Recently I was given a copy of the official program of the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. I worked the event for John Sinclair’s Rainbow People’s Party.

As I was leafing through the program, something jumped out at me immediately: a hand-drawn map of Ann Arbor. Drawn by Chris Frayne, the late artist best known for the album covers he created for his brother George (aka Commander Cody), it brought back a flood of memories. Looking up my old haunts, I was interested to see how much Ann Arbor (and the folks that inhabit it) has changed–and how much it stays the same.

Mr. Flood’s Party: There is a reason that there are people drawn on the map standing in line for this bar on W. Liberty, because that is usually the way it was. Especially on the weekends, you had to wait, sometimes a half hour or so, to get inside. The wait wasn’t bad, though, since the musicians played right by the door–in the front window of what is now the West End Grill. Inside was a bar filled with antiques and backed by a huge aquarium, picnic table seating, and, best of all, free peanuts in shells, which we threw on the floor. The music was loud and good–usually the blues. Anyone who was hip in those days could be seen at MFP.

The Del Rio: This was the ultimate Bohemian bar in Ann Arbor, home to what one longtime inhabitant called a core of “scruffy regulars.” There was nothing pretentious about the Del, which stood at the corner of Washington and Ashley. It would stay the same for three decades: a huge collection of eclectic music in the format of cassettes on the wall, cash only right to the end, and a cheap but tasty menu that included the famous “Detburger”–steamed in beer and topped with olives. The Del’s Sunday-night jazz was free but always hard to get into. There was also a “Feed the Poets” reading series that I participated in a couple of times. It, too, was a hip place to be. Now it is the Den, a Grizzly Peak annex. The other part of the Grizzly is where the Old German Restaurant once was–and a version of the Old German now has been resurrected in the Den’s basement.

DeLong’s BBQ: At one time this funky little shack housed the best BBQ ribs in town. It was a carryout joint, but you could always catch people hanging around inside. Cruising through the Farmers Market area, you were lured in by the smoky flavor of ribs cooking. After a couple of changes, the building is now Teriyaki Time.

The Star Lounge: This is the music bar that later would turn into Joe’s Star Lounge. There was always a politically charged atmosphere in the place, and you could hear the best progressive new music and blues music around. (Owner Joe Tiboni still hosts the “Big City Blues Cruise” on WEMU radio.) The building burned down, and One North Main now sits in its place.

Two places that aren’t shown on the map but are worth mentioning are the Cracked Crab–the best seafood joint in town at the time, its spot is now Cafe Zola–and the Round Table lunchroom. Owner Evelyn York lived upstairs, and a meal there was like eating in someone’s dining room (it’s now Pacific Rim).

Other places on the map are still around and just about as funky as they were in 1973, among them the Fleetwood Diner, the Blind Pig, and the Old Town. Which goes to show that as much as things change and people and ideas come and go, the hippie era is neither totally gone nor forgotten in Ann Arbor.

As John Sinclair said in the same 1973 program, “We need to understand our history … to know where we came from and why it went down that way–so we can see where we’re going, and perhaps perceive the best way to get there.”