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Sunday, September 19, 2010

OAITW: Homer's Warehouse, July 24, 1973


**This is an update to a post originally made 9/19/2010, now updated as of 12/28/2014**

In a first draft of this post, I used the occasion of a listen to an Old And In The Way set from Homer's Warehouse in Palo Alto from Tuesday, July 24, 1973 to drop a few crumbs. I have revisited the material (shnid-11861), and will repackage, a little, add a little, update based on this listen and synchronic read through the promoter's account (Bernstein 2013, 149-152).

First, how was this show structured?

The fileset said this was a complete show. This is also all of the material which Bernstein (2013, 152) lists for the evening, but he shows a setbreak before Lonesome L.A. Cowboy. I think this must be mistaken, for several reasons.

Reason 1: this tape runs continuously, including across the putative set divide (t06-t07); Reason 2: The DJ (note 1) says there will be another go 'round the bases with Asleep At the Wheel and "Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way", and that stuff's not here; Reason 3: Vintage 1973 Garcia would never inhabit a set structure that would give him two cracks at 53 minutes – it would be a decade before he'd inflict that kind of "cabaret economics" on his own fans.[1] Reason 4: ear- and eye-witnesses. Corry, who listened to the show from home, says "I'm certain the broadcast was early in the evening. … I think part of the reason for the broadcast would have been to encourage people in the listening area (all near Homer's Warehouse) to come on over. I'm sure Asleep At The Wheel and OAITW played another set, as it was not a midnight broadcast." cryptdev: "I listened to and taped this show and Corry is absolutely correct. Two sets for each band, and KZSC only broadcast the first sets by AATW and OIITW, respectively". Attendee Anonymous: AATW was the 9pmish opener at one show. Then OAITW came on, played 'til the wee hours (1-2 am) … I know they took two breaks, as we gathered outside for warming ceremonies".[2]

I am prepared to call it on that basis. This appears to have been one continuous evening of music, running 1) Asleep At The Wheel, 2) Old And In The Way, 3) AATW, 4) OAITW, the first two of which were broadcast and the second of which is represented on shnid-11861. (Who has a copy of the AATW set, BTW?) What we have on the tape is piece #2 from the evening. Eyewitness Anonymous says things kicked off around 9 PM and stretched into the wee hours. If we assume that AATW played an hour, this set is starting at maybe 10:30 and going until midnight. And then it'd be AATW and OAITW another time 'round the bases. Nice.

It appears that this was only ticketed once, which would have been very much out of pattern for Homer's (or the Inn, or the Share) in this kind of situation. The first thought in the minds of these club proprietors is always that they can turn the house when Garcia's billed. Corry suggests it's soliciting traffic to the venue itself– a certain number of people within earshot may well have put on their sneakers and got on down to the club, later this same night or some other night. (The DJ does not make it sound very inviting in note 1 – sounds like it's already packed!) Whatever, it's a rather distinctive setup, for sure, with Asleep At The Wheel, Hell's Angels around, FM broadcast, and of course the legendary Vassar Clements, rightfully at the center of much of the interest and energy around these shows.[3] The promoter: "we had managed to choreograph a pretty sophisticated little production, bringing together a diverse group of people who spanned Tennessee [sic: Florida] (Vassar), West Virginia (Benson), and planets as yet undiscovered (the Dead family)" (Bernstein 2013, 149-150).

Second: "The Burden of Being Jerry" (Gans and Greenfield 1996)

No biggie, but it seems clear that Jerry would not have wanted the band called "Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way". The DJs may not know much about this stuff (one of Corry's points in comments), but in any case I find it noteworthy that this is seen and discussed as a Jerry Garcia thing. Which it is, of course, but sort of shouldn't be, in a way. If you follow me. Better it should be a Vassar thing, or a Grisman or a Rowan thing.

Third: Jerry's Fans and Unamplified Music

After "Eating Out of Your Hand", at note 4, Grisman asks the crowd to refrain from clapping along, since it made it hard for the band members to hear themselves (unamplified instruments and all that). This is consistent with the view that the "Garcia" audience needed to be educated/acculturated into bluegrass. It probably didn't make things better that the clapping seemed to be dreadfully off-time, but in any case this is an interesting (if tiny) instance of the encounter between hippies and the bluegrass world, about which I'll have more to say at some point.

In comments, LIA draws our attention to Garcia's own discussion of the issue, in 1976: "We ran into a really weird problem in terms of dynamics which was that bluegrass music is like chamber music: it’s very quiet. And if the audience got at all enthusiastic during the tune and started clapping or something, it would drown out the band and we couldn’t hear each other" (Relix).

It's no big deal, but I thought it was worth noting a specific instance of the phenomenon.

Fourth: A Note on Asleep At the Wheel

Ray Benson had great respect for Jerry Garcia and wanted to play on a show with him before The Wheel left the Bay Area for good. Jerry's blue grass fans and the Wheel fans would love that, so we dropped the idea on Sam Cutler, who said he would get back to us. Sam also told us there would be a new musician with Old and in the Way. Vassar Clements, the most respected blue grass fiddler alive, had joined the band. In a few weeks, he would be making sawdust on our stage. The next morning, we got a call back from Sam that Jerry was okay with The Wheel opening the show. "Jerry's only request of them," he said, "is please don't blow the audience into center field with volume." When I called Benson to tell him the deal was on, he flipped. (Bernstein 2013, 149).

Fifth: The Performance

Meh. After listening to this again, I am underwhelmed. It's possible things are running slow, and/or that we're not picking up some of the instrumentation because of the technical challenges posed by sound (re-)production, which can be considerable. I had high hopes early on when Jerry takes a nice turn, but he doesn't knock me out this night overall, and rather the contrary. Things sound a little disjointed, almost fall apart a few times. This band needs more gigs! (I seem noncommittal about overall performance quality in my analysis of the 7/21/73 gig in Berkeley.)

More detail, references, etc. below the fold.

Old And In The Way
Homer's Warehouse
79 Homer Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
July 24, 1973 (Tuesday) – 9 PM
54 min s1 FM shnid-11861 shn2flac

--part 2 of 4: OAITW, set I (12 tracks, 53:33)--
t01. talk (1) and tuning [1:59], Billy In The Low Ground [2:13] [0:10]
t02. [0:12] Going To The Races [3:09] (2) [0:19]
t03. (3) [0:46] Catfish John [3:54] [0:13]
t04. [0:37] A Good Woman's Love [4:48] [0:29]
t05. radio talk [1:35], Lonesome Fiddle Blues [3:34] [0:10]
t06. station ID, talk [0:45], Eating Out Of Your Hand [3:06] [0:14]
t07. stage talk (4) [0:48], Lonesome L.A. Cowboy [4:27] ( 5) [0:06]
t08. Hobo Song [5:30] [0:08]
t09. tuning [0:10], Pig In A Pen [2:48] [0:33]
t10. (6) [0:32] Panama Red [2:17] [0:27]
t11. (7) [0:35] Working On A Building [3:23] [0:12]
t12. [0:03] Hard Hearted [2:47] (8, 9) [0:33]

! ACT1: Old And In The Way
! lineup: Vassar Clements - fiddle;
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - banjo, vocals;
! lineup: David Grisman - mandolin, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: Peter Rowan - guitar, 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.
! ref: Bernstein 2013, 149-152.
! map: https://goo.gl/maps/vR7s7 -- this gives roughly the coordinates for where Homer's Warehouse was located, 37°26'26.1"N 122°09'38.7"W (37.440569, -122.160751). Thanks to Corry for spatial help.
! R: source: FM MSR > D > CD > shn, shnid-11861; shn2flac jgmf 9/9/2010.
! metadata:
shnid-11861 had this as a complete show, but that's not right – it's a complete OAITW set, in an evening structured 1) Asleep At The Wheel, 2) Old And In The Way, 3) AATW, 4) OAITW.[4] This is part #2 in the sequence, the first OAITW set. Eyewitness says things kicked off around 9 PM and stretched into the wee hours. If we assume that AATW played an hour, this set is starting at maybe 10:30 and going until midnight. And then it'd be AATW and OAITW another time 'round the bases. Nice.
It appears that this was only ticketed once, which would have been very much out of pattern for Homer's (or the Inn, or the Share) in this kind of situation. The first thought in the minds of these club proprietors is always that they can turn the house when Garcia's billed. Corry suggests it's soliciting traffic to the venue itself– a certain number of people within earshot may well have put on their sneakers and got on down to the club, later this same night or some other night. Whatever, it's a rather distinctive setup, for sure, with Asleep At The Wheel, Hell's Angels around, FM broadcast, and of course the legendary Vassar Clements, rightfully at the center of much of the interest and energy around these shows.[5]
Anyway, as of now the evidence suggests it was a single ticket, four pretty tight sets. I wonder how much they charged? And, nice show: Bernstein: "we had managed to choreograph a pretty sophisticated little production, bringing together a diverse group of people who spanned Tennessee [sic: Florida] (Vassar), West Virginia (Benson), and planets as yet undiscovered (the Dead family). Lobster, Mike Lopez, and his guys needed a few days to once again turn the Purple Room into a broadcasting and recording studio. By Friday afternoon, the dressing room was toast, with cables once again running in and out of the warehouse walls" (Bernstein 2013, 149-150).
! R: The given lineage is "FM MSR > D > CD." I think the original is probably what I'd rather refer to as an MFR, a reel recording of the over-air KZSU broadcast. Bernstein narrates a little the whole broadcast setup. There is some audience micing going on, clearly audible between songs and as the songs end, less so during the songs themselves. There is lots of audience/DJ chatter. There are a few drops and snits but I didn't note the track times. The original shns (snid-11861) are non-seekable.
! t01 (1) radio talk: "OK, we got the stage – we got the stage up, Cory?" Someone says "This is it. This is Old And In The Way." First guy: "Yeah, Old And In The Way – Jerry Garcia". A bit later, around 1:11: "I tell you what – pieces – we've got Jerry Garcia is playing banjo, as far as I can see from here, which is *way back* - what? [stage announcement happening] And there's a fiddle, and a guitar, and there's a bass … I can't really see from here. This place is so crowded that, uh, if you wanted to sit down you'd be in big trouble. Looks like they're just about ready to go. I might also tell you that after this set there's gonna be a whole 'nother set with Asleep At The Wheel and Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way. So … Homer's Warehouse'll still be cooking after we go off, after this set."
! P: t02 GTR Jerry takes a totally respectable run-around, Grisman sounds good, band is getting warmed up.
! t02 (2) crowd wants it louder.
! t03 (3) monitor and sound fiddling.
! P: t05 LSF feeling a little sluggish, which it should not! Check speed of recording. Garcia's run 3:59ish is not very impressive.
! P: t06 @ 1:58 things are absolutely fallen apart. Need some rhythm. Not together. Now some PA problems.
! t07 (4) Grisman asks the crowd to stop clapping along, since it makes it hard for them to hear with their non-amplified instruments. This is consistent with the view that the "Garcia" audience needed to be educated/acculturated into bluegrass. It probably didn't make things better that the clapping seemed to be dreadfully off-time. ! JGMF: URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2010/09/oaitw-homers-warehouse-july-24-1973.html At some point JG: "You tell 'em, Dave."
! P: t07 pretty weak all around – this is pretty shambolic. Garcia's late 2 solo not good.
! setlist: Bernstein identifies a setbreak after EOOYH and before LLAC, but I am not so sure. The talk starting t07 feels pretty continuous between the two songs.
! t07 (5) DJ station identification: "You're listening to Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way live //se on KZSU, Stanford."
! t10 (6) @ 0:19 DJ chatter: "Paul, are you down there?" @ 0:26, same guy: "Cory, this is Carl." Reply: "Yeah, Carl, this is Lobster. What's up, Carl?" 0:32 "I was just listening to you, it sounds real fun" // band starts in on "Panama Red".
! t11 (7) DJ/station talk calling Carl Schroeder – OK Paul, I'm back .. we switched the tapes and got the tapes rolling by the way. "Tons of fun."
! t12 (8) JG: "See ya later on."
! t12 (9) DJ talk, stage announcement "Jerry Garcia/Old And In The Way".
! P: Overall: After listening to this again, I am underwhelmed. It's possible things are running slow, and/or that we're not picking up some of the instrumentation because of the technical challenges posed by sound (re-)production, which can be considerable. I had high hopes early on when Jerry takes a nice turn, but he doesn't knock me out this night overall, and rather the contrary. Things sound a little disjointed, almost fall apart a few times. This band needs more gigs! (I seem noncommittal about overall performance quality in my analysis of the 7/21/73 gig in Berkeley.)

REFERENCES
! ref: Bernstein, Andrew J. 2013. California Slim: The Music, the Magic, and the Madness. Xlibris LLC.
! ref: Gans, David, and Robert Greenfield. 1996. The Burden of Being Jerry. San Francisco Focus (November), no further publication details. Republished online at URL http://www.levity.com/gans/SFFocus.html, accessed 4/22/2012.
! seealso: "LN jg1973-07-21.oaitw.b-live-all.sbd-PNW.113845.flac1644," URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2011/06/ln-jg1973-07-21oaitwb-live-allsbd.html.


[1] See my "Cabaret Economics", http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/05/cabaret-economics.html. The Garcia show which most nearly falls foul of the Liza Minelli (45 minute) line is 5/31/85. See my "Bullshit! Bullshit! Reprise", http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2014/04/bullshit-bullshit-reprise-ln-jg1985-05.html.
[2] Note this last piece could be construed as contra my proposal, which implies at least three breaks. There is enough ambiguity in these terms that I am not too worried about this actually reflecting something different from what the other eyewitnesses propose.
[3] See my discussion of Vassar's Bay Area arrival at http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2011/06/ln-jg1973-07-21oaitwb-live-allsbd.html.
[4] Corry: " I'm pretty sure I actually heard it broadcast on the radio. I was 15 at the time. KZSU-fm was the Stanford radio station, 10 whole watts, not even audible in all parts of Palo Alto. But it was audible at my house, so I used to listen to it when I wasn't listening to KSAN. I'm not sure how I knew about this broadcast, but I listened to KZSU all the time, so I must have heard about it in advance"; cryptdev: "I listened to and taped this show and Corry is absolutely correct. Two sets for each band, and KZSC only broadcast the first sets by AATW and OIITW, respectively".
[5] See my discussion of Vassar's Bay Area arrival at http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2011/06/ln-jg1973-07-21oaitwb-live-allsbd.html.

17 comments:

  1. I may have some insight into this show, because I'm pretty sure I actually heard it broadcast on the radio. I was 15 at the time. KZSU-fm was the Stanford radio station, 10 whole watts, not even audible in all parts of Palo Alto. But it was audible at my house, so I used to listen to it when I wasn't listening to KSAN. I'm not sure how I knew about this broadcast, but I listened to KZSU all the time, so I must have heard about it in advance.

    The other thing I recall is that it was actually in Palo Alto. I could have walked to Homer's Warehouse, if my parents would have let me (nein), not that I could have gotten in. So I remember sitting in my room listening to Jerry playing within walking distance of my house, happy that he was on the radio but feeling distinctly left out.

    Of course I had never consciously heard bluegrass before. I was totally mystified. I remember the song "Lonesome LA Cowboy," and I remember recognizing it when it came out on Panama Red later in the year.

    I'm certain the broadcast was early in the evening. The economics of KZSU were mystifying (Stanford has money, so they got to do certain things), so I think the broadcast was to publicize Homer's Warehouse. I think part of the reason for the broadcast would have been to encourage people in the listening area (all near Homer's Warehouse) to come on over. I'm sure Asleep At The Wheel and OAITW played another set, as it was not a midnight broadcast.

    The DJ would have been some 22 year old college kid, so he wouldn't have had a clue about anybody in the band other than Jerry Garcia, and possibly not even that (ever wonder why the second set of 12-23-77 was never broadcast? I know the story, but the Comment is too long)

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    1. Corry says KZSU. Cryptdev below says KZSC. Can I get a ruling? Same thing? Both?

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    2. I had never thought of this before, but the correct answer is probably "both." If you can have one connection, you can have two. This opens the door to thinking about other joint KZSC/KZSU broadcasts...

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  2. KZSU used to broadcast a lot of shows from Palo Alto, mostly from Keystone Palo Alto. The shows were never publicized unless you listened to KZSU. I think it was to give KZSU staff a chance to broadcast shows like a "real" radio station.

    I assume the Keystone went for it because everybody who could hear KZSU could go to the Keystone, but it still didn't entirely make a lot of sense. Normal FM broadcasts were sponsored by the record company (if the Dead were broadcast, Warner Brothers would purchase a night's worth of advertising from the FM station), but I don't know what happened transactionally at Stanford.

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    1. I have since learned that live KZSU broadcasts go back as far as 1969, when they would broadcast shows from The Poppycock. The Poppycock was at 135 University, a short walk to Homer's Warehouse if you cut across the train tracks. KZSU even apparently broadcast Creedence Clearwater Revival from the Poppycock once, back in '69. No tapes have survived that I know of.

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  3. I was struck by Grisman asking the audience not to clap along, because Garcia referred to this very thing in a 1976 interview!

    http://www.relix.com/features/2010/05/25/the-grateful-dead-revisited-a-1976-interview-with-jerry-garcia

    Garcia has a bunch of interesting things to say (about the GD movie, the hiatus, his new record & the upcoming tour) - it turns out the interviewer was a big fan of Old & In The Way, so he gets Garcia talking about that band a bit. He asks why the band didn't tour that much, and Garcia has an odd answer:
    "We ran into a really weird problem in terms of dynamics which was that bluegrass music is like chamber music: it’s very quiet. And if the audience got at all enthusiastic during the tune and started clapping or something, it would drown out the band and we couldn’t hear each other."

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  4. I have been in contact with an eyewitness who recalls

    "Hmmmmm, AATW was the 9pmish opener at one show....Then OAITW came on, Played
    til the wee hrs.(1-2am) Know they took 2 breaks, as we gathered outside for
    warming ceremonies....."

    Jeez...I could have told my mom that I needed to walk the dog, and walked over and hung out and "gotten warm."

    In any case, this means that the broadcast set was only the first one, with two more to follow.

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    1. Corry, your informant makes it sound like this was four sets on a single ticket. Is that right, or did they turn the house? I will check Bernstein's account, too.

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    2. My informant was friends with Pigpen's little brother, Kevin McKernan. Kevin and he were invited to the show, and hung out with Jerry, which is why they got to "get warm" with him between sets. I doubt either paid, and in any case I doubt either were 21.

      On the other hand, it's important to remember that Homer's Warehouse was primarily in the business of selling beer. If you turn the house, you turn out your biggest beer drinkers right when they want to drink the most beer. For a show with Jerry Garcia, you want his fan base to come early and stay all night, pounding Coors as they go.

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  5. I listened to and taped this show and Corry is absolutely correct. Two sets for each band, and KZSC only broadcast the first sets by AATW and OIITW, respectively. It was clear from the DJ's comments that they were probably not well schooled in bluegrass.

    Homer's Warehouse was indeed in Palo Alto, on the continuation of Homer St. west of the railroad tracks. I went there to check out the site earlier this year and the building is long gone, swallowed up by the Palo Alto Medical Center

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  6. I remember going to see the Dead play & OAITW opened the show. I remember either Rowan or Garcia requesting that the audience not clap during the songs; it was a rowdy crowd. I think that it was the first time that I heard Bluegrass. The harmony singing was beautiful. They played "Wild Horses" which got a lot of applaused & they played the instrumental called "Jerry's Breakdown".

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  7. stix, I don't know of OAITW opening for GD, unless I am forgetting something. You sure about it?

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  8. Stix do you recall what city or venue the GD/OAITW show might have been?

    I'm not aware of OAITW opening for the Grateful Dead either, but I'm not ruling it out. The most likely date would seem to be Santa Barbara on May 20, 1973. GD and NRPS were on the poster, but whose to say that OAITW didn't play an opening set? There are a lot of shows in the 1972-73 period that are treated as "settled fact" that have many more unexplored ambiguities. I just did some casual research on 5/20/73 and most of the eyewitness accounts of the show involve sunburn and pretty Santa Barbara girls. A noon set by OAITW might have gone unnoticed.

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  9. I don't recall us ever thinking about OAITW in the context of the "An Evening With" show format, but that's sort of what that 5/20/73 would have been like, were it to have happened. 5/25/74, the next year, had GASB with Jerry on banjo opening for the GD (as well as Maria Muldaur, of course), and I have occasionally thought of it in a sort of "An Evening With" idiom.

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  10. OIITW did not play at the 5/20/73 show, but of course the Great American String Band (with Garcia on Board) did open for the Dead and Maria Muldaur in 1974.

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  11. I was one of the lucky few who was present at the OAITW set that night at Homer's. I was a Stanford student who played music and wanted to hear Jerry. What I recall was the incredible performance by Vassar Clements that had both Jerry and David Grisman staring in amazement. His playing of the fiddle is legendary and his range of styles and improvisational abilities unparalleled. It was very special because of the intimate atmosphere (couldn't squeeze 100 people into that place) and the interplay between the musicians. A far cry from where we have come nowadays, and a memory to cherish.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anonymous. Yeah, Vassar was rightly revered by these young fellers. Must have been a great privilege for them to play with him.

    Did you ever see any other shows at Homer's?

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