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Travis Edmonson Celebrates His 76th Birthday

Frank Ross of THE STREET MINSTRELS, who has chronicled important events in the life of Travis Edmonson for this website,tells about the celebration of our hero's 76th birthday.
Frank Ross & Sue Harris

Frank Ross of The Street Minstrels joins Sue Harris and other friends of Travis Edmonson to celebrate the singer's 76th birthday.

"I didn't know if I would make it to Travis' house until the very last minute. Rose Marie managed to find someone I could ride with  from Tucson to Mesa on the very last day. This kind soul  was Sandy Madsen- a clinical Psychologist who had used Rose Marie to purchase a home in Oro Valley many years ago. They've been friends ever since. She drove me from Oro Valley to Travis and Rose Marie's home (about 90 miles).

Art & Claudia Yow with Travis Edmonson

Pplaying an important role in the organization of the party were Art and Claudia Yow who flew in from the Bay Area to celebrate with Travis

The Street Minstrels
The Street Minstrels

We were among the first to arrive, and there was Travis sitting at the table doing some drawing. We were warmly greeted by Rose Marie and Travis. The house was cool on the inside. Rose Marie's house is full of knick knacks: Old photos, things made of glass, paintings and remembrances.  

Travis recommends!

If you enjoy the music of Bud & Travis, you will absolutely love The fabulous Street Minstrels! If you're in Arizona, you can hear their music live, and even have them perform at an event you're arranging.  But music lovers all over the US and beyond can experience the great STREET MINSTRELS sound on CD.  Just go to to hear them and get ordering info
Rose Marie & Travis Edmonson

Rose Marie and Travis Edmonson offered their usual warm and gracious welcome to birthday party guests.

Ellen Murphy, Travis' daughter came in and showed me her Martin guitar , and thought it would be a good time to sing Las Mañanitas - the typical Mexican song sung to celebrate birthdays (and other special occasions). We all sang and harmonized.

Ellen Murphy & Travis Edmonson

Travis' daughter, bi-lingual teacher Ellen Murphy, started up the music at the party.

Travis was delighted. I suggested “Maria Isabel”, an uptempo  Mexican tune which we all knew. Then Ellen started singing some oldies : old blues tunes that she and her dad undoubtedly sang in her younger days.

Travis Edmonson with grandson Tristan

Grandson Tristan joined the throng of well-wishers on the happy occasion.

Travis even pulled out a harmonica and was blowin away having a great time.  Erin - Ellen's sister -was also there, along with Tristan, Travis' 6-yr-old grandson. He was fascinated with balloons on this day. Tristan also bears a striking resemblance to his granddad , Travis (see pic).

Not just a maestro of the guitar, Travis Edmonson has played a host of instruments in his career, but the mouth organ is one he's only learned quite recently, but nevertheless become quite proficient on.
Jim Lang, Ron Iverson and Marsha Richardson

Others attending were Marsha Richardson , Bill McCune (the documentary fellow), Jim Lang and Myron and Rachel Lieberman. Also Mike Bartlett , longtime friend of Travis.

Shown at left, guests : Jim Lang, Ron Iverson and Marsha Richardson
Bill McCune

Film maker Bill McCune has put together a wonderful documentary DVD on Travis' life.

Then came the food.  Bonnie Brock and Claudia Yow must be credited especially for most of the preparation and transportation of the great food prepared for us that day.

The cake!

Thank you , thank you for providing that lovely meal: We had pasta and shrimp,  roast beef , ham , and turkey rolls , fruits and veggies to dip in dressing. Chips and salsa. Mexican beer , wines and bottled water , plus sodas.

Travis Edmonson and Bonnie Brock photographed by Claudia Yow

Travis with pal Bonnie Brock who did so much to make this occasion as successful as the many other events she's staged on his behalf.  Bravo Bonnie!


The turnout including musicians was about 18-20 people. Very intimate , and very pleasant. Chairs in a circle and a small tent were set up outside. After lunch , Claudia organized us to play in a special order , and  Ellen started things off : she and Travis sang “Rayito de Luna” and “Cancion Mixteca.” Very lovely, sweet harmonies.

More Features:

Ellen Murphy and father Travis Edmonson

Daughter Ellen accompanies Travis on “Rayito de Luna.”

Then  I was next playing “Tomorrow is a long Time “, an old Dylan tune that I so enjoyed hearing Bud and Travis do.

More by Frank Ross

Frank Ross

Frank Ross sang “Tomorrow is a Long Time” from the Perspective on Bud & Travis” album
I read a card sent to Travis by his old friend , 96-year-old Pat Jenks, then sang  “Noche de Ronda.”  Travis sang that second harmony with me on both tunes.It was great to hear him sing.  

Warren Serkin

Warren Serkin is the #1 supporter of The Travis Edmonson Collection, the benefit project keeping Travis' music alive and assisting with costs of long-term illness.

Warren Serkin followed me , and after Warren came Ron Iverson -all decked out in his 'guitar-shirt' (see photo). Ron sang “South Winds” and “Country Bob.”

Ron Iverson

Ron Iverson performed the Travis composition “South Wind” which appeared on the debut album “Bud and Travis.”

Then came Art Yow , an architect  from San Francisco and enthusiastic folk singer. He sang two Spanish numbers: “La Vaquilla Colorada” and “Guantanamera“ with Travis playing the cowbell.

Art Yow

Art Yow sang two songs from Travis' Latin repertoire.

Sue Harris came and sang “Lavinia's Parlor” and “Roundup Lullaby.” Sue was so full of charm we wouldn't let her get off without singing three more numbers.

Travis Edmonson made his breakthrough with The Gateway Singers, resident group at the hungry i

Be sure and check out the website celebrating the great San Francisco club at

Enrico Banducci's hungry i lives again at
Sue Harris

Guests wouldn't let Sue Harris stop after she sang the Travis original “Lavinia's Parlor.”

Then , out of nowhere , Bob Hefferan shows up. I am told he is one of the current members of the  Chad Mitchell Trio. Wonderfully entertaining , he sang some old rag songs from the 30's and 40's (very Leon Redbone-like).

Bob Hefferan of The Chad Mitchell Trio  with Travis Edmonson

Bob Hefferan of The Chad Mitchell Trio was a surprise guest.

We then cut the cake and celebrated both birthdays (Travis on September 23 and Rose Marie's on July 14). They opened their gifts then  migrated inside.

Rose Marie & Travis Edmonson

Rose Marie and Travis show off  one of the birthday presents.

There it was much cooler than the 90 degree weather outside. We enjoyed cake, then gathered in the living room ,where we just jammed. I'm in heaven.  Ron sang “Daydream Believer “, Sue sings a  Maria Muldaur song , Bob plays Tico Tico (very tough to play on guitar) and I get to accompany him

Pictured at left: Long-time friend Mike Bartlett congratulates Travis
Travis Edmonson's daughters Erin and Ellen

Travis' daughters Erin and Ellen enjoy the music.

. Later I dedicated a Brazilian tune by Jobim called “Corcovado”to Travis. I knew Travis loved Brazilian music. Afterwards , he said that he always thought that his favorite song in the world was “Malagueña Salerosa”, but that now Corcovado rivals Malagueña. I felt soo good to be able to give Travis that small gift from my heart. Then “Sweet Georgia Brown “played by Bob , Sue and myself. We was swingin !!

Frank Ross serenades

Frank Ross sings the beautiful Antonio Carlos Jobim song “Corcovado.”

Art Yow then shared with us how he has embarked on an ambitious program to write out the arrangements of every Bud and Travis song ever recorded. These arrangements could then  be attached to  cd recordings and bring in some extra income for our good buddy, Travis. For further info , please contact Art at

Travis is excited about Art Yow's project, and has added his autograph to Art's guitar.

I  got to play a solo guitar rendition of “Manha de Carnaval” - the theme from the movie “Black Orpheus.” A lot of love was shown for Travis and Rose Marie throughout the evening , and certainly a good time was had by all.

 Happy Birthday Travis and Rose Marie , and we wish you many many more!!!"

Franklin Ross
September 2008