A Grand Junction musician and recording studio operator is making available to the public a live album recorded back in 1972 at a long gone Western Colorado venue.

Do you recall the Country Supermen? For that matter, do you remember Grand Junction's old Cafe Caravan? Back in the 1970's one could go to the Jungle Bar at the Cafe Caravan to catch live music with some pretty big headliners and a ton of regional acts.

Cafe Caravan
Robert Grant

Fast forward almost 50 years, and bassist/guitarist/vocalist and studio operator Mark Shortess has made available a live album recorded the Caravan on New Year's Eve, 1972.

What was the motivation behind the live album? Mark Shortess says, "I made it mainly for the guys in the band." The "guys in the band," a.k.a. the Country Supermen, include:

  • Brian Branstetter - Bass
  • Darrel McKay - Drums
  • Gary Roberts - Lead Guitar
  • Mark Shortess - Rhythm Guitar
  • Hugh Plumleigh - Keyboard

The album features special guest Lonnie Bray. Via Facebook, Mark Shortess commented:

The Country Supermen broke up right after this gig, it's a rough recording but still fun to listen to, especially the Lonnie Bray disc,. Lonnie passed away in 2017. He was a wild one. We were just out of high school when we backed up Lonnie. Our Lead player, Gary Roberts, passed about 8 years ago.

I spoke with Mark Shortess earlier today and asked if the album would be commercially available. While the album is "not available in stores," to use a worn-out cliche, it is available to those interested. According to Shortess, "If somebody wanted a copy I'd make one for them. The Lonnie tape is cool, what I like is the crowd sounds, they are whoopin' and clappin' during the whole thing."

This is a magnificent piece of Grand Junction history. If you weren't around the valley in the 1970s, you missed it. Back then, even through the 80s and into the mid-1990s, Grand Junction bars would run bands five nights a week from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Seriously, you could listen to live music any night.

Special thanks to Mark Shortess for putting this together. A person would have to be crazy not to give this album a listen. Every name in the credits is a Grand Junction icon. Okay, so I was two-years-old in 1972. Even at that, I remember the Cafe Caravan very well. Ralph N' Clyde, the Country Supermen, Doug Lenard, just to name a few. Make every effort to get your hands on a copy of this awesome project.

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