From late 1969 through early 1973 and several reunions thereafter, the band with the inscrutable name, Oganookie, was one of the the best-known, most active, and beloved bands in Northern California. Oganookie performed throughout the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay areas, and also included Napa/Sonoma and Stockton. The band averaged about 150 to 160 performances a year.
Musically, the group followed a singular mixture of electric bluegrass and folk music, together with Jack Bowers’ stunning compositions, all integrated with complex and original arrangements by the band. Vocals were led by Bruce Frye with Bob Stern and George Stavis on harmonies, while instrumental skills were delivered by Bob on violin/fiddle and bass, George on electric banjo, Bruce on guitar, Jack on keyboards and mandolin, all supported by Tim Ackerman’s strong and musical drumming. Bass responsibilities were assumed by George and Bruce when Bob was on violin.
The audio and video recordings of Oganookie are all archival. The audios were mostly recorded live in the 1970’s at several locations in the Santa Cruz, California area; the videos are from two nights of a reunion concert in 1991. The first night, in Boulder Creek, was essentially a rehearsal for the second night at the famous Cocoanut Grove at the Beach-Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The videos were kindly done by a family member, and were not intended for general reproduction, and there was no general audio recording from those concerts, only the video camera microphone. In order to produce the most accurate record of the band, we decided to synchronize the older audios with the later videos. The result is imperfect (as they say for some apparel, “The slubs and imperfections are natural, and add to the authentic beauty”), but this is the real Oganookie, at different times and places. We hope you truly enjoy it!