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leads a 14 member band, Side By Side, who perform 1950s
dance music and some Hawai'ian songs for private parties and
other occasions. This month the band
is opening band for the
Santa Cruz Ukulele Club monthly
meeting held this month on the 4th Thursday, March 26th.
Last summer, Carolee organized 2 Ukuleles Gone Wild
performances at the Santa Cruz Mountains
Art Center. More
performances are being planned for this summer.
Carolee's husband's band, Burning Bacon,
debuted at her June 2008 Ukuleles Gone Wild
performance that featured students
from beginning ukulele classes taught at the Art Center. Almost
a year ago, Bob and his front neighbor
began jamming and soon 4-5 of his neighbor's surfing buddies
joined them. Last weekend, their band played for the Luck O' the
Irish dine, drink and gamble fundraiser for the local High
School Grad-Night celebration in the Felton Fire Station.
Carolee Burrows with the Santa Cruz Ukulele
Club contingent during the 2008 Soquel 4th of July Parade.
Photo by Susan Lysik
Harbor Saturday morning jam
Carolee Margaret Robbins, 7-7-42 in San Francisco, 5th generation. Grew up
in Mill Valley to creative parents who drank too much along with their
likewise talented and witty friends. Summers spent around the Mill Valley
Tennis Club's pool, a club my parents helped build. My dad was an excellent
tennis player. He and his doubles partner, Russ Mills, were formidable
opponents in any match. Together, mom and dad designed many homes in Mill
Valley after building three for themselves. Blue Birds, Brownies, and Girl
Scouts. Once in elementary school I won first place in an annual Be Kind To
Animals poster contest. Art classes were my passion in high school, but I
also enjoyed playing a townfolk in Gilbert and Sullivan light operas with my
friends Steve and Jimmy Hopper. Sang in the Episcopal Church choir directed
by Barry Minniah. I loved swimming and taught other kids how while at
Tamalpias High School.
first job was in Sausalito measuring yarn to be woven into window
coverings. Piano and Arthur Murray dance lessons. Danced, bowled, played
in the sand at Stinson Beach, and had fun double dating. Often during my
Sophomore and Junior years I cut school and rode a bus into San
Francisco to listen to Beatniks rant and sermonize about deep things.
Cotillion balls in gowns with crinolines.
Graduated in 1960. A dentist
in Kentfield taught me to be his assistant. Moved out at 18, up near
College of Marin where I'd attended art classes following high school
but had mostly played Bridge in its cafeteria. Moved to San Anselmo with
high school chum Heide Cronquist. We'd walk down to the corner bar,
Jeans Bit OBohemia, and sometimes Heide would go back and get my guitar
and I'd sing "Summertime".
One night, a guy from the Airforce base came in and ended up introducing
me to my future husband, a young man he knew from the base who sang
Our voices blended and in 1963 we began singing as Tom & Lee in
Marin County, mostly at a little cantina in Sausalito. Meanwhile, a
higher salary as a clerk pulled me to Standard Oil in
San Francisco and I moved back to Mill Valley into an apartment above
Lady Baltimore Bakery and across the street from Mill Valley Records
(closed 2 summers ago).
Married my singing partner 6-5-65. We had 2 children; Samantha (born
8-1966 in SF/6th gen.) and Alexander (born 1-1969 @ Marin General). We
lived a while in Bolinas, then Tiburon. Managed the Drinking Gourd
(Union Street) in San Francisco down from University of California
Medical Facility, singing Friday nights and running the weekly
Hootenannies. Sang second billing for about a year at the Purple Onion,
kitty-corner to the Hungry I. Once in Tiburon, we shared billing with
Janice Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company. And we scared
ourselves almost to death following Big Brother (Janice comes off stage
after singing 'Down On Me,' and says to me as she exits, 'Go Girl!') at
California Hall in San Francisco to sing while they changed the band
setup behind the big black curtain.
Our career took off. We signed with
Fantasy Records, who, as was typical at the time (unbeknownst to us, of
course), shelved our music; that is, they stole Tom's songs. 1968 we
almost went to Saigon to perform for a lot of money. Our manager placed
us with voice teacher Betty Davis in Oakland to help us persevere our
schedule. Luckily, I was pregnant with Alex, so no Saigon. Ms. Davis was
a fabulous teacher. One afternoon, she introduced us to a couple of her
other students Grace Slick and! Carol Doda!
We broke up while touring in
Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee. The social turmoil of 1970 was too
much, Kent State, Women's Movement, Black Panthers, Weatherpeople, Bobby
Seale and the Chicago Five, our children back in California, Vietnam
Up • Bruce-Bangert • Jody Bare • Dale Bates • Brenda Berg • Fro Butler • Carolee-Burrows-Artist • Frank_Borovich • Roberta Friedman Ceramics • Helene • Dan & Laurie Hennig • Shirley-Hudson • Anouk-Johanna • Leah King • Linda A. Levy • Tina Masciocchi • Geoff-Jenny-Morten • Stephanie Schriver • Lorri Scott • GloriaS • Kathleen Miller Thomas • Breda Voss • Larry Worley