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Mandrake's Berkeley 1964-1974

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:19 pm
by mandrakes
Good day, blues hounds

I've been a fan of blues for all my days.

I am wondering if any here have any memories of Mandrake's, a place that hosted blues and jazz mostly, in Berkeley, CA 1964-1974.

My new role in life is to gather such memories together and recreate the club for people who didn't go there and who wish they could have.

Even the slightest recall is appreciated, lore and stories, artifacts, especially any memories of Mary Moore who ran the place 1968-1974.

This is for an ongoing history project.

Thank you,

Re: Mandrake's Berkeley 1964-1974

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:11 am
by softail
Thank you for doing this. I'm afraid memories of places like this just fade away unless someone cares enough to gather and archive them.

We used to go to Mandrakes all the time in the mid to late 60's and early 70's. It was at the corner of 10th and University, next to a classic greasy spoon (can't remember the name) The cover was $3. No big sign outside, no bouncer, no carding at the door. Nobody danced, just dug the music. Never saw a fight inside or out. It was small and dark and you could sit 3 ft away from the stage and chat with the musicians during the break.One night Muddy Waters invited my friend (big white dude, looked like a Hells Angel) up to join them on Got My Mojo Working. We saw a lot of the greats there; Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, George Harmonica Smith, etc, etc. Didn't know Mary Moore, tho.

There were a few other good blues clubs in the area;
Ruthie's Inn, Eli's Mile high Richmond Men's social club, Esther's Orbit Room. Two other clubs in Berkeley had great blues shows; The New Orleans Room & The Keystone. None of these places exist anymore,The Fillmore had some awesome blues shows like Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield on the same bill. The Blues was everywhere in the Bay Area. The SF Blues Festival featured everybody who was anybody in the Blues world and introduced us to a lot of new musicians.

That's all for now.

Re: Mandrake's Berkeley 1964-1974

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:14 am
by softail
OBTW, if you want a picture of the building today just email me at