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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Art Thieme Merlin Banjo (and the Chicago Folk Scene) (112* d) RE: Merlin Banjo (and the Chicago Folk Scene) 21 May 11


I was gonna say it was Sedgwick and North Ave. But you corrected yourself. I never knew Silver Sid's last name! Thanks for filling that in for me.------- Also at that intersection was Alderman Paddy Bauler's bar / office. He was the main man in the Forty-Third ward. His buddy, Win Stracke was a founder of the Old Town School of Folk Music--with Dawn Greening and Gert Soltker and Mudcatter Frank Hamilton.

I remember opening up the Old Town Folklore Center that dat; everything looked normal at first. --The Folklore Center was also right near that intersection--at 343 W. North Ave-- Pretty quickly it was obvious that we'd been robbed over night. Several guitars, banjos ad very heavy Roberts reel-to-reel tape decks were just gone. And there was no sign of a break-in -- anywhere. After hours of searching and scratching our chins, I went down into the basement and found one wall kicked in!!! The thieves had gone underground after lifting a manhole cover----then crawled under the hollow area under the sidewalk---got to the perfect spot---and kicked in the dam basement wall. They gathered whatever they wanted, and took it out of the store the same way they'd come in. Never used the door!

Win Stracke went to have a beer with Alderman Bauler that day and told him what had gone down. Bauler said he'd check with the neighborhood fence that night.

As it turned out, the fence had all our merchandise! The thieves were junkies who needed cash quick. Bottom line was that we had to pay the fence's price to get our stuff back.----------So we did that---without a word to the police.

I do recall a short neck Merlin banjo being in that load of contraband.------- Folks Paddy Bauler was the Chicago Alderman who first said, "Chicagah ain't ready for reform!" ---

As I mentioned in this thread up top---John Carbo was the manager of the store. And in 1965--'66-- and into '67 I served as assistant manager. --- The late folksinger,Fred Holstein, worked there part time. So did Ed Holstein for a while.

I do miss Chicago... It's just the way things were. Par for da course!!

Art Thieme


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