RIFFS 2017
Vaughn Marlowe Interview at LBC
The Royal Court
Published December 31, 2017
Marlowe Swings On Out
Vaughn Marlowe [1929 - 2017]

You cats and kitties that have made a study of all the back alleys of LBC probably know the name Vaughn Marlowe. He is represented both in The Royal Court and the Interviews sections. Those of you who have not had the pleasure of learning about this intriguing cat will now, sadly, have to hear it all second hand. For the mighty Vaughn Marlowe has thrown the flag down on his mailbox and there is no forwarding address (at least that we know of.)

Vaughn was newly arrived in Palo Alto, California in February 1960. He was on the Left Coast to attend Stanford University. One day an advertisment in the local newspaper caught his peepers and it was the start of a brief but vivid friendship with The Lord of Flip Manor. The ad was promoting one of Lord Buckley's appearances at a local coffee house called “The Inside At the Outside”. Marlowe had a couple of His Lordship's vinyl efforts and was keen to lean on the beam to hear the great cat himself. Buckley took a liking to the young but throughly hip lad and they had some every interesting times together. They discussed Buckley's routines and shared some of the strange green vine and Vaughn on occasion performed royal duties as His Lordship's temporary chauffeur.

Marlowe consented to a few interviews with LBC curator Michael Monteleone and Buckley archivist Walt Stemepk over the years and one of them can be read in the The Word section of LBC (see link to the left). The interviews were lively and insightful and were some of the first done for the website.

Prince Vaughn left the sphere on December 23, 2017. He was, like the ivories on a grand piano, eight-eight. Dig an excerpt from the interviews below.


I moved from Michigan to Palo Alto, California, in February of 1960. The morning after in fact I got into town, I was reading the Palo Alto Times or whatever it was and I noticed an ad in the entertainment section that Lord Buckley was appearing at a nearby nightclub, I thought it was a nightclub. And I said "This is great! I get to go see this guy." And I asked my friend, who's apartment I was crashing at, "Where's this joint at?" and he said "I think it's downtown." So, he had to work that night or do something else and I went down there and walked into this coffee house. And Lord Buckley was apparently going to be appearing there that night and I sat down and waited. The menu, all it had on it was tea and coffee and, you know, the inevitable cheese plate, and I thought, "God, what kind of a respectable beatnik place is this? There was no place to buy a drink or no booze or anything." And I asked the Maitre d', or not the Maitre d', the waiter or the manager if Lord Buckley was in the house. And he said "No, but he should be here pretty soon." and I said "Well, tell him that a visitor from the east is here bringing glad tidings." and he said "OK." I sat there a little while longer, smoked a couple of cigarettes, and a guy comes out, a white guy, bald headed guy in a tuxedo [laughs] and says "Hello, I'm Dick Buckley." And I introduced myself.

What was your first impression? Did you still think he was a black person at this point?

Well, yeah until he walked up to my table and I saw he was whiter than I was.

Do you remember your feeling when you saw him?

Surprise. I was surprised that this white man was Lord Buckley, because Al McCreary, my roommate, was black, and he thought Lord Buckley was black. And another friend of mine who loved the record a great deal, a member of the fan club [a half dozen Buckley lovers in Michigan], who was also black, he assumed that Lord Buckley was a Negro. And I was really startled to see that he was a white guy but then he went on and he did his act and I had no doubts that he was the same cat who had made the record.