The Medicine Show Tavern opened up on Seattle’s Capitol Hill in 1967. It quickly became the premier spot for BLUES in the Region, (both Country and Chicago style). In the first year, Famous Blues artists like Joe Johnson, Fred McDowell, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert Collins, Albert King, Johnnie Guitar Watson, Buddy Guy, Son House, and John Lee Hooker played there on a weekly basis.
And, after the club gained a little bit of recognition (and some notoriety), famous acts like Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Seals and Crofts, The Young Bloods, Boz Scaggs, Dan Hicks, Paul Butterfield, Bo Diddley, etc, would come and sit in whenever they were playing in town.
Aside from live music, the club had a state of the art sound system. The backbone of the system was a studio quality Sony Reel to Reel tape system that played complete 2 hour sets of Blues, Rock, R&B, Motown, Jazz, and Pop music from open to close (and sometimes even until dawn)…..
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous response to our posting of our old playlists. The Medicine Show was actually started in a small flat near our school’s campus in the Mid-60’s. We were all new to College life, and we all gathered during breaks between classes. We talked about school, war, racial injustice, and listened to music. At the time our favorite music was from musicians with a message. We were heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Tom Waite. But, we never did get far from our R&B roots of the early music of James Brown, Ray Charles, Billie Holliday, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke. This resulted in a somewhat natural progression to an iconic bar that discovered it’s own style of “Blues and Roots”.