Lou Gottlieb passed away on Thursday, July 11, 1996. I didn't know Lou
except to remember him from the halcyon days at Wheeler's Ranch when he
showed up for the large gatherings. Lou was royalty, and I but a peon (a
naked one at that, hard to believe!) We owed our existence to Lou
Gottlieb, and Bill Wheeler, and all the others who had forged the free
land movement. I had come to California looking for the Diggers, and ended
up living as one, even though I didn't make the connection until later.
Connections is what it all seems to be about — and Lou was one of those
people who makes them happen, rather than sitting back and waiting until
they take place.
Ramon Sender is the archivist of the Free Land Movement. He wrote me a
note about Lou, and is the contact person for anyone who wants to make
further connection with his passing. Ramon organized the memorial
get-together that Lou's friends held. You can reach Ramon at
I would like to put up some pictures of Morningstar or Wheeler's or
copies of the Morningstar book. If anyone has any such items, the Digger
Archives would make a good home for them.
Here's the message from Ramon Sender:
Hi Eric: I'm sure you've heard by now that Lou Gottlieb passed away
Thursday. I've got a page about it that I thought perhaps you could post.
There'll be more stuff a-comin' also, if you can use it. I think Sonoma
State Univ is interested in creating an archive for Morning Star/WHeeler
Ranch stuff. I'm overwhelmed with photos that need to be scanned, and
other mindless work (I'm sure you understand completely!). I'll be hearing
soon if this is going to happen.
Here's the page on Lou:
Lou Gottlieb, bass player for the well-known folk singing trio, The
Limeliters, died after a short illness on Thursday July 11, at 11:42
A.M. at Palm Drive hospital in Sebastopol, California, at the age of 72.
Along with tenor Glenn Yarbrough and bass Alex Hassilev, Lou toured the
States entertaining 'folk' enthusiasts with such hits as "Have Some
Madeira, My Dear," "Gari-Gari," and "There's A Meetin'
Here Tonight." He also played in the 1968 movie "I Love You
Alice B. Toklas" with Peter Sellers. He grew up in La Crescenta,
completed his B.A. at UCLA, then sang with "The Gateway
Singers," whom he left to take a Ph.D. in music at U.C. Berkeley in
In July, 1959, The Limeliters appeared as a trio for the first time at
the "hungry i" in San Francisco, with Lou as "the
comic-arranger- musicologist, Glenn the golden-voiced tenor and guitarist,
and Alex the instrumental virtuoso" (to quote from one of their song
collections, "Cheek In Our Tongue"). San Francisco music critic
John Wasserman said the Limeliters "attained a stature equalled
perhaps only by the Kingston Trio and the Weavers." The group's
biggest hit was "A Dollar Down" in 1961, but was well known for
its 15 records albums and its concerts during the 1960s. A near-fatal
plane crash in Colorado in December, 1962, and the strain of a life
constantly on the road caused Lou to retire from the trio.
After a brief stint reviewing concerts for the "San Francisco
Chronicle," he moved to Morning Star Ranch, his 30-acre ranch in
Sonoma County, in 1966. Folk singer Malvina Reynolds and her husband Bud
had alerted him to the property ("I also saw an ad in the KPFA
folio," he said). "I walked the place over and said, 'Where do I
sign?'") Many people will remember fondly "The Digger
Farm," as it came to be called, and the impact Lou had as the
"resident piano player," as he referred to himself.
Next of Kin are: his first wife Lee Hartz of El Cerrito, daughter
Judith Gottlieb Spector of Berkeley, and sons Tony Gottlieb of Nashville
and Bill Gottlieb of Manhattan, and four grandchildren. Donations can be
made "The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund," which offers help to
musicians in medical emergencies: 11301 West Olympic Blvd, Box 494, Los
Angeles, CA, 90064.
A memorial get-together is planned for July 28th, 10 A.M. at Morning
Star Ranch outside Occidental, California. Try to carpool from the
Occidental parking areas.
For more information:
Ramon Sender (archivist): 415 821 2090
(granddaughter): 707 795 1269
(roommate) 707 874 1778