greeting

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mother American Night

Barlow, John Perry, with Robert Greenfield. 2018. Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times. New York: Crown Archetype.

This was an awesome read. By "hanging around with intent" (p. 71), Barlow managed to play a role in many of the most seismic changes to shake the postwar West, Forrest Gump with brilliance, vision and agency. In unadorned prose, he drops like a dozen lines that just had me marveling at his (and presumably Robert Greenfield's) way with words, and even more impressively his way with ideas.

His relationship with Garcia was rather fraught, and he doesn't pull any punches with him or the Grateful Dead scene. There's plenty here for the cynic. But this is the farthest thing from a tell-all or an exercise in score settling. He touches everything deftly, lightly, frankly and, it feels to me, the way it was (as JPB lived it).

This is a nice read, another reminder that the social world of the Grateful Dead (and the hippies, and the Sixties) was disproportionately populated with brilliant, amazing people who lived full lives doing important things. Two snaps up.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Enter Tom Fogerty

A couple of years ago I discovered this youtube content called "Goodbye Media Man", featuring video of Tom Fogerty, Merl Saunders, Bill Vitt, various studio engineers and others unknown to me, working on a track by that same title.


Here is the description (published October 9, 2013):
Tom was the original singer of the Blue Velvets and the Golliwogs, both of which evolved into Creedence Clearwater Revival. Tom Fogerty had the chops to be a star in his own right. Within the band (Doug, Stu, Tom and John), Tom was overshadowed by younger brother John, who's talent was clearly evident. "Goodbye Media Man", recorded in 1971, was Tom's first solo single after leaving Creedence. A great track with solid musicianship and hooks. To my knowledge, this is the first time this video has been posted. Tom left us far too soon, passing on September 6, 1990. Back in the day, he was a friend, and I miss him - Ken Levy, Brooklyn NY / Addlestone, Surrey England
Wow.


I continue to be amazed at the material that continues to crawl out of the woodwork. It gives me hope for the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival (GSCBF) film, among many other things. This post will pin down the metadata but also talk about how remarkable is the wealth of material we have available to study, across many different media - and why we get to enjoy that wealth.

Metadata
Location

Appears to be Berkeley, both at Fantasy Studios and at Tom Fogerty's professorial manse with a bunch of kids running around.

Date

The video is only dated 1971. Recall that Tom Fogerty had announced on February 2, 1971 that he was leaving the lucrative Creedence Clearwater Revival over differences with the band's dominant force, his little brother John, and to spend more time with his four children.[1] We also know that the House That Creedence Built, the new Fantasy Studios facility at 10th and Parker in Berkeley, had come online right around this time. Local journo students Kathie Staska and George Mangrum ("KG") ran an amazingly rich column in the Hayward Daily Review starting in February, and got a tour of the new facility from the one and only Ralph Gleason, now working full time for Saul Zaentz at Fantasy.[2]


KG reported on March 11 that Tom had started work on his solo album.[3] Just after the solstice, on June 24th, KG reported that the record was done and was set for release the next week,[4] also noting that he'd be part of Merl Saunders's band for a release on the same label. So the video presumably features material from this late-winter to early-summer span. Intriguingly, a youtube posting of the "Goodbye MediaMan" single associates a date of "the 17th of June 1971" with it:



With all of this, the studio film could come from anywhere between March and June, but I strongly suspect that the home material is from closer to June, as the single neared or achieved completion.

Forging The Garcia-Fogerty Connection


Our Hero comes up in the interview, and I think this comment sheds some light on the Tom Fogerty version of the Garcia-Saunders band.[5] Tom says

I only want to jam around right now and perform with as many people as possible. I’ve learned more about music this last month [i.e., May-June] from meeting other people than during the whole time while I was with Creedence ... One night, I just happened to go over to Keystone Korner. Merl Saunders had invited me over to hear him and Bill Vitt and Jerry Garcia, and within a week I was up on the stage with 'em. And, uh playin' with 'em, and at that point I decided that that was ... the kind of music that I wanted behind the song. It was within about three days that the thing came together with Merl.

When might this have been, exactly? Let's investigate. Jerry and Merl had played the following Keystone Korner gigs from the first Freddie Herrera - Jerry Garcia Joint through mid-1971:

Table xxx. Garcia at Keystone Korner, 11/25/70-6/16/71. Follow this link for a more complete table of Garcia's Keystone Korner gigs.
Tom's narrative and the overall evidence best fits Tom having seen JGMS on 5/20/71,[6] and sitting in with them on Wednesday 5/26/71. This frame fits "within a week" from Tom's filmed reckoning, and I am pretty confident about the interval, if not the specifics. "Three days" from Tom is a little unclear to me, certainly could suggest it was other nights than the ones I pinpoint. So, why these?

This is going to get really convoluted, and, despite my best efforts, I assume it will be somewhat hard to follow. You can just take my word for it, or you can try to follow me into the data.


First, there is tape of 5/20/71 and 5/21/71, the first out of the Garcia Vault and the second locked away there. May 11, 1971[7] and these tapes represent the earliest-audible Garcia-Saunders performances (perhaps as many as eight months after they started gigging![8]), and they precede a four-month gap that audibly ends when Lou Judson becomes the second Marin County soundman to run PA tape of The Group in late September. The 5/20/71 tape escaped into the world because Garcia had it amongst his stuff when, ca. Christmas 1975, MG threw him out of Sans Souci --on which the couple had closed on ... May 5, 1971!-- and he shuffled off to Deborah's for the first time. Debbie took possession of the tape and let a few people copy it, and now anyone can hear it.


Second, I submit that the fact that Jerry had this tape amongst his personal stuff is not innocent with respect to the very question we are considering. I think he had the tape "pulled", either initially recorded or pulled out of wherever most of his tapes were kept, or both, precisely to Fogerty could give it a listen. We know the Dead were in the habit of pulling recent tapes to prepare their incoming members, e.g., the "Houseboat Tapes" of August 1971 that they gave Keith Godchaux to listen to. I think Jerry lent it to Tom or dubbed it for him so he could come up to speed with the band and its material.


Third, and with respect to the late boundary, I glean one other possible tidbit of information from the table above, in the advertising patterns. I am almost certainly over-reading this, but the Thursday-Friday-Saturday 5/20-22 run looks like Big Nights - advertised in the Chron, weekend shows, some real buzz. Even Tuesday 5/25 gets a Wasserman mention, which may well have been enough to sell the gig out. But 5/26, Wednesday, gets a measley mention in the Trib's "Bay Sounds" items, which usually ran more toward jazz and soul. Probably a much quieter night for Tom to step up and play some for the first time, dontcha think? I can't adduce all of the evidence here, but it is as close to an Iron Law as exists in the Garciaverse that new players are broken in off-nights, off-the-beaten-path, or both.

Art and Commerce


For Garcia of this vintage, the aesthetics of any musical choice should go without saying. He wanted to play more music with good players than the Dead could afford him (especially in this very fallow period between the closing of the Fillmores East and West). As Corry and I have elaborated, Tom Fogerty advened alongside huge changes in The Group's approach and repertoire, from spacey organ jazz to all kinds of Americana, white (The Band's "Dixie Down", Jesse Winchester's "Biloxi", some good ol' rockabilly), black (Stevie Wonder, Motown, etc. etc.) and everything in between, mostly more or less contemporary stuff. In short, I think Fogerty came in because Jerry wanted to sing some tunes, wanted to bring in more white contemporary, and Fogerty could sing, play rhythm guitar, and bring in some new material.


But there were almost surely also commercial logics operating here, too. Whether they came from Jerry, from Merl, from Tom, from Saul Zaentz (or Ralph Gleason), and/or others, I can't know. But Fantasy Records stands at the center of this.


Indeed, I want to revise my conjecture above about why the May 20-21, 1971 JGMS tapes were made. This was long before Rex and then Betty started taping Jerry, so why is there this one pair of shows? I said a few paragraphs ago that it was so Tom could bone up. I think that's half-right – it was so Tom could bone up, and Tom joining this operation cannot be separated from Tom making records for Fantasy, Merl making records for Fantasy, etc. etc. Remember that Merl invited Tom down to the club. He might have had a purpose in mind - say, to make a Group for Jerry that would record on Fantasy and make them all rich, what already wasn't, and them richer what already was. Corry and I haveconcluded that Fogerty's arrival served a sea change in the Garcia-Saundersaggregation, taking it from space organ to Dylan, Band and Motown numbers. Why this big artistic shift? Quite possibly, to work up some more commercially viable material than the "out-there" jams they had been doing. Hooteroll? (Douglas 5, December 1971) would cover the space-organ piece of the market for the jazz heads, while The Group could do some white and black contemporary tunes for the dormitory set. It's all made to order, including an eager press. Indeed, two days after writing about Fogerty's upcoming release, our intrepid collegians K and G found themselves at the New Monk in Berkeley, where Tom, Merl and Jerry were holding forth for a standing-room-only crowd, just blocks from Fantasy.[9]

Conclusion


I feel quite confident, though not certain, that Tom Fogerty first sat in with JGMS on May 26, 1971. I also think Fantasy Records was the Prime Mover behind this partnership.


Now, Garcia and Tom did end up on Merl's Heavy Turbulence (Fantasy 8421, 1972), which looks to me like it could have been recorded in 1971, and Fogerty's Excalibur (Fantasy 9413, October 1972) which, though seemingly released later, feels roughly contemporary. Merl's Fire Up (Fantasy 9421, 1973) feels more like 1972, though of course it's pretty hard to say. But Fantasy's big golden goose feast, 1973's Live at the Keystone (Fantasy F-79002), featured the Fogertyless quartet of the aforementioned goose plus Merl and the Kahn-Vitt rhythm section. As best we can tell, Tom left the fold at the end of 1972 after eighteen months with The Group. What happened? I dunno, but I welcome your speculations in comments.






[1] “Tom Fogarty [sic] Leaves Creedence,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 3, 1971, p. 42.


[2] See also Staska and Mangrum 19710225.


[3] Staska and Mangrum 19710311.


[4] Staska and Mangrum 19710624.


[5] I have written at length around all of this. See "Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Matrix - A Dialogue" (with Corry Arnold), URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/jerry-garcia-and-merl-saunders-at.html; "Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders & Tom Fogerty Sat-Sun, New Monk", URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/jerry-garcia-merl-saunders-tom-fogerty.html; and "Tom Fogerty, Merl Saunders and Friends - June 25, 1971 Keystone Korner", URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/tom-fogerty-merl-saunders-and-friends.html.


[6] See "'JGMS 5/20/71' is probably really JGMS 5/20/71," URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/jgms-52071-is-probably-really-jgms-52071.html.


[7] See "JGMS: Matrix, May 11-12, 1971," URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/jgms-matrix-may-11-12-1971.html; "'Hey Merl, you wanna do that tune in 'G'? Get spaced out a little?' LN jg1971-05-11.jgms.partial.aud.28784.flac1644," URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/09/hey-merl-you-wanna-do-that-tune-in-g.html.


[8] "When did Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders first play together?" URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2010/11/when-did-jerry-garcia-and-merl-saunders.html.


[9] Staska and Mangrum 19710701.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Triple-Booked Vassar: October 6, 1973

My post on Old And In The Way in Santa Cruz on Friday, October 5, 1973 referenced some of the band's contemporaneous gigs. One of these was a gig the next night in Berkeley.

In comments, I then noted that Vassar was advertised with Tut Taylor that same Saturday at the Exit/In in Nashville, whereupon commenter extraordinaire runonguiness pointed me to Andrew Bernstein's California Slim (2013, p. 139), which published a handbill showing Jerry, Vassar and the OAITW crew at Homer's Warehouse that same night.

So, ex ante, Vassar was triple-booked this night.

While I haven't checked for the Tut Taylor record that was being recorded this night, there is no tape of any OAITW, alas. But, thanks to various miraculous institutions (the concert review) and technologies (microfilm), I happen to know he and Jerry and the rest played the Berkeley gig, because Len Lyons (1973b) evaluated it in the next week's Berkeley Barb. He loved Asleep At The Wheel, which opened, and he admired Vassar, but he had little bit contempt for Jerry's banjo playing and OAITW's whole style. I paste the review below.

Mr. Lyons was no Garcia fan. A few months earlier, he had excoriated the recorded-for-Fantasy July 10, 1973 JGMS gig (see, among others, here, here, here and here), urging readers, "Don't bother buying the record. Five years from now, you may be hearing it for free over Safeway's MUZAK system" (Lyons 1973a). He was, as I say, not a fan.




Maybe someone is headed to Rome

Nice to see one person (via blogger stats) checking out possibilities for Free Caravaggio!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Stinson History

Stinson Beach Music Scene Time Line: 1960s to the Present

The site above was just brought to my attention. I can't find an email for anyone in the organization based on a cursory search, so I thought I post some reactions here.

The prompt for all of this is the newly digitized source for the OAITW gig at the Stinson Community Center on September 30, 1973, same source tape as an older source I have sketchily blogged. I haven't had time to look back at this in detail, but I also want to pin Corry's post on an early OAITW gig at a Stinson Beach bar.

The point of this post is to post some corrections and ask some questions about entries in the Stinson Historical Society page that heads the post. If anyone knows any of the principals and wishes to draw their attention to the corrections, they might be interested.
“Blows Against the Empire” and “Mexico” (1969) - Jefferson Airplane
Recordings for BATE started in July 1970, just to be clear. Not sure what the Stinson connection is supposed to be here.
1970 – Peter Rowan moves to Stinson Beach from Mill Valley, where he had been playing in bands such as Seatrain and Earth Opera. Also recently been spending time playing with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe. He moves into a house on Calle del Ribera and pays $100/month in rent. He ends up writing one song inspired by Stinson Beach: “Riding the Rainbow in the Sky,” which was never released on a record.
The liner notes to Breakdown say PR arrived in Stinson Beach in October 1972.
8/27/71 - Jerry Garcia and others play at the club known as “The Red Whale,” which is located where the current Stinson Beach Water County District is located on Highway One just past the turn off for Calle del Arroyo. It would later be renovated and renamed “The Brigg.” Still later, it would be renovated again and renamed the “Over the Hill Bar and Grill.”
Mmmmm, a specific date which I don't have. I would love to know the source of this information! In the meantime, I will add it to my spreadsheet. I am presuming this would be the NRPS warming up earlier in the day before gigging at the Longbranch this night, but of course I can't be sure.
One rumor has it that the only time Jerry Garcia met John Lennon was during this time period in Stinson Beach.
Sounds familiar, but I will pin this possible crossing here.
Autumn 1972 – Jerry Garcia & David Grisman play bluegrass music several times, with Jerry practicing his banjo whenever he can after they bumped into each other at Ed’s Superette as Garcia was buying cigarettes.
I thought the story of their hooking back up in Stinson was that Pete Rowan walked Dawg (or vice versa) up the hill to Garcia's. This doesn't rule out that they bumped into each other at Ed's Superette, of course.
January 1973 – ... After playing at “Avila's Barn,” Jerry Garcia names David Grisman "Dawg" after he saw dog following Grisman on the beach at Stinson.
Avila's Barn doesn't ring a bell to me, though I bet that if I check Corry's "unknown bar" post it's mentioned there.
1973 [sic] - Goldie Rush starts Round Records above Ed’s Superette in 1973
First, the name "Goldie Rush" was new to me, and it shouldn't be, because apparently she was heavily involved in Round Records. Second, though, 1973 is too early, at least for "starts" in any formally institutionalized sense. Round Records was incorporated in the state of California on January 22, 1974.
1977 [sic] – David Jenkins (guitar) and Cory Lerois (keyboards) move to Stinson Beach, both members of the band Pablo Cruise. Lerois buys Mountain Girl/Jerry Garcia’s old house, and does a major remodel.
No. This was early 1978.
1979/1980 – The band “The Edge” is formed by Lorin Rowan, Mark Stein, Jim Dillon, Keith Glanz and Ozzie Ahleve [sic]
Correction: last fellow's name is Ozzie Ahlers.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Jerry's Guitar Style

Where most rockers tend to push against the beat to build excitement, using a vocabulary of riffs that has come largely from the blues and Chuck Berry, Mr. Garcia constructs lines that float over the top of the rhythm.
! ref: Palmer, Robert. 1977. Dancers Rock to Jerry Garcia. New York Times, November 29, 1977, p. 44. re: JGB 11/27/77 Palladium

Friday, May 18, 2018

Insert Pithy Title Here: JGB at Keystone Palo Alto, November 12, 1983

Killer "Don't Let Go", and two short sets that foreshadow darker days ahead. Great job on the matrix by AF!

JERRY GARCIA BAND
Keystone Palo Alto
260 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
November 12, 1983 (Saturday)
*Matrix* shnid-141451

--set I (5 tracks, 42:18)--
s1t01. [0:21] How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [7:06] [0:25]
s1t02. Catfish John [10:07] [0:07] %
s1t03. [0:08] Simple Twist Of Fate [11:11] [0:15] %
s1t04. [0:05] Cats Under The Stars [7:24] ->
s1t05. Run For The Roses [4:59] (1) [0:08]

--set II (4 tracks, 47:36)--
s2t01. Rhapsody In Red [9:08] [0:13] %
s2t02. [0:13] Knockin' On Heaven's Door [13:20] [0:11] %
s2t03. Don't Let Go [16:03] ->
s2t04. Deal [8:12] [0:16]

! ACT1: JERRY GARCIA BAND #21a
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - organ;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: David Kemper - drums;
! lineup: DeeDee Dickerson - vocals;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - vocals.

JGMF:

! 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: jerrygarcia.com/show/1983-11-12

! db:http://db.etree.org/shn/20746 (Corley MAC, shnf, not in circulation); http://db.etree.org/shn/22512 (4th gen sbd, shnf); http://db.etree.org/shn/25629 (MSC flac); http://db.etree.org/shn/141450 (unattributed* MAC flac); http://db.etree.org/shn/141668 (Corley 4th gen flac); http://db.etree.org/shn/141451 (this fileset).

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/7AzlG

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2012/11/keystone-sophies-260-s-california-ave.html

! band: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html.

! P: overall: two relatively short sets. I have been engaging the 90s a bunch lately, and sets were typically running 60-80 minutes. We aren't into Jerry's Rock Bottom period just yet, IMO, but short sets were a leading indicator. That said, while I didn't note anything particular from set I, the Don't Let Go in set II is outstanding, with all kinds of modal jazzy spacey goodness, and overall, as I say of Deal, the show makes up in enthusiasm what it sometimes lacks in precision.

! R: Sources: Matrix of SBD ID-25629 & AUD ID-141450.

! R: Transfer: WAV > Wavelab > CD-Wave > TLH > FLAC 1644 tagged, Andrew F 03/2018

! R: Note: Gaps in the SBD source back-filled with Corley AUD portions taken from ID-22512; How Sweet It Is 0:00 > 4:22, and Rhapsody in Red 8:34 > 8:49.

! R: What a great matrix. The sbd is flat as a pancake, all vocals no guitar, the aud is all guitar and drums, no vocals.

! s1t05 (1) JG: "We're gonna take a break for a fe minutes, we'll be right back."

! P: s2t01 RIR is energetic.

! P: s2t03 DLG this is really good. I can't pinpoint many specifics, but it's very jazzy and nicely spaced out. Late 15 again, but all throughout, this DLG spilled over with great ideas, then a true segue into Deal. Nice

! P: s2t04 Deal the Elmer Fudd vocals out of the gate are not great. He seems to skip a turn at a verse in the 3 minute mark, gets right to the guitar playing, which is strong. It's a little sloppy here and there, with Jerry just charging ahead and forcing various and sundry drummers and vocalists to adjust on the fly, but what it lacks in precision it makes up in enthusiasm.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jerry Has Fallen, and He Can't Get Up

OK, maybe I am feeling a little bit cranky. I have been doing some late era listening, and it's not always easy.

Wednesday, April 20, 1994 at the Warfield, for example, has a "Don't Let Go" - which is good! - but it falls into quite a remarkable rut. From 3:22-6:03 of this lovely Vasseur tape, he sings "Hold me tight and don't let go" no fewer than thirty times, by my count. Now, if he were embellishing more, if he were varying his vocal attack, if he were pairing it with guitar expressions, I would, in principle, be fine with that. He'd be feeling it. But, in this case, he seems to be feeling a little lost, a little stuck. There is a bit of variation in how he sings the line, but not much. There's almost no interplay between the voice and guitar, which could make "Don't Let Go" from any era pretty compelling, since it's not something he did much of on any other song. It's like he's trying to remember how he exits into the jam part of the song, but can't bring it forth.

The show's not as bad as 8/14/94. Married about nine weeks to Deborah Koons, he played "Get Out Of My Life Woman" with some nice burn and real conviction. But the penultimate "Señor" suffers for lack of steady drumming, and in any case the "tail of the dragon" is smelling dangerously strong at this point, so perhaps best to put it to bed. The closing "Midnight Moonlight", I note, "is a little hard to hear."

Jerry Garcia Band
The Warfield
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
April 20, 1994 (Wednesday)
Vasseur shnid-141480

--set I (7 tracks, 65:07)--
s1t01. [0:14] I'll Take A Melody [10:59] [0:54]
s1t02. Get Out Of My Life Woman [9:23] [1:41]
s1t03. Forever Young [10:50] [0:23]
s1t04. Run For The Roses [5:50] [0:15]
s1t05. Ain't No Bread In The Breadbox [10:22] [0:04]
s1t06. My Sisters And Brothers [3:58] ->
s1t07. Deal [9:56] (1) [0:09]

--set II (6 tracks, 74:36)--
s2t08. Shining Star [21:31] [0:23]
s2t09. Think [8:09] ]0:10]
s2t10. Señor [7:34] ->
s2t11. Don't Let Go [14:49] [0:39]
s2t12. Mississippi Moon [8:35] ->
s2t13. Tangled Up In Blue [12:40] (2) [0:06]

! ACT1: JGB #23
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, v;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Donny Baldwin - drums;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals.

JGMF:

! 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/1994-04-20

! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/21299 (Vasseur shnf); http://db.etree.org/shn/141480 (this fileset).

! band: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2013/02/warfield-982-market-street-san.html

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZW52vfHTbjs

! R: field recordist: Chuck Vasseur

! R: field recording gear: 2x Neumann KM54 > DAT

! R: Transfer: DAT Master > CDR (Kyle Porter); Extract: CDR clone > EAC > WAV > FLAC16 (Bill Shaw aka Shark)

! R: Source Notes: "Sometime in the early 2000's, Chuck loaned Kyle all of his 92-95 JGB masters to transfer to CDR. Kyle "mastered" the DATs to CDR, fading in/out as needed, adjusting levels (as needed) and tracking. Kyle then gave Chuck his masters back, with nice CDR copies of all of it. Chuck offered to clone the entire set for me, so I gave him a spool of 100 blank MITSUI CDRs and the next time I saw him, he gave them back to me, filled with his JGB recordings. Many of the Chuck V. JGB recordings do circulate already, but probably not all
of them, and those that do may not be the Kyle Porter transfers. So, Here they are! --Shark"

! R: tape sounds so great

! R: s1t01 ITAM splice 0:32-0:43, repeated section, a bit missing. Lame.

! P: s1t01 ITAM 3 range he is just making sounds, having forgotten the words.

! P: s1t02 GOOMLW the vocals are low but the guitar is nice and grungy, e.g., in the 4-minute range. Nice playing. Crowd stoked 5:40ff, and for good reason - good stuff. Melvin feature 6:35ff.

! P: s1t03 FY he puts the pitch-bender to work 7:49ff. DB doesn't really know how to end it, but they get there.

! P: s1t04 RFTR sounds half-speed

! s1t07 (1) JG: "Back in a little while."

! P: s2t10 Señor Donnie doesn't seem to know how to drum for this. Nothing much happens in this version.

! song: Señor (s2t10) penultimate version of this song (4/25/94).

! P: s2t11 DLG he doesn't really know the words. In 4 he's just repeating "hold me tight and don't let go" without much interesting vocal variation or guitar accompaniment, so it just feels a little stuck. I count thirty iterations between 3:22-6:03, which would be fine if he were embellishing, mixing it up. He is a little bit, on the margins. But mostly it just feels like he's fallen into this rut, and he can't get up.

! P: s2t12 Miss Moon is a little hard to hear.

! s2t13 (2) JG: "See ya later."

My First Dead Show

Now available in all kinds of good sound, including this 24 bit / 96 kHz pure sbd from Charlie Miller.

This show was the first time in my life that I felt utterly unjudged by those around me.

A Second Triumphant Return: JGB, Halloween '92

LN jg1992-10-31.jgb.all.aud-vasseur.141463.flac1644

Almost six years to the day after Jerry's "Triumphant Return" from death's door with the Garcia Band at the Stone, on October 31, 1992 he made a second comeback from a major health scare, playing with the JGB in the less homey Oakland Coliseum Arena less than three months after collapsing at home that summer.

I don't have time today to put it together, but in the book I will follow the redemption (1991 through 8/1/92) - fall (8/3/92) - redemption (10/31/92) narrative that the media built up for Jerry over a scant year or so. Of course, a longer, slower, and final fall would follow all of that. But these are things for me to try to tackle another time. For now, just some listening notes.

Bottom line: yes, Jerry sounds glad to be back. There are some fine moments, and almost no bad ones. It was probably fun to attend, and 14,000 fans did so - twenty times more than the teary-eyed who packed the Stone six years prior. 10/31/92 circulated relatively early from decent soundboard tape, adding to its popularity. The "Tangled Up In Blue" was selected for official release on Garcia Plays Dylan, which is a little surprising, but no big deal. "Ain't No Bread In The Breadbox" is the real surprise, totally shredding, and well warranting its officialization on Shining Star. "Werewolves Of London" was always fun, and Halloween is always a good time. But this is a good, not a great, Garcia Band show. Oh yeah, and the handbill is surprisingly lame - I guess BGP was still figuring things out after Wolfgang's demise almost a year to the day prior to this gig.

Jerry Garcia Band
Oakland Coliseum Arena
695 Hegenberger Road
Oakland, CA 94621
October 31, 1992 (Saturday)
Vasseur shnid-141463

--set I (7 tracks, 54:49)--
s1t01. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [6:28] [1:20]
s1t02. Stop That Train [7:12] [0:40]
s1t03. The Maker [6:34] (1) [0:53]
s1t04. You Never Can Tell [6:54] [0:31]
s1t05. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [9:10] [0:05] %
s1t06. Lay Down Sally [7:08] [0:05] %
s1t07. Deal [7:35] (2) [0:15]

--set II + encore (9 tracks, 8 tunes, 79:31)--
--set II (7 tracks, 71:35)--
s2t08. dead air :05, //Shining Star [#11:45] [0:29]
s2t09. And It Stoned Me [7:14] [0:23]
s2t10. Ain't No Bread In The Breadbox [9:45] [0:38]
s2t11. What A Wonderful World [8:03] [0:44]
s2t12. Tore Up Over You [7:38] [0:48]
s2t13. Waiting For A Miracle [5:46] [0:26]
s2t14. My Sisters And Brothers [6:03] ->
s2t15. Tangled Up In Blue [11:40] [0:08] %
--encore (2 tracks, 1 tune, 7:55)--
s2t16. ambience [0:54]
s2t17. Werewolves Of London [6:53] (3) [0:09]

! ACT1: THE Jerry Garcia Band (JGB #21b)
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: David Kemper - drums;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals.

JGMF:

! 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/1992-10-31

! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/4351 (Schoeps MK4 shnf); http://db.etree.org/shn/13230 (sbd shnf); http://db.etree.org/shn/76460 (s2 Schoeps CMC54); http://db.etree.org/shn/83474 (Litzenberger MAD); http://db.etree.org/shn/97988 (s2 unknown taper Schoeps CMC34); http://db.etree.org/shn/102196 (same source as shnid-97988, complete); http://db.etree.org/shn/107738 (mtx of shnid-13230 and shnid-102196); http://db.etree.org/shn/107741 (DTS of shnid-13230 and shnid-102196); http://db.etree.org/shn/132279 (Dupree aud); http://db.etree.org/shn/141463 (this fileset).

! band: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2012/11/oakland-coliseum-arena-and-oakland.html

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/NLizLAqo1652

! official: Jerry Garcia - Garcia Plays Dylan (Rhino, R2 73263, 2005) (d2t04-TUIB); Jerry Garcia - Shining Star (Grateful Dead Records 4079, 2001) (d2t05-Ain't No Bread in the Breadbox).

! review: Laskey 1992. She notes the prelude: "Before his illness, Jerry seemed tired and unenthusiastic about playing ... it really seemed that his spirit was escaping him." She found this down "spunky" and enjoyed the show.

! expost: Dunham 1992

! R: field recordist: Chuck Vasseur

! R: field recording gear: 2x Neumann KM54 > DAT

! R: Transfer: DAT Master > CDR (Kyle Porter)

! R: Extract: CDR clone > EAC > WAV > FLAC16 (Bill Shaw aka Shark)

! R: Source Notes: Sometime in the early 2000's, Chuck loaned Kyle all of his 92-95 JGB masters to transfer to CDR. Kyle "mastered" the DATs to CDR, fading in/out as needed, adjusting levels (as needed) and tracking. Kyle then gave Chuck his masters back, with nice CDR copies of all of it. Chuck offered to clone the entire set for me, so I gave him a spool of 100 blank MITSUI CDRs and the next time I saw him, he gave them back to me, filled with his JGB recordings. Many of the Chuck V. JGB recordings do circulate already, but probably not all
of them, and those that do may not be the Kyle Porter transfers. So, Here they are! --Shark

! R: recording is strangely hissy, e.g., after STT. It sounds to me like there's a cassette gen here, but what do I know?

! P: s1t02 STT Garcia sounds nicely mournful and sincere in delivering his lines - "though I try | to do my very best | I can't seem to find | no happiness".

! s1t03 @ 7:05 (1) JG: "So ... how y'all doing?"

! s1t07 (2) JG: "We're gonna take a little break, and we'll be back in a few minutes."

! s2t08 SS cuts in

! P: s2t10 ANBITB Garcia shreds some 6:20ff. Interesting and powerful. Straining and pulling 6:50. I don't remember this song cooking like this. I see why it was officially released!

! s2t11 WAWW is the Louis Armstrong

! P: s2t14 MSAB he repeats the "this world is not our own" verse.

! P: s2t15 TUIB: I guess I can see why they chose this for the release - it's clean, and the last big guitar piece from 9:30ff presents some very thoughtful melodic ideas. It doesn't burn like some versions could, but it's clean and, for a couple of minutes, interesting.

! song: "Werewolves Of London" (s2t17). Jerry seemed to enjoy singing this Warren Zevon classic. The Dead did nine super-enthusiastic versions in 1978, including one allagedly mescaline-drenched version on May 11 and a growly, coked-to-the-gills classic at Red Rocks on July 8, both of which have been officially released. It came back with the Dead Halloween '85 in Columbia, South Carolina as a show opener out of space, the first of eight consecutive All Hallows Eve's appearances through 1993. I saw the JGB version in '89 and the Dead version in '90 in, appropriately anough, London - good times.

! P: s2t17 WOL Garcia does some uncommonly high pitched "whoo"ing after 6. This version never goes bonkers, but it's good.

! P: s2t17 (3) JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later."

Confused, Trainwreck, Yeesh and Yikes: JGB at the Warfield, August 14, 1994

jg1994-08-14.jgb.all.sbd-miller.136390.flac1644

The title conveys some of the adjectives and interjections I used in listening to this rare sbd tape of late-era Jerry. He sounds bad - bad, I tell you.

Jerry Garcia Band
The Warfield
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
August 14, 1994 (Sunday)
remastered Miller sbd shnid-136390

--set I (7 tracks, 68:22)--
s1t01. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [6:58] [2:06]
s1t02. Waiting For A Miracle [5:59] [2:05]
s1t03. You Never Can Tell [10:26] 2:19]
s1t04. Mississippi Moon [11:58] [0:11]
s1t05. Lay Down Sally [12:29] [0:12]
s1t06. My Sisters And Brothers [3:49] ->
s1t07. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love [9:53] (1)

--set II (7 tracks, 80:34)--
s2t08. Shining Star [20:39] [0:51]
s2t09. Strugglin' Man
s2t10. And It Stoned Me
s2t11. Tore Up Over You [9:30] [0:06]
s2t12. The Maker [12:40] ->
s2t13. Gomorrah
s2t14. Tangled Up In Blue [14:17] (2) [0:03]

! ACT1: JGB #23
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, v;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Donny Baldwin - drums;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals.

JGMF:

! 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/1994-08-14

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2013/02/warfield-982-market-street-san.html

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZW52vfHTbjs

! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/4306 (sbd shnf); http://db.etree.org/shn/12022 (sbd shnf, slightly modified); http://db.etree.org/shn/136390 (this fileset).

! band: URL http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZW52vfHTbjs

! R: SBD -> Dat -> Cassette Master -> CD -> SHN;

! R: Transfer Info: SHN -> Samplitude Professional v11.2.1 -> FLAC (2 Discs Audio / 1 Disc FLAC).

! R: Remastered By Charlie Miller (charliemiller87@earthlink.net), June 29, 2016

! R: Notes: This is a remaster of shnid-4306

! P: s1t04 Miss Moon Garcia is totally confused 5. Yikes. Complete trainwreck. Still messed up. Nice tone on the solo starting 7:25. Still really jacked up 8. No good, and jack up the end.

! P: yeesh. Boring. Miss Moon is a trainwreck. Can't hear Kahn very well. I think DB is no good, I often hear him when and how he shouldn't be.

! P: s1t06 MSAB Garcia sounds exhausted on these vocals.

! P: s1t07 ENSTL again he sounds vocally exhausted.

! s1t07 (1) "Thanks a lot. We'll see you in a little while."

! P: s2t09 SM loses the vocals, 6, then off the beat with his vocals. Yikes.

! P: s2t11 TUOY no breath to sing it the way it should be. Good energy 7. Fucks up badly at 8, does a verse instead of closing.

! s2t14 (2) "See y'all later."


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

JGB19900302: Saturday, March 2, 1990, Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

update: this was originally posted some years ago. I accidentally reposted it today. It looks like it is not perfectly together - you get what you pay for.

I wanted to try a little experiment by just unpacking a single show. I am not a very effective "prosopographer", so I can't do what Corry does, or what LIA does. Anyway, for various reasons, I ended up with Saturday, March 2, 1990, Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA.

IMO

The Jerry Garcia Band had its last sustained run of excellence from August 29, 1987 (Eel River, Piercy, CA) through August 26, 1989 (Greek Theatre, University of California, Berkeley, CA). Ask me again in two hours and I might have a different view. But, anyway, give or take a month or a year or two, this was the sweet period after the coma when Jerry had had enough time to get his chops back and was relatively healthy (though early 1989, I'd maintain, but that's a whole 'nother can o' worms), before turning south again, at least on the latter dimension. There were a few other local peaks (the last one being JGB February 6, 1994 at the Warfield), but no other sustained period combining such a high mean and such low variance.

/IMO


The Jerry Garcia Band show on Friday, March 2, 1990 at the Warfield Theatre, 982 Market Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102, falls outside of these boundaries. And, indeed, now having heard it, I can say that I find it well below the mean of, say, 1989. There are some very hot moments, but Jerry definitely has less steam behind him here than he had a year earlier.

Venue

Corry has covered this venue in crisp form (in a post on the Keystones, of course!), though it hasn't gotten the full Garcia-centric treatment that someone, at some point, will have to give it. In lieu of tacking that here and now, I'd first make the obvious point that the Warfield, a xxx 2,000 seat theater, [owned? operated?] by Bill Graham, is perfectly crucial to understanding late-period Jerry, having served as the Garcia Band's home base from late 1987 through the end. Second, I'd note that the Warfield replaced Freddie Herrera's 700-capacity The Stone at 412 Broadway, San Francisco, CA, 94133 in that home court role. I have started jotting down notes on a post about this change, we'll see when I can get to it. It'll be interesting. In the meantime, Corry has just recently engaged that issue!

The live JGB Album

March 2, 1990 was recorded, and at least one song ("Waiting For A Miracle") was included, on the The double live 1991 Arista release Jerry Garcia Band (record release information | deaddisc). It is a fantastic release and has really held up well as a representation of this near-peak period. The Jerry Garcia Band played five separate multinight runs at the Warfield during a six-month in 1990: February 2-3-4, March 1-2, April 13-14-15, June 12-13 and August 7-8-9. The April and August runs were multitracked for possible use on the album. Taping security was very tight at these shows, which is a story that I hope to be able to tell at some point.

Information has never been provided by The Powers That Be as to which songs come from which shows, and no fans have ever been able to try to piece the puzzle together because a few sets have never really circulated. Since I think old copies of just about everything have been dug up, that circumstance will change, and I'll tackle the project if no-one beats me to it. (It needs to happen for How Sweet It Is and Shining Star as well.) [update: done.] I expect that we'll be able to pin everything down in reasonably short order, though w/r/t Jerry Garcia Band I think the analysis will show that there is some splicing of various material here and there. Blair Jackson has already stated on Dead Net Central that the vocals on the beautiful, haunting version of Dylan's "Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" had to be overdubbed in the studio, since Garcia never once (during the multitrack recording period for the album, anyway) got them straight live. There is also the occasional audible splice (a truncated cymbal, for example) that will need to be pinned down, but I think it can be done.

The producers managed to cull 2 CDs worth of pretty fantastic music. But, to repeat, I think 3/2/90 falls outside the peak. A couple of recent posts at Dead Net Central, most notably by Blair Jackson, suggest that the Jerry Garcia Band's raging playing of early 1989 --check out the 1/27 and 1/28 shows at the Orpheum, easily Garcia's finest post-coma shows to that point-- may have inspired the idea to record the live album. But by the time they got around to recording,

Caveat Lector: rest of the post is sketchy/drafty

The release is pretty fantastic, I admit. But ...

The problem is, the shows are extremely uneven, generally down to the song level. So, while I absolutely love the Jerry Garcia Band live release, I can't help but wish they had been recording a year to 18 months earlier.

To be clear, there were plenty of great versions of great songs. Enough for a really nice 2 CD release in 1991. There were some great setlist innovations during this period, with the additions of "Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" on 2/2/90 and "Tears Of Rage" the next night being my favorites. But Jerry just doesn't sound as alive as he did a year previous.

circulation issues: VHS ... never jumped to DAT

Difficulty of taping 1990 Warfield shows.

songs (use Blair GR). Alex Allan song links

Setlist

--Set I--

Cats Under The Stars (Lyrics: Robert Hunter; Music: Jerry Garcia).

Forever Young (Lyrics: Bob Dylan;Music: Bob Dylan). From Dylan's Planet Waves (deaddisc, released January 1974).

Tough Mama (Lyrics: Bob Dylan; Music: Bob Dylan). From Dylan's Planet Waves (deaddisc, released January 1974).

The Way You Do The Things You Do (Lyrics: William Robinson, Robert Rogers; Music: William Robinson, Robert Rogers). This is a revival for TWYDTTYD, which JGB hadn't played publicly since January 14, 1984. BJ notes


Like A Road Leading Home (Lyrics: Nix, Penn; Music: Nix, Penn)

Deal (Lyrics: Robert Hunter; Music: Jerry Garcia)

Set I Comments: Garcia/Hunter tunes bookend two Dylans and two R&Bs. 

--Set II--

Mission In The Rain (Lyrics: Robert Hunter; Music: Jerry Garcia). A great San Francisco song for and by a great San Franciscan. By March 1990, though, Jerry is pretty phlegmy and has a hard time, for example with the "ten years ago, I walked these streets, my dreams were riding tall" line. He wants to put a little inflection on "walked", but he just doesn't have the range.

Waiting For A Miracle (Lyrics: Bruce Cockburn; Music: Bruce Cockburn). Late in his career, Garcia picked up a few Canadian-penned midtempos: this one and Daniel Lanois's "The Maker", which debuted a little later (xxx date xxx). Waiting For A Miracle was a really nice JGB tune for a bit, but by 1990 it had passed its peak. The best version is the one from the Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA on November 26, 1988 [db | LL], which was only its second appearance. Jerry took special care with the "stand up tall, pretend you're strong / in the hope that you can be" line, which really seemed to speak to him (and certainly makes the song for me). But certainly after 1989 the song could just be a dud notwithstanding which Garcia kept playing it (all the way into 1994), bless his heart. The version from March 2, 1990 is sounds just like the one (!) the one that ended up on the double-live 1991 Jerry Garcia Band.

Tears Of Rage (Lyrics: Bob Dylan, Richard Manuel; Music: Bob Dylan, Richard Manuel). This is only the 3rd of 12 JGB versions. Oh my goodness, what a fantastic cover this was for Jerry. He delivered some gut-wrenchingly good versions of this lament, the best of which, from August 5, 1990 at the Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (TJS) was selected for the outtakes of the Garcia Plays Dylan release. deaddisc URL

Think (Lyrics: Jimmy McKracklin, Don Robey (note: often credited to McCracklin and Deadric Malone, which was the pseudonym Don Robey often wrote under); Music: Jimmy McKracklin, Don Robey)

My Sisters And Brothers (Lyrics: Charles Johnson; Music: Charles Johnson)

Tangled Up In Blue (Lyrics: Bob Dylan; Music: Bob Dylan)


REFERENCES
Arnold, Corry. 1986. Bob Dylan Approximately. Golden Road no. xx (Summer): 34. Songs discussed: "She Belongs To Me", "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry", "When I Paint My Masterpiece", "Positively 4th Street", "The Wicked Messenger", "Tough Mama", "Going, Going Gone", "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", "Simple Twist Of Fate","Tangled Up In Blue", "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues", "The Mighty Quinn", "Visions Of Johanna", "Desolation Row", "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".
Jackson

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Cities Burn and The Show Goes On: JGB at the Warfield, April 30, 1992

jg1992-04-30.jgb.all.aud-vasseur.141475.flac1644

On April 30, 1992, as on other Thursdays before, at least a couple American cities were in flames as protests over racial injustice turned violent and disorderly in the aftermath of a Simi Valley jury's acquittal of four LAPD officers accused in the March 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King.

The Garcia Band played the Warfield, part of an extraordinary run of 11 Jerry appearances there with three different bands in 13 days: JGB April 29-May 3, Bob Dylan on May 5th, and Garcia-Grisman from the 7th to the 11th. Selvin provided some context:
With looters and police clashing on the street outside the theater, for the Jerry Garcia Band at the Warfield Thursday night it was business as usual. Background vocalist Gloria Jones traveled from her East Bay home on BART and, with Market Street stations closed, was forced to exit on 16th Street and take a bus back downtown, barely making it before show time.
An attendee posting at JGC remembers, too:
Riot police surrounded the theatre and there were reports of gunshots in the streets. An announcement was made from the stage warning patrons not to leave the theatre.
As Selvin titled his piece, "The Show Goes On."

I have historically thought that 1992 was absolutely the worst, most boring and useless year for the JGB. I remember *hating* 2/7/92 at one time, despite a luscious Marcus Buick tape. I might still think the year is the most boring, but it's not all bad. 8/1/92 pleasantly surprised me. On a first listen, this 4/30/92 didn't move me much, but then I revisited it and I found plenty to like. As has been the case lately, I find myself especially fond of the second set. My bottom line note reads as follows:
Garcia sounds tired, but he probably *was* tired. After his August collapse, he described his state earlier in the year: "I wasn't ill. There was no pain. I just had zero energy. I was always tired. I'd always been able to get through a concert, but now it was getting hard. I hadn't realized how run-down I'd got" (Carroll 1992). As was often the case for late era Jerry, weariness suits the material pretty well. This isn't one you'd give to a newbie to turn them on to JGB, but aficionados may just be able to appreciate the OG perspective is really setting in at this point. The segment that goes R&C, Gomorrah, DLG and The Maker is quite excellent. First listen DLG didn't kill me, but this time I found it to be very strong.
There are a few songs at interesting points in their lives: last "Throw Out the Lifeline" (with a spotty performance history note"), penultimate "Let's Spend The Night Together" (5/2/92 the last, IIRC), newly arriving, the third "Maker", which would become a late-era favorite. I also note Our Hero playing some slide in "Gomorrah", which I don't recall having heard before, which is not to say it wasn't always there.

Anyone got a ticket stub for this one?

Anyway, not bad, old timer. Not bad. Listening notes after the jump.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Which Side Are You On?



I got a few hours at the San Francisco State University Labor Archives and Research Center to see if the haystack would yield any needles about ol' Joe Garcia, recalling that Jerry had said his pops had had some hassle with the musicians' union.

What we think we know


Blair narrates that in April 1937 Ruth became pregnant, and "around this time an incident occurred that forced Joe Garcia to quit playing music professionally".[i]

Jerry's aunt Leonor recalled:

He'd been out of work for a little while, and then he was offered a good job: There was a big, new nightclub being opened in San Francisco out at the beach [perhaps the Nut Club], and they asked him if he and his orchestra would like to play, and of course that was a big break, so he said sure. They told him they wanted to put him on the radio to show people what a great orchestra he had, but they told him, 'We won't pay you the first time you play; we just want to see how it turns out.' Joe was very ignorant about this kind of stuff and they did play for the radio for free and then when the club opened they played there for free the first time, too. When the musicians' union found out he'd played for free they suspended him for six months and fined him something like $1,500, which was a lot of money in those days. Joe was shocked. He didn't know he had done anything wrong. So he said, 'To hell with this,' and he quit playing.[ii]

What I found

At the meeting of the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Musicians Local 6 in San Francisco of October 17, 1933, Joe Garcia appeared "for questioning re activities before making application to join organization." The Board would "accept Garcia as member if information is without foundation" and concurred "in action of officers in permitting him to accept engagement at Dugout pending" his appearance.[iii]

A week later, the Board took up Joe's membership application. Garcia "admits answering questions on application falsely … explains his activities since in this jurisdiction and that he worked at Bagdad Ballroom while on National Unfair List … Admits membership in Los Angeles Local." The Board's "Secretary reads letter from Los Angeles Local [no. 47] advising that Garcia was dropped from their rolls for non-payment of dues, etc. Board rules Garcia must straighten his accounts with Los Angeles Local, and instructs Secretary to return down payment on admission fee, advise Los Angeles Local of his activities and that Garcia must be taken from job at Dug-Out."[iv]

At a special meeting two days later, the Board discussed Garcia's membership. It first read a telegram from local no. 47 (L.A.) indicating a $50 fee plus dues owed from his Bagdad Ballroom gigs. So the Board agreed to "accept Garcia as a new member on payment of $23 due Los Angeles Local, $50 Federation fine and $50 added $50 initiation fee, a total of $123 cash", and dropped its objection to him gigging at the Dugout.[v] As of the November 7, 1933 meeting he was recognized as a member.[vi]

The next reference I found to Joe Garcia was when he was dropped from the rolls around September 30, 1943.

Interpretation

I am not quite sure how to square these various things. I am about 99.9% sure the Joe Garcia being discussed in 1933 is Jerry's dad - he is identified as a saxophonist and clarinetist, and Blair informs us that he spent some time in LA.  Beyond that, the evidence diverges from the existing account. The troubles started in 1933, not 1937. There's no evidence around the radio, a six month suspension, or a $1,500 fine, which is an order of magnitude higher than the $123 the papers say he was made to pay. What's more, while Leonor suggests that he up and quit, the evidence suggests that he kept his union membership for a decade after the initial hassle.

Memory is a fickle thing, and we call it family lore rather than family fact for a reason. Maybe I have the wrong Joe Garcia, especially leaving the union in 1943 - he could well have decided to bag the whole thing back in FDR's first term and gotten the bar going. There is almost certainly more to find in the union archives, for those who might be inclined to look. And, since my imaginary intrepid fellow researcher is already digging back into the haystack, perhaps they might look for evidence around Tillie Olsen, Jerry's grandmother who was active in the laundry workers' union and the CIO, or the sailor's union next to the Garcia family bar at 1st and Harrison. Always more to do!


[i] Jackson 1999, 6.
[ii] Jackson 1999, 6.
[iii] Musical News v. 16 n. 11 (November 1933), p. 12.
[iv] Musical News v. 16 n. 12 (December 1933), p. 5.
[v] Musical News v. 16 n. 12 (December 1933), p. 7.
[vi] Musical News v. 16 n. 12 (December 1933), p. 10.