Some Artwork Included
Blue Gravy included band members Nick Gravenites (guitar, vocals), Mark Adams (harmonica), Fred Burton (guitar), Doug Kilmer (bass) and Lee Bitner (drums). Although Blue Gravy existed for a short time only, they were very popular in the Bay Area. As a matter of fact they didn't release any albums but made a three song demo at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California for Warner Brothers.
Ted Templeman was to produce but tax issues nixed the deal and the band dismembered after a year. Mark Adams, who prior to Blue Gravy had been playing with the Muskadine Blues Band, Dan Hayes Group and Dan Hayes Blues Band, went on to play for Alice Stewart and then King Perkoff after that. Nick Gravenites teamed up with John Cipollina and worked on his solo career as well. In later years Gravenites, Adams and Kilmer played together again though.
One of Blue Gravy's concerts was recorded at the Record Plant and broadcasted April, 22 1973 on KSAN FM. The concert was introduced by Big Daddy Tom Donahue aka "The Father of Underground Radio". KSAN had been the unquestioned leader in progressive radio in the Bay Area for more than ten years from 1968 and many bands used KSAN to gain greater audiences.
Nick Gravenites had already recorded "Gypsy Good Time" on his 1969 album "My Labours"; "Buried Alive In The Blues" in 1971 with Big Brother & Holding Co.; "Drive Again" is from the Steel Yard Blues soundtrack of the same year (1973); "Dekalb Blues" can be found on his 1980 album "BlueStar"; "Anna" on the 1991 Gravenites/Cipollina album "Live At the Rodon". Only "Weird Old Crazy World" (title?), "Left Hand Soul" and "Country Mechanic" seem to be unreleased so far. The latter song being more than outstanding.
Nick Gravenites Biography:
It's not so easy to introduce Nick Gravenites because the man has done so many things that one can easily write a book or build a web site only dedicated to Gravenites who is singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer in one person. Subsequently everything found on this page concerning Nick can only be described as incomplete. Nevertheless let's start with a short introduction Taxim Records added to one of their Bay Area Blues Sampler 'More Bay Area Blues' which contains the song 'Hard Thing' by Nick.
'Nick Gravenites grew up on the southside of Chicago hanging out in the mid-50's with a coterie of misfit white kids - Elvin Bishop, Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield - who went on to form that protean powerhouse of watershed white blues, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Learning their lessons first-hand from the southside greats - Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush - Gravenites & Co. burst open the seams of the scene with a feverish intensity and undeniable authenticity, redefining the blues with as much impact as the introduction of electric instrumentation had 15 years earlier. From the late 50's through the mid 60's, Gravenites gravitated between Chicago and San Francisco, establishing himself in the Bay Area in 1965.
In addition to authoring the classic "Born In Chicago" and the groundbreaking "East West" for Butterfield, Gravenites scribed hits for Janis Joplin and has his songs recorded by Big Brother and the Holding Company, Michael Bloomfield, the Electric Flag (of which Gravenites was a founding member), Pure Prairie League, Tracy Nelson, Roy Buchana, Jimmy Witherspoon as well as blues giants Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, and James Cotton. He has a couple of solo albums and has scored and played on the soundtracks for "The Trip", "Medium Cool", and "Steelyard Blues". He has appeared on some 40 albums as singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.
For more info write to him at: P.O.Box 564, Occidental, CA 95465'
Other bands: He formed the short lived Blue Gravy and joined Big Brother And The Holding Company early in 1969 staying until early 1972. He was involved with the Taj Mahal/Mike Bloomfield live album, and again in 1973 with "Steelyard Blues". He also formed the Nick Gravenites Band which became Nick Gravenites Blues in 1978 and in the summer of ‘78 he joined Huey Lewis' Monday Nite Live sessions but by the end of the year that too had disbanded.
Nick also worked a lot with John Cipollina, a connection that started with Nick producing the first Quicksilver Messenger Service albums. Later they built the Nick Gravenites-John Cipollina Band which toured a lot in Europe and their record label Line being based in Germany. One of the band's drummers was former Clover drummer Marcus David - who later recorded his solo album 'Greates Hits' on Line Records in 1980. Nick Gravenites himself recorded 'Bluestar' which was also released on Line in 1980 as a solo album but it already had John Cipollina on guitar. Harmonica player on this blues album was Huey Lewis - at that time being something of a session cat who, after Clover's demise, played harp also on albums by Phil Lynott, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and City Boy.
The next album "Monkey Medicine" was recorded in Germany after Nick and John finished their European tour in Germany. Under very primitive conditions but with a lot of heart they recorded this album in Hamburg accompanied by Marcus David on drums and Al Staehely on bass/vocals.
In late 1984 Gravenites was again a member of one of John Cipollina's many projects - Thunder and Lightning - in San Francisco.
During the last few years Gravenites regularly played the psychedelic blues in a small club called the Bodega Bay Grange, Marin County - joined by Doug Kilmer (bass), Mark Adams (harp) and Roy Blumenfeld (drums). The German Taxim label released one of these concerts (rec. Jan. 1994) on CD in 1996.
1999 saw the release of yet another Gravenites' solo album on which Huey Lewis plays harmonica again.
Nick Gravenites & Blue Gravy
The Record Plant Studios
Sausalito, California 1973-04-22
FM radio broadcast (KSAN)
01. Tom Donahue introduction
02. Dekalb Blues
03. Gypsy Good Time
04. Weird Old Crazy World
05. Left Hand Soul
06. band introductions
07. Born In Chicago
08. Country Mechanic
09. Anna [fade out; reel flip]
10. They Let Me Drive Again (Theme From Steel Yard Blues)
11. Buried Alive In The Blues