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Bunkhouse in Vancouver

02 May 07 - 06:42 AM (#2041109)
Subject: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Arthur Caldicott

My friend Richard said we've gotta go to the Bunkhouse. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee are playing.

We were so cool. And so excited. And I was so blowing my first year at UBC.

Too much time reading poetry, growing my hair, being cool. Cruising in Tom's convertible. Tom driving, me in the middle, Richard on the right. Richard would duck so his head couldn't be seen, making it look like I was cuddling up to Tom. Tom would freak, screech to a halt, yell at Richard not funny... Then we'd drive into the White Spot on Granville or Georgia, eat, see and be seen, and cruise some more.

According to Google, in 1967 the Bunkhouse owner, Les Stork, got himself in some trouble with the Vancouver morality cops - he had topless waitresses in the Bunkhouse. By then I was on the road, freezing my nuts hitchhiking in Golden and Gull Lake and Winnipeg in a futile attempt to get to Montreal for Expo.

It took a couple of attempts, but eventually I found myself heading down to Kentucky with Steve from Vernon, sampling psychedelics in East Lansing, camping out on Avenue Road, and blissing out on music and marijuana at the 1967 Mariposa.

Oops, back to the Bunkhouse, circa 1964 & 1865. In my recollection, it was the only place in Vancouver that beat music, folk music, avant-garde jazz were being played.

In my recollection, it was on Seymour Street. But maybe it was on Davie, or Granville. In my recollection, it was as close as Vancouver ever got to the clubs Bob Dylan broke out in in New York City.

What I'm looking for here are Bunkhouse stories. Anybody here, who was there? If you remember...

02 May 07 - 06:51 AM (#2041112)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Ella who is Sooze

ohhhh Arthur... There's a town called Caldicot near me...

Bit of a thread change, but does anyone know what the weather is like in Vancouver during the months of March and April?



02 May 07 - 08:55 AM (#2041193)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: C. Ham

I was never at the Bunkhouse, but I have a live album of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee playing there. The notes on the CD version say it was recorded in either 1964 or '65.

02 May 07 - 12:17 PM (#2041371)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: heric

Be in.

02 May 07 - 04:16 PM (#2041582)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: dianavan

EWIS - It is gray and rainy. Blah!

A.C. - Are you talking about the Yale? It was originally a bunkhouse (for CPR workers, I think). I don't know if it was actually called the bunkhouse.

02 May 07 - 04:48 PM (#2041625)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: heric

Arthur please forgive me. I was speaking in non-googlable code above because your post looked so much like a post once seen here by someone named Actress Wendy that I thought you were the same person. So I was playing Joe Detective. However, just now I read your thread about Vera Johnson and saw your bona fides hanging out there in the wind, in their full glory. So never mind about the secret password response. ;)

You were right twice. The Bunkhouse was at the corner of Seymour and Davie. It now has live entertainment in the "Atlantic Trap & Gill."

The bad news is I am not as old as you old codgers on mudcat, so I don't have any stories of from the Bunkhouse of your day. I do believe it may have spawned the Poppy Family, but then again, Maybe Not! I'm sure Ian Tyson must have played there while you were around.

02 May 07 - 07:14 PM (#2041772)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Bob the Postman

Well, I didn't get to blow my first year at UBC until 1968/69. Poetry, including a reading by Allen Ginsberg, was part of my problem as well. Anyway, by my time they had a proper student union building, and it was in the SUB Ballroom that I saw Sonny and Brownie. Also the Poppy Family. Circa 1970 I saw John Shines do an acoustic set at a basement dive near Broadway and Kingsway--a place sometimes called the Jazz Alley. I would have seen Ornette Coleman there too except I got puking drunk and had to leave before the show got underway. (A few years later I was under-assistant janitor there, for a couple of times--sub-contracting for Frodo, but that's another story.) And I saw Fred McDowell at the Colonial Magic Theatre. But I was never at the Bunkhouse. I guess if the vice cops hadn't moved on the Bunkhouse, then associates of the Penthouse Club's Joe Philliponi would have done so. He held the monopoly on breasts in Vancouver from the time they were invented (circa 1960, if I remember correctly) until the early 70s.

Does anyone remember an acoustic quartet called Solid Comfort from Vancouver in them days? They released a 33 1/3 single of Bullfrog Blues b/w Minglewood Blues which they claimed charted in Halifax.

02 May 07 - 08:00 PM (#2041801)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Don Firth

Vancouver, B. C. There was a place called "The Inquisition" in the early Sixties, run by a guy named Howie Bateman. I performed there once in 1963, along with some other Seattle singers. Bateman stiffed us.

There was also a place called "The Ark" in the late Sixties. Dunno who all performed there, but I know Bonnie Dobson did.

Don Firth

02 May 07 - 08:07 PM (#2041804)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: dianavan

heric - You have a better handle on the history of Vancouver than I do, thats for sure. I do know the Atlantic Trap & Gill because I used to join friends there on St. Paddy's day.

Bob the P. - I have photographs of Sonnie Terry and Brownie McGhee that I took in Seattle (probably around the same time). Ornette Coleman used to play in Vancouver every once in awhile and I think he still does.

02 May 07 - 08:08 PM (#2041805)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: dianavan

oops - I mean Sonny.

02 May 07 - 08:49 PM (#2041820)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: heric

Maybe you felt the ghost of Ian Tyson in there. Oh wait a minute he ain't dead.

03 May 07 - 08:45 AM (#2042161)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Ella who is Sooze

grey and rainy... home from home (I'm in Wales).

Hmm what to do, what to do. Just how rainy is rainy???

03 May 07 - 10:10 AM (#2042246)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Bardford

Vancouver weather stats

03 May 07 - 02:08 PM (#2042492)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: dianavan

Ella - To be fair, lately it has been raining in the morning and sunny in the afternoons. Its not too cold. Hard to dress for the weather though. You go out all bundled up and rain resistant and come home hot and sweaty.

I shouldn't complain because it makes Vancouver very lush and beautiful. Tulips and daffodils everywhere. Cherry blossoms galore. Rhododenrons that are spectacular. Pretty primroses everywhere.

Vancouver is a very beautiful city with Mountains in the background and sea all around. If you have the opportunity, don't pass it up.

btw - I you're throwing around the names of old and forgotten clubs, what about the Cave?

03 May 07 - 02:19 PM (#2042503)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Don Firth

I've been to Vancouver dozens of times for various reasons. It IS a beautiful city. With beautiful surroundings.

Don Firth

04 May 07 - 02:47 AM (#2042926)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Arthur Caldicott

Geez, you guys. This is the conversational equivalent of herding cats. The Inquisition, the Ark, the Yale, the Cave. The weather in Vancouver. No, no, dear kids - The Bunkhouse. Spell it. Bee You Unck etcetera. Sheesh. Oh, and Ian Tyson isn't dead, but he really shouldn't sing in public anymore. There, now I'm infected with off-thread-itis too. Thanks.

04 May 07 - 03:52 AM (#2042954)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Ella who is Sooze

Well, I AM sorry!

Whole reason for asking was that I found your description of the Bunkhouse interesting, and would be heading that way sometime soon. Can't fault a girl for asking what it'd be like weatherwise. I'd like to find out more about the music scene in Vancouver, so this seemed the best way - just forgot to mention it!

Chill A while.

04 May 07 - 12:05 PM (#2043279)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: heric

lol. It's gone gone gone. Cue up a song about memories.

Never know, though. Google latches on to mudcat big time. Even this thread is alreay there. Someone doing a search someday could show up.

04 May 07 - 01:41 PM (#2043310)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: heric

(hey he was joking Ella - He knows he took us to Kentucky, White Spot and Expo 67 - I think he does!)

04 May 07 - 07:08 PM (#2043535)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Bob the Postman

Check the weather in downtown Vancouver on the Georgia Street webcam. (Sorry Arthur.)

04 May 07 - 09:26 PM (#2043609)
Subject: It's not of the weather that I make this inquire
From: Arthur Caldicott

Well thanks for the notes
You send from afar
I'm glad to hear all the things that you say
But you needn't have bothered
to send the details
I follow the weather each day.

But alas your poor minds
May be addled by beer
That watery stuff from Vancouver's dens
Ivanhoe, Travellers
Cecil, the Arch
Recycling ales from the rooms marked Mens

But it's not of the weather
That I make this inquire
Nor the names of the bars from Granville to Main
No indeed it's the Bunkhouse
Is many rich tales
I was seeking down Memory Lane
Let's talk of the Bunkhouse
Our stories like trains
I'll ride with you back there again

05 May 07 - 07:09 PM (#2044211)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Bob the Postman

Ella, how's the weather in Wales?
Arthur, I sent you a PM.

08 May 07 - 04:02 AM (#2045872)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Ella who is Sooze

ha haaaa... been very hot and un-May like. (No rain). Back to usual today though. Wind/rain/clouds. everywhere is green again...

cue song... green green grass of hoooo----ome

14 Apr 14 - 12:38 PM (#3618692)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Rick VK

Hello all...
I have never posted on this site before, and can't see a way to write to the specific individual asking what become of my band, so here it is on down the line, and if any of you can get this to the attention of Bob the Postman I'd appreciate it.

I moved to Vancouver in 1969, formed the band Solid Comfort with me on mandolin, Jerry Murry and "O'Dain" on guitars and "Gordo" an American built fretted six string guitarron used as our bass, worked a little as a trio until we were told by promo types that we needed a drummer in order to work. We put up an ad in "Drums Only", a shop on Broadway, got 19-year-old Graham Tawse on drums, and the rest is history...rather ancient history. We played Bunkhouse 70, but not the original bunkhouse. Our single of Bullfrog Blues did indeed top the chart briefly in Halifax, and CHED in Edmonton had it up in the top ten, but basically it bombed (I'd love a copy). It was on the "Red Rubber Record" label, which I designed, printed in black and silver on red, looking like an old truck wheel. Jerry and O'Dain (now spells it O'Dean) are in too. We don't play together, but remain friends.

15 Apr 14 - 10:35 AM (#3619008)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: meself

Why isn't this thread in the 'Music' section?

15 Apr 14 - 10:42 AM (#3619010)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Bob the Postman

Hi ya Rick

I never saw you guys at the Bunkhouse, but I was a big fan and saw the band several times at UBC. And there was a noontime concert I remember in a room at the old art gallery, I think. I loved "Kicking The Gong Around".   Decades later when I finally heard of David Grisman I wondered if HE was the head-kerchiefed mandolinist with SC. But no! It was YOU! I'm so stoked to learn that you guys are all still in BC. I still have the Red Rubber Record and every few years I give it a spin.

If you sign up as a Mudcat member (totally free and spamless) you can communicate directly to other members via the "PM" (Personal Message) link next to the user name on each post.

16 Apr 14 - 10:02 AM (#3619368)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: meself

Before this thread goes off the page - can some kind elf put it into the Music section, where it belongs?

08 Nov 14 - 10:51 PM (#3675789)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Kevin Hall

I know it's an ancient thread but see a couple of semi-current posts. In '69 and very early '70s I played Bunkhouse 70 several times, first as a single act then a duo with Wanda Mundy who is still playing out there I think.

I remember Al Rhody winning a talent contest for which the prize was a " $500 Martin Guitar!" Al had a hell of a time getting his prize out of the notoriously cheap Les Stork but eventually he got almost enough money to buy the '69 D-28 he still plays; last of the brazillian rosewood Martins, so well worth fighting for. Al went on to a successful career as a Nashville songwriter, after a number of years in Torontos' folk scene working with the likes of Murray McLachlin.

Bunkhouse 70 was a small club, upstairs over a clothing store I think it was.

While Wanda and I were booked there the New Kingston Trio were booked at Ronnies' Riverqueen and since they had a Sat. matinee and we didn't we were able to wander over and sit in with them for a couple of numbers. Another time Sonny Terry and Browny McGhee were booked there and we went over to see them as well. One night when we were on stage at the Bunkhouse 70, probably mangling a blues number, Sonny and Browny walked in to return our visit.   Being a pasty-white middle class kid with very little life experience I felt like dropping through the stage having been caught in the act.

Another guy who played there a fair bit at the time was billed as Jolan Q. Lucid, probably the best ragtime player I ever heard. He had an old Martin D-21 on which the fingerboard was just about worn out at every position right up to the soundhole. He'd apparently played with Maria Muldaur at one time and was full of stories about guys like Blind Eric Flatpick ( author of the First and Second Laws of Tuning) and a guy who supposedly built himself a swamp in Indianna and drove around in a fully restored 1932 Maytag.

I was working part time at a little music shop, Coda Music, which was pretty much put out of business by the arrival of the brand new Long and McQuades' just up the street. The owner, Gav Hussey, was a good jazz sax man with a regular gig at Frank Bakers' Attic.

There were a number of places for aspiring folkies in town at the time. The Lynn Valley Hunt Club ( believe it or not) booked acts from time to time, and of course you could always play the Classical Joint in the pre-renovation days Gastown. There were noon hour concerts at either UBC or Simon Fraser, I forget which although we did do one of those. I remember that because the mike stands had been stolen just before we got there and I had to do the gig standing up, singing into an Electrovoice 'hammer' which had been thrown over a convenient flourescent fixture hanging from the ceiling. Try doing 2 sets singing straight up into the air with a very directional mike.

Great times.

09 Nov 14 - 03:49 PM (#3676007)
Subject: RE: BS: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,#

This should be above the line.
Agreed. -Mod

09 Nov 14 - 11:11 PM (#3676051)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Jon Bartlett

Bunkhouse was before my time, Bob, but I do remember the Ark. And Solid Comfort! First saw them at UBC, playing by the clock tower,donated by Arthur (?) Ladner then brand new. UBC took a long time to get the clock going, so on the day it started the Ubyssey headline was "Hands on Ladner's Last Erection.". Oh, yeah, I played with Jerry Murry and his wife at some place on 4th near the Granville Bridge (still got pics!) and lived with them and their son Paul for a few months on E 49th. This would have been early '69. Haven't seen Jerry since then but Rick van Krugel played at our Princeton festival in 2013, and Odain has played at more than one.

Jon Bartlett

10 Nov 14 - 10:02 PM (#3676316)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Bob the Postman

Thanks for the reminiscences, Kevin.

I was at that Clock Tower concert too, Jon! I was the weedy kid with long hair and glasses.

I saw Rick van Krugel at the Princeton festival, of course, and was inspired to learn "Voodoo Queen Marie" (the performance can be viewed on Youtube).

Anyone interested in Vancouver social history might want to check out Larry Gambone's Red Lion blog, especially the part about the history of B. C. counterculture . He hasn't got around to the folk scene yet, but there's info on zoot–suiters, socialists, hippies, Dollarton squatters, and so forth.

18 Apr 17 - 08:24 AM (#3850989)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Kevin Dale McKeown

By 1970 the former Bunkhouse, downstairs at Davie and Seymour, was Vancouver's first drag club, Champaign Charlie's, and a bunch of us old timers are trying to fit together the sequence of events between Les Stork's problems with the police in 1967 and John Stevenson opening Charlie's. There are also some memories of it having been called The Eleventh House for a period of time, but nobody is clear on dates and ownership under that name. So anyone here know when Les opened the Bunkhouse, what the venue had been before that, or anything about the Bunkhouse / Eleventh House / Champagne Charlie's transition?

Kevin Dale McKeown

23 Jan 18 - 10:09 PM (#3901376)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver

A long ago thread - but.
Believe it or not I actually made the front doors of the Bunkhouse.
I was there many nights a week as was my brother Don who performed there. Lots of great acts went through there - too numerous to mention. And up the street on Granville was "The Sequel" run by Al Pilgrim and the Barnett Brothers of pizza fame.

26 Jan 18 - 09:09 PM (#3902078)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,waddie

I met les in 1977 when I was living on Fraser Street. Anyone know what happened to him? I'm assuming he passed on to the bunkhouse in the sky...

29 Oct 18 - 05:11 PM (#3959137)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver

Les was my BIL, married to my sister Terry, I was in Vancouver in 1966 or 1967 to check out his new busines, and was very impressed with the acts that he had there to perform.

Les passed away in Abbotsford many yars ago, as did my sister in February 2004.

If you would like more info, Arthur, you can contact me at:

29 Oct 18 - 06:37 PM (#3959150)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: Stilly River Sage

Guest who made the doors, your last name wouldn't be Firth, would it?

28 Jan 19 - 08:03 PM (#3973896)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,Brenda

The Bunkhouse was down the stairs on Davie near Granville. josh White played there as did Jose Feliciano. Local folk singer Bruce Rathie often played Sunday nights

20 Apr 20 - 09:02 AM (#4047201)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver

I ONCE HAD a girlfriend of LOIS B. KNOWN AS NIKKI.. who. became a Topless. waitress. at. LES STORKS. BUNKHOUSE. in Vancouver.. whie I wa away in TORONTO ATTENDING TO MY ART AGENTS.. She immediately pulled her top UP when I saw her for the first time serving as bautiful as she was.when hr grand mother told me she was not. AVON. CALLING. ARTIST. for 60 years.. RAYMOND CHOW. UBC. EMERITUS. ONTARIO. ONTARIO. ART. COLLECTION. I.m very sad that she passed.. in Vancouver.. my. home town..

20 Apr 20 - 09:58 AM (#4047211)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver
From: GUEST,paperback


02 Aug 20 - 12:55 PM (#4067007)
Subject: RE: Bunkhouse in Vancouver

My mother, Brenda Willey, was a part owner of the original Bunkouse.We are sitting here and she is telling stories and I searched amd found this thread. Lots of great memories for her.