The Honeybucket Jazz nightclub located on upper Filmore, San Francisco, CA 1954 - 60 (?) The Honeybucket was one of the most popular San Francisco jazz venues of the mid 1950s, located on upper Filmore, 1954-60
Frank Goulette and Original Inferior Jazz Band made this club a popular venue with Traditional and revival jazz enthusiasts
Musicians fondly recall a place where management didn’t interfere, the music was loud, and younger musicians could gain a bit of polish.
Facts, figures and photos from The Honeybucket are skimpy. Though quite a few performance tapes have survived, I've yet to find any photos. The images here were shot elsewhere. Interviews and discussions with musicians like Earl Scheelar, Ev Farey and Bob Mielke make it clear this was a key venue in the development of Frisco Traditional and Revival jazz in the late 1950s. Photo: Charlie Clark (clarinet), Earl Scheelar, unknown banjo at Burp Hollow.
In Bay Area Jazz Clubs of the Fifties, Bret Runkle described the The Honeybucket. He himself was loosely associated with Original Inferior Jazz Band that was originally organized by Frank Goulette (cornet), with Fred Bjork (trombone), Earl Scheelar (clarinet) and Walter Yost (tuba).
According to Runkle: “In late 1954, The Original Inferior crowd was playing The Honeybucket on upper Fillmore Street. This was a ‘fun’ beer and peanuts place, but it also gave polish to sidemen in the upcoming generation of bands. Besides the aforementioned members of the Original Inferior Jazz Band, Yost and I think the following people played at The Honeybucket: Don Keeler, Pete Clute, Barry Durkee, Bill Carroll, Bob Mielke, Harry Ironmonger and Roy Giomi. I sat in sometimes. So did Lee Valencia."
At The Honeybucket, Earl Scheelar was making distinctive music in 1955-56. Besides being a fine clarinet and banjo player, he was an exceptionally moving horn player.
Scheelar’s richly expressive tone and soulful passion lent Earl’s Hot Five a distinctive sound, ably backed by Dick Oxtot (banjo), Le Sharpton (trombone), and surprisingly, Pete Allen . . . on clarinet!
Photo L to R: Mel Doyle, P.T. Stanton, Don Fay, Pete Allen (clarinet) Location and date unknown. Oxtot collection
In addition to string bass, Allen played clarinet
in early years. This may be one of the best examples of Pete’s Doddsian
Earl’s Hot Five, Honeybucket, Feb. 1956
Earl Scheelar (cornet) Pete Allen (clarinet) Lee Sharpton (trombone) Dick Oxtot (banjo) Art Nortier (piano)
Photo: L to R: Trombone probably Sanford Neubauer, Charlie Clark and Earl Scheelar
This band grew out of Frank
Goulette’s sessions at the Honeybucket in the mid-1950s that put in
motion the second wave of Watters style music in the Bay Area. Loud,
brash and salty, Original Inferior played Burp Hollow between 1958-64.
had excellent soloists, good ensemble spirit, powerful dynamics, and
was well steeped in jazz sounds of the 1920s interpreted Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz Band style.
The band name may have been a self-effacing reference to a noted early
New Orleans jazz ensemble, Original Superior Jazz Band, with a possible
secondary reference to one of Bunk Johnson’s recording groups of the
1940s. This band had a “lighter” sound that Yerba Buena which may be
attributable to Ev Farey’s nimble cornet, no drums, and the swinging
tuba of Ed Dickerman driving the rhythm section.
Original Inferior Jazz Band Burp Hollow, San Francisco Sept. 1962
Ev Farey (cornet and leader subbing for Frank Goulette) Ernie Carson (guest 2nd cornet, selected tracks) John Boland (clarinet) Bill Bardin (trombone, seen right) Tony Landphere (piano) Ron Hanscom and Ed Sprankle (banjo) Ed Dickerman (tuba)
Courtesy Ev Farey Thanks to Hal Smith for technical assistance Original recording by Ed Sprankle
Dick Oxtot's Polecats Honeybucket 1955
This is an anthology of Oxtot Polecats recordings from the Honeybucket 1955. Provenance is unclear, but it was probably taped and assembled by Bob Orrfelt, an audio engineer, jazz fan and friend of the Bearcats. This audio was retrieved from a cassette copy in Dick Oxtot's personal tape collection. The lineup is an educated guess based on research and contemporaneous Oxtot Honeybucket performance tapes. Dick Oxtot (cornet, vocals) Bill Napier (clarinet) Le Shaprton (or Butzen?) (trombone) possibly Sam Charters (banjo) Pete Allen or Le Sharpton bass Possibly Don Fay (drums)
The Honeybucket Jazz Band, c. 1956 From TradJazz Productions TJP 2141
This personnel lineup overlaps with Frank Goulette's Original Inferior Jazz Band, or other Honeybucket ensembles and Traditional two-beat bands. Frank Goulette (cornet) Bob Hodes (second horn as noted) Fred Bjork (trombone) Bill Morrison (clarinet) Art Nortier (piano) Don Kidder (banjo Dick Karner (drums) Bob Rann (tuba)
Bob Hodes (also known as Robin) was originally from Ohio, where played in the Dixieland Rhythm Kings. He became ensconced in Frisco Jazz beginning in the mid-1950s. Hodes played with piano players Bill Erickson and Burt Bales at Pier 23 and in the Great Pacific, Red Onion, and Jelly Roll Jazz Bands.
Pianist Nortier played in other Goulette ensembles, the Great Pacific and Bay City Jazz Bands. Bob Rann is best known for his work with Ohio-area bands like the Salty Dogs and his 32 year association with South Frisco Jazz Band.