Photographs by Walter Silver
The Eclectic Performance Series
Before Blotto was Blotto, its key members (including Broadway, Bowtie and Sarge) made music together as the Star Spangled Washboard Band – unleashing a wild, woolly amalgam of obscure jug band nuggets, off-the-wall, stream-of-consciousness humor, tight vocal harmonies and staggering instrumental technique (“staggering,” in all its various meanings) as evidenced by the band’s 1976 debut album on Flying Fish Records, “A Collector’s Item,” which, after all these years has finally lived up to its title.
Formed in 1971, the band began its rise to prominence as eccentric curiosities at Gaslight Village in Lake George (“Martha, what are these crazed, hairy hippies doing in a family amusement park?”) before becoming a relentless touring machine, criss-crossing the country and Canada dozens of times with their zany comedy, devil-may-care attitude and classic, if decidedly off-kilter, songs.
They played everywhere from the Kerrville, Texas Folk Festival to NYC’s infamous Max’s Kansas City; from the Oklahoma State Fair to the Kennedy Center. They shared stages with the likes of Earl Scruggs, Muddy Waters, Peter Allen, Firesign Theater, Bill Monroe, Sha Na Na and B.B. King.
Phyllis Diller joined them for a song on “The Mike Douglas Show.” Jane Fonda joined them for a song at the People’s Bicentennial celebration in Washington, DC. Now you can join them, too… on Saturday night at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany.
The SSWB disbanded in 1978, and their sole reunion performance was a sold-out show at the Steamer in 1997. Every patron’s face was plastered…with a smile.
Call them eclectic…
Call them crazy…
Just don’t call them late for breakfast…
AND… to make the evening even more interesting, Val Haynes & Todd Nelson, from the legendary Fear of Strangers will open the show with an acoustic set drawn from the FoS catalog, the Lonesome Val years and now.
This promises to be a memorable evening from every angle – enjoying old memories and making new ones.
The reunion of the Star Spangled Washboard Band with Val Haynes & Todd Nelson will take place at 8pm on Saturday (April 21) at the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany. Tix are on sale now for $13 in advance; $15 at the door. Call 518.438.5503 for further information or to order advance tix.
BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away A PAIR OF FREE TIX to the show to one lucky Nippertown reader! To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday. Enter today! Congratulations to the winner, who has been notified by email.