The Bluesette/Blues Back Alley, owned by Art and Sharon Peyton, was a non-alcoholic night club in central Baltimore City at 2439 North Charles Street, near 25th St., Charles Village. It was in operation from 1965 to early 70's. During those years it was THE place to hear live bands. The Bluesette was more than just a music club. It was a significant part of the youth culture at that time. It was also a magnet for musicians and fans who appreciated rock, blues and jazz music.
There was rock music on Friday and Saturday from 8 PM -12 AM. After the teenagers left the rock music club they reopened with an after hours jazz club/jam session called the Blues Back Alley from 2 -5 AM. These customers, mostly adults, entered quietly through the back door so as not to disturb the residential neighbors.
The house trio was composed of Ted Hawk, drummer, Jimmy Wells, keyboard, and Donald Bailey, acoustic bass— three of Baltimore's best jazz musicians. Sunday evenings were more acoustic blues and folk music. The Bluesette was also the site of screenings of some of John Waters' earliest films.
Thousands of young people were a part of the Bluesette scene during the years it was open. Some of the well known local groups that played at the club included Ames Oakes, Aubrey Circle, Aux, Bobby J & Generation, Calhoun, Chambermen, Chaparales, Chasers, Children, Chosen Few, Crank, Eliza Jane, Froggy & Gremlin, Graham Chambers System, Grin, Howdy Duty, Intruders, Joshua, Lotus Band, Marauders, Maypole, Meat, Momma Max, Moss, Nunsuch, Psychedelic Propeller, Rize, Roadrunners, Runarounds, Savages, Stonebridge, Take Five, Uncertain Things, Urch Perch and Yellow Pages.
Some Bluesette musicians went on to bigger and better things. One of those successful Bluesette alums, Nils Lofgren, recently remembered the Club fondly: "The Bluesette was a fabulous, funky gigging chapter in the history of Grin. We always loved playing there. The audiences, owners and staff were always so kind to us. It was a place that welcomed our original music and experimentation. I'll always have wonderful memories of Grin's time there. Thanks Bluesette, you were the best."
You can connect with Sharon Peyton and other folks associated with the Bluesette through their Facebook page.
You can view recordings of the webcast of the 2010 Bluesette Reunion, and read a transcript of the chat conducted during the live webcast, here.