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 THE MAIN POINT-legendary PA coffeehouse
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lemonade kid
Old Love

USA
7923 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2013 :  16:53:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Main Point



Incident on 57th Street (Live At The Main Point)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRl9Vy3ymA8

The Main Point was a small coffeehouse venue on Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The club was famous for its small intimate atmosphere and inexpensive ticket prices. It hosted performers such as Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Jimmy Buffett, Allen Ginsberg, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, The Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Jonathan Edwards, Steve Gillette, Tim Hardin, Deodato, Bill Withers, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Blind Faith, Laura Nyro, Phil Ochs, Jimmy Webb, Spencer Davis, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Emitt Rhodes, Elton John, Richie Havens, Maynard Ferguson, Janis Ian, Mandrake Memorial, Warren Zevon, Doc Watson, Edgar Winter, Loudon Wainwright III, Tom Rush, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Dave Van Ronk, John Mayall, Stevie Wonder, Leonard Cohen, and Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture. The Main Point also offered performances by classic folk, blues, bluegrass and country legends to younger audiences.

The Main Point was formed in 1964 by Jeanette and Bill Campbell and several others inspired by the Philadelphia Folk Festival, as a small folk-based coffeehouse venue. By that fall, the ownership was shared by Jeanette Campbell, Bill Campbell, and new co-owner, Bill Scarborough. Scarborough was the Main Point’s booking director from 1964-1975. When asked at a peak in the Main Point’s success how he made booking decisions, Scarborough cited several factors but admitted that occasionally his own musical tastes influenced him. “I think that the booking of a singer named Bruce Springsteen is the best example I can give you of personal taste and hunch entering into my final choice. Here was a new act out of nowhere, who happened to sign with a major label (Columbia), and put out an album that reminded me of the best of Dylan. I decided to book him as a headliner, even though he was barely known. We did alright with him, but not as well as we’d hoped. I still feel, though, that he’s going to be a big star.” (The Sunday Bulletin, September 30, 1973) The venue was popular among both musicians and listeners. Dan Fogelberg cited the venue as one of his two favorite places to perform.[1]

David Fricke, writer for RollingStone Magazine, was promotion director in the mid 1970s.

The venue was popular for not only its music, but also for its homemade food and homebaked goods. The venue constantly ran into financial troubles related to its intimate size (ironically, its size was what made it so popular). Musicians gave benefit concerts for the coffeehouse to help it out of its financial straits. Some of these concerts were broadcast over the local progressive rock radio station WMMR, and many well known bootleg recordings have been made from these performances. The Main Point finally closed its doors in 1981.

The Point

The Point, the successor to The Main Point, was opened two doors down from the original Main Point in 1998. It was owned and operated by Richard Kardon. The Point lost its lease and had to close its doors in June 2005. The Point Entertainment company continues to book shows around the greater Philadelphia area; they produced the Philadelphia Folk Festival in 2008.

Concerts

The caliber of the performers, coupled with the intimate venue, resulted in many memorable performances. One concert stands out as a particularly legendary event. On February 5, 1975, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played at The Main Point. Springsteen played for 160 minutes, offering epic versions of "New York City Serenade" and "For You". The concert also featured the first live performance of "Thunder Road", under its earlier title, "Wings for Wheels". The concert was given as a benefit, broadcast over WMMR, and hosted by deejay Ed Sciaky. Later that year, Jackson Browne and David Lindley also performed in a series of benefits for the struggling club.

.........................

Remembering the Main Point, 1964 - 1981



http://billsmusicblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/remembering-main-point-1964-1981.html

Begining in 1964, The Main Point in Bryn Mawr provided the Philadelphia area with one of its most enjoyable venues for live music. Although it started as a folk based coffeehouse, all styles of music were presented over the years. Financial problems continually plagued the Main Point, and in spite of frequent benefit shows by artists who loved the place as much as the audience, the club finally closed in 1981. The following brief history is contained in an obituary of Jeanette O. Campbell, one of the founders and owners of the Main Point who died on October 22, 2006, written by Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer Sally A. Downey as reprinted on the Save Ardmore Coalition website.

Jeanette Orndoff Campbell, 89, former owner of the Main Point, a music hall in Bryn Mawr where young talents including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor were introduced to local audiences, died of complications from hip surgery Oct. 22 at Stapeley, a retirement residence in Germantown.

Mrs. Campbell booked acts, baked gingerbread and brownies, made the coffee and cider, and offered bed and board to performers at the Main Point from its opening night in a 1964 blizzard until it closed in 1981. By then, the club was operating in the red, and musicians, grateful that Mrs. Campbell had given them a chance, raised money to pay her bills at benefit concerts, her granddaughter, Heather Fowler, said.

"My life began at 46, when my husband and I got the idea that the Main Line needed a place for nice folk music after we were at the Philadelphia Folk Festival," she told a reporter in 1975. "It was a really spiritual awakening for me. So we pooled our money with four other couples and opened the Main Point."

After the other couples gave up their interests and she and her husband, William Campbell, divorced, Mrs. Campbell said, the Main Point became her "entire life."

Riding the crest of the acoustic music boom, the club welcomed then-obscure artists like Joni Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie. Bruce Springsteen sang "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City," "Hey Santa Ana," "Secret to the Blues," and "New York City Serenade" at the Main Point as the opening act on Jan. 3, 1973. He returned to the club several times as a headliner.



I'm not entirely certain why there are no photos in my archive from the Main Point, since I have shots of many of the Main Point artists playing other venues during the same time period. My best guess is that the Main Point may have had a no camera policy. Considering all the amazing performances that took place there, it's sad that the photographic legacy is almost non-existent.



Steve Goodman played the Main Point numerous times, but I'm going to guess that the above photo was taken in January 1972, based on the artist list below. According to the anniversary publication, Steve Goodman (far right) after completing his set invited John Prine (center) up to the stage for the encore, and they sang a twenty minute set of Hank Williams tunes. After leaving the stage, they obliged the thundering ovation from the audience with another encore and brought out the opening act (far left) Trevor Veitch and Andy Kulberg. "When the extra mikes were set and everyone situated, Trevor leaned into the mike and announced, "Will you please welcome Bonnie Raitt!" (center). More Hank Williams tunes followed and the performance concluded with a rendition of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"



Reading back over the first ten years of shows I realize that my personal history with this venue only really just scratched the surface. Sure, I saw many of the traditional folk artists that gave the Main Point it's original idenity; Eric Anderson, Tom Rush, Dave Van Ronk. The opener for the December 1970 Dave Van Ronk show was Jonathan Edwards, who who quickly became a regular and a club favorite. I may have seen him there three times before he released his first album, including memorable co-billings with Bill Withers (September, 1971) and Alex Taylor (June, 1971). Alex was somewhat of a regular at the Main Point also, performing there numerous times.



In the wake of James Taylor's huge 1970 success, James' musically inclined siblings all got recording contracts and all appeared at the Main Point. After James, Livingston has had the most sustained career success and he too was a regular performer at the Main Point and I enjoyed seeing him there many times. Alex passed away in 1993 leaving us five albums including two excellent efforts for Capricorn from 1971 and 1972 that have both been reissued on CD. I can't find Kate Taylor in the Main Point listings, but I know I saw her there around the time of her first album Sister Kate in 1971. But for my junior drivers license (which is what you got in PA from age 16 until turning 18 and which carried a midnight curfew) I might have seen all four of the Taylors. I was in line on the fourth of July 1970 for tickets to that night's James Taylor show (opening act, Manhattan Transfer). By the time I reached the front of the line the early show had sold out and I regrettably passed on buying tickets to the late show.

Emmitt Rhodes played the Main Point in early 1971, drawing from his self titled debut album which he wrote, sang, played all the instruments, engineered, and recorded at home, a record that met or exceeded most of the expectations that fans held for Paul McCartney's similarly produced first solo album. In July of 1972 the Strawbs rocked the house with a full band, over from England to play songs from their then new release Grave New World with its FM radio hit "Benedictus". When I went by the Main Point a few days before the show to buy tickets I was treated to a few songs by Chi Coltrane who was playing at the time, offering a very high voltage performance characterized by her top twenty hit "Thunder and Lightning".

In 1969 and 1970 I twice went to the Main Point to see the American Dream, a local Philadelphia band that made one classic album produced by Todd Rundgren in 1970 that included the very radio friendly "I Ain't Searchin' Anymore" and the novelty tune "Frankford El". Philly local trivia: Nick Jameson, the guitarist of the American Dream went on to become an actor, appearing in the latest two seasons of 24 as the Russian President Yuri Suvarov. It was mentioned above that the Main Point opened amidst a blizzard in 1964. I have fond memories of another show there that took place despite a blizzard in early 1978 when Bruce Cockburn took the stage and performed for about twenty or twenty-five hardy souls who made it to the Main Point despite maybe a foot of snow that had just fallen.



The photo above is not credited, but the long lines down the sidewalk on Lancaster Avenue were a familiar sight during the Main Point's era. Unlike its successor, The Point, the Main Point was only open for shows, seats were not reserved, and the audience would queue up long in advance of the opening of the doors. Click on the above page from the 10th Anniversary Publication to enlarge and read some of comments from both customers and artists about the Main Point.

Live radio concerts, mostly on WMMR were an occasional treat. One such broadcast, the 2/5/75 Bruce Springsteen show was recently posted by another XPN Guest Blogger for your listening pleasure. Some broadcasts, such as that one by Springsteen have been widely bootlegged, others now reside only in radio station archives and maybe a few listeners' tape collections. Springsteen was broadcast from the Main Point multiple times, including another classic show from 10/31/73, also on WMMR.

Jackson Browne is another artist who was broadcast multiple times, including an acoustic duet show with David Lindley on 9/07/75 that was part of a string of shows to benefit the Main Point during one of it's many periods of financial difficulty. The beauty of the music that these two artists performed together in the duet acoustic format is hard to put into words. Mid-set, Jackson left the stage for a short set of David Lindley fiddle tunes, during which he bummed a cigarette from me. Incidentally an old friend of mine recalls seeing Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen on the same bill in the early seventies at a nearby show at the Villanova Fieldhouse. They've shared the same stage many times in later years doing benefit concerts for various political and social causes.



WIOQ broadcast an artist named Moon Martin (now there's an obscure one) from the Main Point in 1978. George Thorogood and Jesse Colin Young also had broadcasts from there. One of the most memorable radio concerts from the Main Point was a 6/20/76 show by Warren Zevon carried on WMMR during which he personalized "Werewolves of London" to include lines like "Werewolves of Bryn Mawr" and "Werewolves of greater Philly".

Ultimately the fact that the Main Point did not serve alchohol most likely was a primary factor in the financial problems that ultimately led to it's demise. Ironically, years later, the lack of liquor license (and resistance to expansion) would also result in the closing of The Point, a more than worthy successor to the Main Point that operated a few doors down the street from 1998 to 2005. Considering the rich history of the Main Point, there are many more legends and stories than could be told here. Here's a fascinating memory posted by another listener to the XPN memorable moment archive; I had never heard before that Blind Faith played the Main Point, I'm wondering if they used the club for practice and a non-publicized performance.
....................

Jackson Browne at the Main Point "Song Of Adam"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drDIDzGHoV0



________________________________________________

Old hippies never die, they just ramble on.
-lk

Edited by - lemonade kid on 08/02/2013 16:54:34

lemonade kid
Old Love

USA
7923 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2013 :  16:56:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
By the way,RW...

the 1975 live recording of Jackson Browne at The Main Point is awesome!



________________________________________________

Old hippies never die, they just ramble on.
-lk
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Signed RW
Fifth Love

USA
253 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2013 :  18:16:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As is the Springsteen Main Point show, now available commercially in pristine audio quality in Europe and the U.K. Absolutely a "must own" for any Bruce fan. Those vintage WMMR concert broadcasts caught tons of amazing artists on their way up, when they still had something to prove, and we, as fans are much richer for them, for certain...
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lemonade kid
Old Love

USA
7923 Posts

Posted - 08/02/2013 :  20:07:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That 1975 Main Point show with Springsteen is awesome (even if a boot, the FM soundboard broadcast audio is perfect).

Bruce was just about to hit his stride in '75 after that show. When I saw Bruce in 1973 (The Wild, Innocent & The E Street Shuffle), well, that was magic; a skinny Jersey kid in a leather jacket playing his heart out for us for 3 1/2 hours...still is.



________________________________________________

Old hippies never die, they just ramble on.
-lk

Edited by - lemonade kid on 08/02/2013 20:08:22
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