GoldeBriars

A missing link in the history of sunshine pop

Contents:

 

History

The GoldeBriars

SHIFTING AND SWIRLING MUSICAL CURRENTS – ORIGINS OF SUNSHINE POP

The GoldeBriars from Minnesota were a folk group that was active from February, 1963 through June, 1965. During their 29 months together they were in constant transition. Starting out as a folk group and then moving to folk/pop, and then to folk/pop/rock. Although they never had a hit record as they hoped for, their unique vocal harmonies had an influence on other folk/pop artists at the time.

During that time period the musical currents were shifting and swirling and a new sound began to emerge with roots in various music genres including surf rock, folk music, and light rock. The surf bands often sang of “perfect” summer days of sand, surf, and sun that evoked images of a carefree lifestyle at the beach. The folk groups featured vocal harmonies and generally had positive, uplifting messages about peace, love and living together in harmony. Light rock featured a mellow (sometimes “dreamy”) sound with full arrangements typically with strings and horns and layers of background vocals.

Brian Wilson has stated that his main musical influence was the vocal group The Four Freshmen. Sunshine pop singer and songwriter Roger Nichols also admired The Four Freshmen and The Beach Boys. As these musical styles began to merge, a new music genre was created known as sunshine pop… although this term would not be used until the mid-1990’s when obscure sunshine pop recordings from the 1960’s began to be re-released in Japan (which then spread to Europe and back to the United States).

This “new” music had uplifting themes with an emphasis on vocal harmonies and full orchestrations. The song lyrics focused on sunshine, the beach, rainbows, flowers, butterflies, bluebirds, balloons, kites, good times, and of course… love. These songs featured an innocent and optimistic outlook on life, an idyllic view of nature, and a highly romanticized notion of love. In very simplistic terms, they were happy songs that made you feel good.

Some early versions of sunshine pop appear in 1965 and 1966. The year 1967 brought an explosion of sunshine pop songs that carried through 1968, 1969, and into the 1970’s. Amidst an era filled with political turmoil and generational conflict, sunshine pop provided an escape from the stress and anxiety of the times. In the midst of the rapidly changing music styles in the early to mid-1960’s The GoldeBriars traveled the country playing anywhere they could get a job, promoting their two albums on the Epic label, and struggling to get by.

By a twist of fate, the group was booked for a three week job at The Ice House in Pasadena, California. Their first night of the engagement was March 2, 1965. Connections were made at The Ice House that would impact the history of sunshine pop.

GETTING STARTED – A COLD WINTER NIGHT AT LE ZOO IN MINNEAPOLIS

Late, 1962: Three members of the Holmberg family and a friend put together a folk group called The Keynotes. The three family members are: Gary Holmberg; Sheri Holmberg; and Dotti Holmberg. Their friend is Ron Neilson. The Holmbergs were born in Los Angeles and had moved to Hugo, Minnesota to live with their grandparents. Ron Neilson was born in Davenport, Iowa, grew up in California and his family had relocated to Minneapolis. Gary had graduated from White Bear Lake High School in 1960. Sheri graduated in 1961. Dotti had transferred from White Bear Lake to Centennial High School in Circle Pines for her senior year (1962/1963). After practicing together for just three weeks, the group participate in a talent show held at the Grotto Auditorium in St. Paul. The Keynotes win the contest and take home fifty dollars in cash.

January, 1963: A short time period after The Keynotes win the contest in St. Paul, Gary stops by a coffee shop called Le Zoo at 1612 West Lake Street in Minneapolis to see Curt Boettcher, a solo folk artist who plays guitar and sings. Curt had grown up in numerous countries as his father was in the Navy. Having graduated High School in Eau Clare, Wisconsin, he is a freshman at the University of Minnesota with a language major and a member of a fraternity. Ron had already met Curt at a folk club called the 10 O’clock Scholar in Dinky Town (an area near the University of Minnesota). Ron drives Sheri and Dotti to Le Zoo so the two sisters can get a ride home with Gary. They discover a very small audience at the coffee house on the cold winter night. As they wait for Gary to be ready to leave with them, they are able to check out Curt’s performance. Curt encourages the small audience to sing along with a popular folk hit by Peter, Paul, and Mary called “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Sheri and Dotti start singing harmony parts to the song. Paul Hewitt, one of the managers at the coffee shop encourages Sheri and Dotti to join Curt on stage which they do after some aggressive coaxing. After introductions, the three perform a number of folk songs, making up harmonies on the spot. Sensing a bit of chemistry on stage, Sheri and Dotti make plans to get together with Curt the following weekend.

Dotti: “We got up there… Curt, Sheri and I started singing together and it was automatic, like that golden blend. It was a perfect fit. It was pretty fun and exciting.”

The next Sunday, Sheri and Dotti meet Curt at the Delta Tau Fraternity House on the University of Minnesota campus. Curt teaches the two sisters “Pretty Mary” and “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Since none of the three can read or write music Curt sings the harmony parts for Sheri and Dotti to learn. Curt sings the high vocal parts (by Mary). Sheri and Dotti sing the lower range vocal parts (by Peter and Paul). Curt, Sheri, and Dotti catch an unannounced concert by Peter, Paul, and Mary at the University of Minnesota campus.

Dotti: “They had that simplicity and the sound and the image. We knew we had a different sound and it kind of gave us hope that we could be unique in our own way as they were unique in their way.”

Sheri and Dotti learn an original song written by Curt called “My Song.”

CURT + SHERI + DOTTI + RON = A NEW FOLK GROUP

Late January, 1963: Curt, Sheri, and Dotti decide to form a new folk group. Gary is already in another folk group called The Stowaways. The first thing they do is come up with a new name. The group considers “standard” folk names but decide they want something more unique and come up with… The GoldeBriars. “Gold” is symbolic of something special and “Briar” is symbolic of something common (and the silent “e” in the middle to connect the two concepts).

After playing together for two weeks, Sheri and Dotti bring Ron Neilson over to the rehearsal and The GoldeBriars become a quartet. Sheri is the oldest member at nineteen. Curt is eighteen. Dotti is seventeen. Ron is the youngest member at sixteen. At a young age he took up playing the drums and the vibes and liked all types of music from rock’n’roll to jazz. Ron is a student at West High in Minneapolis.

February, 1963. The GoldeBriars play their debut show at Le Zoo and are booked there for a fourteen week stay. The group plays standard folk songs with new vocal arrangements by Curt and guitar/banjo arrangements by Ron. With each week at Le Zoo the group draws larger audiences, however the management falls behind in their agreed payments to the group and by the end of their run at the coffee house, the club owes the group five hundred dollars… which they never receive.

For stage clothes, Dotti and Sheri wear sophisticated black sleeveless dresses (below the knees) with gold high heels and gold chains. The guys wear white shirts, ties, suit coats, and black pants.

June, 1963: Dotti graduates from high school and moves into the Hennepin Arms apartments in Minneapolis, along with Sheri. Curt moves into another apartment with two of his friends in the same building. All of the group members get office jobs except for Ron who works for his father. The group survives by eating a large variety of rice dishes.

FOUR PEOPLE + ONE FERTILITY GODDESS FOR GOOD LUCK

Ron’s father had returned home after World War 2 and brought back a large wood carving of a fertility goddess. Curt names the wood carving “Jezebel” and the group adopts it as a mascot and a good luck charm, bringing it on stage for every performance.

Ron: “Jezebel was carved from a palm tree log and was picked up by my father during his service in the Pacific Islands during World War 2. The nicely done carving was of a native Polynesian pregnant woman. I thought it was provocative, even cool, and was the one to first bring it to the stage at an early performance by the group. We had lots of female energy in our group. The GoldeBriars, of course, were uniquely renowned for this gender balance.”

Dotti: “It took a little time for Sheri and I to get used to Jezebel being put on stage during our performance, first as a prank by the boys, but we soon took a real liking to her. From that point on she was considered to be the mascot and fifth member of the group. Curt was a colorful person and liked to cut up and laugh (he had a high gleeful laugh) in between rehearsals. He also enjoyed sharing his rice and fish head soup recipes with us that he acquired in Japan. But so much of our time was spent on rehearsing (and eventually traveling that we didn’t have much time to just ‘play around as a group. We all had the same goal of achieving success musically and we knew we had to work super hard to make all our dreams come true to be able to climb the ladder of success in the music business. Our love for music helped us evolve quickly vocally and instrumentally and with the blend of our three voices and Curt’s vocal arrangements, we created a magical sound.”

The group pools their money and purchase a band vehicle, a 1951 Dodge. They decide to paint the group name on the car, but after “THE” is painted on one side they have a change of plans and never add the group name.

July, 1963: Judy Helgeland is a waitress at Le Zoo and informs Mark Hollenquist about the new group, The Goldebriars. Mark is a member of The Flint Hill Singers, a folk group from South Minneapolis. Mark passes the news on to their manager, John Haeny. Haeny stops by Le Zoo to check out the new group and wants to record them right away. The Goldebriars sign a management contract with Haeny’s company called Contemporary Talent. Haeny books the group at charity events, benefits and other small jobs around the Twin Cities. The Al Sheehan Agency books the group at hotels and country clubs for the two week run of the annual Minneapolis Aquatennial .

August, 1963 to November, 1963: The group also plays at a number of local hootenanny’s including “The WDGY Hootenany” at Midway Stadium in St. Paul; “Hoot” at the Midway Shopping Center in St. Paul with KDWB’s Hal Murray as Master of Ceremonies; and “Holiday Hootenanny” featuring female models from Seventeen Magazine at Dayton’s Department Store in St. Paul. Sheri and Dotti pick up new hairstyles from the models and all of the group members dye their hair black.

DAVID HERSK – JOHN HAENY – A PLASTIC PROMO RECORD – A RECORD DEAL

John Haeny brings the group over to David Hersk’s Recording Studio in Minneapolis. David comes up with the idea of issuing a plastic promo recording with two songs by The GoldeBriars on one side and two songs by The Flint Hill Singers on the other side. The square, flexible, plastic disc manufactured by Evatone (33 and 1/3 RPM) is included in various magazines as a promotional tool for both groups.

David Hersk: “The Flint Hill Singers had “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Come Along” and The GoldeBriars did “Rolling Stone” (”Rollin’ Stone” on disc) and “Old Time Religion” and these were released by Evatone, basically to get them into the stereo business because all of their song sheets in the past had always been mono.”

David promotes both groups to national record companies. The demo tape for The GoldeBriars contains the two songs on the plastic disc plus “Sweet Potates” and “Zum Gale Gale.” The GoldeBriars receive offers from: Mercury and Epic (part of Columbia). The group signs a three album contract with Epic Records.

The group members, along with John Haeny, pack up the car with music gear, suitcases, bags of food, and a transistor radio that dangles from the rear view mirror and head to New York City, a twenty-eight hour trip. The first stop is in Eau Clairie, Wisconsin to share a meal with Curt’s grandparents.

IN NEW YORK CITY – RECORDING ALBUM NUMBER ONE

November 17, 1963: The group arrives in New York City and check in at The Victoria Hotel (51st Street and 7th Avenue).

November 18, 1963: On their second day in New York City, the group enters Columbia Studios on 30th Street for their first day of recording. Bob Morgan is the producer for the album. The group meets Len Levey, the General Manager at Epic. They also meet Australian Rolf Harris who had written and recorded a folk/novelty song called “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” a hit in Australia and Europe in 1960 and a re-recorded version became a hit in the United States in 1963.

Dotti: “Columbia Studios had once been a church with super high ceilings that produced a natural echo. So with the studio engineer adding equalization and their engineered echo, you could get a recorded sound bigger than life. Johnny Mathis recorded at that same studio and also Barbara Streisand.”

November 22, 1963: The group is walking down the street and notice that people on the sidewalks are crying. Trying to figure this out, the group walks in to a restaurant and inquire as to what is going on. They are informed that President John F. Kennedy has been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The recording session still goes on as planned.

Dotti: “We had to continue with recording that same evening and that was pretty hard but of course we had to do that. It was a pretty difficult day to get through.”

Epic is hoping that The Goldebriars will become the next Peter, Paul, and Mary.

November 26, 1963: The group finishes their first album after nine days of recording which includes twelve songs for the album as well as six additional songs. Bob Morgan calls the group into his office and plays two versions of the recording. The first version has no vocal over-dubbing and the second version has vocal over-dubbing. Bob gives the final decision to Curt.

Dotti: “Curt’s decision was to choose the over-dubbed version as he thought our sound would be more commercial compared to the folk music sound that had been on the market.”
The three singers are all adept at “traveling harmonies” which means that each singer can switch from low to mid to high harmony parts within the same song.

Dotti: “We were all in awe with the big sound our three voices generated.”

January, 1964: Epic takes out promo ads in Billboard and Cashbox one month prior to the release of the album. The ads feature a photo of Jezebel and state: “Coming soon… almost here on Epic.” A promo package is sent out to radio stations that includes a 45 RPM record with four songs:

Song 1: “He Was a Friend of Mine”
Song 2: “A Mumblin’ Word”
Song 3: “Shenandoah”
Song 4: “Old Time Religion”

HOOTENANY TV SHOW – UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE

January 21, 1964: The group is taped performing with a large number of other folk acts on the ABC-TV “Hootenanny” show held on the campus of the University of Tennessee. On the bill with The GoldeBriars are: Homer and Jethro; Pete Fountain; Joan Toliver; “Doc” Watson; The Geezinslaw Brothers; Bill Monroe; The Cumberland Trio; and The Serendipity Singers. The group also performs the opening number with all of the acts called “Hootenanny Saturday Night.” The show airs in September, 1964 and is the last “Hootenanny” episode as ABC replaces the show with “Shindig.”

One of the producers of the show informs the group that due to time constraints they cannot have a musical introduction to their song “Saro Jane” and also has the group revise their vocals parts for staging purposes.

Dotti: “We were disappointed. We loved being there but we could tell there was something coming down on the group because we had our recording “Saro Jane” and they kept on making our song shorter and shorter. We found out that the show producer was also the manager of a local folk band. We knew something was going on. They were trying to make us look not as good as we could have looked and so our song was cut and jammed into a shorter version. Of course, we did our best.”

FIRST ALBUM RELEASED

February, 1964: The GoldeBriar’s self-titled first album is released on Epic Records. The songs are as follows:

Song 1. “Railroad Boy” (folk/railroad standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 2. “He Was a Friend of Mine” (folk standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 3. “Come Walk Me Out” (Bonnie Dobson, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 4. “Alabama Bound” (Leadbelly and Huddie Ledbetter)
Song 5. “Pretty Girls and Rolling Stones” (unknown, credited to C. Boettcher, D. Holmberg, R. Neilson, S. Holmberg)
Song 6. “A Mumblin’ Word” (spiritual folk song, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 7. “Old Time Religion” (gospel standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 8. “Long Time Travelin’” (folk standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 9. “Shenandoah” (folk standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 10. “No More Auction Block” (folk standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 11. “Voyager’s Lament” (C. Boettcher, D. Holmberg, R. Neilson, S. Holmberg)
Song 12. “Sing Out Terry O’Day” (Curt Boettcher)

The album is released in two versions: Mono (LN24087) and Stereo (BN26087). The twelve songs are in the folk music tradition but have a number of unique influences that set the group apart from other folk groups of the time. While living in Japan, Curt became interested in jazz music which he heard on a Moscow radio station. He played guitar in a country and western band made up of Marines and studied Kabuki Music. Curt was also a DJ on a radio station in a small town just outside of Hiroshima. He also co-hosted another radio show with a female singer. It was during his senior year in High School in Wisconsin that Curt began playing and singing folk music.

Starting in his early teens, Curt developed multiple interests outside of music including languages, science, painting, cartoon drawing, choreography, and dramatics. He spoke many languages: English; French; Spanish; Latin: Japanese; and Hindu-Urdu.

Curt: “I guess I got interested in all those things because I never had much of a chance to make friends due to all the moving around.” (From the Epic band bio, February, 1964).

Dotti: “Epic said The GoldeBriars were the fastest group they ever recorded (they said we were just like computers – so well prepared) so we always had extra songs left in the can, ones that couldn’t fit on a particular album… to roll over to another album.”

Curt: “My songs are more or less like English and Appalachian melodies but in my own material and in the arrangements I do, jazz, classical music, rock and roll and even the kabuki music I studied in Japan have a part. The point is to enhance the feeling and words of the song.” (From the Epic band bio, February, 1964).

THE BEATLES ARRIVE IN THE USA – CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

In the same month The GoldeBriars first album is released, The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and Beatlemania sweeps the nation. The Beatles also dress in black clothes and boots and have dark hair. This leads to a number of people mistaking The GoldeBriars for The Beatles.

Dotti: “The Beatles took off. They were the craze and people would think we had something to do with The Beatles. It was very strange.”

Epic releases a 45 (Epic 9673) with two songs from the new album: “Shenandoah” backed with “Pretty Girls and Rolling Stones.” Both songs are listed as “Pick Hits” in Cashbox. “Shenandoah” receives airplay in five major markets including St. Louis, Missouri where it tops the play lists for a month just above the Number 2 song: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles.

Dotti: “The B-side ‘Pretty Girls and Rolling Stones’ was sung to us one night between our sets at Le Zoo by a stranger. I took the lyrics in shorthand and Curt and Ron picked up the chords as the stranger played the song. We never saw or heard from this person again and I’m sorry to say we failed to get his played the song. We never saw or heard from this person again and I’m sorry to say we failed to get his name, but we liked the song so well we added it to our repertoire.”

NEW BOOKING COMPANY – EXECUTIVES – SUITS – CIGARS

Shortly after the album is released the group has a falling out with John Haeny and part ways. The group signs up with ITA in New York City, a large booking company.

Dotti: “They were the cream of the crop in New York City and when we met with them the people behind the desk were smoking cigars. It was like going into a movie set. It didn’t even seem real.”

Their first job booked by the company is at the New York Blue Angel Club, a prestigious and popular venue.

MAKING FRIENDS AND FANS ON THE ROAD

The group is booked at the Know Where Club in Joliet, Illinois; various venues in New York; and The Cellar Door in Washington, DC. At The Cellar Door they meet Gale Garnett and her bass player Keith Olsen. Just a few blocks away from The Cellar Door is another music venue called The Shadows.

Between sets and after playing their last set of the night, the group heads over to The Shadows where they meet a number of popular folk bands that include members who are on their way to becoming nationally known pop stars including: Cass Elliot; Denny Doherty; John and Michelle Phillips; Zal Yanovsky; Steve Boone; Joe Butler; and John Sebastian.

Dotti: “By this time we are folk/pop. We are not just folk. Our sound had evolved to give us a pop flavor.”

Curt: “We were the beginning of the sound that became The Mamas and Papas. Our biggest fans were John Phillips, Cass Elliot, and Zal Yanovsky. Every time we played in the same town, they used to come and watch us, and many times we came to watch them. Cass and Zal were in The Mugwumps at the time. They would always ask us to come up and sing with them. Interestingly enough when they put together The Mamas and Papas, they had the same kind of harmonies we had.” (From the liner notes to The Ballroom/Sagittarius/Millenium reissue).

BOB GOLDSTEIN – WRITER AND STAGE DIRECTOR

As the group plays at various venues they come to realize that they are missing something. They lack a stage show to go along with their music. Burt Block, their new manager introduces the group to Bob Goldstein who co-wrote the song “Washington Square” which was a hit for The Village Stompers in 1963 on the Epic label. The Greenwich Village group was known for their unique “folk/dixie” instrumental sound. The group hires Bob as a writer for their act and stage director.

ON A BARGE OFF THE FLORIDA COAST

The group is booked to play two clubs in Florida and are forced to fly there as their second band vehicle (a 1963 Plymouth Station Wagon) was involved in a car accident. As they are getting off the airplane, Jezebel’s feet fall off. The members wonder if this may be an omen of sorts.

While playing in Miami, the group is offered to be part of a promotion stunt for Tom McCann Shoes. The stunt involves a barge that will travel from Miami Beach to Fort Lauderdale and stay close to the shore so the beach-goers can see a large Tom McCann shoe banner and also see and hear the group. On the barge, The GoldeBriars perform (lip-sync) as their album is played on a turntable hooked up to an amplifier and cheap speakers. As the wind and waves pick up, the album flies off the turntable… over and over again. At one point the Harbor Patrol broadcast an order for the group to turn off the music. The sun, the waves, and the wind all take a toll on the group and at their next job at Cocoa Beach they find their voices are too weak to sing and a doctor informs then that they are all sick with a virus. Their show is cancelled and the group is out of work for three weeks as they rest.

Towards the end of their stay in Florida, the group develops a more “mod” style.

Dotti: “Our sound was evolving and we decided we needed to evolve with our look a little bit more.”

Sheri and Dotti begin wearing floor length skirts (sewed by Curt’s mother) with the black turtle necks. Another outfit they come up with is light blue tunic jumpers with black leotards and berets. The guys wear tunics over their black turtle necks, black slacks, and black boots. The tunics are made out of Minnesota work shirts with the sleeves and collars cut off, hemmed, and dyed.

BACK TO THE STUDIO – TWEAKING THE SOUND OF THE GROUP

May, 1964, The Goldebriars check into The Christopher Hotel in Greenwich Village and return to Columbia Recording Studio to record songs for their second album. The group members know that the interest in folk music is fading and they take a different approach to recording their second album with a more complex sound, adding different musical instruments: vibes; harpsichord; tuba; drums and timpani, played by studio musicians.

Dotti: “I was intrigued with the additional percussions added to some of our recordings such as the timpani drums.”

Dotti and Sheri decide to try a new look for the members and all four dye their hair blond one day before the photo shoot for the album cover. Curt and Ron do not like the outcome and decide to dye their hair black again that same night. Dotti and Sheri keep the blond look for the photo.

Right after the recording is completed Sheri comes down with exhaustion and leaves the band, returning to Minnesota to recuperate. Cathi Weaver from Eau Claire, Wisconsin fills in for Sheri. Cathi had been a singer in a group with Curt called The Chalices.

Dotti: “She luckily fit into our image with her blond hair and voice similar to Sheri’s.”

A COFFEE HOUSE MOVIE

The GoldeBriars are contracted to be in a movie called “Once Upon a Coffee House.” The group is hired to sing the theme song for the movie and to act in a few scenes arranged by Curt. In Miami Beach, where the filming takes place, the group discovers the production and direction of the movie is not well organized and Curt winds up doing the arrangements for everyone else’s songs. Dotti’s voice is under stress learning to sing songs that will not be used in the movie and she develops nodes on her vocal chords. The group also discovers they are not being paid for all of their work.

The film is released the following year and is not a commercial success.

The group moves in with Curt’s parents who are now living in MacLean, Virginia. They spend their time teaching Cathi their songs and waiting for a club booking to come along. No offers to play come about. The group decides to “split up” with Jezebel. The fertility goddess/mascot does not seem to be bringing much in the way of good luck to the group.

As the summer draws to a close the group heads back to Minnesota to pick up Sheri who has now recovered from exhaustion and drop off Cathi who is engaged and does not like the gypsy lifestyle of being on the road and is happy to exit the group.

ALBUM NUMBER TWO

August, 1964: The GoldeBriar’s second album called “Straight Ahead” is released on Epic Records. The songs are as follows:

Song 1. “Sea of Tears” (Curt Boettcher and Bob Goldstein)
Song 2. “MacDougal Street” (Beverly Ross)
Song 3. “I’ve Got to Love Somebody” (folk standard, arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 4. “Jump Down” (folk Standard, arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 5. “Sweet Potatoes” (Creole folk song, arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 6. “Haiki” (Curt Boetcher)
Song 7. “No More Bomb” (Powell – McWhinney – Goldstein)
Song 8. “Queen of Sheba” (Strollman – Jacobson)
Song 9. “Joy, Joy, Joy” (gospel standard)
Song 10. “Castle on the Corner” (Bob Goldstein)

Song 11. “Zum Gale Gale” (Hebrew standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)

Song 12. “Ride that Chariot” (African – American Spiritual)

The album is released in two versions: Mono (LN24087) and Stereo (BN26114). Bob Goldstein writes the notes on the back jacket cover. The notes have a number of quotes from Curt.

Curt speaking about Minneapolis: “It’s wild there. Can you believe it? Minneapolis has a load of great young singers who sort of stay around, exchanging songs and singing in small clubs and coffee houses.”

Curt on The GoldeBriar musical style: “No matter what it is when we start it always comes out GoldeBriar. “

One of the songs on the album called “MacDougal Street” is written by Beverly Ross, who had written hit songs for numerous artists in the 1950’s and early 1960’s including Bill Haley and the Comets, The Chordettes, Elvis Presley; Ral Donner; Roy Orbison; and Lesley Gore. Bob Goldstein introduced The GoldeBriars to Ross and she liked the sound of the group.

As the summer draws to a close the group heads back to Minnesota to pick up Sheri who has now recovered from exhaustion. Cathi is engaged and does not like the gypsy lifestyle of being on the road and is happy to exit the group.

CHANGES IN THE LINE-UP – AMPLIFICATION – A NEW SOUND

September, 1964: Ron Neilson leaves the group. Curt, Sheri, and Dotti decide it is time to make a major change in their sound by bringing in additional musicians and amplification. Tom Dorholt joins on bass guitar. Murray Planta joins on lead guitar. Ron Edgar joins on drums. Curt outfits his acoustic guitar with a microphone connected to an amplifier. The GoldeBriars are moving to a more folk/pop/rock style of music.

Ron Edgar: “We went electric at that time which was sort of unusual for a folk group. You think of folk music being like The Kingston Trio… all acoustic guitars. We rehearsed as an electric folk band.”

Dotti: “Amplifying our instruments and adding Tom Dorholt on the electric bass and Ron Edgar on drums was a natural evolution for The GoldeBriars. Murray Planta was a perfect replacement for Ron Neilson (who were friends). Murray didn’t play the banjo like Ron but the harmonica, which was a great addition for such songs as “Hush, Hush.” And with Bob Goldstein onboard with the group to help us add pop-rock material to our repertoire and get our act together, it was like a fresh, new, and exciting start. The new music to be added was very natural for Sheri and I because as a duet before The GoldeBriars, we performed jazz/pop songs. When sister Sheri rejoined The GoldeBriars, I was overjoyed to see her. Cathi had done a great job as a fill-in for Sheri but having my sister back in the group was great! I had missed her and loved singing with her as it was always inspiring for me to weave our voices and harmony together. We were like two peas in a pod as if our voices belonged together.”

Bob Goldstein comes to Minnesota to assist the group in getting a show together for a job booked in Winnipeg, Canada. The planned job north of the border is cancelled and their booking agent calls and in forms the group that they are booked for a four week job at 300 King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The group loads up the Buick (including Bob Goldstein) and drive straight through to Charleston in thirty-six hours. Dotti and Sheri have gone back to having black hair and Curt comes up with an idea for the guys to wear one earring. The guys also grow out their sideburns.

Dotti: “To add to our gypsy image created by Curt he decided the guys would wear one ear ring.”

Ron Edgar: “We had a bohemian look after we got the black turtle necks and the ear ring and the long dresses that they (Dotti and Sheri) wore. “

A 45 from the second album is released: “Castle on the Corner” backed with “I’ve Got to Love Somebody” (Epic 9719).

In England only a 45 is released: “Sea of Tears” and “I’ve Got to Love Somebody” (Columbia DB 7384).

300 KING STREET IN CHARLESTON – THE CHEMISTRY IS RIGHT

The club at 300 King Street has only been up and running for a month and is owned and managed by the house band there called The Wayfarers. The Wayfarers are a seasoned folk group and have recorded a number of albums for RCA. In the group is Sean Bonniwell, guitar player and singer.

Dotti: “Upon arriving the first night at 300 King Street, we barely made it on time for the performance as we were running late due to our many traveling mishaps and we were dirty and tired but were able to pull it together to get through our first evening of performing. Sean had already heard some of The GoldeBriars recordings and liked our sound so he was eager to have us to be the first group to perform in The Wayfarer’s club besides themselves.”

The GoldeBriars, with their recently revised lineup practice every day at the club. They put together a comedy skit for the song “Mississippi Mud.” In addition to comedy skits, Bob comes up with a light show.

On Saturday afternoons the band plays a matinee show for the young people in Charleston and they begin to attract young male and female fans.

Dotti: “We were all so affected by the warm reception of Charleston people that Bob Goldstein wrote Charleston” and Curt vocally arranged it and Murray, Tom, and Ron added their creativity to the arrangement. The premier presentation of “Charleston” brought the audience to both tears and smiles. I sure wish I had a copy of us singing this song today as I think it could have been a hit song and recording. The mood of the song felt historical and haunting… the kind of song that would stick in your head and mean something.”

“You won’t stay away from Charleston
No! No matter where you roam
So when you’re tired of seeing
Cities that have no reason for being
Charleston says – Come Home! Come home!”

(from the song “Charleston” written by Bob Goldstein)

With Sheri back in the group, the new group lineup, the new amplified sound, the comedy skits and staging, and the new “Charleston” song… all make for a highly successful run at the club on King Street.

Dotti: “Of course, when you play a new club, such as 300 King Street in Charleston, the first couple of performances create anxiety and butterflies in our stomachs as you are trying out a new audience, new members, and new material. But we were all up for the challenge and not only was Curt cracking the whip for musical perfection but Bob Goldstein was pushing everyone to their limits on our act. But it was all necessary to get quick results as the challenge of time was a pushing element! When we first started playing at 300 King Street, our sound and look was so unusual that people often said it was like we flew in from another planet. But after a bit of shock watching us perform (most likely more than once), the word spread and the club attracted more and more people over a period of time and then little girls started screaming when Curt, Ron, Tom, and Murray were spotted in town. Another thing, The Beatle-English craze was part of the era and the boys had the English look. Even though in the beginning of our performance, we didn’t have our act together, our music was able to carry us through. The Charleston audience was able to watch our group develop our act over a period of four weeks if they came to see us on a continual basis… and some people did and commented on all the changes and progress we were making. Many compliments were given due to our efforts. Our group bonded with the audience as they were receptive to our music and enjoying the fun (and stumbling) we had in performing our new act. They felt part of it… like a kid growing up and doing well.“

The group is invited to perform on a local TV show where they lip-synch three of their songs. All this happens without the presence of Jezebel, now officially retired from the group. At the end of the four week job on King Street, The GoldeBriars are the most requested group on the local radio stations in Charleston.

For their encore song on their last night at the club they perform “Charleston” and all members of the audience stand up, many of them crying.

The single from the second album “Castle on the Corner” is a hit radio song in the Philadelphia area.

JEZEBEL IS RETIRED – BOOGY ENTERS THE SCENE

A few days prior to leaving Charleston, the group decides to get a new mascot, this time a five week old female Kinkajou (also known as a Honey Bear) a nocturnal fruit eating mammal native to the rain forests of Central and South America. The small animal, often mistaken for a monkey, travels with the group in a cage. The new mascot is named Boogy Woogie or just plain Boogy.

On the last day of October, 1964 the group is back at the Boettcher residence in McLean, Virginia.

Bob Goldstein books the band at the Little Fox Theater in Greenwich Village and invites show business people to check out the “new” GoldeBriars.

The group travels to The Outside Inn in Boston for a one night job.

RETURN TO CHARLESTON

November 4, 1964: The GoldeBriars begin a five day job at 300 King Street in Charleston. The job is the result of a comedian who was booked for that time period but had left town after performing one night. Posters, radio and TV spots all proclaim: “The GoldeBriars are back by popular demand.” Low on cash, Keith Olsen helps the group get back to Charleston for the job. Keith and Sheri take a plane to Charleston.

The band once again plays Saturday afternoons for the young people including female fans who scream for the male band members on stage.

Ron Edgar: “We did these matinees for kids, Saturday matinees and they would be lined up around the block.”

Following the matinee shows and returning back to their hotel, the guys in the group are mobbed by female fans who figure out where The GoldeBriars are staying.

Dotti: “As word spread about our Gypsy-like group performing at 300 King Street, more and more young girls showed up at our performances taking a keen interest in Murray, Tom, Ron and Curt. After a short time, the girls were so crazed they would scream when they saw any of them around town. They would even show up at our motel. Also, some boys in town started dressing like the guys in the group with tunics and black turtle necks. We were all taken back at how quickly people wanted to emulate our look. The fans even painted Sheri and I on fire hydrants with our long printed skirts from the “Straight Ahead” album. It was unbelievably unique!”

The band finishes their second successful job at 300 King Street adding many new fans in Charleston.

BOOGY ON THE STAGE (AND UNDER TABLES) IN MILWAUKEE

After a second successful engagement at 300 King Street, the group packs up the car and head for a job at a Holiday Inn located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ten miles outside of Newport, Tennessee the car breaks down and Keith and Sheri hitchhike to find a gas station. They are picked up by a truck driver who is wearing overalls and suspenders and has a shotgun. The truck driver wants to drive Keith and Sheri back to the car, but Keith and Sheri are suspicious of him and decide to ride back in the tow truck.

The car is repaired and the group heads to Milwaukee where the group is booked at a Holiday Inn. On the last night of the job, Boogy escapes from his cage in the dressing room and climbs up a microphone on stage much to the amusement and shock of the audience and then runs under dinner club tables, causing some women to scream. Ron eventually grabs Boogy from under a table and the mascot is put back in her cage.

November 26, 1964: The group is at Bob Goldstein’s in New York City for Thanksgiving Day. Beverly Ross is also present. Bob and Beverly wrote two songs for the group: “June Bride Baby” and “Nothing Wrong With You (That My Love Won’t Cure).”

BACK TO THE STUDIO FOR ALBUM NUMBER THREE

December, 1964: The group is back at The Christopher Hotel in New York City and return to Columbia Recording Studio to record songs for their third album (the final album in the contract with Epic).

December 11, 1964: The final song for Epic is recorded: “Tell it to the Wind.”

After the sessions are over, the members all agree on their favorite song “Nothing Wrong With You That My Love Won’t Cure” and are hoping the song will be released as a single.

JOB NUMBER THREE AT 300 KING STREET

The group has two offers to play. One job is in Winnipeg, Canada. The other job is at 300 King Street in Charleston. They decide to play the job in South Carolina, this time for five weeks.

Back in Charleston, the group stays at the home of Luther Gaillard who is the group’s new road manager. The Wayfarer’s provide a maid to clean and help cook their meals. The group plays four or five sets a night at the club to large crowds in addition to the Saturday matinee shows for the younger fans.

With Christmas Day fast approaching the group adds a number of Christmas songs to the act. 200 Christmas cards are printed out and the band sends half of them to business contacts and half to fans and friends. The group performs on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. Sheri and Dotti now wear new full-length skirts on stage made for them by Curt’s mother.

December 31, 1964/January 1, 1965: A New Year’s Dance is held at the club at midnight.

January 7, 1965: After the last performance of the night there is a surprise party held at the club to celebrate Curt turning 21 years old.

The group gets a tape from Epic of the completed third album to review. There are 11 songs recorded for the album:

Song 1. “June Bride Baby” (Bob Goldstein and Beverly Ross)
Song 2. “I’m Gonna Marry You” (Bob Goldstein)
Song 3. “Nothing More to Look Forward To” (Richard Adler)
Song 4. “Freight Train Blues” (folk/railroad standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 5. “Linin’ Track” (folk/railroad standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 6. “The Last Two People on Earth” (Jerry Powell and Michael McWhinney)
Song 7. “Hush, Hush” (Jimmy Reed)
Song 8. “There’s Nothing Wrong With You That My Love Can’t Cure” (Bob Goldstein and Beverly Ross)
Song 9. “Licorice” (Bob Goldstein and Beverly Ross)
Song 10. “Walkin’ Down the Line” (Bob Dylan)
Song 11. “Tell it To The Wind” (Bob Goldstein and Jeff Barry)

For Song 12 the group has the option to pick one of six songs that they had “in the can” from their earlier recording sessions as follows:

Song 1. “My Song” (Curt Boettcher)
Song 2. “Que Bonita” (Puerto Rican patriot song)
Song 3. “Sunshine Special” (folk/railroad standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 4. “We Shall Overcome” (African-American Spiritual , adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)
Song 5. “Noah” (Curt Boettcher)
Song 6. “Saro Jane” (folk/sailor standard, adapted and arranged by The GoldeBriars)

Keith Olsen leaves the group to travel to California. Keith takes along a tape copy of the new songs recorded by the group and plans to promote the group in California. The Wayfarers are playing in California at this time and he also plans to have them promote The GoldeBriars.

The group drives to London, Canada with Luther at the wheel. In order to fit seven people in the car an additional back seat facing the rear is inserted into the vehicle.

Late January, 1965: In London, Canada, the group is filmed for two “Sing Out” programs emceed by Canadian born Oscar Brand, an American folk singer songwriter, and author.

Early February, 1965: The group plays a college concert in Olean, New York. At the college the group discovers there is no stage for them to perform on so they construct their own stage. The group is well received by the collegiate crowd.

OFF TO DENVER FOR A JOB – THE GYPSY LIFE

Mid-February, 1965: The group parts ways with Luther and they drop him off in Charleston. They have a job booked in Denver, Colorado and Sean Bonniwell volunteers to be their road manager. His goal is to go to California and pursue his musical career. Sean informs Ron Edgar that he has a feeling that the popularity of folk music is coming to an end and he wants to play rock’n’roll music.

Ron Edgar: “He said I’m selling my interest in The Wayfarers and I’ll be your road manager. I understand you might be going west and that’s where I want to go.”

Dotti: “Since Sean was staying at 300 King Street (lodging in a loft on the third floor) when we performed there, we got to know him quite well and grew to like him, so adding another passenger to our gypsy wagon was natural for us, and after all that’s what gypsies do… continue to grow their group.”

At a stop at a Fina Gas Station in Texas the group comes across a dog that appears to be homeless. They adopt the dog (they named Fina) who joins them on their journey to Denver. At some stops along the way the group draws a certain amount of attention based on their rather unique appearance and the large number of people (and animals) in the group.

Dotti: “Our station wagon was so well laden down with GoldeBriars, Sean, Bear, etc, that I was beginning to feel like we were living in a new episode of The Wizard of Oz. We were so unusual looking when we entered a restaurant that we felt like the customers wanted to protect and hide their children from us and they stared at us like we arrived from another planet. Sometimes, they even inquired if we were part of a religious cult.”

Late February, 1965: The group performs at The Exodus in Denver. They are the first amplified group to play at the folk club. Sean takes care of the financial agreement with the club and the group and also assists with promotion. Sean also takes the first photo of the group with their new lineup. He uses a large step ladder as a prop and has Sheri, Curt, and Ron pose on the ladder with Tom, Murray, and Dotti at the base of the ladder. In addition, three guitars are hanging from the ladder. The photo caption states “Fast Climbing Stars.” Within one week of playing at the club, there are two articles on the band printed in the local newspaper.

Bob Stein is the owner of a popular nightclub in Pasadena, California called The Ice House, which also has a “sister” club by the same name in Glendale. Bob hears about The GoldeBriars and takes a plane to Denver to watch the band play live. Bob likes the group and hires them for a three week job in Pasadena. Bob returns to California and brings the new band photos taken by Sean to use in promo posters for the scheduled show at The Ice House.

THE ICE HOUSE IN PASADENA – FATEFUL CONNECTIONS

March 2, 1965: At the opening night at The Ice House for The GoldeBriars the front row of the club is reserved for local newspaper and magazine music journalists. Like The Exodus, this is the first amplified group to play at the club. Tom gets sick the first night and sneaks off the stage. The band carries on with the show. At the club to check out the group are The 13 Men, a folk/pop group from the Los Angeles area who will eventually downsize to 6 men and change their name to The Association. Between sets, the group visits with the future members of The Association.

Dotti: “When playing at The Ice House in Pasadena, I remember sitting at a booth on different nights in between our sets (to rest up) with Curt and some guys (who said they were part of a group called The 13 Men) in deep conversation with Curt. And they kept coming back to see The GoldeBriars as they liked our group sound. We were unique, exotic, contemporary, and different. They were attracted to Curt and his talent and I think they wanted their own unique sound. These guys seemed to be picking Curt’s brain and talent as they were discussing their vocal group with him. You could tell they were developing a relationship with him over a period of time. Of course we know this was a good solid relationship as they became The Association and Curt produced their first two albums, and with Curt’s vocal arrangements they generated such hits as “Along Comes Mary” and “Cherish.”

March 23, 1965: The GoldeBriars play their last show of a three week run at The Ice House.

Dotti: “Our three week booking at The Ice House was real successful and now we are heading to The Mecca, which was another folk club, where John Denver had just finished up a booking. We were beginning to feel a bit out of place musically with our new evolved folk/pop/rock sound compared to what was being anticipated in performing at the folk clubs we were booked at. We even joked about it that it would be nice if there were folk/pop/rock clubs to perform at for our different sound. Many people upon hearing us perform for the first time continued to react initially to us like we came from another planet.”

NEXT STOP – MECCA

March 27 1965: The band starts a three week job at Mecca, a popular folk club located in Buena Park (Orange County). During their final week at the club they share the stage with Gayle Garnett. The band is also staying at the same motel as Gale Garnett and her backup group including Keith Olsen on standup bass.

Ron Edgar on Sean: “He said I would really like you to be the drummer because you know what you’re doing you’re not just thrashing away. I thought he would have a big influence on me and of course he was, further on, in terms of what to play, how to listen, these particular things that drummers need to know. He was big time in my growing years in terms of music back in those days. I really liked rock’n’roll in terms of what he was introducing because it was all original music.”

Sean Bonniwell, Keith Olsen, and Ron Edgar begin playing music together.

Ron Edgar: “We started playing and practicing as a trio. The trio was later called The Ragamuffins… myself, Sean Bonniwell and Keith Olsen. That’s where the beginning of The Music Machine started. It was a big change.”

The group performs on The Sam Riddle show and they audition for a new TV Show called “Hullabaloo.”

Dotti: “We were all taken back when Jack Good, the show’s producer, said that our audition was the best live audition he ever had. We wondered if the other groups auditioning had relied mainly on lip syncing when performing live on television.”

The band is offered future jobs on “Hullabaloo” and also on the “Shindig” TV Show.

During their stay at The Mecca, Epic releases a 45 (Epic 5-9806) from the recording of the third album with “June Bride Baby” backed with “I’m Gonna Marry You.” The songs are arranged and conducted by Bob Goldstein, Beverly Ross and Curt Boettcher. Both songs are more pop than folk. The record gets positive reviews in Billboard, Cash Box, and Variety. The band is very much aware that they need a hit record in order to generate enough income to keep the group moving forward.

David Mirisch is the promotional manager for Gale Garnett and he likes The GoldeBriars and becomes their business manager.

The band plays their first job booked by David Mirisch, a one night benefit held at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles (during their time at The Mecca). The Coconut Grove was the former grand ballroom in the Ambassador Hotel that was remodeled into a nightclub and a top entertainment venue for decades, often frequented by celebrities and show biz people. For the show at the classy venue, Sheri and Dotti wear floor-length embroidered gold two-piece dresses (sewed by Curt’s mom) and the guys rent tuxedos.

April 17, 1965: the band plays their final show at The Mecca.

MORE CHANGES

May 1, 1965: Ron Edgar leaves The GoldeBriars in order to join the new rock band being put together by Sean Bonniwell with Keith Olsen (who makes a switch from standup bass to electric bass guitar).

The band members move into The GreenBriar Apartments in Hollywood.

Curt locates a new drummer in Los Angeles, Bill Taylor to take over Ron Edgar’s former job.

The group auditions for a job at The Whisky-A-Go Go. The club, located on the Sunset Strip, is world famous and a major venue in Los Angeles for up and coming bands. The audition goes over well and the people at The Whisky tell the band they will be hired with one condition… they will need to learn to play dance songs. The group begins learning new “danceable” songs and breaking in their new drummer.

Curt picks out popular songs for the group to learn and works out vocal harmonies for the group. One of the songs Curt picks out for the group to learn is “It Hurts To Be In Love” by Gene Pitney.

UNEXPECTED EVENTS

June 1, 1965: Personal problems in the group, unknown to Dotti and Sheri, come to light. Dotti and Sheri contact Epic Records and inform them they are leaving the group. Epic tells them that they will replace them with two new female singers and the group will go on and the third album will be released. Dotti and Sheri are not willing to go along with this plan. Epic cancels the planned release of the third album.

June 7, 1965. The GoldeBriars come to an end.

ANOTHER TIME

Curt: “Another time, your heart will sing the music that I’m hearing, and find a way, to answer all the questions in my eyes. Another time, you’ll lift your head and see a sky – it beckons you to try your wings at last. But another time has come… another time has passed” (from the song “Another Time” by Curt Boettcher).

A MUSICAL GIFT

Dotti: “Still the music remains, my music, Curt’s music, our music. That and the memories of being there at the dawn of a new day when God gave us the heavenly gift of sunshine pop to share with the world.”

ENDINGS – BEGINNINGS

Curt Boettcher produced the first album for The Association called “and then… along comes The Association” which produced two hit songs. The first hit song was “Along Comes Mary” (written by Minnesota native Tandyn Almer) which peaked at Number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 16, 1966. The second hit song “Cherish” (written by band member Terry Kirkman) reached Number 1 on Billboard on September 24, 1966. Curt also produced the second album for The Association. The Association based their sound around unique vocal parts and harmonies arranged by Curt. Curt can be heard near the end of “Cherish” singing the high part. Curt was active as a producer, engineer, and singer from 1966 through 1983. His work with three studio groups, The Ballroom, Sagittarius, and The Millennium (with Keith Olsen) are now well known to fans of sunshine pop. He also worked with Lee Mallory, Sandy Salisbury, The Bards and Eternity’s Children (both with Keith Olsen), Emitt Rhodes, Tommy Roe, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Mike Love. In 1973 Curt released a solo album called “There’s an Innocent Face.”

Curt Boettcher passed away at age 43 on June 14, 1987. He was living in Los Angeles. He is now considered one of the architects of the sunshine pop style of music.

Sheri Holmberg sang background vocals on numerous Curt Boettcher produced recordings including Lee Mallory, Friar Tuck, and Bobby Jameson (with Dotti on background vocals) and Tommy Roe including his hits “Sweet Pea” (Number 8 on Billboard on July 30, 1966), “Hooray for Hazel” (Number 6 on Billboard on November 5, 1966), and “Dizzy” (Number 1 on Billboard on March 15, 1969). Sheri and Dotti both sang background vocals on Tommy Roe’s album “It’s Now Winters Day” (including the title song which hit Number 23 on Billboard on February 18, 1967). Sheri and Dotti were hired in the late sixties by Billy Strange (studio guitar player) to record a Lady Clairol commercial with Glen Campbell and The Blossoms.

In late 1966, Curt arranged the vocal background for two recordings for Sean Bonniwell and for Sheri and Dotti’s brother Gary Holmberg recording with Ray Molina (from Minnesota) under the name Gary and I. The duo recorded a 45 of “Why” (Lonnie Mack) on the A-side and “Meaning of My Mind” (written by Ray Molina) on the B-side. Curt, Dotti, and Sheri all sang background vocals on both of these sessions which were at Gold Star Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The 45 by Gary and I was released on the 20th Century Fox label.

Sheri was active in the music business up to the summer of 1969.

Sheri passed away at age 53 on September 25, 1997. She was living in Florida.

Dotti Holmberg sang lead and background vocals on numerous songs produced by Curt Boettcher. In 2002 Sundazed Records released a CD by Dotti called “Sometimes Happy Times” with 17 songs recorded between 1966 and 1970 including many of her own compositions. Four of the songs are studio productions by Curt for Our Productions recorded in 1966. Two of these songs were recorded at Original Sound in 1968 and produced by Dotti and Keith Olsen. Two other studio songs were recorded for Gentry Unlimited (singer Bobbie Gentry’s company) at Hollywood Sound Recorders. Sheri sang background vocals on all four studio recordings. The rest of the songs were home demos. Dotti lives in Florida and has been active over the years writing and recording character building children’s songs, plays and stories (www.rightchoicekids.com).

Ron Neilson moved to the production side of the entertainment business in the mid-1970’s, mainly in music and sound fields. He retired from that business in 2006. Ron has been composing songs for the Weissenborn acoustic guitar over the past 25 years. In 2007 Ron Neilson and John Bellar released a CD on New Harmony Records called “Two Guitars, One Heart” a collection of smooth jazz instrumental songs recorded in Hawaii with Weissenborn (lap style) guitars. He continues to record his guitar compositions and is planning on releasing a new solo CD in 2017. Ron lives in Connecticut.

Ron Neilson: “After leaving the group, I also left Minneapolis in mid-1965 and headed to Southern California. I stayed in contact with musicians and singers who had also migrated there from the Twin Cities (like Curt Boettcher, Keith Olsen). However, after a few months in Los Angeles, I decided to no longer ‘hang out’ in the music industry. Basically, I judged it much too risky. The glue that held a lot of the social fabric together at that time in California was drugs; you name the substance, it was in abundance. This was the dominant culture that evolved quickly and persisted for years. Although this culture of abuse was concentrated in the music industry, it soon spread throughout the general creative community – and beyond. I personally witnessed friends (and friends of friends) either die or seriously compromise their (mostly) young (sometimes talented) lives. Seeing all this first-hand at a relatively young age, I simply made different choices. I secured steady engineering work in Sothern California, decided to go to college (UCLA), had a wife and child and stayed out of troubles way. I continued to compose original instrumentals on guitar. Although I enjoyed playing and composing, I didn’t feel compelled to make my living in a business that was now infamous for chewing-up and swallowing its participants. Besides, I was doing reasonably well financially as an engineer/designer.”

Ron Edgar played drums with The Music Machine who scored a national hit with “Talk Talk” on Original Sound Records. The song peaked at Number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 14, 1967. Sean Bonniwell wrote and sang the song. Keith Olsen played bass guitar for the group. Ron played drums on two songs for Curt’s studio group called The Millennium and co-wrote the opening song (“Prelude” with Doug Rhodes) for their only album “Begin” released in 1968 on Columbia Records. He also played on numerous demo songs for The Millennium as well as demo songs for Bigshot, a spin-off group from The Millennium with Doug Rhodes, Michael Fennelly, and Murray Planta that recorded in 1969 for Together Records (the album was never completed). He returned to Minnesota in the 1970’s.

Ron Edgar passed away at age 68 on February 23, 2015. He was living in Minnesota.

Murray Planta played guitar on demo songs for Bigshot.

Tom Dorholt passed away at age 65 on May 21, 2010. He was living in Arizona.

The GoldeBriars’ Story “What Ever Happened to Jezebel?” CD-Rom eBook

In 2004, Dotti Holmberg – Waddell published a CD-Rom eBook that includes the history of The GoldeBriars based on her travelogue that she wrote during the time the group was together. In addition to the group history the eBook contains: group photos; memorabilia she collected on the road; a video clip (with audio) of the group performing “Saro Jane” on the “Hootenanny” television show recorded January 21, 1964, as well as the group and the other acts all performing the opening theme song; newspaper articles; promotion material; song lyrics; an audio track of Dotti singing “Hopscotch” a song she wrote; cartoons and sketches by Curt; drawings by Sheri; and numerous insights from Dotti reflecting on the days of The GoldeBriars. The group history is in English as well as Japanese.

“Once Upon a Coffee House” Movie on DVD

The 1965 movie “Once Upon a Coffee House” was renamed “Hootenany A Go-Go” and released (DVD) on May 23, 2016. The 79 minute color film features The GoldeBriars singing the theme song (about a cat and a mouse) and also performing “Honey Bunny.” One scene features Curt Boettcher teaching a group of musicians and singers to play a folk song called “Slow Me Down Lord.”

The GoldeBriars – Recent Records and CD’s

UNITED STATES

The GoldeBriars (first album)
Format: Vinyl album (180 grams).
Label: Epic US.
Date of release: February 15, 2016.
Songs: The original 12 songs from the first album.

The GoldeBriars “Straight Ahead”
Format: Vinyl album (180 grams).
Label: Epic US.
Date of release: February 15, 2016.
Songs: The original 12 songs from the second album.

The GoldeBriars (first album)
Format: CD.
Label: Collectors Choice.
Date of Release: October 1, 2016.
Songs: 24 total (12 original songs from the album and 12 unreleased songs).
Details: Liner notes by Dotti Holmberg. Lyrics to all songs included.

The GoldeBriars “Straight Ahead”
Format: CD.
Label: Collectors Choice.

Date of Release: October 1, 2016.
Songs: 22 total (12 original songs from the album, 2 songs from the last 45, and 8 unreleased songs).
Details: Liner notes by Dotti Holmberg. Lyrics to all songs included.

UNITED KINGDOM

The GoldeBriars “Walkin’ Down The Line – The Best of the GoldeBriars”
Format: CD.
Label: Now Sounds a division of Cherry Red Records
Date of release: December 2, 2014.
Songs: 30 songs all recorded at Epic/Columbia in New York City.
Details: Includes a full color booklet with group history.

JAPAN

The GoldeBriars + Sagittarius + The Millennium
Format: 4 CD’s: The first 2 albums by The GoldeBriars, “Present Tense” the first album by Sagittarius (1968) and “Begin” the only album by The Millennium (1968).
Label: Sony Music Japan.
Date of release: March 24, 2006.
Details: Boxed set of 4 CD’s, limited edition.

The GoldeBriars (first album)
Format: CD.
Label: Sony Music Direct.
Date of release: March 24, 2006.
Songs: 14 total (12 original songs from the album and 2 bonus songs).
Date of Release: October 1, 2016.

Details: Lyrics for all songs included in English and Japanese.

The GoldeBriars “Straight Ahead”
Format: CD.
Label: Sony Music Direct.
Date of release: March 24, 2006.
Songs: 16 total (12 original songs from the album and 4 bonus songs).

Date of Release: October 1, 2016.
Details: Liner notes by Bob Goldstein. Lyrics for all songs included in English and Japanese.

The GoldeBriars “Climbing Stars”
Format: CD.
Label: Sony Music Direct.
Date of release: September 20, 2006.
Songs: 21 Total (all of the unreleased songs recorded by the group).
Details: Liner notes by Dotti Holmberg. Lyrics for all songs included in English and Japanese. Cover photo of the group taken by Sean Bonniwell in 1965.

Written by – Thomas R. Campbell: September 11, 2016 to January 27, 2017.

All quotes from Dotti Holmberg: September 11, 2016 to December 4, 2016.
All quotes from Ron Edgar: July 10, 2010 (recorded interview by Tom Campbell).
First quote from Ron Neilson: January 15, 2017.
Second quote from Ron Neilson: November 15, 2016.
Quote from David Hersk: November 15, 2014 (recorded interview by Tom Campbell).

Posted on the website: January 21, 2018

Copyright 2017 Thomas R. Campbell

All rights reserved. No portion of this web page can be used without permission.

All photo scans courtesy of Dotti Holmberg. 

 

Photos  (Click a photo to see it full-screen, then click the arrows to see the next one.)

February, 1963 – Promo Photo                       February, 1963 – Live at Le Zoo, Mpls.

L to R – Sheri, Ron, Curt, Dotti                        L to R – Ron, Dotti, Curt, Sheri

1963 – Live at the Padded Cell, Mpls.             November, 1963 – Recording for Epic

L to R – Ron, Dotti, Curt, Sheri                        Columbia Recording Studio, New York

November, 1963 – Photo for LP Cover        January, 1964 – Epic Promo Ad

January, 1965 – Charleston, SC                     300 King Street – Charleston, SC

January, 1965 – Ron and Curt                      February, 1965 – Promo photo

Signing autographs for fans                        On ladder going up – Ron, Curt

Charleston, SC                                              Sheri – Sitting – Dotti, Murray, Tom

January, 1965 – Young fans of the Goldebriars in Charleston, SC paint a fire hydrant to

look like Dotti and Sheri Holmberg.  Photo at left shows the second album.

May, 1965 – Promo Photo – Final Lineup

L to R – Curt, Bill Taylor, Sheri (lower),

Dotti (above Sheri), Murray Planta,

Tom Dorholt

Los Angeles, CA

 

Recordings

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Interview

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Interview PART ONE

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