Washboard Hank & Reverend Ken
Old Church Theatre
940 Bonisteel Rd, Trenton, ON K8V 5P8, Canada
Almost 40 years ago, Hank Fisher and Ken Ramsden, two pathologically creative Peterborough residents, produced a remarkable musical coupling from which staid North American music lovers who saw them are still reeling. The result was performance art which incorporated everything from classical music to bluegrass gospel street preaching, in a spontaneous, antic conflagration best viewed through welder’s goggles. Their interactions generated a kind of whimsically-comic, high colonic, and anyone who saw these shows was forever changed...
Peterborough locals, as well as Trent & Fleming alumni from the 1980's, may remember the weekly Wednesday night 'Red Dog Howls' at the Legendary Red Dog Tavern which featured Washboard Hank, the Reverend Ken and' The Lost Followers' Band from the Church of the Open Bottle. If you attended the Red Dog Howl you saw...appliance healings....student essay and exam blessings... Oktoberfests on roller skates....and even “Male Bum Cleavage Contests.”
Hank and Ken toured all over North America, in true Rabelaisian fashion, by whatever means were available, putting on 'Gospel Gumbo' street shows from Vancouver to Calgary to Edmonton....from Nashville to Memphis... and from Oregon to San Francisco. Their stage names sometimes varied depending on the proximity of various law enforcement agents, high grade medicinal spirits and quality pharmaceuticals, and thus, among other less complementary terms, they were also known as “The Duke of Washboardom” and “The Parson of Panhandledom.” In many ways, they were to the folk idiom what Gonzo was to traditional reporting.
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