Town Crier: Starting 2014 on a musical note

MONTCLARION: January 1, 2014

Let’s start the year on an upbeat note – a musical note, at that. Readers have solved the greatest who-done-it in the history of 45 rpms. Or not.

Last week I put out a plea on behalf of a reader who found a 50 year old radio recording of a novelty song about Oakland. He sent a copy to the folks at Visit Oakland and they sent it to me. None of us could identify the band that played that whimsical tune, but my readers sure could.

“It was recorded by The Good Time Washboard Three, a local band of little renowned,” writes Edmund Clausen, who says “calling it a folk song is gilding the lily in the extreme. It was just a happy little local-booster ditty.” On the flip side, remembers Charles Konigsberg, was the song Don’t Blame PG&E. He says the end of the song had “a big old explosion.”

Well, just the mention of that little Oakland ditty goosed the memories of Montclarions near and far. Reader John Nicoles says he not only remembers the song, he remembers the band – Peter Arnott on banjo, Wayne Pope on washboard and Harold Nachtrieb on tuba. He thinks KSFO morning host Gene Nelson played some of their songs, but in the 10 years I did the morning news with Gene – I don’t remember hearing them anywhere on radio.

But it was Katherine Graves who put the whole puzzle together by finding an article about the band at

And here’s the funny part – my Hills Newspaper colleague Chris Treadway wrote that article earlier this year in the West County Times. Goodtime Washboard Three is alive and well and living in El Cerrito. All I can say is – some of us Oakland folks didn’t get the memo.

Off the wall: When it comes to crime – Oakland has to think outside the box. The new ‘i do it 4 oakland’ mural project does just that – by inviting young taggers to come back to the buildings they marred and create contemporary art pieces. The project has exceeded its $4800 funding goal on and an East Oakland building will get the first makeover. If it works, we could be a model for other cities that struggle with graffiti and blight in their neighborhoods.

Body beautiful: If the holidays have packed a few pounds on your frame – there’s a new fitness studio in Oakland that can help you trim down. Pilates ProWorks (3303 Lakeshore Ave.) has its official grand opening on Saturday, January 18, from 11-5 p.m. with free mini massages, healthy treats – even tastings of handcrafted tequila and juice elixers.

If it sounds like a Hollywood experience – you’re right. Not only does this boutique exercise studio have over 200 classes a month, they’ve got celebrity trainer Skipp Swoope, whose client list includes Nicole Kidman. I’m no Nicole Kidman, but I got to work out with Skipp a few weeks ago and he’s a great motivator and down-to-earth guy. For more information see

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s