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.