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Coffee House Open Print-ready version

by Peter Warren
Calgary Herald
May 16, 1964
Original article: PDF

Calgary's newest addition to the world of coffee-and-ethnic-music is in operation to promote Canadian talent - and make dollars.

The Folk and Blues Club, 1106 6th St S.W., offers a fair sprinkling of talent through most evenings' performances - and, as forecast, it will probably make dollars.

Man behind the main-floor corner-of-the-block hideaway is Al Cook, Bill Bogart is program director.

In a matter of a few weeks, more than 800 Calgarians-ranging in age from 12 to 65 - have paid the $1 fee to become club members and part of the buy-a-coffee-and-absorb crowd.

Statistically, the club has a firm, steady hold in the starting blocks.

More than 800 members: open four nights a week: average of four or five acts per night: reasonable food, soft drink and coffee prices.

To make the scene, you present yourself - Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings around 9 p.m. - at the advertised "golden corner of folk music"... you pay $1 membership and $1 per night thereafter.

The much-publicized talent ranges from charming folk-song student Joni Anderson, through the youthful Barons Three, Bogart himself, half a dozen Alberta groups and soloists, travelling artists...

...To several one-chord guitar strummers, who crack a couple of jokes, sing Blowin' In The Wind, and consider themselves folk-song artists.

But Bogart and Cook explain: "it's not all good... we've got a long way to go."

Bogart says many coffee houses in Western Canada now operate on a wrestling-style circuit with artists working a week per city from Vancouver through Winnipeg.

"We're not at that stage yet," says Bogart, "because we are starting to book some of the better performers without using this circuit."

Bogart arranges the programs - which are different to say the least.

Himself an established star of semi-pro musicals in Edmonton and Calgary, Bogart says he's interested in promoting Canadian talent because "there's as good performers in Western Canada as there are back East and in the western U.S."

One night a week, the club offers "blue grass music" with one or two likable cowboy songsters.

The coffee is good, sandwiches and other snack-style refreshments are fresh. The club itself is clean and ready to expand with plans for a small chess, library and-or poetry room.

Sunday night is hootenanny night, when all join in with established "folk favorites."

At the current time. The Folk and Blues Club seats up to 200.

It provides a satisfying evening's entertainment.

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