Spider John Koerner

ADAMS Chris A adams_chris_a@OSLMAC.OSL.OR.GOV
Mon Aug 8 14:23:31 EDT 1994

While vacationing in Wisconsin last week, I took a trip up to Madeline
Island and after arriving on the ferry, spotted this very interesting
place called "Tom's Burned Out Cafe" (formerly "Leona's Burned Out
Cafe") It is an open air joint, raised on a platform, surrounded by a
collection of metal sculpture and contemporary "folk art". It can't
be described in words, other than  it has been added to my list of must

see "outposts"- that is places that may be in the middle of nowhere or
in the middle of ugly tourism, places that soothe the soul and spirit,
while quenching one's thirst and filling one's belly. Anyway, I bellied
up to the bar, and then noticed the guy sitting next to me was Spider
John Koerner. Some of you probably have no idea who I am talking about,
so I will briefly inform you. John Koerner, along with Dave "Snaker"
and Tony "Little Sun" Glover, formed the trio Koerner, Glover and Ray
in the 60's in the Minneapolis area. They played an aggressive mix of
country blues, folk, etc. They played most of the big folk festivals,
well as many blues festivals. Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt, as well as
many other musicians who hung out in the Twin Cities, have claimed
them as major influences. Ray and Glover are still playing and
recording together, and John Koerner has 2 excellent recordings on Red
House records. He plays mostly 12 string guitar, and is doing many
covers of
old folk songs in his unique way, as well as some country blues. I
with him at length about his music and stories from the past and the
fact that I had talked to his buddy Dave Ray on the Blues list. Later
that evening, he performed at the cafe and performed an outstanding
show. He is not really pursueing a "career" aggressively, doing all his
own bookings, but he is very much still in the mainstream of folk and
blues performers.

Christopher Adams

More information about the Blues-l mailing list