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Tucson Tapes 1st Set

Folk Era


by Rose Marie Heidrick

Additions and comments by
Travis Edmonson and John Thomas
Edited by Allan Shaw

From 1960 until 1965 the duo of Bud (Dashiel) and Travis (Edmonson) was one of the top acts on the folk scene, making hundreds of appearances and recording ten LP records. Both had previously performed as solo acts and with other groups, so when the duo broke up it was only natural that each would resume his respective solo career. For Travis, one of those solo appearances was in December of 1966 in Tucson Arizona. The performances were recorded by a friend, Frank Kalil, owner and manager of the local FM radio station, on reel to reel tapes, which were given to Travis for posterity.

As it were, posterity happened quite by accident. The reel to reel tapes were forgotten until recently when they were found by Travis in an unlabeled box in storage. Travis only vaguely recalled the shows, but curiosity took over and Travis asked another Tucson friend, Nick Cutrules, to transfer the recordings to cassette.

From out of the past, here was Travis, 1966. His wonderful melodic voice, the audience interaction, the charm and wit for which he was famous, were preserved on these long forgotten tapes. Family and friends enjoyed them while wishing all the fans who loved and enjoyed Travis' music could hear him.

Then a series of events occurred and the "wishes" of family and friends seemed a possibility, maybe a reality. Joe Sironi, a folk music aficionado from the Boston Area, paid a surprise visit to Travis in his Mesa, Arizona home. It was a wonderful visit for the both of them. Joe loved Travis' music. Marveling at the solo performances on the long forgotten tapes, Joe offered to edit and transfer the performances to CD's via his son's computer. He also suggested calling Allan Shaw of Folk Era Records, whom both he and Travis had known for some time.

At about the same time in California, John Thomas, a long time friend of Travis, happened upon a box of tapes and found one that he had recorded and produced in the spring of 1966. It was of Travis doing a solo performance at the University of California - Santa Barbara.

Excited about the possibility of a long forgotten show of Travis becoming available, John called Travis and offered those recordings to Travis for a CD release. Equally excited, Travis told John of the Tucson Tapes and asked his help in sharing those with his fans the world over. He sent copies to John who quickly agreed that these were marvelous recordings. Following up on Joe Sironi's suggestion, he asked John to approach Folk Era Records, which he did, the result of which are these two marvelous shows - The Tucson Tapes-First Set and The TUCSON Tapes-Second Set.



These two shows are a wonderful time capsule taking the listener back to 1966 and illustrating why Travis was always the consummate entertainer; one of the few of that time who could sing show tunes, popular songs and folk songs with both sensitivity and ease. Incorporating his knowledge of and love for the music of the Southwest and south of the border as an integral part of his shows, in these two sets he shows this love along with some of the humor for which he was also well known. But he never sacrificed artistry for authenticity, and his humor and satire was always quick and subtle.

On both of these sets, Travis was in rare form. The music was lively, and in both sets Travis included many familiar American folksongs as well as many of the Latin songs that he and Bud recorded and performed during their years together. And many of you will remember that improvisation was one of the trademarks of Bud and Travis, a trademark that Travis carried on in his solo career.

Although Travis made a remarkable recovery from the effects of the aneurysm he suffered several years ago, both talking and writing no longer come easily to him. However, his mind is as sharp as ever and he very much wanted to take an active part in the writing of these notes, so over the course of several conversations with his long-time companion, Rose Marie Heidrick, and his friend John Thomas, he relayed some fascinating comments and stories about the songs in the shows. Most of the following comments about the songs are in Travis' own words.

WALKIN' DOWN THE LINE ... a popular song of that time.

EVERYBODY'S TALKIN' ... from Midnight
Cowboy a Freddy Neil song. Travis had fun with the guitar parts.

MALAGUENA SALEROSA … is Travis' `signature song,' a love song from Mexico.

 Travis' guitar work makes the song sound like the New York Show tune it is.

THE LAST THING ON MY MIND … A popular song from the pen of Tom Paxton that Travis brings to life with a subtle blending of guitar and voice.

JALISCA/COCULA .  … exhibits a gritty vitality which is the trademark of the Mexican ranchera.

SABRAS QUE TE QUIRO  "You'll Know that I Love You" … yes, you will.  This is very tightly spun Bolero.

IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR …Different from Bob Shane's and Frank Sinatra's versions.

Travis' Tucson original songs. Bubbly!  A happy inclusion in any performance.

I'M A DRIFTER … a theme song for itinerate travellers. Another Travis original.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL  ... .a rowdy celebration of train travel as seen by Huddie Ledbetter, better known as "Leadbelly".

BEAUTIFUL TEXAS. … a comic inclusion.

LA BAMBA...Bud and Travis' rendition on Liberty records was one of the first recordings of this famous song in the United States. Anyone want to dance?

KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE ... learned from Travis' days with the Gateway

LOVE IS ... written by Miriam Makeba, this is as sweet as strawberries with a Travis twist.

EMPALIZA' (EN EL PAKASAL?} ... a rhythmic test of Travis ability.

HATE ME HALF As MUCH As I LOVE YOU .. a moment of comic relief.

GRANADA.. .the best version of this song on record.

NOCHE DE RoNDA ... night in Ronda …  a
heart-rending love song from Spain, very difficult to perform, however, Travis sings with such feeling and understanding he makes it seem so simple.

CRESCENT CITY BLUES ... Travis learned this wonderful blues song from Josh White. True to the genius of Josh, Travis performs with his own Genius as usual-White guys "can" play the blues.


John first met Travis in 1961 while John was playing with The Channel Singers, a popular folk group from the Santa Barbara Area, that played many of the top venues in the area, both as headliners as well as openers for many of the top folk groups including Joe and Eddie, The Stone Poneys and Bud and Travis. John thought all these groups were great, but when Bud and Travis took the stage it "was different", a whole new world of comedy and music. This was the beginning of a long standing and close relationship, one of the highlights of which was Travis' interest in John's music, an interest that came to mean a lot to Travis when, shortly thereafter, Bud and Travis broke up. John was there to fill a gap for Travis, sharing his home with him and encouraging him to regroup and design a "Travis on his Own" style.

In 1963 Bud and Travis once again teamed up to record and perform together which they did until 1965 when each went his own way for the final time and took something of the other with him. John and Travis subsequently renewed their friendship and worked together on the redevelopment of Travis' solo career.

About the Indian Drawings

I chose to Jraw these particular Kachinas to show one side of the spiritual strength we automatically inherit by choosing to live in the American south west. These are Hopi Spiritual beings whose actions and attitudes lend us their time honored strength and happiness with our understanding and proper use of them. It is not believed even by the Hopi that these are beings like European Saints, but the fact is they have been here longer and definitely have a strength and flavor of their own. One is free to think of Kachinas anyway you like, but if you allow them to enter into your life they will inspire you to reach up for a higher degree of being. Just look at them and see.


Ilopi Kachina plays tunes on his flute and on the maraca and is accompanied by a drum. His dancing makes the bells on his knees ring in rhythm to his playing. Every part of his costume is symbolic. This Kachina represents the Spirit of Song and is thought because of that to be one of the strongest Spirits. When he dances it is thought to be a great blessing to touch his tail.


The steps of his dance make his movements very eagle-like and he is thought to be one of the principal purveyors of the Spirits. He is considered to be a bit holier than the other Spirits and his every move has a positive meaning. He is considered more pure than most all of the other Kachinas. He controls the weather (in each of the top corners of the drawing you will see clouds, some rain and the sun).

(Liner notes reprinted with the kind permission of Folk Era Records)


The first of a set of two CDs of a performance at the Ramada Inn in Tucson, recorded during the late sixties, this undeniable treasure was discovered in 2000, and offers a rare snapshot of Travis Edmonson as solo performer.



Download Malagueña Salerosa  and other songs from this CD from Amazon!


Walkin’ Down theLine
Everybody’s Talkin’
Malaguena Salerosa
They Call The Wind Mariah
The Last Thing On My Mind
Sabras Que Te Quieras
It Was A Very Good Year
Moon Babies and Sunflowers  
I'm a Drifter  
Midnight Special
La Bamba
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Love Is...
Empaliza’ (En El Parasal?)
Hate Me Half AsMuch As I Love You
Noche de Ronda
Crescent City Blues

denotes Travis Edmonson compositions
  denotes Travis Edmonson arrangements

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