Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fw: Starbright

FROM A listener:

Just by a Trick of Fate I stumbled onto Radio Free Phoenix and It feels like Home in here. I grew up in Phoenix listening to KRIZ and KRUX and my all time fave KCAC. I can't begin to tell you what a trip it's been for me to hear Real Music again..and the Memories that have come to life.

In 1970-71 I lived at a little Community in Laveen called Starbright Ranch. My Mother, Father, Sister and I lived in one of the small guest houses at the foot of South Mountain. My Mother use to send me with her fresh baked bread to share it with our Good neighbors...Carol, Ron Worthram, Ray Thompson and "Little Willie Sushine".

When I first met Bill Compton I thought he Looked like Jesus...Hey...I was a 13 year old kid and he was the first Real Hippie I'd ever met. I remember walking into his flat and there was this one whole wall filled from floor to ceiling with shelves of Albums. everything you could Imagine...I'd ask him do you have...and the answer was alwas a Big Smile and he'd pull out the Album..just like Magic! Bills place reminded me of the was almost had to of seen it to know what I mean.

It's been a long time...alot of Old Memories have come back in Living Color...And now that I've found RFP..I've got a feeling I'll be Flashin back to some good memories quite often..and I am spreading the word. I know so many people who would be Trippin to the Tunes Boo. Thank you,Soooo much for RFP...Well Done!



Anonymous said...

If you listen long enough, you'll hear one of the "Underground Rock Flashbacks" which usually features Bill Compton doing a concert spot for Celebrity or the waterbed shop on Main and McDonald in Mesa. I've also heard the women's bank spot with Mariah Fleming.
Since Andy has music from Hans Olson, Blue Shoes, The Jetzons, P-Nut Butter (aka Phil Motta) the Vibratos, Condello etc., it's really cool to see RFP catching on with the international audience. Believe it or not, Radio Free Phoenix was mentioned twice in the London press last week. Seems the music columnist for the London News Review is a big fan ! I can't post the links here but if you google "London News Review" and Radio Free Phoenix, you might be able to pull up the articles.
It's incredible to be able to share some of the Valley's local treasures with the world.
-Liz said...

I remember Aleta and her sister - beautiful girls. I really hated leaving Starbright. Some years later after Bill's death, I moved up to the hill house on 35th Avenue which more-or-less did a T-bone dead end into Starbright. John Robertson lived there for a while. By that time the houses Aleta speaks of at Starbright, were leveled and new ones built - smaller, with not nearly so much soul. Dennis McBroom rented one of them for a time. Laveen was a creative force for radio and a bunch of other Arts!


Anonymous said...

Aleta's post brought back some memories. Maybe my memories will jog others as well. It was such an incredible time for so many.

I shared a little house with a friend of Bill's, behind Good Samaritan Hospital (now. of course, a parking lot.) I mostly split my time hanging out at the Rebirth commune on Washington, and at Terros, which was in an big white two story house nearby. Terros was usually alive with music, and interesting people. The 24 hour drug crisis center later morphed into a big organization, sans most of the people who started it, as is the case with a lot of good community organizations started by locals in the 60's and early 70's.

George, from Amherst, Mass, rented the house behind the hospital. I met Bill through him. After a stint in the military, closet hippie George wound up in Phoenix embracing the alternative community. He was a gentle individual whose soul bore scars of the era. I think Bill understood that and befriended him. They turned me on to the poetry of Rilke, the music of Pentangle, and the wonders of a peace loving "community."

They listened to my songs and decided I should do a demo. Bill bought me a reel to reel tape and set up a late night recording, with Ray Thompson engineering, in the KRUX studios. Bill was so unpretentious, generous and kind. His belief that good things could happen filled any space he entered. So George drove me to KRUX at 75th Ave and Camelback (?) in his volkswagen bug (a journey down many miles of poorly paved roads) to meet Ray Thompson.

Ray Thompson was a great guy. In a situation that could easily have intimidated a girl who'd been lovingly cornered into doing her first demo, Ray, a talented engineer, was wonderful to the shy young singer who wandered into KRUX studios in the wee hours with her guitar, a few original songs and some dreams. I have fond memories of later being a music guest on the early KDKB where an effusive Toad Hall came barreling down the hall to tell me "you did real good!'

So many good spirits came together during those years. Just people full of love and ideas getting together to make good things happen. It is some consolation that the gap left by the untimely deaths of Bill and later Toad is closed a little by a bridge built with memories of people who want to keep the spirit of those times alive.

vagabondvet said...

Wow! This sure does bring back a lot of memories! I have a dim recollection of you, Aleta; though I only visited Starbright a few times, your name rings a lot of bells, and brings back images of the ranch, and memories of some of the wonderful times we had there. There was magic in the air at Starbright, for sure - it was a special place, a spiritual oasis in a troubled world, where we used to go to re-center ourselves, and rediscover the love that motivated us all. I always felt a deep and special peace, and gratitude for being part of this extraordinary family, when I stayed there.

I spent most of my time in the Rebirth commune that Mariah mentioned, at #9 S. Washington (I was an assistant editor there), and though the years have dimmed the particulars, the name "Mariah" stirs some of the mist in the foggy distance of the past. I'm quite sure we shared some good times there. And, Mariah, your remark about Bill's powerful and contagious positive attitude also sparks some wonderful memories... I can still feel his indominatable spirit, his persevering love for his fellow man, and his genuine humility; he was indeed a great inspiration, to so many of us. We remember you Bill, with much love.

Thanks to you both for sharing some of your recollections and reminding us of the positive energy that bound us all together then, and, thankfully, still beats in our hearts and flows through our lives today.



Anonymous said...

I was so pleased to see your comments. I do remember you from those days at Rebirth. I think some of my poetry may have been published in your newspaper (under another name no doubt - I was shy about my writing back then.) I know we talked about it but the "mist' was pretty thick in those days (o:

Wasn't there a hotel with a cafe attached on Van Buren that some of us used to go to late at night? I think it was open 24 hours. I went there a few times with a girl whose name, I think, was Susie Upchurch (Upton?) and several others. Does that ring a bell?

Mostly I remember Michelle Garneau, sitting quietly amidst the conversation and comings and goings of Rebirth. She was awaiting the birth of her son Lief. I still have a clear picture of Michelle, the beautifully expectant mother, being so quiet, patient and sweet. I even wrote a poem about her back then. (o:

Bill Compton was close to Joe and Michelle, and he married them, do you remember? I'm pretty sure my memory is a+ on that detail (o:

Thank you for your thoughtful reply to Aleta and me. I don't remember Aleta but I wish I had known her.
It is an awesome feeling to see all the posts on the KCAC link. I was at the AMEHOF induction ceremony and had a blast. After so many years seeing folks like Wonderful Russ Shaw, (o: Lee Powell, John Dixon (Johnny D) and others was great.

In true 'Wonderful Russ' spirit, when I reintroduced myself he said "Of course I remember you! I recognize your face." It's so nice to think he does even though he was probably being polite. (o: I was enlisted to help on a couple of 'Love Workshops,' so maybe he really does remember me (and Russ, if you're out there, why did you have to give the baby a Pay Day in the Circle K parking lot?!?! I still have snack nightmares!!)

It's a soothing balm to know that so much hope, humor, love and conscious thought is still alive here in our community.

"What' so funny about peace. love and understanding?"

vagabondvet said...

Hi, Mariah!

Well, I'll be double-dipped. You remember a lot! I'd forgotten Leif's name, until you wrote it. Michelle was indeed a great mom, and Joe was a doting father, and Bill did indeed marry them - I'd forgotten that until you reminded me. I imagine some of your poetry was published, we always tried to encourage local talent. The restaurant was Mama Rosa's, a great place, plain, but with lots of character, good food, and a great staff.

It's wonderful to hear from you, and I too am glad there's still so much love and conscious thought alive. Peace and good fortune to you!

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