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Oh, it's a scene man. The Goble Tavern in Goble, Oregon, 50 miles east of Astoria on the Columbia River Highway...built in 1928 when Goble served as a ferry crossing, teemed with 5000 people, including hookers, sharpers, woodsmen, fishermen, cops, sinners, saints. The Goble Tavern: an unassuming, out-of-the-way, quaint, red cabin with Rainier on tap, near the once mighty undammed river, and a must stop to and from Portland on Highway 30. It's also definitely worth a dark, rainy drive some weekend to drink beer and rock out, two primal American pastimes in combination that combust to form a Western custom definitely worth dropping a bunker busting bomb on those who support a murderous, fascist cabal dedicated to ending it. Yes, it's a scene. There's a black cat lounging on a couch, a pool table, a beer garden, odd posters, bizarre memorabilia, buxom drink promos, an annual bacchanal called the Goble Warming, a superb bartender who knows his Oregon rock trivia, a clipping file on the town's rich past, and all the stuff needed to make great Rock and Roll: a drum kit, amps, speakers, guitars, etc. Apparently, the Goble Tavern is a refuge of sorts where many former exiled Portland rockers now living in the vicinity gather on a regular basis. They drink, they rock, they hold on, and they pledge loud corporeal allegiance to Mick Jaggar's defining principle: "It's only Rock and Roll but I like it." There are frequent jams sessions, often in the afternoon on weekdays. The house band is the Blind Rootin' Hogs, one of whose members told me that if someone complains about his amp's Who-esque noise level, he responds, "Fuck em', I turn it up!" Sandy Soil and the Cultivators also play regular gigs. So do the River Ratz, the reincarnation of the Batz, a battered rock trio once hailing from the formerly great city of Portland that possesses the distinction of covering the obscure and great Rolling Stones' song, "Too Tough," off Undercover, which prompted this writer to lose his mind on several felonious occasions. Never convicted though. In fact, as the bartender informed me, the lead singer/bass player of the Batz/Ratz, a Mountain Man rocker named Mike, just so happened to run an antique store next door to the Goble Tavern. As my food order was being prepared, I sauntered over to the store and struck up a conversation with Mike. Yeah, he remembered me and my tribal screams for "Too Tough." He gave me a Batz CD, and then I asked him the one question I ask every Pacific Northwest citizen about his age because I'm writing a book on the subject: were you at Vortex, the legendary free, state-sponsored, 1970 rock and counterculture festival staged near Estacada? Yeah, he was there man. Played in a band called Mother Smucker's Jam. It was wild. He was 21 years old living in a chicken shack near Estacada, with two horny chicks, one of whom Don Henley banged in a van that summer near the Meier and Frank building in downtown Portland. Vortex was his first gig! Fuckin' A it was! He could get me a poster! The Goble Tavern, where history flows like my too-full Rainier draft poured by the bartender. This is a great, great place.
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