Monthly Archives: June 2012

The trail leads to Duck Duck Goose

They’ve solved the little mystery of how an old car wound up on the bottom of the river, and the trail led directly back to an old hole-in-the-wall nightclub.

On a Saturday night in March 1979, Paul Renard went to a blues bar on the near east side of Green Bay, Wisconsin. He was 27, probably home for the weekend, visiting from Minnesota.

He parked his baby blue 1975 Plymouth Valiant outside, letting the motor run in the late winter’s cold. When he came out of the bar, his car was gone. He reported it to the cops, but the car never turned up.

Until yesterday, that is. They fished Paul Renard’s car out of the Fox River, 11 blocks west of where it was last seen. A dredging crew using sonar to map the river bottom came across the Valiant last week. They contacted the cops, whose dive team hauled it up from 18 feet down.

Whoever stole the Valiant drove it to the river, put the tire iron on the gas pedal, put it in drive and dumped it into the drink. After the cops ran the vehicle ID number, they matched it up with the stolen car report from 33 years ago.

However, Paul Renard is no longer with us.

Nor is Duck Duck Goose, the blues club he visited that night.

Duck Duck Goose, which I visited only once (that I can remember), was one of those great old ’70s hippie bars. It had a bar, of course, but I most remember the couches and overstuffed chairs. There also was shag carpeting on the walls.

Duck Duck Goose was here, in this brick building. The entrance was in the back.

It’s in an area just east of downtown that was, and is, mostly blue collar. It’s flanked on two sides by tire warehouses. Within a block’s walk are the Ten-O-One Club, one of the city’s oldest taverns, and the strip club formerly known as the Bamboo Room. These days, that brick building is home to a gritty rock/metal club called Phat Headz.

But back when Paul Renard left his Valiant running outside in the cold, Duck Duck Goose was part of Green Bay’s passionate little blues scene. Chicago blues acts drove up and made the rounds of Duck Duck Goose, a nearby club called Klark Kent’s Super Joynt and even the Rathskeller at the university farther out on the east side. All three places were part of a Midwest club circuit that was hanging on as the ’70s turned into the ’80s.

My friend Hose remembers Duck Duck Goose as a “great dirty venue for live music” and recalls seeing Lonnie Brooks on its tiny stage. My friend Jim, another local, recalls that “it was definitely a blues/R&B venue. It wasn’t my favorite hangout as it was a little too much that sound and very little rock.”  I think still another friend has a poster for a Luther Allison gig there.

Duck Duck Goose was, it seems, a place where you could …

“Let It All Hang Out,” Lonnie Brooks, from Chess 2028, a 7-inch single, 1967. It’s out of print and apparently not available on any other records.

This tune comes to us via the consistently tremendous Funky 16 Corners blog. Six years ago, Larry dropped it into his Funky 16 Corners Radio V.7 Funky Shing-A-Ling mix. That was, I believe, the first mix I ever grabbed from Larry as I started to explore what then was the new frontier of music blogs.

It was, as they say in the movies, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Speaking of which, on March 9, 1979, the night before Paul Renard left his Valiant running outside Duck Duck Goose, a certain college senior agreed to a first date with me. The lovely Janet and I have been together ever since.

It was she, still another local, who remembered the shag carpeting on the walls at Duck Duck Goose. I had forgotten.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under June 2012, Sounds

Oh, yeah, and get off my lawn, too

It started innocently enough on Facebook earlier today.

My friend Gary shared a link to the Tap ‘N’ Run 4K, a series of short races in the Midwest in which the runners dress in costume and stop for beer along the way.

“It’s like they developed this event just for me!” Gary said.

I saw that and said “You’ve not heard of the Beer Belly Two?”

The Beer Belly has been a Green Bay tradition for the last 23 years, offering beer, root beer or water at rest stops along the two-mile course.

Until this year, that is.

“Beer Belly doesn’t let you drink during the race anymore,” Gary’s friend wrote.

Sad but true. Even though there had never been a problem in any of the previous 23 years, the authorities nixed the beer on the Beer Belly course for this morning’s race. Oooh, it violates the open container ordinance, they fretted. Oooh, there might be underage drinking, they fretted.

Which comes as no surprise from a community that also has banned skateboarding downtown.

We now call Mr. Dave Edmunds to the stand.

I’m tired of you telling me what I ought to do
Stickin’ your nose in my business, don’t concern you
It’s my own business, it’s my own business
Seems like the ones that want to tell you
They don’t ever know as much as you

“It’s My Own Business,” Dave Edmunds, from “Tracks On Wax 4,” 1978. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

It’s a cover of a little-known Chuck Berry song off his “Fresh Berrys” LP from 1966. It covers some of the same ground as “Too Much Monkey Business,” another of my fave Chuck Berry tunes from 1956.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under June 2012, Sounds, Sounds like bull to me

Bob Welch: Still got me hypnotized

It’s the same kind of story that seems to come down from long ago

The news of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch’s passing came on a gorgeously sunny day in our corner of Wisconsin. It’s not at all the kind of moment I associate with the song that introduced me to Bob Welch.

Because there’s no explaining

No, when I think of “Hypnotized,” I think of late nights, which is when I most often heard it in the early ’70s. Or I think of winter’s fog, a suitably eerie time for an ethereal and vaguely mysterious song.

What your imagination

The enduring power of “Hypnotized” was such that when I started buying vinyl LPs again a few years ago, a rough copy of “Mystery To Me” was one of the first records  I grabbed out of a dollar bin.

Can make you see and feel

I’m not sure I’ve ever figured out what the song was all about. Here’s one interpretation, suggested in the comments when we wrote about “Hypnotized” on that foggy winter’s night in March 2009. Something about Carlos Castaneda, peyote and dreams.

Seems like a dream

I hear Bob Welch’s song and I am taken right back to the deep quiet of those long-ago late nights, listening to the free-form FM radio, sorting through my teenage life and wondering what the future held.

Got me hypnotized

“Hypnotized,” Fleetwood Mac, from “Mystery To Me,” 1973.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more from Bob Welch and this album.


Filed under June 2012, Sounds