The Palomino Rides Again!
For one night only, on Oct. 8. But hey, North Hollywoods – and arguably Californias – most legendary country music club will be back in all of its twangy, cosmic cowboy glory with a number of acts and special guests who called the Lankershim Boulevard venue home for decades of the 20th Century.
The Palomino Rides Again event is a fundraising gala for the nonprofit Valley Relics Museum, which has in its collection many awards, contracts, neon signs and other artifacts from the club, as well as items from country act costume and custom car designer Nudie Cohns nearby studio.
That stuff will be on display in a pop-up museum at the 6907 Lankershim location – where The Palomino kicked it until 1995, and is now occupied by the Le Monge Banquet Hall – on Oct 8. The $200, tax-deductible ticket price for the event also includes dinner, a silent auction (autographed Gibson guitars will be among the items), special souvenirs and, naturally, live music like hasnt been seen around these parts in many moons.
Talent booked for the event includes Palomino veterans Rosie Flores and James Intveld, and Americana music mainstay Jim Lauderdale. Ronnie Mack (who hosted The Palominos monthly Barn Dance showcase back in the day) will help emcee, and two bands, Intvelds Honky Tonk Palominos and former house band The Palomino Riders will back the performers, many more of whom will be announced in upcoming weeks.
“Ive been wanting to do this for the last 10 years,” Valley Relics Museum founder Tommy Gelinas said of his San Fernando Valley history organizations first-ever fundraiser, which was put together to help finance the museums move from its former Chatsworth digs to a new, two-hangar location at the Van Nuys Airport in October.
“This was the perfect opportunity to do something so awesome, where we are doing an event that is of historical value, going back to the original location, bringing the original Palomino Riders and Ronnie Mack and a lot of people who actually performed there,” Gelinas continued. “What a way to experience a country western music/rock-n-roll venue with so much history. The fact is that so many things have been torn down but that building still exists.”
Opened in 1949 as a working-class, fairly wide-ranging music bar by Western Swing banjo whiz Hank Penny, The Palomino moved more solidly country in the 1950s after brothers Bill and Tommy Thomas took over the place and L.A.s prime country venue, Silver Lakes Riverside Rancho, got buried under a freeway.
All the major Nashville acts from Johnny Cash to Patsy Cline came through, while rockabillies like Jerry Lee Lewis all but took up permanent residence. Bakersfield Sound luminaries Buck Owens and Merle Haggard found it a home away from home for their bolder, grittier California strain of country in the mid-1960s. At the end of that decade and into the 70s, The Palomino became synonymous with L.A.s burgeoning country rock sound, from Gram Parsons Flying Burrito Brothers and harmony-singing discovery Emmylou Harris to Linda Ronstadt, future Eagles and enough long-haired singer-songwriters to make David Geffen a very rich man.
In the 80s, The Palomino nurtured the likes of Dwight Yoakam, energetic cowpunks such as Lone Justice and a variety of more rocky bands.
“It was probably the most important venue for country music on the West Coast,” K.P. Hawthorn, whose three-woman, vertically integrated, Americana and roots music-focused production company Rebelle Road Presents is booking the talent for the benefit. “Many of our friends and people that we have a lot of respect for in this town were either in the Palomino Riders house band or they played The Palomino or, like James Intveld when he was 17, got their start there.”
Having done deep research on the glorified, 300-seat dive bar, Hawthorn noted that it was not unusual for movie cowboys and stars to ride their horses over to The Palomino – there was a hitching post out back – after a days work at the nearby studios. Luminaries from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and George Harrison, dropped in. Governor Jerry Brown was not an unexpected sight there, especially when his then-girlfriend Ronstadt was performing.
Mainly, though, it was a place for the kind of cultural experimentation that California excels at.
“You could hear George Jones and Tammy Wynette playing that traditional country sound there one year, then all of a sudden there was this California country rock thing happening with the Burritos and all of that,” Hawthorn noted. “Thats the natural evolution that is allowed to happen in California. And thats the beauty of The Palomino, in that its a home, its a place where these artists who were transforming music were free to do what they wanted. All of these iterations of country music were welcome there.”
For more information about The Palomino Rides Again and to buy tickets, go to www.thepalominoclub.com.
IF YOU GO:
What: The Palomino Rides Again!
When: 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., Oct. 8, 2018
Where: Le Monge Banquet Hall, 6907 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91605
How Much: $200, tax deductible
Tickets and Information: https://ticketsauce.com/e/the-palomino-club-fundraising-gala/tickets