Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wendy and Bonnie – "The Winter Is Cold" (1969)

Since you've been gone
The winter is cold, it's cold

Don't count on the weather being warmer just because this mysterious "you" person comes back.  I'm pretty sure winter's going to be too damn cold whether he or she comes back or not.

Wendy and Bonnie Flower were two sisters who grew up in Marin County, California – just north of San Francisco.  "The Winter Is Cold" was released in 1969 on the sisters' one and only album, Genesis.

The Flower sisters were working on a follow-up album in 1971 when Gary McFarland, a prominent jazz musician who produced Genesis and was part-owner of the record label that released it, was poisoned in a New York City bar.

Wendy and Bonnie's father, Arthur Flower, was a jazz drummer who spent years playing in the house band at Bimbo's 365 Club.

Bimbo's is one of the city's oldest nightclubs.  Everyone who is anyone has performed there: Sophie Tucker, Xavier Cugat and Charo, Louis Prima, Joey Bishop, Sid Caesar, Rodney Dangerfield, Totie Fields, Marvin Gaye, Neil Diamond, Glen Campbell, the Fifth Dimension, and Iggy Pop and the Stooges.  (According to the book, San Francisco: The Musical History Tour, Iggy jumped off the stage into the crowd one night wearing only bikini briefs, which a female audience member pulled off so she could "minister to Iggy's member.")

The Tubes, a 2 or 3 lines favorite, drew SRO crowds to Bimbo's for weeks in 1975.  Click here to read about the two Tubes shows I attended later that year at Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club.

Bimbo's is located on Columbus Avenue, which cuts diagonally through San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods.  

If you walk the length of Columbus, you'll see the Purple Onion club (where Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, the Smothers Brothers and others performed), the City Lights bookstore (founded by "beat" poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti), the magnificent Saints Peter and Paul Church (where Joe DiMaggio married his first wife), and the Condor Club, where Carol Doda pretty much invented topless dancing in 1964.  

Carol Doda was one of the first (if not the first) topless dancer to have silicone injections.  She reportedly had 44 silicone injections – a fitting number given that her bust size went from 34 to 44 as a result.  

The Condor Club's large lighted sign, which featured Carol Doda is all her topless glory, was a famous North Beach landmark when I lived in San Francisco in the early eighties.

(The sign had two red lights, which don't show up in the above photo.  Can you guess where they were located?)

I don't think I ever saw Carol Doda dance, but I have this promotional postcard I picked up there:

Wendy Flower released a new CD in 2013.  Click here to visit Wendy's website.

Bonnie Flower (who played guitar and sang harmony on Wendy's album) is working on an album of her own, and also produces painted glassware.  Click here to visit her website.

Here's one of Bonnie's vases:

Click here to listen to "The Winter Is Cold":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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