The KRAB Audio Archive
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The listing in guide Nbr 170 for Jul 15, 1969 says Bluegrass - with Tiny Freeman and Dave Wertz, but it meant with Tiny Freeman or Dave Wertz. They were alternating, or, to judge from this recording, Dave was substituting when Tiny was working elsewhere.
Although the tape label has nothing to indicate the air date, Tiny left a clue: He says that someone brought in a "bunch of AP stuff from the newswires" and then proceeds to read the intro of a story about a Seattle police officer announcing his candidacy for mayor. A search of the Seattle Times revealed that on Jul 15, 1969 Ross S Roddam announced he was running for mayor. Click on tape label thumbnail to see the article.
This program seems much more old-timey acoustic than the electrified bluegrass of later years.
Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF M0482
(On Aug 9, 1969 the bluegrass show and Tiny had moved to 3:00 pm Saturday afternoons. Not sure who was writing the program guide descriptions.)
Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF M0483
First he was on Tuesday nights (Doughnut Shop, 1968), then Wednesday, then Sunday afternoons, then Saturday afternoons (Fire Station 25), then Saturday nights alternating with Dave Wertz, then Saturday on his own, and after all that he was still always willing to sit in at a moments notice. Listeners, musicians, and assorted other characters would surround and egg him on as he regaled them with no end of slightly salacious jokes. And the musicians, whom Tiny had forgotten he had invited, would show up with their instruments and it would be live till dawn, with Tiny "dragging his fiddles, guitars, banjos, gut buckets and empties behind him." (Guide 172)
Here’s an excerpt of live music with Tiny in the wheelhouse, courtesy of Dennis “KRABgrass” Flannigan, made sometime before 1974. Could be at the Doughnut Shop or it could be at the Fire Station. The vocalist is Sandy Willard. About the band, Tiny is as perplexed as we are.
Recording from the collection of Dennis Flannigan, DF1002
BLUEGRASS- Tiny Freeman and the music of rednecks, Ned Recks (mountain poet) Flatt, Scruggs, and the new hit duo, Obese and Pegs.
We do not really know when exactly this was broadcast - there was no date on the tape label. Though Tiny says he's having a Christmas party, other clues indicate this wasn't in December. According to the Dec guide he didn't do a show that month. He mentions the short term license renewal hearing which was in Nov 1970 but he quotes from the Findings which were not released until Mar 1971. He says he will shortly be moving from starting his show at 11:00pm to starting at 10:00 pm - a change that happened May 1, 1971. So, we think it was sometime in Mar 1971, and arbitrarily picked the Saturday with the above program listing.
Now about that party. It was to be "tomorrow", Sunday the 21st (first day of Spring) It was happening at his house in Leschi. Is that house still standing? Just go down Lake Washington Blvd, take a right at East Alder and go up to Spruce. There's a dirt road. Walk up the road (no room for parking). You will hear the bluegrass and smell the beans. If its raining, get under the plastic.
He was cooking up two kinds of beans, The Evergreen State Boys would be playing before taking some time off, and Phil and Vivian Williams were going to be there.
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan
Someone wrote to Tiny and told him about some musicians in Bremerton that ought to be on his show. So, Tiny being Tiny, here they are.
Update Nov 3, 2018: When this was first posted on the site, since there was no information with the tape, the description and credits were based on what a local bluegrass ignoramus was able to decipher from Tiny's announcing. Thankfully, we now have the benefit of Vivian Williams, who has played at one time or another with just about every bluegrass, oldimey and fiddle musician in the North West and knows them like the fingerboard of her fiddle.
"The 13-year-old fiddler from Port Orchard is Ronnie Waldbauer, and his brother Bob is playing bass. His dad was also named Bob, and played guitar, but I don't think he was in this show."
"The banjo player from Winlock is Frank Bolden. He was originally from North Carolina, and played regularly with the Waldbauers. Here is Frank's obituary"
"In spite of the way Boyce pronounced his name, the accordion player's name is Ed Morken. He was from Centralia, and was a buyer and seller of musical instruments, and used to regularly patronize the Folklife instrument auction. And I'd recognize his playing anywhere!! 2 of his accordions, decorated with his name, were eventually sold to local musicians (Phil Katz, and Jane Anderson), and are still being played upon."
Joe Hanson, fiddle; Boyce Stuckey, fiddle; Henry Mitchell, fiddle - to which Vivian adds this note: "And we bought the bass fiddle that is still in my living room from Henry (a.k.a. Hank) Mitchell!"
We are still unsure about the second banjo player. I thought I heard "Tim Berry", but Vivian thought the name sounds more like "Tim Barrett".
As to the "someone" that wrote to Tiny prompting this live show, Vivian suggests "It sounds like the name of the person who wrote the letter to Tiny about these guys is Jim Atwell. I wonder if he was the father of Doug Atwell, who won the 2nd Washington State Fiddle Championship, and later moved to California and became a professional musician there. I looked up Doug's obituary online, and his father's name was Jim, so it might be the same guy."
Recording courtesy Dennis Flannigan, DF1019
Vintage Tiny from the Doughnut Shop. Dick Shurman (his blues show normally preceding Tiny) has taken the summer off, so Tiny has appropriated some of Dick's time for old timey mountain music. This will later give him an opportunity to make a beer run. Tiny's got a summer cold, and seems a little subdued as he talks about judging the Pike Place soapbox derby, where he will be wearing his derby, and about a bluegrass shindig happening on the 25th at a secret location on Cherry Valley Road in Duval. There will be shin kicking and eats for those inclined.
This, like everything else heard on KRAB before 1976, is in marvelous monophonic.
Recording from the collection of Dennis Flannigan, DF0271
Tiny's having a good time with Phil (mandolin) and Vivian Williams (fiddle), Barney Munger (5 string bass), Lou Harrington (bass), and Dick Marvin (guitar).
Dennis' notes indicate this was recorded in the AM, so this is probably the show that started at 10:00pm on Saturday the 19th.
Recording courtesy of Dennis Flannigan (5" reel), DF1004
Is it payola? Did Tiny sell out for a beer.....or a twelve-pack? Well, it is marathon time, and Tiny has a special guest: "Billy Joe Stillwell", who has already been outed by Vic Stredicke and revealed to be the "alter ego" of Tom Murphy of KOL (apparently an habitue of the same dives frequented by Mr Freeman). It took some searching to find a 45 of "Kenworth to Tulsa" on a Swedish used book and vinyl record site,where it can be had for 35 Krona ($5.29). Buyer beware.
Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF M1550
This was almost the last KRABgrass show, one week before KRAB went off the air. We shared it in the archive as a memorial for Tiny shortly after he passed away Jun 12, 2013. It is a 5 hour extravaganza with each of the following taking a turn at the controls: Dennis Flannigan, Tiny Freeman, Bob Laclair, Shirley Oberg, and Marty Corey playing their music, and Tiny kibitzing all the while.
Photo and off-the-air recording courtesy Paul Dorpat
For a photo essay of Tiny getting physical, see Tiny Freeman - Concrete Buster - Feb 1969, a Photo Essay by Michael McKeag
Here is A collection of articles appearing mostly in The Seattle Times featuring J J Tiny Freeman
Photographs courtesy Mike Toennessen
James J. 'Tiny' Freeman: One of the reasons for the Paynter piece was that Tiny was moving back to Seattle after far too many years in rural Montana--he got a little tired of dealing with the Vet's Administration there about medical stuff. So there was a very nice fete in his honor in Dan Grinstead's machine shop--many old KRABbies, and others from Tiny's colorful past and present. He is indeed now back in Seattle, although essentially retired except for judging the annual tugboat races and a few other things. I'll alert him to this Crosscut inquiry--very big on the internet is Tiny, I get approximately 20 humorous e-mails from him a week, mostly forwards from what I suspect is a vast network of people who send him funny stuff--and perhaps he will respond. But as we all know, predicting what Tiny will do is always a haphazard thing. — G Palmer, Crosscut, Sat, Dec 1, 2007
Here are two photos taken shortly before Tiny's arrival in Seattle. Is there anyone from the 84th Engineer Battalion, Company B, that can tell us about them?
If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org