, which includes his best seller "One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding". This latest novel, titled "On the Run" is a gem which I highly recommend. It doesn't have a release date yet, but I will most definitely put the word out when I hear that it is finally available in book stores.


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So much of what I’ve dreamed of - and longed for, is actually coming to life for me – at an age when I should have caved in to the failure syndrome that has dogged me all my life. It’s the dreaming the pretending writing about it as if that would make it so. And in the end it really does make it so. Everything that you believe is true, even things you do not know.

Georgia Blue is opening the door to the music that has been hidden in my soul for the last 50 years. It’s only been eight months since Charleen told me about a hair dresser she met who said she could sing good harmony. Her name was Alesia Chester and she really can sing. We tried putting a group together with Brian Fowler on mandolin and Danny Taylor on fiddle. We did some fine recording, but the combination just didn’t work. First Brian dropped away, then after a great show at the Arts Festival in Lake Hartwell, that turned into a live recording that we turned into a great album, Danny Taylor came up with a mysterious injury to his bowing arm that he said wouldn’t allow him to play violin for a year.

That was the moment when Alesia told me about Zac Lanier, who she said played a mean lead guitar. She was right Zac Lanier is one fine guitarist, and to top that he can sing and even plunk a tune or two on the banjo.

The next step was when Alesia told me about Echota Records, a small record label here in Calhoun. That turned out to be a real bonanza. Ed Goins, president of Echota records has, with his head recording engineer, Tim Hicks, helped us to put 14 really good songs in the can, which as soon as we finish a couple of added tracks with electlike steel guitar and drums, we will have the best album I’ve ever produced of my music. On top of that, Ed has opened the door for Georgia Blue to perform at the May 6th “Jamboree by the Lake in Winchester, TN.

Now as if that weren’t enough, last Wednesday, “Georgia Blue” performed at “Lizzi’s”, a local bar and grill here in Calhoun. Thanks to Tim Hicks doing a great job of running sound, the crowd loved our music and the owner hired us to perform every Wednesday night. That gives us a home port, a place to build a following.

I’ve just finished a song that Thom Cooley and I have been working on.

Rolling Stone by Bob Harvey & Thom Cooley

(Am)When I (C)was a rolling (E)stone I (G)gathered (E)everything I (Am)could
(C)The world was my (G)home and my (Bf)home was (A7)wherever that I (Dm)stood
(G)I wanted to (E)stand up for the (Am)right
(G)But I was not (E)quite up to the (Am)fight
(Dm)And the time that you (Am)spend in doing (E7)well
(Em)is time you cannot spend in doing (Am)good
(F)So please won’t you hold me (G)tight I’m (Bf)falling (A7)back into my (E7)dreams
(Dm)Now I’m old and out of (Em)touch
(Dm)And I think that I have seen too (Am)much
(Am)Too much of all that I have (Em)been
(Dm)I used to be a rolling (Am)stone
(G)I think you really (Dm)know just what I (E7)mean
(Am)Great unspoken (C)motive of (E)life has (G)become the force that’s (E)motivating (Am)me
(C)The remainder of my life (G)trying to buy what (A7)once I had for (Dm)free
(G)when your progress (E)is all pre (Am)arranged
(Dm)There is no need in (Am)waiting for the (E7)change
(Em)And the secret is (Am)how & when to (Dm)bow out profita(Em)bly
(F)So please won’t you hold me (G)tight I’m (Bf)falling (A7)back into my (E7)dreams
(Dm)Now I’m old and out of (Em)touch
(Dm)And I think that I have seen too (Am)much
(Am)Too much of all that I have (Em)been
(Dm)I used to be a rolling (Am)stone
(G)I think you really (Dm)know just what I (E7)mean

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Last night was our third weekly performance at Lizzi’s and it is holding to the same pattern, a mostly full house of probably 70 – 80 people. Naturally, a lot of folks were friends andrelatives of the band, but the owner loved it as everyone was eating and drinking and everybody loving the music. We did two shows – 8PM to 8:45 and 9PM to 10. during our break, Zac and his friend Russell Bowden did a short set of three songs. Russell played mandolin and they sang. It went over well and kept the audience occupied so we didn’t lose anyone during the break.

Russell isn’t any Brian Fowler, but who is. He’s just a kid, but then so is Zac and he plays like he’s been doing it for years and years.

We didn’t have Tim Hicks and Ed Gowens from Echota Records to run sound for us last night and it showed. We did ok, but I couldn’t hear what the audience was hearing and it was difficult to keep the level right. Alesia’s boyfriend Ralph has done sound before so he will take a crack at it next week.

Our first set was

1) Persian Kitty (Traditional)
2) Bitter Cherry by BH
3) Walkin’ The Dog
4) Billy by Harvey,Cooley,Fowler
5) Wadin in the Water by BH
6) Children of the Wind By Harvey,Cooley,Fowler
7) Shadow Leaves by BH
8) Eliminate the Steps by BH
9) Coming to the Crossroads by Harvey & Cooley
10) Wild Flowers by BH
11) Evergreen by BH

Set two was

1) Black Velvet Soul by BH
2) Poor Girl by Harvey & Sievers
3) Puny up and Die by Cheney and McCabe
4) Abilene by Gibson
5) Married in Georgia by BH
6) Mother Trucker Blues by Harvey & Mullin
7) Can I be on your side by Harvey & Stennett
8) Your smile by Harvey & Stennett
9) Makes no difference Now

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Georgia Blue will appear at the Avalon in Santa Clara, California on Friday night July 21, 2006. Paul Labonte, erstwhile music promoter and musician invited us to not only perform for the event which is a release party for his band cosmic Buffalo? and their new CD ?Shake Hands with the Moon.? Paul offered to make it a dual release party, to include ?Georgia Blue?s? ?Children of the Wind? CD. John will fly back to Georgia for a visit and to meet the band. I met his sound man John Mork 39 years ago. Here is a note from John. A Thumb Tour, Summer of 1967...

I was tired and dirty, as I stood alone on the Monterey Street onramp to 101 in San Luis Obispo.  The sun had set hours earlier and the traffic was down to near zero.  Not seeing any rides coming my way, in desperation, I headed out onto the freeway in the hope of more potential wheels from which to beg. 101 was desolate, as were my spirits, having come directly from three dismal days in the Anaheim City Jail. Walking up the freeway, hoping the local chips were out fightin crime, I came upon a grove of heavy bushes.  Weary, I thought perhaps I could catch a wink there and try again at dawn.

Crawling into my private quarters I suddenly realized I was not alone. Something was crashing my pad, coming my way with vigor.  My apprehension was instantly relieved when two cute lil teenaged sweethearts came through the thicket and introduced themselves as fellow out of luck travelers in the dark.  What fate, I thought to myself, two babes spending the night with me on the highway, from jail to jailbait, could be interesting.  Discretion and youthful enthusiasm prevailed and we headed back out onto 101.

We were fooling around on the highway awhile, with no ride and fewer prospects, nothing much going up 101, when suddenly, a voice rang out across the ice plant and down the embankment from the frontage road.  He was alonghaired young man hailing us to the long sought ride we were yearning for.  We scrambled up over the waxy slope to a copper colored 1965 Mustang and piled into the back.

"Where you headed?" asked the very hip looking young driver.
"Bay area."
"San Jose."
"Fremont." Came the responses.

The driver spoke, "I can do San Jose." "Great, that'll do." We rejoined. "Say, you into music?"  And the conversation went on from there to introductions and the events of the day.  Now a very fine young lady companion dressed to kill in the style of the day, Haight Street Couture, occupied the shotgun seat.  I was struck by the Madison Avenue vibe coming from her stylish ttire.  I had seen many hippies in the bay area.  Hell, I was rapidly becoming one.  But none like this fine woman.  She had style, her clothes were not raggedy but ready for a models runway.  These two were different and in a very cool way.

We pulled off at an all night service station to get some muffler ties tightened and our host got a Martin guitar from the trunk to pass the time while waiting our turn at the mechanic.  He played us an original tune,
"Black Velvet Soul."  We were all very impressed and the conversation turned to his story.

Apparently I had witnessed this fellow on stage at the Cow Palace, opening for a Beach Boys show I attended earlier, ke in 1965.  On my way out of the show, exotic looking girls with long straight hair handed me a button. It read, Jefferson Airplane Loves You!"  Our host was none other than the
Airplane's first bass player, Bob Harvey.  Our acquaintance continued the next summer but that's another tale.

And it IS a VERY small world.

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I've been remise in my duty to keep postings about the activities of 'Georgia Blue.' We had a great time at the Jamboree by the Lake in Winchester, TN. On Friday May 6th. We put on a good show and had a good response from the audience. We are working on new material which includes Chuck McCabe's, 'I like your Skin,' plus Lamar Hunter has a great comedy song he wrote called "Doin' Without"

©1990 L. Hunter

My money's all spent and no credit on my credit line

The bilsl are all paid, only two months behind

The rent is due, I'm out on a limb

I'm damn shore broke and she won't give in

But I know just what I'll do (stop) I'll do without

Last night I dreamed I died and went to hell

Got burned real bad cause I lied to ole devil himself

Down on my luck, no place to go

Can't afford a dollar video, So I know just what I'll do

(stop) I'll do without

Chorus Yeah doin' without has sure made a mess of my life

I don't care I'll just take it all in stride\

Blues are blue and I'm missin' you

Ain't got a dime and my heart aches too

So, I'll do what I have to do (stop)

I'll do without

The bank just called and they said I'm overdrawn

Well I know that, cause all the money is gone

He said to get down here and don't mess around

Or find the best lawyer you can downtown

Or you know just what you'll do (stop)

You'll do without

Chorus Yeah doin' without has sure made a mess of my life

I don't care I'll just take it all in stride\

Blues are blue and I'm missin' you

Ain't got a dime and my heart aches too

So, I'll do what I have to do (stop)

I'll do without

I'll do without 'yeah' I know what I can do (stop) I'll do without.

List of upcoming performances for Georgia Blue

Saturday May 13th at 8pm Elks Lodge, Calhoun, GA

Friday May 19th at 10:30am Calhoun Senior Center

Saturday May 27th at 8pm Elks Lodge, Calhoun, GA

Monday May 29th Grand Opening Salacoa Creek Park

Saturday June 3rd 12noon - Train depot, Powder Springs, GA

Friday July 21st 8:30pm The Avalon in Santa Clara, CA, 777 E. Lawrence Expressway

This will be an album release party for 'Cosmic Buffalos' Shake hands with the Moon and for 'Georgia Blues' latest album Children of the Wind.

Sunday July 23rd 8:30pm Rountrees in Berkeley, CA, 2618 San Pablo Avenue

Telephone (510) 830-5383

Tuesday July 25th 8:30pm The Train Track on Roger Street in San Jose, CA

Thursday July 27th 8:30pm The Train Track on Roger Street in San Jose, CA

Friday July 28th 8:30pm The Kennel in Sacramento, CA.

Bob Harvey

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Copyright © 2002-2009 Bob Harvey All Rights Reserved