I am out in very sunny San Diego this week soaking up the funky life-style of Ocean Beach. I like OB more than their neighbor to the north – Venice Beach. What a place! Great for roaming taking in all the people-nation sign art – wall art – everywhere you look.
Beyond the scope of this site I “collect” sign art and Ocean Beach takes first prize. But onto pleasing coincidence. We are staying at a small complex of condos high on Sunset Cliff overlooking the Pacific. The first couple we met was also from Colorado. The next lady, Cass, is from North Carolina but after talking for a while, I learn that she resided in Boulder back in her “hippy days”.
Cass is a gorgeous woman – and it was easy to imagine her in 1971 living “the life” in the Republic of Boulder. Here is the tie-in for me: In the early 1970’s Cass was girlfriend of a member of a local Boulder rock group. Cass could not recall a band name at their beginnings. But then she recalled “I was living with the band in a communal arrangement on a farm located out on the eastern end of the city off of Arapahoe street. The farm was called “Green Acres” like the television show with Eddie Alpert.”
Cass continued, “All of the band members lived there along with about seven young women including myself. The guys all sported shoulder length hair and as I remember played all around town doing mostly cover material. They were’ very popular.” The band took on a new name, “Dusty Drapes and The Dusters” and then set out on their new course.
The founders of the group were Steve (“Dusty”) Swenson, Don DeBacker and Don McCorison. Swenson had played guitar on a very minor hit in 1972, “Colorado” performed by Colorado’s Danny Holien released on the local “Tumbleweed” label.
They played all around the Boulder area, most of which are long since gone. These included Shannon’s, the Skunk Creek Inn, Olympic Lounge, Good Earth, Art’s Bar and Grill and at Peggy’s Hi-Lo.
Somewhere along the way the group was signed by Columbia Records and managed one release in 1975 composed by McCorison “Hackensack”, which evidently was a one-out adventure on the national label.
On a side note Cass remembered that there was a lot of livestock on the farm. The most famous resident was the University of Colorado’s school mascot “Ralphie” the bison. “Every few weeks during football season a trailer would pull up and Ralphie’s handlers would load her (yes Ralphie was and always is a female) into a trailer to transport her to the big fame at Folsom Field.”
Then a big change came along. Cass recalls coming back to Green Acres one day after work and was somewhat stunned by what she saw. “All of the guys had cut off their long hair. My boyfriend told me, ‘Cass, were making big change. We’ve decided to go country.'”
And go country is exactly what they did becoming “Rusty Drapes and the Drapers”. The band enjoyed a very nice run through the 1970’s. They associated with many other musicians who were drawn to the local Colorado scene. Cass recalls meeting Steven Stills and Manassas, Timothy B. Schmidt and Rusty Young from Poco and many others when they would either rehearse or record in the studio at Green Acres.
Cass moved on from Boulder, attending D.U. for a time – living here and there before finally settling down in North Carolina where she remains till this day. Cass visited Boulder a few years back to discover that Green Acres is gone, having made way for “progress”.