So... What's with the Bells?

By Audrey Goodman

RPM.jpgHave you ever found yourself at a local festival and heard some lively folk tune accompanied by...what was that... jingle bells? Curious, you may have felt compelled to follow the sound so you could investigate for yourself.

Eventually you would have found some musician(s) playing solo or in concert with others on fiddle, melodeon, piano accordion, maybe even a recorder or whistle, but bells? Nope.'d then have to notice that these musicians weren't playing for their or your own fancy, but were actually accompanying a small but energetic group of dancers; all wearing matching costumes, and weaving around each other in patterns while waving handkerchiefs or sticks which would be clashed together on varying beats of music. Cool. Then, as you looked at their legs you'd find the source of the jingling. Each dancer would be wearing leather squares tied around the front of their calves, adorned with rows of jingle bells and as they danced, they would be shaking said belled calves to the beat of the music. Really cool! "But," you may ask, "what's it all about?"

Read more: Rising Phoenix Morris


By Terry Roland 


I am coining a new phrase: The 50-year-old Line of Musical Experience. People 50 and over usually have a pretty good knowledge of popular music from the 60s on. You go too far below the age 50 and this period becomes musical history. Common songs of the 60s era are unfamiliar Blowin' in the Whaaa? Prior to doing this interview, I asked people if they had ever heard of Wild Thing. The results were about 99.9% on both sides of the age-50 divide. The song crosses generations and even cultures. But few know the man who wrote the song, Chip Taylor. Even fewer know that he is a folk and country singer-songwriter who was once on staff of April Blackwood Music in New York City, just a few blocks down from the legendary Brill Building where such luminaries as Carole King and Neil Sedaka got their start. The circle of knowledge grows smaller after this. Did you know that he was responsible for such pop classics as Angel of the Morning, and Janis Joplin's Try Just A Little Bit Longer? You are among the privileged few.

Read more: CHIP TAYLOR





There are many unsung heroes in the music business. Some may go unnoticed by the general public for 50 years or more. These days, it's hard not to notice Bob Stane. If you talk with any of the folk, blues and country veterans of the L.A. area music scene of  the 50s, 60s and 70s, they mention Bob and The Ice House. You may read Steve Martin's recent biography, Still Standing and see him mention Bob and The Ice House as though everyone should know this name. The truth is for the last 50 years, Bob Stane has helped introduce, nurture, support and grow such folk and country greats as The Dillards, The Association, John Stewart, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen and David Lindley. Today, if you travel north far enough up Lake Avenue in Altadena, you'll find him casually introducing a new generation of folk, blues, country, world and classical musicians. If you hang around long enough, you may find yourself bump into some of the classic folks from the days of times past, as I did last year when sat with Peter Tork at a Barry McGuire show or with Van Dyke Parks or Spanky McFarland at other shows. Bob now seems as though he's the wise and kindly grandfather you never had, willing to join generations together in our common celebration of the music we love...and as he puts it in this interview held at The Coffee Gallery Backstage last month, all for the love of the game.

Read more: BOB STANE