The Meadow continued to present bands at least twice a week for dancing and listening. Several nationally known acts were booked including the New Colony Six (I Confess), the Music Explosion (Little Bit of Soul), the Cryan Shames (Could Be We're In Love), and bubble-gum rockers the Ohio Express (Yummy, Yummy, Yummy). It was going to be a busy spring and summer for the Meadow. Initially, audiences exceeded expectations, drawing music fans from around the Midwest including the metropolitan areas of Milwaukee and Chicago. But there still was competition for the same audience at existing Janesville teen dance venues such as Record Bandstand and the Janesville Armory.
Friday, March 1, 1968 saw the Second Coming
at the Meadow. I had assumed this was the band bassist Berry Oakley joined after he left the Roemans and before he
teamed up with the Allman Brothers. Had it been, then Oakley
would have performed at the Meadow with Dickey Betts who was guitarist for
Second Coming. However, Wisconsin pop musicologist Gary
Myers says this Second Coming was more
likely a Chicago band
known as Buddy and the Citations who had recorded on the Mercury
label. The Oakley band played highly charged, guitar-based
rock n roll. The Chicago band included a horn section and
focused on a brass attack. If anyone knows for sure which band
it was, please speak up.
Popular Milwaukee recording act, the Messengers (a.k.a. Michael & the Messengers) appeared the following night on March 2. The strange tale of the Messengers was best told by Gary Myers in his book, Do You Hear That Beat (Hummingbird Publishing, 1994).
|Outside of Friday and Saturday
nights, Ace High still operated as a roller rink, according to
building owner Willard Asplund, as stated in a news item from the
March 14 issue of the Janesville Daily Gazette.
kicked off the weekend on Friday, March 15 at the Meadow. This
4-piece Chicago garage band covered the Rascal's Love Is a
Beautiful Thing on the USA/Destination record label. But
it was their original, fuzzed-out recording of I'll Make You Pay
that stands out among Shady Daze record collectors. Four of
their reissued recordings can be found on the
The 13th Precinct (formerly the Inspirations) from Sterling, Illinois had a record, Junk Yard b/w You Gotta Be Mine on the TRX label. Keyboard player Michael Murphy left the 13th Precinct to join the One-Eyed Jacks in 1969. When the Jacks broke up, Murphy joined REO Speedwagon as lead vocalist and is featured on their first three LPs. He left REO in 1975 and worked with Joe Walsh on the album But Seriously Folks released in 1978.
On Friday, March 22 the Meadow presented a show featuring Geneva Convention. Touted as the "surprise group of the year," I found no information about them among the sources I checked. Thankfully, Gary Myers (see above and Sources page) came to the rescue. They were from the Racine/Kenosha area and were the house band at Majestic Hills in Lake Geneva, opening for some of the national acts appearing there, including the Who on August 3.
The following night marked a return of local favorite the Wylde Heard to the Meadow.
attract more teen girls to the Meadow, a special "Ladies Nite" was
scheduled for March 29. Performing that Friday evening was
Madison's Spectre Inc, who had morphed from a British
invasion cover band into a blues-oriented group with a recording of
Hound Dog b/w She Caught the Katy on a forgotten
record label produced from a lost session in Chicago. Sometime
later, Spectre Inc changed its name to Blues Funkshun. In 1970
I saw them perform under the Spectre Inc name at the
Midwest Rock Festival in Poynette.
Photos from the festival, a.k.a Sound Storm, can be viewed on the
Wisconsin Historical Society web site. Guitarist
Loder, currently performs in a classic rock band named Relics.
Madison's Grapes of Wrath marked the end of a busy month for the Meadow.
|Throughout the late 1960s many of the nation's print and broadcast news outlets focused attention on the burgeoning psychedelic counterculture and its close association with hippies, communal living, and drugs. This spotlight caused some Janesville parents to be apprehensive about allowing their teenagers to frequent the Meadow. To help allay those fears, owners Marling and Fugate sponsored a "Parents Night" on April 4 with special admission pricing, and featuring a folk-rock band known as Liberty Numeral Music Company. The band took its name from a company that made vintage zithers (autoharps) and mandolins.|
"Parents and Adults Night" turned out to be a public relations boon for the Meadow. Anticipating that success, three top-notch music acts had been booked by Marling and Fugate in quick succession. Gary Rettgen again mentioned the Meadow in his April 4 Capital Times column, reporting that "... Milwaukee's famed Knu Bluewz (sic)... will travel to Janesville's psychedelic 'Meadow' on Saturday (sic)." Too bad he didn't get the day quite right, or the band's name -- Knu Bleuz actually performed at the Meadow on Friday. However, if anyone from the Madison area made the trip south to Janesville, they wouldn't have been disappointed because Chicago's popular One-Eyed Jacks appeared at the Meadow on Saturday.
In mid-April, a new membership and price policy was introduced and explained at the bottom of the ad seen here on the left: "The Meadow is now a membership teen club. No one is admitted without a membership card. The price of a membership card is 50¢. The new price on Friday night is $1.00 and on Saturday night $1.50 except for special bands. Present members are admitted free 3 times except for nights with special bands."
|More April bookings
included an all-girl band from Michigan called the
Luv'd Ones who released singles on Chicago's Dunwich Records. Formerly the Tremolons,
this pulchritudinous band featured lead guitarist Char Vinnedge,
writer and arranger for the band's music. Their hard rockin' songs have been compiled on the
Chicago-based recording artists the New Colony Six performed a special "Easter Vacation" show at the Meadow Wednesday night April 17. The New Colony Six had ten songs that cracked the Billboard Hot 100 between 1966 and 1971.
A note at the bottom of the ad was a response to the often heard complaint among local teens about "nothing to do" in Janesville. The statement reads: "INCIDENTALLY... There IS something to do in Janesville and it isn't pornography and you don't have to be 18 to be admitted."
|The "New" Beau
Gentry reflected the band in a transitional stage before merging
with players from the Wylde Heard to form Masque and the eventual
departure of some members to California.
The 13th Preceinct returned to the Meadow for another Saturday show on May 4.
The Grass Roots cancelled their engagement two days before the scheduled show. Marling scrambled to find a band to cover the gig. Friend and Lover were touring Wisconsin that summer with a hit record, Reach Out In the Darkness. They performed that weekend in place of the Grass Roots, along with the Robbs. The Meadow lost $1,600 because of the last minute shuffling. The Grass Roots eventually rescheduled an appearance for a later date at a discounted rate.
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© Joe J. Accardi, 2010