A Treasure from Hoyt's Past!

(updated August 2, 2013)

Click on this link for the Complete Discography of Hoyt Axton

The Skip Weshner Tapes
Finally!!  I have all of this available for Hoyt's fans!!!
 Click here if you have read everything below and want some for yourself.


Last Friday, I received an email from a Hoyt Axton fan who happened to see my website.  His name is Frank Blau and he was a close friend and executor of Skip Weshner's estate when Skip passed away in 1995.  Many of you older fans like me (I'm 55) remember the Skip Weshner show on KRHM in Los Angeles in the 1960's and 1970's.  Skip had many many talented guests on his show, and Hoyt was one of Skip's favorites.  Anyway, Frank emails me and notes that among the things that he acquired from Skip's estate were ALL of the professional quality audio tapes from Skip's many shows.  He has hundreds of big 10" reels of tapes with guests like Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, and you-name-it, as well as almost a dozen with Hoyt.  All perfect quality because Frank also has the original Revox professional tape recorder that the tapes came from.  So Frank offers to share these tapes with me.
    I was again lucky because Frank happens to live in the Seattle area and I'm only about two hours away, out on the Olympic Peninsula.  So my wife and I drove over and met Frank and his wonderful wife, Linda, and talked about his experiences with Skip and the "gold mine" he inherited.  Frank not only gave me all of the Hoyt Axton tapes, but also loaned me his tape recorder (since mine wouldn't accommodate the big 10" professional reels) - is he a prince, or what! - so I can record all of the tapes into digital .wav files and keep them for posterity.
    Before we left Frank's, he had already copied one tape onto four 80 minute CDRs.  So Elna (my wife) and I listened to all four CDs while we drove to our son Jason's house (his middle name is Axton) and back home to Sequim.  These CDs are GREAT!  Just Skip and Hoyt with his guitar.  Lots of great dialog and great songs that many of you old timers will remember.  Remember Ten Thousand Sunsets?  It's here, along with many other songs Hoyt used to sing in person but never recorded on an album.  I'm going to end up with hours and hours and hours of Hoyt's early days in perfect quality.  I've yet to "tear into" the next tape and start digitizing it, and it will take quite a while, but eventually I will have lots of Hoyt's early music that I can share with his early fans.  I'm not sure how I'll do this yet - maybe .mp3 files - otherwise it might take 40-50 CDs to capture everything, but keep posted on the website for updates.  I just ordered another 80 gigabyte hard drive so I'll have some more room to start recording.
    Keeping up this website is a lot of work, but I get rewarded by tons of email from Hoyt's fans.  And some of them, like from Frank, turn out to be real treasures!  Check back in a while.


All of the Skip Weshner tapes are now digitally recorded.  There is a LOT here, and some of it is very good.  There are 13 tapes total, and each can fit on a CD because each show is about an hour long.  The earliest tape is from 1967 and the latest is from 1970 (I think, because there was no date on two of them).  So mostly what are on these tapes are songs by Hoyt from that era.  So a number of tapes have the same songs as other tapes, but often one rendition is better than others.  The recording quality is excellent.

Before I can figure out how to offer this and other tapes to fans, I want to finish editing all of the tapes, then see how many megabytes of files they will require.  One of the tapes is at a party with Gordon Lightfoot.  I'll update more as I make progress.

Wanna have some fun?  If you can play .mp3 files , download this (about 1 Mb) !!

(But, please don't proliferate Hoyt's rare music by spreading it on sites like Napster and Kazaa.  This is for Hoyt's fans who truly appreciate his early work!)

Hoyt's voice was amazing!

Frank found a few more Skip Weshner tapes with Hoyt as a guest, so I've now digitally recorded twelve complete shows, a few of which were multiple tapes.  The shows were taped from around July, 1967 through around 1970.  Most of the shows have an exact date, but others are undated and difficult to calculate exactly when they took place.   Here are the dates so far - a 00 means I don't know the exact day or month:

07 00 67
08 18 67 (Mad Hoyt)
01 01 68
09 19 68
10 23 68
03 20 69
07 27 69 (Quiet Hoyt)
04 30 70 (Drunk Hoyt)
05 00 70
09 00 70 with Arnie Moore (first ever recording of Never Been to Spain)
00 00 70  13th Anniversary of Skip Weshner Show
1970? recorded at a party with Hoyt and Gordon Lightfoot

In the last update (9/2/02) I listed 15 tracks for the first show in July, 1967.  But one of the new tapes Frank found was the missing first tape for that show.  So these 15 tracks were actually the last 15 tracks.  There will be another 10 or 11 before them when I finish the editing.  The show in Skip's living room was prior to the July, 1967 show, as explained on an introductory cassette tape later made by Skip.

I'm now working on editing all of the tapes in chronological order.  Once final .wav files are edited and saved, I can figure out how many files I will have and the size of all of the files.  I can then decide on how I can offer these recorded shows to Hoyt's fans.  But I'm leaving on vacation for about a month, so it might be the first part of next year before I can complete this project.  Please check back every so often and I'll post news when I have it. 


I've been getting lots of emails about these tapes, and I WILL have them available on CD sometime in January or February.  Elna and I were vacationing in Japan and Hawaii most of November and this month we've been busy with the Christmas season.  We have to make a couple of week trip to California in January, but I hope to get back to editing the digital images of all of the tapes at least by February.  Then I can let all of Hoyt's fans know what is available.  Please be patient and check back.
   Have a Happy New Year!


Yes, I know it's February and I'm trying to keep my promise!!  Actually, this past week I made a LOT of progress on the tapes.  The noise on most of the tapes has now been cleaned up, and every tape is now ready for editing.  This was the biggest and most time consuming part of the job, because only about five of a total of 17 tapes were really clean to begin with.  It's also some of the most important because it directly affects the quality of the final sound.
   The editing part will be to cut and paste large .wav files to make each track break at an appropriate quiet passage.  This will ensure any dialog, and especially Hoyt's songs, will be complete in one track on the CD.  This isn't too difficult to do, but there are just so MANY tracks for all of the tapes that it takes a while (on the order of 150-200).
   There were 13 different sessions with Hoyt and Skip on these tapes.  Three of the sessions had two tapes each.  Once everything is edited, I can figure out which sessions will fit best on each CD.  I still hope to have this completed by the end of February.
    Please check back towards the end of February for an update.


One of twelve sessions is now completely edited.    Here's what's on it:

070067  Recorded in July, 1967 (right after Hoyt's concert in Hawaii with Buffy St. Marie and Josh White)

Talk about Cindy Shubin's 12 string guitar
It's All Right Now
Time of the Dove
Basic Changes
Cocaine Blues
Call Him Now
Morning Side of Never (brand new song)
Kingswood Manor
San Fernando
Lady of the Burning Green Jade
Hoyt and Skip goofing around
I'm a Very Farthy Chap (poem by Hoyt)
Hoyt from Broken Bow (story by Hoyt)
We Survived the Madness
Story about Ivan Ulz (Hoyt's friend and writer of a number of Hoyt's songs)
It's Not Heavy But It's Fun
Short commercial break
Up the Spiral Rainbow
Rain Don't Fall on Me
Morning Star (beginning only)
Searching for a Soul
Sunshine Fields of Love
Mexico City Hangover
Top of the World
Ten Thousand Sunsets

25 tracks.  Total recording time:  90 minutes
The first ten tracks are from a poorer quality tape than the second tape which is very good.  To fit this on a CD I'll have to cut some dialog and maybe one track to meet the 80 minute maximum recording time.  In 90 minutes, some of the dialog gets a bit boring and some of the first songs lose recording quality, but still, there is a lot of great stuff here.


Determined the tape originally described as recorded in Skip's living room was recorded in 1969 - not in 1967 as first thought.  This was after Hoyt's performance at The Troubadour in March, 1969, when Odetta and John Hartford saw Hoyt perform for the first time.


Why are some of the tracks listed in blue???  As I record and edit these tapes, I find some of Hoyt's versions of these songs are exceptionally good.  They are either unique songs, ones that have never been recorded before, or he does a particularly good job on them, or the tape is exceptionally clear.  Since it will obviously take many CDs to capture ALL of these sessions, I think I will also try to offer a CD or two that has the very best of Hoyt's songs taken from these sessions - music only - with little or no dialog.  I will take the music from the tracks listed in blue.

I know I'm behind schedule, but I got two more tapes done.  I have to get all of them finished before I can figure out how to offer them to Hoyt's fans:

081867  Mad Hoyt

A Rusty Old Halo
Alouette, a commercial, and dialog with Hoyt
Story about Jim McGuinn (Roger McGuinn of The Byrds) and the Mercedes
One Coffee Please (a GREAT song, but Hoyt forgets the words after a few bars)
Hoyt's Zen Poems (One Day a Biddle Gorkle, I'm a Very Farthy Chap, As I was Gringling Cradnids, etc.)
Hoyt talking about a big cheese and doing a commercial
Long introduction to Blind Fiddler (a new song to Hoyt) and other dialog
Knoxville Girl

9 tracks.  Total recording time: 40 minutes
This tape is almost all dialog.  One Coffee Please would have been worth the whole tape, but Hoyt blew it when he forgot the words - too bad!  This was a "full moon" night and Hoyt was in a good mood, but he didn't sing much on this tape.  Some of the dialog is a lot fun though.

010168  New Year's Day show

New Year's Day Dialog with Hoyt
Blind Fiddler
Hoyt talks about football and his dad
Ode to Jefferson Airplane
Down and Out
On the Natural (very early version)
Hoyt talks about Crested Butte Colorado
Dialog about John Cassavettes
Kingswood Manor (best version ever, but the tape ended before he could finish!)
Searching for a Soul (a second tape started)
Blow Down the Moon
Seven Come
Goin' Down to Frisco
God Can Show Me How
Singing High
As I Was Gringling Cradnids (poem)
One Day a Biddle Gorkle (poem)
I'm a Very Farthy Chap (poem)
It's All Right Now
Lots of dialog and commercial
On the Morning Side of Never
Goodnight dialog

22 tracks.  Total recording time: 80 minutes
This is an excellent tape.  There are many great songs and Hoyt is at the top of his form that night.  Kingswood Manor is really good - what a shame the tape ran out just in the last verse.  Some of the dialog gets a little boring, but the quality of the music makes this one of the best shows he did with Skip.


Three more sessions complete:


Saturday's Child (only the last half, from the album)
Rise Up (from the Saturday's Child album)
Hoyt talks about his new record to be recorded on Columbia (My Griffin is Gone)
She's a Flying Thing (Hoyt forgets the words halfway through)
Gypsy Will
It's All Right Now
Top of the World
Dialog plus Childhood's End
Way Before the Time of Towns
God Can Show Me How
As I Was Gringling Cradnids (poem)
One Day a Biddle Gorkle (poem)
I'm A Very Farthy Chap (poem)
Political dialog
Sunshine Fields of Love and dialog
Seven Come
Popsicle Sticks and Lily Pads
Beelzebub's Laughter
She's a Flying Thing (another try)
On the Natural
Kingswood Manor
Bathtub LSD
Morning Star
Above Laughter
Mexico City Hangover
Baby the Rain Don't Fall (incomplete)

27 tracks.  Total recording time: 86 minutes
This is a very good session, requiring two complete tapes.  It was done about a month before he recorded My Griffin is Gone.  He had a choice of 12 of 16 songs to record on the album.  Too bad Top of the World didn't make it!  She's a Flying Thing, by Jackson Browne, is also good, but Hoyt couldn't complete it (he did in another session, however).  There are some very good versions of songs later recorded as well.


dialog with Hoyt about his upcoming free concert at USC in November '68
Snowblind Friend
Shortnin' Bread
On the Natural
Angel Cake and Wine
Life's Evening Sun

8 tracks.  Total recording time: 26 minutes
This tape was recorded soon after Hoyt recorded My Griffin is Gone.  He talks about the upcoming release, probably in January, 1969.  There are a couple of minor recording problems on Epistle and Snowblind Friend, but otherwise they are both very good.  Shortnin' Bread and Life's Evening Sun are excellent.   Hoyt does a great job on a short version of Angel Cake and Wine, a cappella.


She's a Flying Thing
Dialog about drugs and smoking
Country Anthem
Dialog about Country Anthem and Odetta
Lady with a Rose
Air Mail
The House Song
Morning Star plus the story of Eric
Some Other Time
More about Ivan Ulz
Popsicle Sticks and Lily Pads plus goodbye dialog

12 tracks.  Total recording time: 43 minutes
Hoyt finally got through She's a Flying Thing, a good song by Jackson Browne.  This tape was recorded soon after My Griffin is Gone was released and Hoyt was performing a lot at The Golden Bear and The Troubadour.


More progress.  I've now determined that the show previously listed as 050069 (in Skip's Living Room) was actually a second tape to the show below.  So I've corrected the entry for 2/11/03 and I'll include it below.  There are a total of twelve, not thirteen, sessions:

072769  Quiet Hoyt

Quit Telling Lies
Sometimes in the Morning
Down and Out
You've Had Your Day
Satisfied Mind
Gospel of the Highway (funny monologue)
Farther Along
Dialog about religion
Jelly Coal Man
Hoyt playing dulcimer
Searching for a Soul
Country Anthem
When I Get to Heaven
Mexico City Hangover
The Griffin Song
Rain Don't Fall on Me
Up a Spiral Rainbow
Shortnin' Bread
Dialog about Bob Lind, Hoyt's Bessie Smith album, and Exodus Records
Blue Spirit Blues (Skip plays a cut from the album Hoyt Axton Sings Bessie Smith)
Hoyt sings some childrens songs
Green Green
My Carolina Sunshine Girl
Brisk Young Farmer (later known as Thomas Hall)
Dialog about Odetta and John Hartford plus I Shall Be Released

25 tracks.  Total recording time: 79 minutes
This session was on two tapes.  The quality of the first tape is very good, and the second tape is excellent.  There are some excellent songs on the two tapes.  Blue Spirit Blues is not live - it's just played from the record.  The children's songs are great, but a bit of the beginning recording is messed up as Skip is apparently switching some recording controls after changing tapes.  Green Green and Brisk Young Farmer are excellent.  Good dialog between Hoyt and Skip, and Hoyt is obviously in a good mood.  Shortnin' Bread is a classic!!!  Everyone will enjoy this session.


043070  Drunk Hoyt

Dialog with Skip
Nothing to Lose
Hoyt talks about politics and war
Alice in Wonderland
About Arlo Guthrie's new baby Abraham, Jack Elliot, and Doug Dillard
Short song dedicated to Cindy Shubin's cat Cloudy
About Hamilton Camp
Hoyt talks about joining the Navy
Country Anthem
Snowblind Friend
About John Cassavettes
God Can Show Me How
Farther Along
About Grandfather Boren
The Okie Philosopher about Regis Philbin, war, politics, religion, and Billy Graham (15 minutes)

15 tracks.  Total recording time: 79 minutes
This session is almost all dialog, but it is probably the best session in this entire collection for listening to Hoyt talk about himself, people, and his experiences.  Some of it is very funny and most all of it is very interesting.  He only sings a few songs, but most of them are very good as well.  Hoyt is obviously in a good mood, and he alternates between funny and serious.  This is a tape any Skip Weshner and Hoyt Axton fan will enjoy.


Country Anthem
God Can Show Me How
Seven Come
Blow Down the Moon
Searching for a Soul
Nothing to Lose (part only) and Hoyt chatting about a lost bird

7 tracks.  Total recording time: 23 minutes
This short session must have been at Skip's house, but Skip never talked.  It's only Hoyt singing and talking possibly to Skip's wife in the background.


Never Been to Spain
Ease Your Pain (first cut)
Ease Your Pain (second cut)
Ease Your Pain (third cut)
Alice in Wonderland
Chat with Arnie Moore of the Hollywood Living Room Band about upcoming concert
Big Mac
Chat with Skip about hamburger meat and the Shubins
Mexico City Hangover
Chat about Artie Fatbuckle concert

10 tracks.  Total recording time: 27 minutes
Hoyt wanted to record Never Been to Spain for the first time (prior to release on Hoyt's Joy to the World album), so he and bass player Arnie Moore headed for Skip's house for the recording after midnight in early September, 1970.  But Arnie forgot his bass, so he had to "sing" the bass part - very funny!  They also recorded Ease Your Pain and Alice in Wonderland - both with excellent quality.  There's good dialog on this tape as well, along with Hoyt's famous Big Mac song.

000070  13th Anniversary Show

The Great Mandella
Dialog about Hoyt's TV appearance in the Iron Horse - his knife fight
Lady with a Rose
Roses and Moonlight
The House Song
Dialog about poems
Bombed in Bombay
Morning Star
Dialog about missing lyrics sheets in new album
Country Anthem
I Ride an Old Paint
Dialog about Epistle
Rain Don't Fall on Me
Goin' Down to Frisco

15 tracks.  Total recording time: 46 minutes
This is Skip's 13th Anniversary show recorded some time in 1970.  There is some good stuff in this session, especially songs Hoyt didn't sing in many other sessions like The Great Mandella, The House Song, and Goin' Down to Frisco.


000070  Party with Hoyt, Gordon Lightfoot, and Doug Dillard

Midnight on the Open Sea - Gordon Lightfoot
Love is Everywhere (part only) - Gordon Lightfoot
Dialog about copyrights - Gordon concerned about singing uncopyrighted songs
Midnight and Maryann - Gordon Lightfoot
From the Bar Room to the Bedpost - Gordon Lightfoot
Take It or Leave It (part only) - Gordon Lightfoot
Pleasures of the Night - Gordon Lightfoot
Left My Gal in the Mountains - Hoyt
Gonna Get My Act Together - Hoyt
Goofing around with Doug Dillard
Farther Along - Hoyt with Doug Dillard
Gonna Get My Act Together - Hoyt with Doug Dillard
Doug Dillard playing banjo - lots of background talking
The Auctioneer - Gordon Lightfoot
Two instrumentals with Doug and Hoyt
Instrumental and fade out

16 tracks.  Total recording time: 46 minutes
From the list above, one would think this tape should be the greatest ever.  But it is very disappointing because of a number of factors:  first, most of the performers had way too much Jim Beam and Jack Daniels.  Second, much of the tape was overloaded and there is significant distortion on most of the tracks.  Third, there was very little interaction between Hoyt and Gordon - their styles are completely different - Gordon is rather serious, at one point getting a bit upset at his musicians because of a bit too much goofing around.  Contrast to Hoyt, especially when a bit tipsy, who couldn't care the least about getting serious about anything.  Hoyt only finished a couple of his songs, and he didn't put much into them.  There are tiny pieces of musical genious of Doug Dillard on the banjo, but much of it was distorted.  The two instrumentals with Hoyt could have been good, but the lack of effort and the tape distortion ruined them.  Also, a lot of the tape has too much laughing and noise in the background - a long ways from any "studio quality".
   Two good songs are salvagable from this tape, both by Gordon Lightfoot.  He got completely though Pleasures of the Night and The Auctioneer, and did a very good job on both of them.  There was a bit of distortion on them, but they still sound pretty good.  Still, I couldn't recommend this tape to anyone except a die hard Gordon Lightfoot fan who wants to hear a bit of Hoyt Axton having a good time.

OK, the tapes are completely edited.  I've got many megabytes of .wav files to do something with.


I'm working on how to package this project.  I've just ordered a bunch of nice CD boxes from a wholesaler in Nevada.  I should have something very professional posted on the website in the next few days.


Here's what I've got to offer - lots of choices for some great music!
Click here if you want to look.

You can email me at: ray@hoytsmusic.com

Ray Kawal