Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Back Door (Front Street, Ventura, CA)

Although only open for the year of 1968, The Back Door, owned and operated by Bob Jones, is remembered fondly. Located on Front Street, the Back Door presented a very eclectic lineup of artists, and was heavily blues oriented. (No concert dates are available at this time, what follows below is an alphabetical listing of groups presented, supplied by Bob Jones, who still plays music locally in the Ventura County area)(In May 2012, Dennis Shives, poster artist for the Back Door, supplied the dates below)

July 25, 26 & 27, 1968: Lightnin' Hopkins, Alexander's Timeless Blues Band

August 30 & 31, 1968: Hoyt Axton

October 5, 6 & 7, 1968: Charlie Musselwhite and His South Side Blues Band

Luther Allison

Hoyt Axton

Tim Buley Blues Band (opened for Canned Heat)

Canned Heat

Ramblin' Jack Elliot

Jesse Ed Fuller


Richard Greene

John Hammond

Lightnin' Hopkins

Lydia E. Pinkham Superior Orchestra

The Hour Glass


Rabbit Mackay

Taj Mahal

The Maze/The Knack??

Lee Michaels

Long Gone Miles and Bernie Pearl

Charlie Musselwhite Band

Rose (opened for Ramblin' Jack Elliot)

George Harmonica Smith

Paul Sykes



  1. One wonders if the Hourglass was the early LA Based group including Duane and Gregg Allman? The timeline is right.

    1. The Hour Glass (is it one word or two?) was indeed the group with Duane and Gregg.

    2. I was so blown away! I was calling friends saying "COME DOWN HERE! GO GOTTA HEAR THIS GUITAR PLAYER!!"

  2. Good job Dennis! I will update my shows list of Kaleidoscope and Canned Heat with this new gigs, sadly we do not know the exact dates!

    1. Someday we may have at least some dates, if I ever have the time to go through the Ventura County Star newspaper archives.

  3. Dennis: I came across your site while doing research on some writing I'm doing about the Orosco brothers, Ernie, Ruben, and Ray. Your blog has me wishing for a time machine to go back and hear any of the incredible lineups you've listed.
    There's a new (March 2012) documentary about the Oroscos, called THE BAND, in which they talk about being the house band at the Showgrounds and winning a mammoth battle of the bands, which apparently led to them, as Ernie & The Emperors, signing with Warner/Reprise.
    Do you have any recollection of them playing the Showground? Did you see them perform, or can you point me to anyone who did?
    If you have any memories of seeing them play, there or elsewhere, as Ernie etc. or Giant Crab, would you please drop me a line: xtro99 [at] gmail [dot] com?
    Many thanks for any reply.

    1. I saw Ernie & The Emperors and least 2 times circa 1966 at the Roller Gardens in the Wagon Wheel Junction between Ventura and Oxnard. They were quite good and had a reputation for winning Battle of the Bands shows.
      Moses Mora

  4. Rory Gallagher brought me here

  5. hey nice source for us and thanks for sharing the nice blog with us and i read the full and this blog is the informative and i have to sure bookmark this blog for the future use and i have to sure bookmark this blog.

    Santa Barbara Events

  6. As I remember it The Tim Buley band opened for many of those shows. They were kind of.the local defacto house band

  7. Hi Dennis! I played here many, many times in the early 70's when it was called The Beginning Coffee House. At the time it was owned by Teen Challenge and featured a lot of "Jesus People" folk bands and soloists. Fun place to hang and drink herbal tea.

  8. Long Gone Miles, Rabbit Mackay and CANNED HEAT! I saw them all, and more, at the Back Door! Amazing!

  9. What a flashback. Blues was making a comeback and although I (at the age of 15) had already been turned on to the blues via Radio or my neighbors records, the Back Door is where I fell in love with the blues. Damn!! I wish it was still there.