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West Coast Trombone Player

Now retired, Bob Mielke was a superb musician.  His versatile trombone sound ranged from Kid Ory's New Orleans tailgate style, to the Harlem swing of J.C. Higginbotham. 

Bob Mielke's Bearcats was one of the most popular and creative jazz bands of the Trad Jazz revival movement, c. 1954-70.

Photo courtesy of Bob Mielke

Trombone player Bob Mielke was active in the San Francisco Traditional Jazz scene from the 1940s until a few years ago.   His outstanding musicianship brought him to the attention of jazz greats as a young man.  By his mid-30s he’d performed or recorded with Sidney Bechet, Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, Bob Scobey, Joe Sullivan, Lu Watters, Wingie Manone, Muggsy Spanier and Barbara Dane and a half-dozen West Coast Jazz Bands.

Bob has been a bright light on the West Coast Jazz scene, creating a delightful body of work.  For a couple decades starting in 1968 he shared a gig playing the Oakland A’s Swingers jazz band and their baseball games with Dick Oxtot and band that often featured Bob Helm, Richard Hadlock, Bob Neighbor and others.

EMPIRICAL LP/Tape (1955)

The ill-fated Empirical Stereo album is a jewel. The San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation eventually issued the music on CD in 1991 from existing second-generation sources.  The liner notes explain the back story, and apologize for the remaining but unavoidable flaws in “Ice Cream” and “Creole Song.”

Through the kindness of jazz collector Joe Spencer I have made fresh transfers from the original Empirical master tape.  Besides superb sound, this was a pioneering stereo recording utilizing a microphone technique known as mid-side

This allowed me to extract maximum detail and presence, while retaining the glorious ambiance of Jenny Lind Hall – well know as one the best sounding recording locations in Northern California.  An innovative technical and musical milestone may now be savored as it was first intended in the mid-1950s.

Newest audio postings and many rarities are found at the accompanying Bearcats archive.

New 2.2015


Bob Mielke's Bearcats
Empirical EM-108 Master

Creole Song.mp3
Blue Guaiac Blues.mp3
Ice Cream.mp3
Sing On.mp3
My Lovin' Imogene.mp3
Bogalusa Strut.mp3
Weary Blues.mp3

Synthesizing an Independent Jazz Style

Mielke synthesized his own exciting trombone style with elements ranging from Kid Ory’s New Orleans tailgate tradition to the Harlem swing of J.C. Higginbotham and Ellington’s “Tricky Sam” Nanton.  Leading his own very popular Bearcats jazz band in the 1950-60s.  And he may have been the first to hire Frank "Big Boy" Goudie in the Bay Area c. 1957-58.

Mielke was particularly skillful at was carrying his solos back into the ensemble and providing excellent support for his fellow musicians.  He is a warm and personable man who has a deep understanding of the early jazz music to which he dedicated his life. 

As a soloist Mielke kept things interesting because he was brave enough to take the unexpected route.  His support for the other players is palpable, his comping alternates between ensemble counterpoint and background riffs.


Bob Mielke's Bearcats
at the Lark's Club

Creole Song.mp3 vocal Dick Oxtot

Sweet Georgia Brown.mp3 vocal Oxtot


My Lovin’ Imogene.mp3 vocal Oxtot

Tiger Rag.mp3

Bob Mielke's Bearcats
Mielke, P.T. Stanton (cornet) and Dick Oxtot (banjo, vocals) established early the basic elements of the Bearcats sound: strong ensemble unity, and riffing: P.T.’s contribution inspired by the Basie band, says Mielke.  The riffs were simple repeated figures played behind a soloist, typically Stanton in co-ordination with the clarinet or trombone player.  Riffing added complexity, harmonic development and rhythmic drive to the Bearcats, and was a popular technique in Bay Area jams and jazz performance at the time.

Fusing Mielke’s love for full-throated New Orleans ensemble polyphony and P.T.’s sly riffing the Bearcats created an independent style that was a potent brew.  It proved a fresh alternative to the formulas of Eddie Condon’s Dixieland jam sessions, East Coast ‘cutting contests,’ and the Traditional Jazz styles of Lu Watters and Turk Murphy.

Bob Mielke and his crew were at the core of an East Bay contingent in the San Francisco jazz-revival, and among the second wave of jazz musicians who built their own independent style during the 1950s.  His band was a significant voice in the mid-century jazz revival.  Their independent style was an achievement of originality that left an indelible signature on the West Coast jazz revival.

The Lark's Club

It was at the Lark’s Club in Berkeley where the Bearcats developed their sound and following.  Owned by Bill Nelson, a former trombone player in the Jimmy Lunceford orchestra, it had an integrated clientele; about half were African-American.  Their first steady gig, Lark’s Club nurtured the Bearcats, and seasoned their chops during 1954-55:
Milenberg Joys.mp3 Bob Mielke’s Bearcats, Larks club, c. 1955
Ice Cream.mp3 Bob Mielke’s Bearcats, Jenny Lind Hall, 1954

The basic Bearcats lineup was P.T. Stanton (cornet), Bob Mielke (trombone), Bunky Coleman (clarinet), Dick Oxtot (banjo and vocals), Pete Allen (bass), and Don Marchant (drums).  Additions and substitutes included singer Barbara Dane, clarinet players Bill Napier, Ellis Horne and Frank "Big Boy" Goudie, and drummer Don Fay.  When Mielke could not attend Bill Bardin stood in on trombone.  The core group did not include piano, and they didn’t use one at the Lark’s Club, but when a piano player was needed for a gig Bill Erickson or Burt Bales.
  Lark's Club at Syncopated Times

West Coast Trombonist Bob Mielke
In an exclusive interview program, Bob recalls his fascinating life making Jazz with the likes of Sidney Bechet, Bob Wilbur, Dick Oxtot and his own band since the early 1950s.  Many rare and one-of-a-kind recordings are featured.

Pt. 1 - Early years, Bechet and Bob Wilbur, Mielke bands of the 1950s.

COME BACK SWEET PAPA  --  Frisco Syncopators
POLKA DOT STOMP  --  Sidney Bechet w/ Bob Wilber’s Wildcats, 1947
KANSAS CITY MAN BLUES  --  Sidney Bechet w/ Bob Wilber’s Wildcats, 1947
SNAKE RAG  --  Bob Wilber’s Wildcats, Ramparts 78 rpm c. 1948
CHARLESTON  --  Fairway Rhythm Kings, 1949  78 rpm
DIDN’T HE RAMBLE  --  Fairway Rhythm Kings, 1949  78 rpm
CRAZY CHORDS  --  Bob Mielke’s Jazz Band, 1949  78 rpm
RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE  --  Bob Meilke Jazz Band, 1949  78 rpm
BOGALUSA STRUT  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW-FM San Francisco, CA 1992

MY LOVIN’ IMOGENE  --  Bob Mielke and his Bearcats, 1954
THAT’S MY WEAKNESS NOW  --   Mielke Bearcats, Lark’s Club, Berkeley, CA 1955
EGYPTIAN FANTASY  --  Bob Mielke and his Bearcats, Lark’s Club, Berkeley 1955
JUST A CLOSER WALK  --  Estuary Jazz Band, San Francisco, CA 1959
WEARY BLUES  --  Bob Mielke and his Bearcats, 1954

Mielke with several of his closest associates:

L to R:
Goudie, Mielke,
P.T. Stanton,
Allen, Oxtot

Pioneer Village,
East Bay, c. 1958.

Recovered contact print,
Bob Mielke collection

Pt. 2 - Featuring exclusive live recordings of Mielke with Frank Goudie, and his recollections of the legendary clarinet player.

GIVE ME YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER  --  Golden State Jazz Band, Live San Francisco, 1980
SATURDAY NIGHT FUNCTION  --  Estuary Jazz Band, San Francisco, CA 1959
THE GOLDIGGER’S SONG  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962
CHINA BOY  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962
RING DEM BELLS  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962
GETTYSBURG MARCH  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962

WILLIE THE WEEPER  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962
SHOUT ‘EM AUNT TILLIE  --  Bob Mielke’s Bearcats,  Live in San Francisco, CA 1958
GET OUT OF HERE  --  Bill Erickson’s Quartet, Live, Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA, 1962
BUGLE BOY MARCH  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco, CA 1992

Oakland A's Swingers baseball band 

The first season of Bob Mielke's Oakland A's Swingers baseball team band (1968) consisted of a quartet Mileke (trombone) Bob Neighbor (trumpet), Bob Helm (soprano) and Dick Oxtot (banjo).  

After the band complained strenuously about lacking a bass, tuba player John Moore was hired.  In subsequent years Helm was replaced by Bill Napier, later by Richard Hadlock and others.  

Dick Oxtot wrote in his memoir, Jazz Scrapbook:
"We played the first season, each and every A's home game, with four musicians.  We played in the hallways before the game, on top of the dugouts during each half-inning, and strolled through the bleachers."

". . . the band was dissatisfied with the 4-piece arrangement -- especially me.  It was tough on me to provide an entire rhythm for the three horns . . . I needed a tuba to complete the rhythm for the section.  Also the band would sound much better . . . the following season [team owner Art] Finley went along and agreed to add a fifth musician." 


Further investigate Mielke's Baseball Band on Syncopated Times (forthcoming).        Strolling Dixieland Baseball Band at DagogoMielke' Strolling Dixieland Baseball Band

L to R: 
Bob Helm, Bob Mielke, Bob Neighbor, Dick Oxtot

Back of photo notation:

"Big deal in 1972 after the A's had won their first pennant!  Monte Moore, the A's radio announcer (standing next to Helm) performs the MC duties."

Musicians, L to R: Bob Mielke, Bob Neighbor, Dick Oxtot, Bob Helm. 
Oxtot collection


Transcript of Bob Mielke phone interview.pdf
regarding Frank Goudie, taped at KALW-FM, San Francisco, CA, 8.9.93

Pt. 3 - Bob recalls more of his years in the Bay Area, exclusive live broadcast recordings of the New Bearcats, 1992.

SUGARFOOT STRUT  --  Golden State Jazz Band, Live San Francisco, 1980
SHE’S CRYI N’ FOR ME  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco, CA 1992
MUDDY WATER  --  Baraba Dane, 1957
I’M SATISFIED WITH MY GAL  --  Bob Mielke’s Bearcats, 1958
MILENBURG JOYS  --  Bob Mielke’s Bearcats, 1958

BLUE GUAIAC BLUES  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco 1992
SWING THAT MUSIC  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco 1992
SAWDUST BLUES  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco 1992
TEARS  --  Berkeley Rhythm,  c. 1973
SING ON  --  Bob Mielke’s New Bearcats, Live, KALW San Francisco 1992

Hear Bob Mielke's Bearcats live at the Lark's Club, mid-1950s

Bob Mielke with Bunk Johnson

Caravan Ballroom, October 1947

Front row L to R:
Bob Mielke (trombone),
Jerry Blumberg (trumpet), Bunk Johnson (trumpet), James P. Johnson (piano), Albert Nicholas (clarinet)

NEW 9.2014


Bob Wilbur’s Wildcats 12.31.1947
Issued on, Young Men with Horns, London H-APB 1026, 10” vinyl LP

Johnny Glasel and Jerry Blumberg (cornets)
Bob Wilber (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Wellstood (piano)
Charlier Trager (bass)
Denny Strong (drums)

Once in a While.mp3
I Can’t Say.mp3
When You Wore a Tulip.mp3
Old Fashioned Love.mp3
Salty Dog.mp3
Mixed Salad.mp3

Special thanks to Frank Selman.

Excerpts from the original Young Men with Horns LP liner notes:

In 1946 the management of Jimmy Ryan’s on New York’s 52nd Street, were talked into letting a group of very young musicians from suburban Scarsdale take over for a few numbers during one of the regular weekend jam sessions.  They played New Orleans standards . . . with an enthusiasm that made even the hardened professionals sit up and take notice.  This was the group that was to be known as Bob Wilber’s Wildcats.

The original band many of the musicians were under seventeen, Johnny Glasel, the cornet player, was actually fifteen . . . . With the fine, deep, Ory-style trombone of Bob Mielke, their regular drummer, Denny Strong, to lay down a healthy, solid beat and with Dick Wellstood to play such fine piano as can be heard on “Old Fashioned Love,” the band really showed what it could do.  Jerry Blumberg, who had announced his ambition of only playing second cornet parts, nevertheless takes some fine solos on “I Can’t Say” and “When You Wore a Tulip,” while Wilber, now on the clarinet, shows that he had achieved an original, lusty style that wasn’t merely a shadow of the playing of [his mentor] Sidney Bechet.


Bob Mielke's Jazz Band, 1951
Mielke (trombone), Bill Erickson (trumpet), Bill Napier (clarinet), Jerry Stanton (piano), Bob Mussiter (guitar), John Schuler (string bass), Jack Lowe (drums)

Crazy Chords.mp3
Riverboat Shuffle introduced by Bob.mp3

Bob Mielke's Fairway Rhythm Kings, 1951
personnel same as above

Didn't He Ramble.mp3

From a golf-themed promotion Mielke tried in 1951, The Fairway Rhythm Kings.

L to R: Bob Mielke (looking rather like a young James Cagney), unknown musician, Bill Napier (Looking rather natty) and Bill Erickson

From the archives of SFTJF.


Bob Mielke’s Bearcats, Visalia, CA, c. 1959

P.T. Stanton (cornet)
Frank Goudie (clarinet
Bob Mielke (trombone, vocal)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Burt Bales (piano)
Drums - unknown
Bass - unknown

Photo: Bearcats in Visalia at an earlier date with Bunky Coleman on clarinet.

Mr. Sandman (3:45)
The Saints (5:09)
Basin Street Blues (3:45) poor balance, vocal by Goudie
Blues (6:33)
When You’re Smiling (4:50) incomplete at start and finish
Them There Eyes (6:11)

Thanks to Dave Greer.

Note on recordings:
The archival recordings heard on these pages are offered as historic artifacts.  They contain many musical and technical flaws, or are incomplete or poorly balanced  in places.  Personnel are listed as available, or as deduced  from educated guesses.

From the live set of,
I Cover the Waterfront, KSAN-TV, 1955

L to R:
Burt Bales, Don Marchant, Mielke, Bunky Coleman, Dick Oxtot

Monkey Inn I

The sometimes boisterous Monkey Inn opened onto to busy Shattuck Avenue through the (audibly) swinging barroom doors next to the piano.

According to Bob Mielke, things could occasionally, “get a little rough.”   He describes the college-age crowd as, “fraternity boys out on their first beer benders,” though another less charitably called them “a pack of little thugs.”  Earl Scheelar reports that one time, when a tough motorcycle gang infested the joint, the musicians packed up their instruments and left.

The Bearcats and other band played there for “beer and peanuts” (the beer was free, but they were paid peanuts).  After about 1960 Bill Erickson was house pianist, directing various combos and ad hoc groups.


Yost, Scheelar, Mielke, Erickson Runkle
Monkey Inn, 2/3/63

Walter Yost (cornet)
Earl Scheelar (clarinet)
Bob Meilke
Bill Erickson (piano)
Brett Runkle (washboard)

Intro by Dave Greer

1919 Rag  4:28
When Erastus Plays his Old Kazoo  6:17               
Wild Man Blues  6:29
You Always Hurt the One You Love  6:12
Just a Closer Walk  5:17

Set complete  28:40


Burp Hollow was a popular jazz bar at 487 Broadway in San Francisco for a few years around 1960.  Dick Oxtot fronted bands there with various line-ups often including  Erickson, Mielke and others. 

This rare 1959 tape from Burp Hollow is a remarkable manifestation of East Bay revival-jazz players. 

Napier sounds terrific and gets the most solo time, switching occasionally to bass clarinet (visible, right)

Drummer Max Leavitt worked with Erickson, though he was not part of this coterie.

Bill Erickson (trumpet)
Bill Napier (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo, vocals)
Peter Allen (string bass)
Max Leavitt (drums)

Mamies Blues.mp3 vocal Oxtot
Back in Your Own Back Yard.mp3
Blues at the Hollow.mp3 unknown vocalist
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.mp3 bass clarinet solo, Napier
Beale St. Blues.mp3
You Can’t Shush Katie.mp3
Song of the Islands.mp3
Darktown Strutter's Ball.mp3
Don't You Leave Me Here.mp3 vocal unknown, good blues trumpet by Erickson
1919 March.mp3
L-O-U-I-S-I-A-N-I-A.mp3 vocal Oxtot
Yes, Yes in your Eyes.mp3 vocal Oxtot
Buddy Bolden Blues.mp3
Love Nest.mp3
Original Dixieland One-Step.mp3
Wabash Blues.mp3 featuring Dick Oxtot, banjo
Bugle Boy March.mp3
Tiger Rag.mp3 (incomplete at end)

Thanks to recordist Dave Greer.
Photo: Oxtot collection

Explore Burp Hollow in music and pictures:    

Burp Hollow (this site)    
The Infamous Burp Hollow at Dagogo

The Infamous Burp Hollow at Syncopated Times (forthcoming).


Bob Mielke's Bearcats, 1954-58:

Creole Song.mp3

Bill Erickson Quintet,
Monkey Inn, Berkeley, CA c. 1961-62

Unknown trumpet
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
James Carter (drums)

Joseph, Joseph - Quintet.mp3 7:10
Careless Love - Quintet.mp3

Photo: Oxtot collection

Jerry Blumberg is not the horn player on the Bill Erickson Quintet Monkey Inn tapes of 1961-62, contrary to Bob Mielke’s recollection and notations on the tape reel boxes.  Blumberg recently broke a long silence about his San Francisco years to send me correspondence stating that he was not the horn player on those recordings.  According to his own records, Blumberg was not in the Bay Area when this series of recordings began, yet he does recall playing with Mielke at the Monkey Inn. 

The notations in pencil on the Monkey Inn tape boxes regarding personnel might not be contemporaneous, but added later when the tapes were in the possession of collector Bill Raynolds.  Suggestions regarding who this horn player might be include:  RCH Smith, Eddie Smith, Ted Butterman or Jack Minger. 

Trumpet player Byron Berry has been suggested by several including Blumberg.  But my careful audition of contemporaneous Berry tapes leads me to reject this candidate.


Bob Mielke’s Bearcats
Live at Sail ‘N - 1958
Arhoolie cassette C-1099
1998 Arhoolie Records
Recorded by Chris Strachwitz 1958

(Note: Clarinet player Bunky Coleman, pictured right, is not present on this recording.)

P.T. Stanton (trumpet)
Bill Napier (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Pete Allen (string bass)
Don Marchant (drums)

Bugle Boy March.mp3 (3:33)
Eh La Bas.mp3 (3:18)
I’m Satisfied with My Gal.mp3 (4:25)
Milenberg Joys.mp3 (5:17)
My Baby Don't Mean Maybe Now.mp3 (3:51)
Pastel Blue.mp3 (5:11)
Saturday Night Function.mp3 (3:57)
Shout ‘em Aunt Tillie.mp3 (3:57)
Winin’ Boy.mp3  (6:37, Burt Bales, piano featured)

New 6.2015


Dick Oxtot Birthday & jam session Winter 1978

PT Stanton (cornet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
Pete Allen (string bass)

Photo (right) is a similar lineup, but with clarinet, probably from the late 1970s.  Oxtot collection.

This is a rough and ready jam session without clarinet or reed at Dick Oxtot's birthday party, location unknown.  In places a second horn (possibly Jim Goodwin), washboard, or a piano player may join in.  This historic music is taken from a cassette in poor condition and is in places incomplete or interrupted.

Move_the_Body_Over.mp3 (group vocal, add washboard) 5:57
Buddy_Bolden_Blues.mp3  (vocal by PT Stanton, add washboard) 8:43
They Say Si, Si.mp3  7:10
Red_River_Valley.mp3 3:20
Old_Spinning _Wheel.mp3 6:49
Mielke collection

Photo 1960s
from the book cover:

Bob Mielke:
A Life of Jazz

Another Jazz Scrapbook by Jim Goggin

Goggin/Trafford Publishing, 2008


MONKEY INN TAPES from the personal collection of Bob Mielke

Bill Erickson Quartet, 6.24.61
Unknown trumpet
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Don Marchant (drums)

The unknown trumpet player sounds particularly excellent on these sessions.

Sweet Georgia Brown (6:48; inc at start)
In A Little Spanish Town (7:11)
Nobody Knows (6:44)
Yes, Yes, in Your Eyes (6:37)

Bill Erickson Quintet, 6.31.61
Unknown trumpet
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Don Marchant (drums)

Joseph, Joseph (7:40)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (5:13)
Ida Sweet as Apple Cider (6:13, off mic vocal by Vince Hickey; drums?)
Closing waltz and Looney tunes theme (1:10)

Bill Erickson Quartet, 8.7.61
same personnel

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans (5:58)
Beale Street Blues (5:26)
Indiana (5:50)
Shimmy Sha Wabble (4:00)
Bienville Blues (6:25)
Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You (7:33)
Over the Waves (6:20)
Tishomingo Blues (5:30)
Tiger Rag (7:15)
Royal Garden Blues (4:20)
Savoy Blues (4:48)
Sweet Georgia Brown (3:30 incomplete at end)


MONKEY INN TAPES from the personal collection of Bob Mielke

Bill Erickson Quartet, 9.7.61
Frank Goudie (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Bill Erickson (piano)
Don Marchant (drums)

Goudie sounds particularly good on this session, and it's some of the best sound pickup available of his clarinet.

Just a Little While to Stay (6:33; level fluctuates at start)
Breeze (5:20)

Special thanks to Bob and Art Mielke.

More Monkey Inn tapes, here

Note on recordings:
The archival recordings heard on these pages are offered as historic artifacts.  They contain many musical and technical flaws, or are incomplete or poorly balanced  in places.  Personnel are listed as available, or as deduced  from educated guesses.


Bob Mielke's Bearcats,
Live on air at KALW-FM, San Francisco 1993:

Bugle Boy March.mp3
Blue Guaiac Blues.mp3 (original tune by Bunky Coleman)
Sawdust Blues.mp3 (original tune by Mielke)  


Bob Mielke and The Oakland A's Baseball Band
at the Bob Helm Memorial Event, San Pablo Moose Lodge, 11.11.2002

Bob Mielke, trombone and leader
Bob Neighbor, trumpet
Bill Napier, clarinet
Jim Maihack, tuba
Stuart Zank, banjo

Once in a While - Oakland A's Band.mp3
There's an Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlor - Oakland A's Band.mp3
Joseph Joseph - Oakland A's Band.mp3
Savoy Blues - Oakland A's Band.mp3
Take Me Out to the Ballgame - Oakland A's Band.mp3

Recorded by Phil Edwards and Bill Ruck for Bud Spangler and KCSM
Courtesy of Leon Oakley and Diamondstack Productions

        More about the Strolling Baseball Band.

Oxtot recalled some of the highlights in his memoir,
Jazz Scrapbook:

“We played the first season, each and every A’s home game, with four musicians.  We played the hallways before the game, on top of the dugout during each half-inning, and strolled through the bleachers.

The band was dissatisfied with the 4-piece arrangement – especially me.  It was tough on me to provide an entire rhythm for the three horns . . . I needed a tuba to complete the rhythm section.  The following season, (team owner) Charlie Finley went along and agreed to add a fifth musician, Squire Girsback.  But Squire had to leave after a month or so, and after trying other tuba players, we decided on John Moore as the regular.

Life on the road with Finely was a full-time party.  Finley was a genial host.  (In Detroit) he hosted a 7- course lobster dinner for a flock of dignitaries and the band.  After the feast, which must have cost him a bundle, Finley called a cab and invited Mielke to ride back to the hotel with him.   As the cab approached the hotel, Finley asked Mielke, “Have you got five dollars for the cab?”

My last excursion to New York was with the A’s band, and probably the most scary at first: the World Series against the New York Mets.  The band’s troubles began before the opening pitch of the first game, when . . . we began to play on top of the Mets’ dugout.  Immediately we were greeted by a barrage of beer bottles and other miscellaneous debris, thrown at us by the New York fans!

We managed to dodge most of these flying missiles before the unfriendly atmosphere resulted in serious disaster, but the cops came to our rescue, post haste, made us get off of the dugout, and escorted us to some seats in the extreme rear of the grandstand where they instructed the band to ‘play no more’.

[Lodged in the Americana Hotel, the musicians were invited to join jazz trumpet player Bobby Hackett:]  We, of course, were delighted to have one of the tastiest trumpet players in the business play with us.  We were honored, and considered the event to be the highlight of our visit to the ‘Big Apple’.”

Oxtot collectionMielke's Strolling Dixieland Band


Earl Scheelar recalls playing with the Swingin' A's:

Earl Scheelar_Intv_on_Swingin_A's.mp3

New 11.2014


Bob Mielke’s Bearcats 7/76, with Bill Carter.

Though the Bearcats ended as a band by around 1970, Mielke kept the name and spirit alive for occasional events such as this at the Blue Dolphin in San Leandro, CA. 

Clarinet player Bill Carter fit comfortably in the ensemble.  You can hear why he was a well respected player, deeply seasoned in the New Orleans tradition and outlook.

P.T. Stanton (cornet)
Bill Carter (clarinet)
Bob Mielke (trombone)
Dick Oxtot (banjo)
(bass unknown)

Bourbon Street Parade.mp3
Sing On.mp3
Blue Guaiac Blues.mp3 (composition by Bunky Coleman)
Ice Cream.mp3

Mielke collection


Bearcats archive
More about Bill Erickson
More about Frank Goudie
More about Bill Napier
More about P.T. Stanton
More about Burt Bales
More about Dick Oxtot

More rare and archival tapes:

Burp Hollow tapes
Lark's Club tapes
Monkey Inn tapes
Berkeley Jazz House tape
Nods Taproom (with Byron Berry) tapes
Pier 23 tapes
Oakland Swingin' A's Baseball Band

Photo: Oxtot collection