Archive for the No Name Bar Category

The GATERS at the No Name Bar

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, No Name Bar, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, ukulele music with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by joetatesblog

The GATERS, with Sandy Bailey, Maggie Catfish, Joe Tate and Lonnie Walter have been playing the early Saturday evening music set for quite a while and they are booked through till October 29 in this time slot. The name derives from locale’ rather than a type of reptile.

The Gates is a section of  the waterfront where liberty ships were built in WWII. Gate 3, which is near Mollie Stones Market, was the center of the ways where most of the final assembly and launches took place. Most of the houseboats are located around Gate 5 and 6.

Te GATERS: Lonnie Walter, Joe Tate, Maggie Catfish and Sandy Bailey

It was in this area that The Redlegs, a 70s rock band, once flourished. Catfish and Tate were members of The Redlegs and are now content just to be GATERS. They have teamed up with Lonnie Walter, who grew up at the Gates and Sandy Bailey who lived in Sausalito back in the day.

Bongos Lonnie Walter, Guitar Joe Tate

The group has departed from the usual guitar, bass and drums rhythm section and instead use bongos, ukulele and bass ukulele. This provides an intimate sound that is easy on the ears.

The ukulele bass, played by Bailey, has the same tonal range as a regular bass but with faster attack and decay, the rising and falling volume of each note. This adds to the percussive effect of the bongos. The ukulele played by Catfish also adds another strong rhythm element. Taken all together with Tate’s guitar and the three part harmony, it’s a very compelling sound.

Background vocals from Maggie Catfish and Sandy Bailey

On many songs, Tate sings old favorites in a strong baritone voice while Bailey and Catfish lay down harmonic background lines. Then, effortlessly they segue into three parts. Fats Domino’s music is well represented along with The Coasters and Tate has a version of Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher that brings the house down. Another favorite at the No Name Bar is Bailey’s rendition of On Bridgeway, a send up of George Benson’ On Broadway.

Margo St. James, Kayla Kahn and friends

There were some notables in attendance including Margo St. James, Kayla Kahn and Larry Moyer. There are those who say these folks used to live at the No Name Bar. Nowadays, James lives up north and only visits occasionally while Kahn can often be spotted at Bridgeway Gym. Moyer, ever the artist, spends most of his time in a floating studio anchored offshore from Gate 5. One of Sausalito’s most respected artists, his paintings grace city hall and are in high demand. He still cranks them out on regular basis, seldom bothering to come ashore.

Larry Moyer with Showtime and Tate

Night Beat digresses though. Lonnie Walter takes a couple of amazing solos and demonstrates why Tate calls him Showtime. There’s a tune called Nasty Little Boy, Tate’s biographical account of not behaving well, in which Walter blazes away on the bongos while simultaneously doing all these dance-like motions with his arms.

After some New Orleans stuff like Rockin’ Pneumonia, the genre shifts to Hawaiian and doggone if it doesn’t feel like the Islands. This starts with the well known Hanalei Moon, Bob Nelson’s hapa haole classic.

Tate has his own hapa haole song called Pahala. It’s quite beautiful and it is about a small town in Hawaii where he had attended a Hawaiian music workshop. Apparently some of it rubbed off on him. Maggie Catfish tops off this section with Moon Of Manakoora, a Hollywood created song first sung by Dorothy Lamour for the movie, Hurricane.

Catfish doubles on ukulele bass

There’s also a lot of trading instruments between these players. They call it musical instruments.

Bailey usually  has the bass. But then he hands it to Catfish and starts playing ukulele.

Tate sometimes gets out a uke too. But this one has eight strings and sounds like a harpsichord. When this happens, Catfish plays guitar. They do Troubled Times in this configuration, a lament about losing a job, having a house foreclosed and going to jail. It does ring a bell.

To learn more about the GATERS go to

To learn more about Joe Tate go to

To learn more about the No Name Bar go to

This a video slide show of one of our songs about sailing away in the Richmond.

The Medicine Ball Band at the Sausalito Cruising Club

Posted in Bay Area Music, Night Beat, No Name Bar, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life, ukulele music with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by joetatesblog

The Sausalito Cruising Club often hosts the Medicine Ball Band Sunday afternoons from 5-9:30 PM. This group must be one of the best-kept secrets in the Bay Area music scene. Their excellent music far exceeds the notoriety they have been accorded.

Led by guitarist David Sturdevant, who moved here from upstate New York 38 years ago, MBB delivers a versatile repertoire with everything from swing standards to R&B with a distinct New Orleans flavor. If you ask, they will even play Dixieland. They were kind enough to play dinner music for a while so everyone could enjoy the buffet.

Basic Medicine: David Sturdevent, Ylonda Nickell, Larry Vann, Richard Howell, Kirk Harwood and Wendy DeWitt

Founded in 1971 by Sturdevant, the group started by playing in the street for tips at Union Square in San Francisco. Along with Sturdevant was a pair of banjos played by Dave Marty and Abe Van Der Meulen. The late Amanda Hughes started singing with them later as they moved on to clubs. Their first bass player was Randy Jackson, the world famous producer and arranger who is now a judge on American Idol.

John Stafford and Wendy DeWitt

Today they are joined by Wendy DeWitt, the Queen of Boogie Woogie,  on piano. With Ylonda Nickell on alto sax, John Stafford  on various woodwinds, Richard Howell on soprano and tenor sax, Larry Vann on drums and kirk Harwood on congos, the group is rounded out with vocals by Thea Rose, a sweet young singer adept in the ways of jazz.

Starting with a couple instrumentals, DeWitt sets the pace with one of her classic boogies rendered in her own inimitable way. Careless Love follows with John Stafford leading the way on tenor sax.

The beautiful Thea Rose takes the stage and belts out Who Could ask For Anything More?, followed by Otis Redding’s Dock Of The bay, sung in a clear tenor voice.

Thea Rose

Ms. Rose is in the tenth grade at Terra Linda High, and plays cello, piano and guitar. Her uncle gave her a Billie Holiday CD when she was seven and she has been enthralled with jazz ever since. Her Favorite singer is Ella Fitzgerald and favorite musician is Thelonius Monk, just to give you some idea of where she’s coming from. When time and circumstances permit, she sings with the Medicine Ball Band as she has for the last two years.

After a break she returns with Lullaby Of Birdland, which is completely over the top. Sturdevant and Stafford toss in an incredible harmonica-clarinet duet that makes the whole performance click.

Sturdevant sings My Blue Heaven, written by Walter Donaldson with lyrics by George A. Whiting in 1924. The dance floor fills up with this one, and DeWitt’s keyboard work transports us to the 50s’ and Fats Domino. We get some more of the harmonica-clarinet instrumental section.

David Sturdevant and John Stafford

Apparently Sturdevant and Stafford have been working this routine up. They are planning a tour of the US to showcase what they have been creating. After the break they give us a demo of playing just harmonica and clarinet. It starts off seeming to be just amusing, but them morphs into a full blown musical tour de force.

There was some good blues on the menu too. The drummer, Larry Vann, is a true original as he delivers his song, Down In Shady Lane, played in 4/4 but overlaid with 6/8 time. It is slow and soulful and you know you are hearing the real deal.

Larry Vann

Vann played on many of the famous Motown recordings, toured extensively with Buffy St. Marie and has recently been playing dates with Martha Reeves. He is known as the Groove Merchant, and is the originator of something called the Oakland Scratch Groove. Often appearing at venues like Yoshi’s, Vann is in demand.  Check out his website at

David Sturdevant, Ylonda Nickell and Richard Howell

Richard Howell, impressive to listen to, also has some serious cred in the business. Names like Etta James, Chaka Kahn, Don Cherry, Carlos Santana and Taj Mahal are just a few of the personalities that drop from his lips when he discusses his resume’. Learn more about Richard Howell at

Not to be outdone by all the name dropping, Ylonda Nickell, takes over the proceedings with her rendition of Misty. Starting a with a slow, roboto introduction, Nickell launches into something bordering on Rhapsody In Blue, Gershwin’s monument to stately blues. Nickell has a way of expanding a simple song like this into a kind of symphony with many movements.

The joint was a' jumpin'

There was lots of other good stuff including Feelin’ Alright, of Joe Cocker fame and sung here by Stafford. Sturdevant and Stafford team up for some vocals too, like on Sweet Georgia Brown, written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey(lyrics). It’s good to hear some male harmony and these guys are getting ready for the road so they have really tightened it up.

They will be back from their tour in October. You can hear them at the Sausalito Cruising Club on Sunday afternoons a couple of times a month.

To learn more about the Medicine Ball Band go to

To Learn more about the Sausalito Cruising Club go to

Also check out Last Voyage Of Th Redlegs at just click on the PDF link

If you are a musician, please come to the Blue Monday Jam Sessions at the Sausalito Cruising Club every Monday at 7.

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Mal Sharpe’s Big Money In Jazz Band

Posted in Bay Area Music, KGO, Mal Sharpe, Night Beat, No Name Bar, Sausalito After Dark, Sausalito night life with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by joetatesblog

Mal Sharpe is anAmerican television and radio personality who also leads a Dixieland jazz band in the Bay Area. According to Wikipedia, “In the early 1960s, Sharpe teamed with Jim Coyle to create a series of comic on-the-street interviews for San Francisco radio station KGO. Armed with a tape recorder, Coyle and Sharpe confronted pedestrians with unusual questions or strange behavior. In a 1964 interview with Newsweek magazine, Sharpe explained “We try to pose an almost plausible question, then proceed step by step into absurdity until the interviewee is seething.”

Big Money In Jazz: L-R Jeff Sanford, Leon Oakley, Bill Dekuiper, Mal Sharpe, Joe Mckinley and Carmen Consino

Mal Sharpe’s Big Money In Jazz Band has been playing at the No Name Bar in Sausalito, CA every Sunday afternoon since about 1990. Listening to them is an authentic trip down yesteryear. It’s like going back to the roaring twenties to a time before any of us were born (including Mal Sharpe) to an era of good times and no worries.

Mal Sharpe

Mal sings some songs you may never have heard of, but they really swing. He belts out Goin Back To Indiana, then gives it the trombone treatment as only he can do. With the clarinet, coronet and trombone weaving an intricate melodic web, it’s New Orleans in Sausalito. That Clarinet is played by Jeff Sanford who doubles on saxophone. Sharpe takes turns with Sanford on solos with equal time given to Leon Oakley on coronet.

Jeff Sanford

The sound is rounded out with a solid rhythm section consisting of Carmen Consino on drums and Joe Mckinley on Bass. Chords are laid down on guitar by Bill Dekuiper.

After a few songs they are all joined by Faith Winthrop on vocals for her rendition of Cheek To Cheek, the Irving Berlin classic. She sings with a well trained voice that is dripping with sweet inflections of the Jazz Age. Following this is Louis Armstrong’s Someday You’ll Be Sorry in which the full impact of the band and singer adds exponentially.

Winthrop, who grew up in Boston, came to Sausalito in 1955 where she lived for a while and during which time she sang at the hungry i in San Francisco.

Faith Winthrop and Carmen Cosino

After wandering to Los Angeles, New York and other points east, she returned here in 1965 and married. She was a featured singer at the Razz Room for many years and has lately been appearing here regularly with Mal Sharpe’s Big Money In Jazz Band. Here’s hoping she continues here for the foreseeable future.

There is a request for Basin Street Blues which is happily obliged by Sharpe who delivers the vocal.

Everybody solos including the guitar driven by Bill Dekuiper. This is Kenny Burrell redux with a strong taste of blues.

Leon Oakley

When the drums came in, it was in four bar segments, with Consino playing four bars solo and then four bars with the band  with maybe four reps.

Winthrop returned to the stage and sang Ain’t Misbehavin, the wonderful standard from Fats Waller. This song, written in 1929, is perfect for Dixieland with its drawled out melody and swing rhythm. A song called New Age Old age is next. This is a twelve bar blues that was written by Winthrop.

Bill Dekuiper and Joe Mckinley

Bill Dekuiper and Joe Mckinley

Winthrop continued on with Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams, written by Harry Barris, Ted Koehler, and Billy Moll but made famous by Louis Armstrong. This is an especially beautiful song and when her lovely voice gave way to the sax, it was music heaven, with new and inscrutable melodies filling the room.

Mal Sharpe took over for a few minutes with I Want A Little Girl, another song made famous by Louis Armstrong. Winthrop returned right away though with I’m Beginning To See The Light, a Duke Ellington song that was a hit for Ella Fitzgerald.

On this song, the coronet and and alto sax take fours. The rhythm section continues while Dekuiper and Oakley take turns at four bars each. It works up into a frenzy when they change it to two bars. They all come in climatically and then fall off as the voice comes back in. Dramatic!

At this point, Tao Jones, a regular performer at the No Name Bar, shows up and sings Just A Little While To Stay Here, a gospel favorite of unknown provenance.

Tao Jones belts out a couple

With a strong baritone voice, he leads the band into some new territory and it starts to rock. At least that’s what the audience was doing.

At The Jazz Band Ball, a fast tune by Louis armstrong, is played with hot instrumentals and drum breaks. The drum breaks aren’t just fours, but actual solos this time around.

Winthrop comes back and sings Georgia, with a false start and a key change. After changing from Eb to Bb, it comes off beautifully with a super solo on soprano sax as well as trombone.

L-R Jeff Sanford, BHill Dekuiper, Leon Oakley, Joe Mckinley, Mal Sharpe and Faith Winthrop

She gives us one more with A Hundred Years From Today, a song written by Victor Young, the lyrics by Ned Washington and Joe Young. The song was published in 1933. This song is about how we should enjoy life because what we do won’t matter in a hundred years, a contention that is losing favor these days.

Mal Sharpe ends the set singing The Song Has Ended, another by Irving Berlin but made famous by Ella Fitzgerald.

To learn More About Mal Sharpe go to

To learn more about Faith Winthrop go to

To learn more about the No Name Bar go to