Tulsa Times; An Adirondack Band
New York Country Rock
I returned from Islesboro, Maine to Upstate New York , in the fall of 1975. Within a very short time Joe Allard, Thon Christiana, and I were playing music and looking to start a band…Read More
We found a drummer named Mike Beasock from the Rome, NY, area and began taking gigs. We called ourselves “Tulsa” and I’m not sure how we came up with that. I guess it fit our vision for the band on some level.
While the top radio hits of 1976 were artists like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Hall and Oates, Other groups in that list included The Eagles, Dr. Hook, and the Sweet. It included the song “Take It To the Limit”. The Outlaw country movement was in full swing but would wane somewhat in the next short while.
Tulsa fashioned itself a Country-Rock band and we played a wide mix of Blues, Country, and Rock & Roll music. We played gigs around Upstate NY, like the Forest Lodge in Prospect, Thendara House in Thendara, and the Camden Hotel in Camden.
At the Hotel in Camden I don’t remember what we got paid. I am sure we were served free drinks and all the spaghetti we could eat before we played. That made it a “high value” gig for us…
Last Call and Good Times
One of our early gigs was the Friendly Tavern in Booneville, NY. Our first gig there we were double booked with a stripper named “Cookie”. We were open to having her join the band but the management had other ideas. Cookie did a set, then Tulsa did a set. There were no fights that I recall and we stayed for all Cookie’s sets. I don’t remember who got top billing but the night went by fast…
We played a club in Lowville, NY which was across the county line. They closed and hour earlier than Booneville which meant two “last calls” if we hustled. We would play, pack up our gear and race to see who could get to Booneville first. They were some exciting rides.
We played some rough places, none more so than this little hole in the wall in downtown Rome, NY. One night a fight broke out right in front of the band. Everyone was obviously more impressed by the fight than us and I refused to sing until the fight was over. We did a half-hour version of Grateful Dead’s, “Sugaree”. Good times…
The Grateful Dead’s, “Sugaree” cover
Tulsa Band and the 1st Coaches Picnic on Islesboro
The high point of playing in Tulsa Band for me was our trip to Islesboro, in the summer of 1976. My friends on the Island know how to welcome musicians and the summer party of 1976 was no exception. My recollection may have been distorted by the festive atmosphere but I recall Dave Lewis and John Oldham, otherwise famous as “The Diesel Brothers”, being there.
Another musician of note and international recognition, Phil Clayton, was there as well. He is a renowned working musician in Brussels, Belgium, for many years now. There was smokes hanging in the trees, a general joy in the air and Tulsa worked hard to put on what may have been our best set ever.
That party was such a hit that it inspired and led to the Annual Coaches Picnic which were famous, Islesboro, music get-togethers for a few years. It is still referred to as the “1st Unofficial Coaches Picnic”, in some circles.
Were you at one of the Coaches Picnics?
Did you have a band in the seventies?
Join the conversation in the comments section…