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My hands are empty

of applause for you

I have no words ringing

Clearly true

Far as I can see

There’s one thing

To do when you

Speak to me in music

I will answer you in music

You turn my mind,

My mind to music

Here are my thanks

Here are my praises…


 - Bella Frye

The crucial opening banjo notes and my dad’s wrenching vocals in Little Maggie never fail to make me weep, and yet—with my heart in my throat—I harmonize along and stomp my feet with pride. It’s at this crossroads of love and loss, elation and fury, where my soul resides. I’ve got Bill Monroe tattooed on one arm, and Hank Williams Sr. on the other. Holding the precious parts of Americana dear along with a progressive question-authority mindset is not always easy, but I had some danged good models in the Oganookie band.


-  Jessica Frye (age 1 when she came to the Plantation) 

We were young searching for aliveness and freedom of expression. We wanted release and joy.  Dancing to Oganookie was a spiritual experience, ecstatic renewal.


 - Diana Wright Troxell

The latest and, just possibly, the last Oganookie reunion is over.  While it may sound corny or even maudlin to say that, with their demise goes the best that Santa Cruz has to offer.  


Yet for a few hours last weekend, that old Santa Cruz vibration filled the “New” Catalyst and transformed it into a very warm, familiar place.  There was Bruce Frye bending that Southern California golden voice into the lyrics; Bob Stern, fiddle bow and smile both flashing; George Stavis, looking clean cut these days, but community involvement not hampering his banjo picking one bit; Tim Ackerman, coolly driving the band from behind his well-broken in drum set; and Jack Bowers, the seemingly mild-mannered pianist who wrote so many of the miraculous songs that made Oganookie a pure local music blend.


        -Christian Kallen,

            Good Times

I had a band

Five friends and a brother

We lived together in the mountains

Thought we loved one another.


It was peaceful in the mountains

The morning sun awoke us

We lived for the music

Felt it strong and growing

Felt it was a part of ourselves.


The people of the mountains helped us

Held us, fed us.


Flow of the music,

One with the sweat of the dancer’s bodies,

Without an owner

Child of the celebration,

Beside which nothing matters,

Returning all that is given.

The stream of all things passing

Time, yet not between us.


- Jack Bowers

Oganookie literally reigned supreme in area clubs and concerts and spawned a whole host of other bands with similar sounds.


     -Richie Begin

          Good Times 

Oganookie brought the Troubadour’s house to a standing ovation through some stomping picking on "Orange Blossom Special."

                -Jeff Thomas

            The Hollywood Reporter

It is past midnight and Pacific Avenue looks oddly twisted . . . the dense foliage looks like the old Garden Mall . . . there’s no place open and I’d like a beer so I stroll over to Front Street to see who’s playing at the Catalyst.  It must be 1973 or so because Oganookie is into its last set and the dancers crammed in front of the bandstand have worked up a sweat and the cowboys and bikers and hippies and grad students are stomping their boots on the boards of the old carriage-house floor.  The music is some kind of Boulder Creek bluegrass, blue as the smoke of cannabis leaves grown and burned in these hills, fiddle-guitar-bass-and-banjo burning as if the musicians fingers are aflame, possessed of some ancient backwoods juju that rocks the big room with primal rhythms that move everyone, even the bouncers and bartenders who rule the place with the force of their studly cool, and the busgirls collecting the dregs of the downed pints. 


        -Stephen Kessler,

      Santa Cruz Sentinel

Oganookie was a quintessential jam band a couple of decades before that term was coined. ... They also epitomized the people’s band ethos, playing many benefits and extolling the virtues of the back-to-the-land lifestyle the group modeled.


     -Michael Parrish

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