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Friday, November 26, 2010

Listening Notes: JGMS, Wednesday, November 2, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley (Robert Castelli MAC)

Update 12/27/2012: I have pretty much concluded that this is, indeed, Paul Humphrey drumming.

The Mouth of the Beast crowd, led by the inimitable Bob Menke, recently dropped Robert Castelli's master audience cassette recording of November 2, 1974 on an unsuspecting world. I foreshadowed this a little bit in a previous post. I have a few observations, and then reproduce my listening notes below.

  1. The tape is listenable. I am sure the MOTB folks did incredible work with it. Thank you, gentlemen!
  2. The show is pretty darn sloppy. Hate to bring it up, but anyone know anything specific about Merl's history with substances? Some of these Keystone tapes have a real heroin vibe to them.
  3. Fierro plays maracas or the twisty rhythm instrument at turns when he's not blowing. He sounds like he's having fun, but it makes me want to fling myself off the nearest tall building.
  4. The drummer has a very busy style. I tend not to listen/hear for this sort of thing, but I want to compare with the previous show (10/31) and the east coast shows that would follow to check for stylistic differences. The standard (linear) history of the drummers would tell us this is Paul Humphrey, but I think we are learning that even at this point, it could have been anyone on any given night. That said, with the east coast tour starting on the 5th, I'd guess they're warming up Humphrey.

Anyway, notes below.

MOTB Release: 0158 16/44.1
Release Date: 2010-11-03
Band: Jerry Garcia Band
Date: 1974-11-02 (Saturday) [Note: was given as Wednesday]
Venue: Keystone
Location: Berkley, CA
Analog Audience Source: FOB Master Cassettes (MAC)
Medium Stock Brands: MAC = 2 x Maxell UD C-90
Analog Lineage: 1 x Sony ECM 270 >> Sony TC 110 >> MAC
Analog Sound Preservation: MAC >> Nakamichi CR7a => Korg MR-1000 >> DSF [1-bit 5.6448 MHz Stereo] >> Korg MR-1000 => Korg AudioGate >> WAV [24/96]
Taped By: Robert Castelli
Transfer By: Bob Menke
Mastering By: Derek McCabe

--set I (6 tracks, 63:24)--
d1t01: /Neighbor, Neighbor [10:#24] [0:10] %
d1t02: [0:23] Valdez In The Country// [10:40]#
d1t03: Freedom Jazz Dance [10:46] [0:13]
d1t04: % Tough Mama [9:30] [0:04] %
d1t05: [0:33] You Can Leave Your Hat On [11:25] [0:09]
d1t06: % That's A Touch I Like [9:02] (1) [0:05]

--set II (6 tracks, 84:59)--
d2t01: Wondering Why [20:52] ->
d2t02: People Make The World Go Round [3:35] [0:14]
d2t03: % Mystery Train [13:47] [0:03]
d2t04: % /It's Too Late [12:#06] [0:07]
d2t05: Favela [19:24]
d2t06: % /Boogie On Reggae Woman// % [#14:51]

! Band: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! Lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals;
! Lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone, flute;
! Lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! Lineup: Paul Humphrey - drums.

! 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.
! TJS:
! db: (this fileset, 16/44); (this fileset, 24/96).
! R: Seed Notes: There are many areas where the mics get overloaded and the sound gets distorted.
! d1t01 NN enters a few notes in
! d1t02 VITC: it takes Merl about 40 seconds to come in with his introductory keyboard part. Needs to tighten up a little bit, though the drummer is a monster. Or is the drummer just ... busy?
! re band name:  "I believe Robert Castelli's mac was labeled as JGB, thus the show title." [jpc3 post to LL, 11/05/10, 04:33:51,
! Bassist is unconfirmed, but seems almost certainly to have been Kahn. Can anyone tell by listening?
! drummer is uknown. We should compare this drumming with the previous (10/31) and subsequent (11/5/74) shows to see if it's the same drummer. This could very well have been a warmup for Paul Humphrey for the east coast tour. Or Kreutzmann could have sat in this night [we need a post on that!]. Or Tutt could have been around on a Wednesday. We just don't know. Notes on drummer's style: perhaps it's just because I am listening, but he certainly sounds much more active ("busy"?) than I am used to. Update 12/27/2012: I am about 99% sure this is Paul Humphrey.
! d1t02 VITC @ 6-min mark, second percussionist comes in ... maraca or one of those twisty rhythm instruments.
! d1t02 VITC @ 8:52 Merl is doing a recognizable riff
! d1t02 VITC @ 10:22 SQ change, then return
! d1t02 VITC cuts out
! d1t03 FJD ca. 4:20 drop into a little theme, had a chance to do something interesting @ 5:20, but JG comes back to FJD theme.
! d1t03 FJD JG is getting nicely out into a GD-ish vibe around 7:30
! d1t05 YCLYHO start Merl has some seriously funky synth working ... or is it clarinet? I am confused about what I am hearing. It is unique and very weird
! d1t05 skip/glitch @ 2:30; Martin comes in @ 6:29
! (1) JG: "We're gonna take a little break for awhile. We'll be back in a few minutes."
! d2t04 ITL clips in, missing first five notes or so.
! d2t05 Favela maraca player comes back in @ 5:56-6:19, 6:34-9:08. Doesn't sound like much of a player to my ears ... Comes back on cowbell @ 9:20, better, until 13:21.
! d2t05 Favela SQ degradation @ 16:10, half signal or something.
! d2t05 Favela ends with a nice space-out
! d2t06 BORW clips in, not much missing.
! d2t06 BORW is a trainwreck at the start. Merl sounds wrecked.
! d2t06 BORW maraca is back in 4-min mark. Is this Martin? Not sure it ever happens when he's blowing. Switches to conga @ 5:14. Horn @ 8-min mark preceded by end of conga playing.
! d2t06 BORW Merl really isn't bringing it.
! d2t06 BORW maracas back in @ 10:37 ..., BAD maraca playing .... - 13:00, then the horn comes back.
! d2t06 BORW cuts out
! I infer from the patterns that the maraca (or whatever) is Fierro, when he's not blowing.

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