|Table xxx. Garcia on Halloween, 1980-1994. Orange is GD, blue is GOTS.|
On October 31, 1981, the Jerry Garcia Band played two Halloween shows to open its 18-show-in-20-night "Return of Ron Tutt" tour. Since Garcia had actually been in London at the start of the month, it seems plausible that he might have given "Werewolves" a shot, but it was not to be.
Nevertheless, any start-of-tour is interesting to examine, and this one has some of the telltale signs, including a burst of adrenaline in the early show followed by a shorter and more uneven late show. I have not directly A-B'd his vocals here against vocals later in the tour (I have addressed myself to 11/10/81b Palladium, 11/13/81 Boston, 11/15/81 Provy, and 11/17/81 Chicago), but my unsurprised sense is that they sound better here at the front end than they do at the back end. Obvious enough, but anyway, always nice to see how they sound, take JGB #14b's temperature.
The Tutt angle is especially rich. In 1981-1982, as he descended deeper into a drug haze when not playing, Garcia nevertheless, rather ironically, started getting his business affairs in order. It seems that one early order of business was to square up with Ronnie Tutt, one of the three principals dba Jerry Garcia Band from the very beginning of the JGB and who for many years faced liens earned by Jerry and John well after Tutt's 1977 departure from the touring band. In later years, as his income grew, Garcia expanded this practice of engineering a payday or few for a collaborator he had done/allowed to be done wrong -- see Saunders, Merl and Grisman, David. Here, in late 1981, both Peter Rowan (who opened a number of shows on the tour) and Ronnie Tutt get to set the precedent. I don't hear anything that seems particularly emotionally resonant here - more typically, I hear Jerry and the band, perhaps particularly Tutt, getting themselves together a little bit.
Two more small pieces of preface. First, I grabbed this to put some context around 11/4/81, which I have revisited pursuant to Weiner (2014, pp. 67-76), and on which I hope someday to report. Second, in terms of tape archaeology, this is the only tape in circulation as of this writing (4/11/2015). I figure several masters must have sauntered into the Philly morning, but this is the only one to have come into the digital light. Thanks to John Levene and all involved in bringing these very nice tapes forward.
Anyway, a few bullets, in no particular order.
1. The tapes sound great.
2. The early show is very long (over 90 minutes), and is outstanding.
3. The late show is much shorter (just over an hour and a 10-minute encore, still not bad), but more importantly, it just doesn't light me up, finding Garcia having to pull the e-brake on as both "Valerie" and "I'll Take A Melody" fall apart. The one exception is "Russian Lullaby", which is stellar, a smoky sensorial mix of Django Reinhardt and Irving Berlin.
4. Jimmy Warren sounds absolutely fine. People have been way too hard on the guy.
5. "Valerie" is not quite together, but boy oh boy do I love this song.
5. Late 1981, JGB #14b, is a fascinating period. Garcia's voice is still present here at the start of the tour, but with just enough weary crackle to give songs like "Simple Twist Of Fate" and "I'll Take A Melody" the ballast they really need.
Listening Notes follow.
Jerry Garcia Band
19 S. 69th Street
Upper Darby, PA 19082
October 31, 1981 (Saturday)
--early show (8 tracks, 93:53)--
e-t01. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [9:15] [0:08] %% [1:08]
e-t02. Catfish John [11:29] [0:10] % [0:58]
e-t03. That's What Love Will Make You Do [10:48] [0:36] % [0:14]
e-t04. [0:21] Simple Twist Of Fate// [13:22#] %% [0:29]
e-t05. Knockin' On Heaven's Door [16:20] [0:10] % [0:18]
e-t06. (I'm A) Road Runner [9:01] [0:15] %
e-t07. [0:14] Deal [8:17] [-0:05] ->
e-t08. Tangled Up In Blue [+0:05] [10:08] (1) [0:06] %
--late show + encore (8 tracks, 73:57)--
--late show (7 tracks, 64:44)--
l-t01. //The Way You Do The Things You Do [#7:28] [0:08] % [0:08] %
l-t02. They Love Each Other [6:56] %% [0:15]
l-t03. [0:10] Valerie :11-7:04 [0:04] % [0:36]
l-t04. I'll Take A Melody [11:47] %% [0:21]
l-t05. Russian Lullaby [10:14] [0:04] %% [0:30]
l-t06. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [8:02] ->
l-t07. Dear Prudence [10:40] (2) [0:12] %% [0:16]
--encore (1 track, 9:12)--
l-t08. Sugaree [9:07] [0:05] %
! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band #14b
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-b;
! lineup: Jimmy Warren - electric keyboards;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - organ;
! lineup: Ron Tutt - drums;
! lineup: Julie Stafford - vocals;
! lineup: Liz Stires - vocals.
! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! JGC: http://jerrygarcia.com/show/1981-10-31-tower-theatre-upper-darby-pa/ (early), http://jerrygarcia.com/show/1981-10-31-tower-theatre-upper-darby-pa-2/ (late).
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/88958 (this fileset).
! map: https://goo.gl/maps/IBjq9
! venue: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2012/12/tower-theatre-19-s-69th-street-upper.html
! band: JGB #14b (http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html)
! seealso: 11/10/81b, Palladium, NYC (http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/03/ln-jg1981-11-10jgblateaud.html); 11/13/81, Orpheum, Boston (http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/03/ln-jg1981-11-13jgbearly-lateaud.html); 11/15/81, Provy (http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/03/ln-jg1981-11-15jgballaud.html); 11/17/81, Uptown, Chicago (http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2015/03/ln-jg1981-11-17jgballaud.html).
! data: Billboard, 11/21/81, p. unk, via Google Books: two sellouts, gross $58,276 on 5,960 tickets sold.
! R: field recordist: John Levene
! R: field recording gear: 2x Nakamichi 300 (cp4 shotgun) > Marantz CD330
! R: field recording location: taper: "I seem to recall that I taped the early show in the back of the floor seats, but no recollection of where I was for the late show? I think it was the balcony."
! R: Transfer: Yamaha K-1020 > Sony SBM-1 > Nomad JB3 > Creative Play Center > Soundforge v6e > CDWav. reative Play Center software used to copy to laptop. Soundforge used to prep file for tracking. CDWave used to track and flac at level 8 compression.
! P: historical: Cognitively, we are drawn to variation, a point I discussed in "James Booker, Classified". Methodologically, my day-job sistren and brethren like large random samples, and preferably Randomized Control Trials under asymptotically-approaching-the-experimental ideal conditions. Given the impossibility of that kind of construction in re my study of the Garciaverse, we'll have to select strictly *unrepresenentative* moments, informed by strong priors. For example, I am listening to this show precisely because it's got some unusual features from which I hope I might learn some things. Most obviously, this is the first night of the "Return of Ron Tutt" tour, 18 shows in 20 days on the road. In 1981-1982, as he descended deeper into a drug haze when not playing, Garcia nevertheless, rather ironicallym, started getting his business affairs in order. It seems that one early order of business was to square up with Ronnie Tutt, one of the three principals dba Jerry Garcia Band from the very beginning of the JGB and who for many years faced liens earned by Jerry and John well after Tutt's 1977 departure from the touring band. In later years, as his income grew, Garcia expanded this practice of engineering a payday or few for a collaborator he had done/allowed to be done wrong -- see Saunders, Merl and Grisman, David. Here, in late 1981, both Peter Rowan and Ronnie Tutt get to set the precedent. Beyond that historical context, there's just the chance to hear the first night of the tour, see how they sound, take JGB #14b's temperature, and also to put some context around 11/4/81, which I have revisited pursuant to Weiner (2014, pp. 67-76). Oh yeah, one more thing: this is the only tape in circulation as of this writing (4/11/2015). I figure several masters must have sauntered into the Philly morning, but this is the only one to have come into the digital light. Thanks to John Levene and all involved in bringing these very nice tapes forward.
! EARLY SHOW NOTES
! R: this is a really nice tape - outstanding! There are some singers around, there's lots of ambience. There's also someone nearby who is quite knowledgeable, cheering John by name during his STOF feature.
! P: early show: I don't recall being lit up by the first three tunes when I listened to them spring break 2015. In returning 4/10/2015, a couple weeks later, I find this to be absolutely smokin. The band sounds great, everybody - Melvin a little buried in the mix but ethereal, Jimmy Warren playing well, the ladies singing powerfully for white chicks.
! P: e-t01 Weird little "ooh-ooh" backing vocal in HSII, a little arrangement variation to start the tour, but I think they'd drop it - wonder if they were asked to do so, or instructed to do so by Melvin?
! R: e-t01 HSII @ 3:48-3:56 real time gap. Listening to the crowd clap is just a joy - this tape sounds great.
! R: e-t04 STOF cuts in
! P: e-t04 STOF I am picking this back up a month or so after the notes from the first three tracks. Here I note Tutt sounding totally in the pocket, and Garcia singing well. The tape is great. Around 2:10 he hits a nice vocal thing, letting himself sound world weary, in a delivery that really suits the song. Huge long phrasings over 4. More long Jerry passages. John picks up his feature at 8.
! P: e-t05 KOHD Jimmy Warren takes a totally respectable solo late 7 to 8. Kahn sounds great, the whole band sounds great. As this songs ends after 16 minutes, I find myself reminded why I love this song during this era. Unlike the dirge of 1976 (which admittedly could clock in over 20 minutes, IIRC), this just hops really nicely along. I love how they arranged this with the organ, giving it a nice little lilt that it never had before. Awesome.
! P: e-t06 IARR so great! He doesn't get the lyrical progressions right, but it pops pretty nicely. Note that this is a real punchy tape and I find the music sounding punchy.
! P: e-t07 Deal this is real nice as Jerry takes another turn late 1 over 2, and he is playing very creatively and enthusiastically. 2:30ish "since you poured the wine for me", then a little vocal flub before "composin' loneseome blues". Big long 1981 vintage pull as he starts ramping Deal up ... that's a good thing. Nice feedback 4:15, great sustain, now picking up his action, characteristically great 1981-Deal-guitar. Pedals in some more raunch, dials up a little, 4:55 and over 5 he's starting to get his wail on. I can't believe he's going to play TUIB after this. Recall that 11/17/81 Chi and maybe 11/19/81 Denver are long. No shortchanging the early show ticket holders here on the opening night of the tour. 6:10 they are being treated to some serious rock and roll guitar, way up the neck 6:25 ish, mixing up long sustains and fast descending scales. Very nice guitar late 6. Doing a little Carlos thing start of 7.
! P: e-t08 TUIB first solo right from 2. Nice, sounds great. Very stringy (that's a good thing) 2:27. Another go 2:40ff, excellent. @ 2:57 Tutt hits a high hat that is perfection itself. Mid-7 just some great long TUIB expressions, very fluid and fluent. 7:58 big rock chord, faster rounds 8:07, huge feedback 8:15, wow, that is a keeper piece of feedback right there.
! e-t08 JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later on."
! LATE SHOW NOTES
! R: late show: I suspect stage right/house left a little bit. Organ more audible late show than early show. It's very nice instrumentally, bass a little indistinct to start, now coming in l-t04 ITAM. As of ITAM I'd say the bass is still overloaded a little bit, unfortunate. This is the only circulating pull of a night that must have seen at least several tapes saunter out of both shows. Overloading again on "Sugaree".
! R: l-t01 TWYDTTYD cuts in. It sounds a little oversaturated, levels come down 0:17. Jimmy's piano very forward, way more present on the than Melvin's organ playing.
! P: l-t01 TWYDTTYD Jerry's first solo 1:44 he has turned up a little, comes in with enthusiasm and the tape picks up the crowd, pleased.
! P: l-t02 TLEO not my favorite choice, but I can be surprised sometimes. Here, because the tape has Jimmy Warren's electric piano so far forward, you can really hear what he could do, and I will say here that I think he sounds absolutely fine. It sounds like Jerry hasn't quite pinned down all of these arrangements with his band out on its first night of a very long tour. On TLEO, Tutt and Jerry don't seem sycn'd up to start, easy to say since it's just the two of them to start. But Jimmy picks up his part right on time. Melvin follows and they are providing a nice bass of support for the rhythm section to get together. I can't really hear John very well, so maybe he was responsible for the thudding start. It gets more together, but it never really goes any whwere for me.
! R: l-t03 Valerie taper has his levels way up and things overload until 0:16, when taper dials down.
! P: l-t03 Valerie, by contrast to TLEO, is a song I love, and this is a very early version that I look forward to hearing. On this tape, so from wherever we are in the room, we'll get a nice perspective on the early take of a great song in its too-brief place in the Garcia Band repertoire. My take is that it's what you'd expect for a new song on opening night of the tour in Philly. They are clearly pinning it down, but it's mostly fine and at times very good. Late 4 Jerry has stacked up some nice guitar and the crowd perks up its ears. Jerry delivers this song, with its shoulder shaking, finger-wagging, mane-shaking defiance, with the appropriate attitude. But then, whoops, early 6 he mumbles through a forgotten verse and is pulling the rip chord ... run away! John became audible there for a moment. So, it's a mixed bag, but interesting to hear. I love this song and you can already tell it has great promise from the get-go.
! P: l-t04 ITAM: This song sounds great in late 1981. Jerry can still sing, but he's already taking on and making good use of a weary scratch. He can still, just barely, sustain his notes, and he warbles his weariness with just enough remaining lung and force to get it a great swinging groove. He sounds confident, he's still moving ontstage with some swagger. Soon enough, heroin would trump cocaine and place the swagger with mooby, withdrawn stationarity, but not yet. On 10/31/81 in Philly Garcia can still bring it. Late 10 there is a nice scrub that sounds promising but then, in 11, and like Valerie, it just falls appart at some point ca. 11, and Jerry leads the close, preempting other trouble.
! P: l-t05 Russian Lullaby: "Russian Lullaby", how do I love thee? I love thee lots. I am really looking forward to hearing this, based on the start. Jerry and John are have constructed a bar scene in a Django Reinhardt - Irving Berlin suspensorium, to the drinker's soaked delight and amazement. This is careful, attentive music, totally respectful of the traditions, standing with and bheind them, spinning threads 3:20 and after 3:30, Tutt all gentle highhat, Melvin was playing so beautifully in this period, calm and spacious. Jerry 4:20 breaks off a shard, Jimmy feature 4:30ff and he sounds just fine, still fine over 5 and sounding great, with a glissando 5:11, cool and sounding very nice as he hands it off to John, 5:33ff. Tasteful piece. By 8:10 Jerry has bent in a little minor urgency, everything takes on a different color, John skipping lightly, Melvin and drums super tasteful.
! P: l-t06 TNTDODD This works well in this late 1981 Jerry voice. I worry about hearing this at the end of the tour, but here at the start it works well.
! l-t07 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later."