Frank’s Last Review and Introducing Mike Marino

Received this lovely note and a review Frank had written but didn’t have time to get to me. Life…finds a way.

Hi Bob, I just learned that Frank Gutch Jr passed away and am so saddened by it. He recently did a review for our daughters’ latest album (released May 1), and I sent him an email this past week to see when he would be posting the review…now I know why he never responded. Fortunately, he had sent the review to us for our Kansas Bluegrass Association newsletter. Is there any way we could share this with you on your/his blog? He seemed to really enjoy the girls’ music and this was his third album review that he’d done for the girls. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks so much, Bob. We really appreciate you sharing this. So sorry for your loss. – Debbie Vogts

…and when you are finished with Frank’s review…keep scrolling, and meet Mike Marino.

The Vogts Sisters— Broken Ties

By Frank Gutch, Jr. – April 12, 2018

We need more Vogts Sisters in this chaotic mess of a world. We need to step back and breathe and concentrate on the good and not the evil. We need to acknowledge beauty without argument, accept the good in life. Maybe what we need is less city and more mountain in our lives. One thing for sure— we need more mountain music in our lives.

What if I told you that some of the best mountain music you’ll hear this year is coming from Kansas? I’ve driven through Kansas. Didn’t see anything close to a mountain. I suppose the music of The Vogts Sisters is not technically mountain music, though there is something about it that makes me think West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. No twang to it, but just the same…

I don’t know if these girls could twang if they tried. Maybe. What I do know is that their voices bring to mind the likes of the female side of The Carter Family, a female duo reminiscent of the male sound of The Blue Sky Boys and a sense of modern folk to balance them.

Welcome to the world of vocal bluegrass. At least, that’s what I call it. I’ve been around so long that I remember the days of the Blue Sky Boys and the Louvin Brothers and the Carter Family. I remember sitting in front of the radio console listening to the wondrous music of the Grand Ole Opry and enjoying the sounds of country but loving the harmonies of the backwoods. The purity of sound, even when sung a bit off-key. The high lonesome wail, wistful and coyote-like, which were highlights for me.

Broken Ties takes me back to those days. No electric. No power. No gimmicks. Just music presented without accouterment. Voices and instruments. What today might be termed “unplugged” but is more honest than anything.

I would say that the voices make all the difference, but it is more than the voices. It is the light touch on the instruments, the phrasing, the lyrics and, to my mind, the songwriting. My father would have called this “pretty” but what he would have meant is “beautiful”.

My father and I, before he died, used to sit in the living room and listen to music together, him laying on his lounge chair, me with my legs stretched out and my head on the back of the couch. He seldom had requests but when he did it was always for the albums full of harmonies— George Jones & Tammy Wynette, The Blue Sky Boys, Seldom Scene, Jimmy Martin. He would close his eyes and listen quietly, moving only slightly, At times I would have thought him asleep but for the slight movement of his mouth as he breathed the lyrics. He would have requested Broken Ties, I am certain. And he would have loved every moment of it.

Where you can purchase the album:
The Vogts Sisters website:


Contact us at

dbawis-button7Frank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at Frank bottle capone time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”

Who, you ask, is Michael Marino, and what is he doing here?
Mike MarinoI met Frank in 1968 after I returned from Asia in the Army. Frank and I were then stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington. We both were working for the underground anti war movement in the Army. I was writing for the Ally newspaper (the GI anti war newspaper). After we were released from the khaki confines we’d meet once a year and taken trips to California and Colorado together drinking and of course CHeech and Chonging ..we wrote together, parody pieces for jokes…insulted each other as only good friends can do and get away with and critiqued each others writings…he worked with the record companies while I worked in rock and roll radio, morning shows in Detroit, Canada and San Francisco for 30 years….also as a working journalist and managing editor of a newspaper chain in the PAC NW….many a night drunk in his trailer in Oregon…here’s to you buddy…
…and Mike Marino becomes our parting gift from Frank….
Robert, Good talking to you last night. Sounds interesting to me. The plan that is. First off, the end of the month im crunch time for me. I write for over a dozen magazines as a columnist. These are the consumer and B2B’s that pay good money along with my book sales (plus just finished the last in a series of 5 e-books that my agent/editor Cheryl is getting ready to launch with my publisher (5 different genres). Freelance writing has paid the bills for dozen years now. Marijuana pubs, classic cars, travel, pop culture, Eco mags including the newsletter for the University of Minnesota, a sports mag affiliated with CBS radio, leftist politics including the Industrial Workers of the World International newspaper, New Leftist Review, Strike and Red Banner from the UK and for the American Indian Movement. That being said I will be happy to supply you with pieces, but need to get a handle on if I’m a good match. Some is deranged looks at politics, religion and sex others autobiographical of the army days (drug smuggling in Asia) pieces on Jane Fonda and I, the Moratorium March, Poor People;s March and my various arrests for protest and bucking the military system. Put another way…Frank and I lefties to the core…but by the 80’s Frank was voting Democrat…I voted for Gus Hall and Angela Davis (whom I also spent the day with during the Communist Party Convention covering it for an independent news service. So will send along a verbose bio for perusal and some articles on a regular assembly line for you to pick and choose from. Send me your email address at and we can go from there…. Thanks again, PS: Mom was French Canadian and my Dad a WOP… – Mike
Well…let’s see if he’s a match….
The Almost Perfect Leonard Cohen By Mike Marino
Contrary to listener belief, there was more to radio than music. Granted, radio was a vinyl whorehouse, a rock and roll bordello where you entered the realm of pimps and prostitutes in the guise of DJ’s and records. You can’t tell me that the open hole on a 45 rpm isn’t the equivalent of a vinyl vagina with that small spindle disc acting as a condom before it mounts the spindle and slides ever so sexily to the turntable to be rotated and spun as the needle penetrates her waiting groove. Both move in tandem until finally orgasm is achieved in an explosion of sound. Radio was also a garden of interviews with the famous, infamous and not so famous or infamous. In my radio career I conducted over 100 interviews that ran the radio gamut from Leonard Cohen, Aerosmith, Tim Buckley, J. Geils Band, Harrison Ford and Jimmie Carter to Danny Bonaduce, Red Green, Mystery Science Theater, Melanie, Alex Trebeck, Roller Derby Girls, mob boss godfather turned grandfather Bill Bonnano to a crazed chimpanzee that was a last minute Bay Area fill in for a no show Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.
Quite honestly the Chimp was more exciting than Jerry Mathers. I have all these taped and in my possession and when I need a reality check and humility fix..I put them on and enjoy the flubs, bloopers and operator error fuck ups. Leonard Cohen was my favorite.
I was nervous to begin with. The Great Cohen, like the Great and Powerful OZ. While we were waiting to go on the air in San Francisco with mic’s off, the station was running the last of the commercials and my station jock id came on…”The Semi-Fabulous Mike Marino” that my morning partner did as a joke. Not FABULOUS mind you, only SEMI-FABULOUS. Cohen started laughing which I did too as I hadn’t heard it before and lets face it, Lenny likes words and their creative uses. I began the conversation with a foot in mouth moment speaking of the Sixties and the music. I said “You know we never did put your albums on at parties” …why I blurted that out is beyond me but Lenny laughed and said..”I wouldn’t have either so we were probably at the same parties. Eventually the interview ended and I closed the segment with Lenny’s “Closing Time” which had been just released. He sent me one of this books he had just written and inscribed the flyleaf with these immortal words….”To the Semi-Fabulous Mike Marino, from the Almost Perfect, Lenny Cohen” It was zero to zen in under 10 seconds. Actually when we first met it was “Mr. Cohen this, Mr. Cohen that…” when he paused for silence and said….”Call me Lenny” Whatever I call Leonard Cohen….icon, sage, wit, he is above all….almost perfect!
Mike Marino has made his “roadhead” bones and enjoy’s nothing better than a greasy, unfolded map on the seat of the car…a bag of beef jerky and smoked fish and a cream soda to wash it all down as the highway and the steel belts play a meloldy of asphalt. Originally a product of the Motor City, Mike has lived in on the streets and on the beach in Hawaii, as well as in Haight Ashbury and the North Beach neighborhoods in San Francisco. Mike is also founder of the Experimental Theater Workshop, The Spare Change Artists Project, adn the Dung Zen Sustainable Living Project. He is primarily though a freelance magazine writer of pop culture, car culture, travel and history for numerous publications and he enjoys Hawaiian shirts, classic cars, Ed Wood Movies, fuzzy dice and hula dashboard ornaments as well as a good Hemmingway cigar, Corona beer, hiking and backpacking and rummaging through flea markets and auto junkyards.

2 Responses to “Frank’s Last Review and Introducing Mike Marino”

  1. Doug Thompson Says:

    Sounds like Mr. Mike is a winner Bob.

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