The Cotati Historical Society is having an open house on November the 4th at the Cotati Room at city hall. How does that pertain to the Cotati Accordion Festival? They are featuring Sourdough Slim and Robert Armstrong!
Slim is not an accordionist in the realm of Cory Pesaturo, Paul Betken, or Mahtias Matzke, but he is an example of how an accordion can be integrated into so many different genres. In fact, Slim is almost a genre unto himself with his Western style and W.C. Fields like stage act.
While I qualify Slim’s accordion talents, I should mention that he has played his accordion in Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center.
Plus, Slim, and his partner Robert Armstrong, have one of the most unique lists of achievements of any of the regular Cotati Accordion Festival performers.
Slim was the Academy of Western Artists 2001 Will Rogers award recipient as the Yodler of the Year. Around that period his yodeling was in such demand that he was asked to perform at Gene Autry’s 88th birthday party. Gene is probably the most influential yodeler of all time.
Slim and Robert have a history that goes back to the 8th Street String Band, and one of the groups that I marvel at, the R Crumb Cheap Suit Serenaders.
However, what really leaps off the page is Robert Armstrong’s involvement with the famous movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Robert Armstrong’s singing saw can be heard at the opening and the ending of the movie. That makes Robert’s “saw” probably the most listened to “saw” in history.
Yet, for Robert that was just a blip in his resume of comic book production, books written, graphic illustrations for albums, teaching, and of course, playing his beloved saw.
When you watch Slim and Robert perform you are watching history with a current cultural hilarity added as they go.