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The Compton Chronicles is a new feature on the R&RRH scene.  It is a chronicle of back in the day Compton and all of the exploits and foibles that can be remembered and shared.  Enjoy!

Compton Chronicles

Mission Statement
Something’s happening here… and what it is is an attempt by those who came straight outa the Compton of the ‘60s to document in written, graphic, photographic, and recorded form the essence of those heady times.   Although it was a culture and a scene influenced by literature, philosophy, spare change, crash pads, oatmeal, brown rice, consciousness expansion, spirituality, and outlandish humor, it was the music from both the times and the town itself that most defined the continuum.  The process of gathering testimony as to the anecdotal behaviors in question will, no doubt, initially tax the collective recall of those participating in the journey.  But as submissions begin to arrive and the repository becomes available technologically to all involved, memories will jog and muses will take seats at the table.  It will be as a flower unfolding… a dream in a constant state of becoming.  It should also prove quite hilarious!

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Compton Chronicles "How Barry became the bass player"
When I came to Compton with J. in 1967, I had played guitar for sometime, but only acoustical, at least the last few years. So when I met Fitz, Gallegher, Denny (who played acoustical and electric), Michael Almeida (acoustical and electric), Randy Godfrey, Les Scheer, my apologies to anyone I’ve left out, (it’s a brain cell thing, you know?). Electric was the instrument of choice to play ‘rock’, we had passed the true pure ‘rock and roll period by then, and as there were usually two, sometimes three electric guitar players present. So when I showed up with my Fender Jazz Master (a master of jazz, I wasn’t), now there were four, it was suggested, in delicate terms that I might try the bass as there wasn’t one present, David Barzoni notwithstanding. Everyone knew that in all the famous bands there was a pecking order: first came the lead guitarist, second the rhythm guitarist(s) and then usually the guy who couldn’t play the guitar as well as the others, at least in my case, the lowly bass players. Then, then, Nick Negrete and Les Scheer pooled their funds and bought me a bass and amp in order to form a group. They paid a hundred bucks, no small change in those days of fifty cent gas. That setup can be seen in the photo of the bell-bottom pants and neckerchief (not exactly Hendrix, but my ‘gigging’ getup) photo.

Later installment for upright acoustical bass which followed the Compton mass migration to Park City period which I left sequestered on the floor of Vince Armenderaz’s car secreting me out of P.C. due to an altercation with the local Keystone Kops on that infamous fourth of July ‘riot’ as it was touted. I picked up the acoustic shortly after hitting the east coast as, once again the other guitar players played better electric then I did. Interestingly, when I played my acoustic, I did so finger style and like Mississippi John Hurt (a major influence on my style) and Merle Travis my thumb was my bass player. The fingers were used to play the chords (harmony) and melody, but the thumb kept the beat. It just came naturally. My first song on the guitar a age eleven was I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash and the guitar line of which was all in the bass register. Then I heard boogie woogie on piano and guitar and fell in love with the moving bass lines rather than the higher registers, especially those favored by electric guitarists of the ‘60s rock revolution.
11:53 am pdt 

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