Speaking of Fred Sachs

A website about the life and works of Frederick Sachs

Music with Fred Sachs in the Early Days

Starting in high school and then flowering in college, Fred’s involvement with folk music was a major part of his life. 

I can remember my father taking him to task because he worried that Fred would be “a half-assed banjo player and a half-assed scientist”. (There was concern that if his grades fell, the scholarship money would be lost.)

These are about the only bits of Fred’s early musical life that are still around, but music with friends was a big part of life right till the end.

Here are two segments of his musical life: a concert at Williams College and another at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles.

Music At Williams College

This is from a concert that Fred and his jug band from Rochester, the Monroe County Digital Pyrotechnicians — Fred Sachs, Dave Bernstein, Jerry Spector, and Steve Price, along with Pril Smiley, from Bennington College, gave at Williams college in the Spring of 1962. One song is Fred and Pril singing Abilene, which I think Fred got from a record by Erik Darling; also, the duo was put on the program on very short notice, and it was the only song that Fred and Pril both knew the words to (most of them, anyway). The other song, Amelia Earhart, was often done by the Greenbrier Boys.


Amelia Earhart

The Jug Band at the Ash Grove

This is from a tape that someone made of the jug band at the Ash Grove in LA in the early 60s. We don’t know the name of the group, nor the name of any of the musicians, other than Fred and Pamela Polland, the singer, who went on to have a full music career.

Fred had a copy and not long ago a Buffalo music buddy digitized the music.

The photo of the band was sent by Pamela Polland. Click the photo to see it larger.

Sister Kate

Band Introductions


Wildroot Cream Oil

The Answers Game

Rag Mama

Statistics and Superstitions

Endless Sleep

Paul and Football

Going Down to the Station

Bill Bailey

Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor