Angeleno Heights resident Ed Pearl opened The Ash Grove in 1958 in a furniture shop on Melrose Avenue.
It quickly became a focal point for music, poetry and progressive politics in Los Angeles.
In the media spotlight of Los Angles, the club helped bring folk and blues into the musical mainstream and seed their influence on rock and roll.
Muddy Waters, Lenny Bruce, Lightning Hopkins, Joan Baez, Odetta and Ravi Shankar were among those who played there.
The Ash Grove's influence is currently being celebrated in a special interactive display at "Trouble in Paradise - Music in L.A., 1945-1975" exhibit at the Grammy Museum.
On April 5, Pearl will also produce "An Evening at the Ash Grove" at the Grammy Musem, featuring blues and poetry by prominent artists of the post-WW II era, including jazz singer Barbara Morrison, poet Wanda Coleman and blues player Bernie Pearl.
We headed down to the exhibit one Saturday recently and snapped the accompanying photos with Ed and the display's designer Jeff Landau. We also caught Pearl outside his Angeleno Heights home.
Pearl also shared a bit about his Echo Park life with us by email:
I first moved to Echo Park in 1990, when I was evicted from my Venice home of 16 years, by a rich lady who turned three wonderful apartments into one, then adding a 2nd floor.
I'd moved there just after the original Ash Grove burnt down, in November, 1973. In Echo Park, I lived off E.P. Ave, north of Sunset. A friend lived up the block, and Echo Park offered a rare, kindred atmosphere.
I moved to the beach area for a couple of years prior to opening the Ash Grove on the SM Pier, in 1996, and then back to Echo Park in January, 2000, to the home where I now live. Pretty much the same community, diversity, intense local activity, though I was much more active in Venice.
Tickets for "An Evening at the Ash Grove" are available at the Grammy Museum box office or online.
The Grammy Museum is located at 800 W. Olympic Boulevard in Downtown Los Angeles.