Waaaaaaaay back in 1963, the San Diego Folk Music scene, like its counterpart in the college community of Claremont, California, was the breeding ground of a whole new generation of folk and bluegrass purists who would soon take the path to new glories in Folk and Country Rock music.
In San Diego, the premiere Folk-Bluegrass band was by far the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers (how they got their name - well, its a Southern thing).
Beach boys just picking and playing that sweet Bluegrass music the way God intended it to be played!
Founded and led by Larry Murray and Ed Douglass, the band included the best and brightest in California Folk and Bluegrass circles, including Murray on Dobro, Douglass on upright bass, Gary Carr on guitar, Kenny Wertz on banjo, and a very young teenage prodigy on mandolin by the name of Chris Hillman. The Barkers built up a strong following in Southern California. This album, recorded in the space of one day at a studio in Los Angeles, is the only Barker recordings saved for posterity.
But this singular album has stood the test of time, and sounds pretty darn good for a recording made for an bargain basement record company. Just give a listen to the duelling mandolin-banjo of Hillman and Wertz on the instrumental version of "Home Sweet Home" with Murray's dobro sneaking in and out in the background!
Just think that within two years' time Chris Hillman would be playing bass in the Byrds, Larry Murray too would go up to Los Angeles and form local favorite "Hearts and Flowers" with Bernie Leadon (who had replaced Wertz on banjo in the Barkers - and ironically Wertz would end up replacing Leadon in the Flying Burrito Brothers) joining him. The three of them would soon be paving that glory road with Clarence White, Gene Clark and Gram Parsons, and creating the genre known as California Country Rock music.
And it all started with a group of guys playing Bluegrass favorites like "Katie Cline", "Shady Grove", "Cripple Creek" and "Willow Tree" in a beach community down the coast from Los Angeles and about as far from the Appalachian mountains as surfers could be!