Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Where was Garcia on July 4, 1973?

I don't really know. I have him with the GD at the Universal Ampitheatre in Universal City, CA on June 29 - July 1, and then at the Lion's Share on July 5 with Merl.

July 4 was a Wednesday, but Garcia seemed like a vaguely patriotic guy (in a U.S. Blues sort of way!) who might want to gig on the 4th.

Now consider the following two scans:

According to a May 1973 ad in Bluegrass Unlimited, Old and in the Way and "Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)" were listed as scheduled to appear at the 1st Annual Pennsylvania Old Time Mountain-Country Gospel-Bluegrass & Blues Folk Music Arts Festival. I'll call that the 1APOTMCGBBFMAF for short. Based on fliers held in the archives of the Southern Folklife Collection Festival Files at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Folder #506), this seems to have been held in Valley View Park, York, PA ("off I-83").

Now, this scan is from the next month's issue of the same magazine. It no longer lists Garcia (Don Reno and Bill Harrell have been subbed in), but it does list Old and in the Way for the 4th. Vassar Clements is also billed for that day (with Doug Dillard), as he had been the month previous.

There are two fliers in the SFC collection, both undated. One lists "Jerry Garcia from Grateful Dead" (underneath "Peter Rowan from Seatrain" -- think they were trying to appeal to the youth/rock audience?). The other does not, and makes no mention of OAITW, either.

Someone who was involved in the bluegrass festival scene at this time says that he doesn't remember seeing Garcia at this 4th of July festival. Combined with the printed materials, this seems to suggest that OAITW/Jerry were originally scheduled to play, or at least discussions were happening, but it didn't come to fruition.

This still leaves open the question of what Jerry was doing on Independence Day 1973, but I do doubt that he attended the 1APOTMCGBBFMAF.

The summer of 1973 bluegrass festival scene certainly warrants a post on its own.


  1. I had not considered the possibility that Old And In The Way played without Garcia, but in fact it makes perfect sense. Bluegrass ensembles are more like jazz groups, and substitutes are common.

    If OAITW needed a banjo player, since everyone knows "Pig In A Pen" and "Long Journey Home," all they would have to do is teach the guy "Land Of The Navajo." Since everybody played acoustic, there was no problem rehearsing in the parking lot.

    You know the Muleskinner album? That is parallel to OAITW, and they played a week at the Ash Grove and opened for Doc Watson at Santa Barbara, possibly under the name Old And In The Way. Maybe Grisman and Rowan had a fair number of gigs, and if Jerry was there he played.

    Great American String Band seemed to work the same way. If Jerry was there, he was in the band, and if not, not. Maybe OAITW played a lot more shows than we realize, possibly under different names, but Jerry was only present for a few of them.

    OATIW research has an inevitable element of Garciacentricity (it would probably sound better in Deutsch), which I am responsible for as much as anyone. But in fact the scope of the group may have been much broader, and may have been more of a blueprint for GASB than we realized.

  2. I agree that they could well have played without Jerry. When I look through those ads, I also tend to look to see where Vassar was and if he and any of the others are on the same festival billing.

    The Muleskinner - OAITW - GAM/SB connections are many, varied, important and only dimly perceived. Unraveling all of that is a key goal of mine.

    Some dates on the Muleskinner gigs would be good. Richard Greene's datebook says that he was at the Granada Theater in Santa Barbara on 4/12/73. I assumed that was OAITW (though he was playing with other folks at that time, too) and have that show listed. We need someone in Santa Barbara to poke around the newspapers to see what can be found.

  3. Supposedly "Muleskinner" opened for Doc Watson in Santa Barbara. Couldn't that have been at the El Granada Theater? That doesn't say one way or the other if Jerry might have played.

    Of course, it would have been fitting if Jerry played with Clarence White one last time, but I don't think it ever happened. I think Jerry attended a Byrds show in May 1970 (Ash Grove), but I don't think it was more than a hello.

  4. Looking at the Garcia books, it seems like O&ITW was a Garcia-centric project that circled around his schedule...but then, of course they'd give that impression.

    Take out Garcia, and what do you have? An incomplete Muleskinner.

    Are there, in fact, any known dates at all where O&ITW played without Garcia?
    Considering these fellows had other bands to work with, perhaps the "O&ITW" name was only used when Garcia was present. In that case, as Corry suggests, the other guys could show up somewhere without Garcia, or with a substitute, and play without us being the wiser.

    By the way, I do wonder if Garcia did play some bluegrass with Clarence White in '73. Any info on that? With the Byrds ending, White rejoining the Kentucky Colonels that year, and playing in Muleskinner at the same time O&ITW was going on, it seems like it SHOULD have happened, and I think Jerry would've jumped at the chance. But I haven't read a word about any meeting.
    By the way, I have to think Jerry said more than "hello" when he attended that Ash Grove '70 Byrds show. Considering he & Clarence went back years.

  5. I was at this festival. Didn't see Garcia or even hear it suggested that he was supposed to be there. Interestingly B.B. King is not listed but he did play. Pulled up to the little wooden stage in his big tour bus. I spoke with Doug Dillard and, if I recall correctly, saw Vassar Clements on stage.

  6. Thank you very much for sharing your recollections.

    All told I think this is a case of a gig that was discussed at some level but never materialized.

    I eventually hope to have a lot to say about OAITW and the summer '73 bluegrass festival circuit. I think there were plans (again, "at some level") for OAITW to play all summer, but I think those plans got nixed, which is why they only played a couple of shows. And the reasons for and circumstances around that "nixing" are almost certainly noteworthy. We may never know, but it'd be fun to try!

  7. lil' more on Clarence White:


    "Clarence) was the first guy to get a lot of mileage out of the StringBender. But, he also played fingerstyle cross-picking, which was a big departure for him because he was a flatpicker on the acoustic. He played almost like a bluegrass banjo player on the electric guitar. He also took advantage of the light setup and the Telecaster snarl to get a kind of nasty, biting sound."
    --Jerry Garcia to Rick Petreysik, "Echoes of a Country Rock Legend," Guitar Player, September 1992, pp. 81-82

    Garcia's perceptive analysis reveals one of the amazing truths about Clarence White's development as a guitarist. Between 1963-70, he mastered THREE separate kinds of guitar playing. He revolutionized acoustic flatpicking with the Kentucky Colonels (1963-64), transitioned to Telecaster and created a unique, heavily-syncopated style that effortlessly combined country and rock (1966-67), and then mastered the StringBender (1969-70), which produced a more fluid, steel guitar sound that combined country and rock, but in a markedly different way. This three-headed genius is wholly represented on Untitled, where even Clarence's acoustic takes center stage. This is especially true of the 2000 reissue, with its fancy extra disc of live and studio recordings.

    "One night we were playing the Whisky, and when we were in the dressing room this really well-dressed black man wearing a hat with a feather in it walks in and says to Clarence, 'Are you Clarence White?' And Clarence says, 'Yeah." And the fellow adds, 'Well, I really love the way you play guitar. I've been listening to you for years and you're one of my favorite players.' So Clarence says, 'Wow. Thanks a lot. What did you say your name was?' The fellow says, 'I'm Jimi Hendrix.'"
    --Gene Parsons to Rick Petreysik, "Echoes of a Country Rock Legend," Guitar Player, September 1992, p. 84

  8. The late Jerry Garcia of the supergroup The Grateful Dead commented at one time in Guitar Player magazine, "Clarence was important in my life both as a friend and a player. He brought a kind of swing-a rhythmic openess-to bluegrass, and a unique syncopation. His feel has been incorporated by a lot of other players, but nobody has ever quite gotten the open quality of his rhythm. Clarence had a wonderful control over the guitar. He's the first guy I heard who knocked me out."
    (Country Music:The Encyclopedia,stabler,irwin,p.231

  9. So um, do we know where Jerry was on July 4 1973?


!Thank you for joining the conversation!