bakersfield, california. (kget) — if you’re a fan of the bakersfield sound, the lively and unique sound that emanated from this city in the 1950s and 1960s, you’ve heard of it: the blackboard cafe, that loud honky tonk on chester avenue. where buck owens and dozens of other artists got their start in music.
The slate has been gone for years, but at least a remnant remains, and some lucky former patrons got a taste of some of its leftover glory this week.
Reading: Blackboard cafe bakersfield
It was all made possible by financial advisor Dave Anderson of the Moneywise Guy, who, in the course of a conversation with clients Todd and Amanda Adamson, learned that they had possession of the 10-foot-long bend at the end – final artifact. The world simply had to know about this, they decided, and a week after 17 News was contacted, a handful of former clients gathered in the basement of the Adamsons’ home in Bakersfield’s Oleander-Sunset district and they crept up on what should have been a familiar sight.
or could have been, perhaps, if not for the passing of half a century.
a section of the beautifully restored former bar is the centerpiece of the family’s furnished basement.
Todd Adamson was single when he bought the house from Michael Bayne in 1995. The bar came with him, though Adamson didn’t really know what he had until one day he got a visitor.
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“He says, ‘man, would you really want to consider selling it? I want to buy it,’” Adamson recalled. “He is really putting a lot of pressure on me. I say, ‘I’m sorry, this is mine and I’m not going to sell it.’ he says, ‘okay’, he says, ‘do you know where that bar came from?’ and I’m like, ‘I have no idea where it came from.’ He’s like, ‘It’s from the blackboard.’ I’m like, ‘Well, I’m not really going to sell it to you right now.’
bayne had bought the house (including the bar) in 1982 from marie baird, and this is where we have the slate connection.
Marie Baird worked night security at the blackboard. She was a substantial woman, according to Bayne, whose mother, she said, was a friend of hers, and she was not one to mess with. (Bayne said Baird worked as a Kern County deputy sheriff, but the KCSO could not immediately confirm that possibility and Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who said he answered calls on the board when he was a junior deputy, said he did not remember Baird.) no helper by that name.) When the saloon closed around 1980, Baird had the opportunity to buy a slice of the iconic honky-tonk, according to Bayne, and she took it.
this is a part of the same bar where patrons enjoyed the music of a young buck owens, merle haggard, red simpson and out of town talent like marty robbins and wynn stewart.
longtime patron of blackboard, Anna Reading, who had the opportunity to view the bar in the Adamsons’ home, hoped that a bit of celebrity DNA might linger today.
“I was rubbing my elbow against it a while ago,” he said, “so I could rub elbows with all the people who’ve rubbed elbows there before.”
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The slate was famous for fights that broke out, according to legend, almost every night. was that true, ray aldridge?
“yeah, but it wasn’t as hard as people thought,” aldridge said, standing near the bar for the first time in 50 years.
carol knapp said the blackboard was a great place to see and be seen.
“The second time I went in I had a broken leg,” she said, recalling a memorable day around 1973. “And I’m just sitting around minding my own business, not dancing. and a young man came and asked me how I broke my leg. so I told him I broke my leg skydiving.”
finally admitted to tripping.
a honky tonk guitarist named joe maphis is said to have recounted a typical night at the blackboard in 1953 when he wrote a song called “low lights, heavy smoke and loud, loud music.”
but at this week’s mini-gathering, the lights weren’t especially dim, the air was smoke-free, and the music was authentic but mostly soft as the reverent group of about eight gathered to greet the holy grail of honky tonk, a surviving section of a legendary bar.
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