Part of a series of back-of-the-napkin thoughts about the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival (GSCBF), held in San Rafael, CA from Friday, April 26th through Sunday, April 28, 1974.
I have mentioned that there are several flavors of soundboard tapes moving around in collectors' circles, and a few audience-recorded pieces as well. I will be working to build a narrative of the festival, using the following audio sources:
- 29-minute Tom Moran audience recording of GASB on 4/26/74 (shnid 99532)
- Tom Moran recordings of Maria Muldaur and Doc & Merle Watson sets from 4/26/74.
- 32-minute Tom Moran audience recording of "morning workshop session, 4/27/74"
- 4-CD set of "WB reels", with material dated 4/27 and 4/28/74; these are AKA the "soundman reels" in some circles.
- 6-CD set of "Debbie reels" with material dated 4/27 and 4/28/74
- 21-minute "OAITW 4/27/74 aud" recording (shnid 21525)
- 4-CD set with the lineage as follows: "SBD REEL > DAT > CDR (playback: Sony TC 765 reel > SBM1 > Sony D8 > Tascam CD-RW4U > Soundforge)", circulated from Jeff Korona to Mike Lai and from there via a now defunct FTP server called stellablue.etree.org.
- 1-CD set "John Hartford and Friends, 4/28/74" set, with this lineage: "Source: SBD: MR > DAT > Echo Mia > Cool Edit > CDWave > Philips CDRW804. Recieved as CDA audio. EAC > WAV > SHN (Gabriel Kuykendall)."
- 4-CD set circulated by Rob Berger from Jerry Moore's reel copies. Given lineage is as follows: "source: sbd reel, exact gen unknown (Jerry Moore's copy); lineage: reel playback on Sony TC-765 > sbm1 > dat > cdr > soundforge > cdr > eac > flac, transferred by Rob Berger '99". As of right now I believe (suspect, really, since I haven't had time to check) that the Korona/Lai set is derivative of this one. But we'll see.
I'll have more to say about the different tapes, as I learn more and as time permits. It is going to be a fun story to unravel.
As a set, these tapes embody an improbable amount of conflicting information about the dates of the various performances. I have no idea why this would be, but there you go. But I think I have figured a bunch of it out and will eventually have been able to piece together a maximally complete picture of which acts played when, what and with whom.
For now, just quick note on something I think I have figured out. I am about 99.9% sure that the 6CD set of "Debbie reels" is the last piece of the festival, from late afternoon to late night on Sunday, 4/28. In other words, even though the first four CDs are labeled as "4/27/74", I believe all six are from 4/28. This obviously means that the identical chunks from other sources will need to be relabeled.
There are lots of ways to arrive at this conclusion (or one really, really comprehensive way!). In general, the fit between the published schedule (not set in stone, I know!) and the Debbie reels is just way too high to be a coincidence. Here's the correspondence:
What's more, the recordings tie this all together as a piece. Here are a few data:
- Debbie reels confirm that Greenbriar Boys set is followed by Jimmy Martin.
- Jack Elliott was backstage for the GB set; his only scheduled appearance was on Sunday.
- Jimmy Martin was also only scheduled for Sunday.
- Jimmy Martin says he'll be back on later with the Dirt Band, also only scheduled for Sunday.
- The soundman reels have OAITW's encore, "Hobo Song", continuous across the statement "it's been a great festival" and the end of a tape. That OAITW would have closed the show, rather than the "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" reunion, is consistent with the conjecture in GSCBF2, that things became rather Garcia-centric as the festival developed.
All of the foregoing leads inexorably to this conclusion: the Debbie reels are more or less continuous tape (of performances, anyway) from Sunday, April 28, 1974, about 3 p.m. - 11 or whenever the festival came to a close.