The Goodtime Washboard Three and the “Oakland” song live on in El Cerrito

Record Store Day was April 20 and El Cerrito had two locations celebrating. Both Down Home Music on San Pablo Avenue and Mod Lang on Fairmount Avenue sell vinyl records.
Among the selections available at Down Home is an album by The Goodtime Washboard (they added an extra member), an expanded version of The Goodtime Washboard Three, the trio of former UC Berkeley students who recorded the song “Oakland” 50 years ago this year. The song, a tongue-in-cheek salute to the city that isn’t San Francisco, received considerable airplay in the 1960s. The group even appeared with Bing Crosby on the ABC TV variety show “Hollywood Palace.”
As the lyrics go,
Now where did all the people go
when Frisco burned?
They all went to Oakland and
never returned.

The album available at Down Home is a later version, pressed 11 years after the original, but copies still sealed in shrinkwrap (we can’t call them “new” when they are almost 40 years old) are $9.98 each, a high price for 1974, but a bargain today.

A nice article on the Goodtime Washboard Three and the song that brought their greatest fame can be found here.

Incidentally, the GTW3 performed at the 50th anniversary party for Arhoolie Records, founded by Down Home Music owner Chris Strachwitz, and appear on the label’s anniversary box set.

In case you can’t wait and just want to hear the original version of the song, click here.

The latter day version is here:

Chris Treadway

  • John Stashik

    I think of the Oakland song every time I take the tube to Alameda. Amazing how that one stays in my mind.