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Friday, November 26, 2010

Listening Notes: GASB, Thursday, June 13, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley (Castelli MAC)

Having just posted on the sbd recording from this show, I'll post my notes from the newly circulating audience recording by Robert Castelli (1644-shnid 110663, 2496-shnid 110798). I'll start with a few analytical points, then produce my listening notes based on the 24/96 version.

  1. Not a ton to say about this, except that this is the same show as the sbd and the same show (and baseline tape) as the "Louis Falanga 6/12/74" tape (shnid 83232).
  2. Garcia is pretty hit or miss with his banjo playing. Some clams (cf. end of Bud's Bounce), some pretty nice solos (Dawg's Bull).
  3. Russian Lullaby, with Garcia on acoustic guitar, is pretty darn excellent. Note the banter by DG about how they helped Garcia out on this song for his latest LP (Compliments). Was the album released by this date? It was awfully close. As I have noted, I have the release date as Friday, 6/21/74.

Listening notes follow.

MOTB Release: 0159 24/96
Release Date: 2010-10-18
Band: Great American String Band
Date: 1974-06-13 (Thursday)
Venue: Keystone
Location: Berkeley, CA
Analog Audience Source: Master Cassettes (MAC)
Medium Stock Brands: Scotch C120
Analog Lineage: ECM 270 >> Sony TC110 >> 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 & David Minches
Speed correction by Joe B. Jones

--Set I (8 tracks, 41:29)--
s1t01: [0:11] Colored Aristocracy [3:30] [0:08]
s1t02: (1) [0:12] Cedar Hill [3:53] % talk and band introductions (2) [1:30]
s1t03: (3, 4) [1:43] I'll Be A Gambler If You Deal The Cards [2:37] % [0:51]
s1t04: My Plastic Banana Is Not Stupid//% [3:#22]
s1t05: (5, 6, 7) [1:16] Moonlight Waltz [4:33] [1:12]
s1t06: Swing '42 [5:58] (8) [0:50]
s1t07: Methodist Preacher [6:08] [0:08] % [0:19]
s1t08: Limehouse Blues [3:06] (9) [0:06]

--Set II (10 tracks, 56:17)--
s2t01: tuning [0:01]
s2t02: noodling [0:49] Bud's Bounce [4:22] [0:53] %  [0:03]
s2t03: Dawg's Bull [2:23] [0:10] %
s2t04: banter (10) [1:01]
s2t05: Russian Lullaby [8:27] [0:09] % [0:33]
s2t06: Virgin's Lament  [7:14] [0:11] % [0:29]
s2t07: Swing '42  [10:23] [0:11] % (11)
s2t08: Drink Up and Go Home [3:11] [0:02] %
s2t09: [0:12] Dawg's Rag [8:36] %
s2t10: Sweet Georgia Brown%  [#4:59]

! Band: Great American String/Music Band
! Lineup: David Grisman - mandolin;
! Lineup: Richard Greene - fiddle;
! Lineup: David Nichtern - guitar, vocals;
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - banjo, vocals ;
! Lineup: Buell Neidlinger ("Flame Bombadine") - bass.
! Guest: Bob Gurland - coronet (s2t02 Bud's Bounce, s2t06 Virgin's Lament, s2t07 Swing '42, s2t10 Sweet Georgia Brown).

Notes:JGMF:
! % = tape discontinuity; # = truncated timing
! s1t02 (1) DN: "Here's one written by David Grisman, our mandolin player, it's called Cedar Hill." RG: "'Say-der' Hill." DN: "'Say-der Hill', I've just been corrected."
! s1t02 RG talking to sound booth: "//mandolin and monitors. Would that be alright? This is David Grisman on the mandolin."
! s1t03 DN: "That last song was written by him. It's called 'Cedar Hill' and it's going to be the title song for a new movie, I'm told?" RG: "Yes, who told you that?"
! s1t03 (3) DN: "It's nice to see you all in such a good mood."
! s1t03 (4) @ 1:36, DG references "page 37", so they are using songbooks.
! s1t04 MPBIS cuts out, just before the end.
!s1t05 (5) DN: "It's called Moonlight Waltz. It's in the key of D-minor.
!s1t05 (6) RG: "That guitar is probably older than anyone in this building." DN The guard at the door told me he was sixty-two. He asked us how old we were when we were coming in. So we asked him how old he was." DG: "That guitar's just a young'un compared to that bass, though."
! s1t05 I infer that Buell Neidlinger is the bassist based on talk about the bass, ca. 1:00
! s1t06 (8) DN: "Django Reinhardt thanks you."
! s1t08 (9) RG: "Thank you. We'll be back in a little while." This is clearly a *set break* announcement, not the end of an early show.
! s2t02 the noodling before Bud's Bounce is kinda neat, evokes for me the feeling of some old black & white 'B' horror film.
! s2t02 JG misses the ending of Bud's Bounce
! s2t03 Dawg's Bull, JG takes a pretty good solo
! s2t04 (10) DG: "[inaudible] He's got this on his latest LP. We helped him out on it."
! s2t04 Russian Lullaby Garcia on acoustic guitar? Sounds great! Really playing nicely.
! s2t07 (11) DN: "I think we're gonna do a song with a moral next." RG: "What are we doing next?" DN: "Yeah, this is a song with a moral. I hope you don't take it too seriously, considering this is a bar and we're not finished yet. It's called 'Drink Up And Go Home.' So, have a slow drink up." JG: "What's the moral?" DN: "The moral is Drink up and go home." DG: "The moral is you lose your audience, if they drink up and go home." That until about track 11:18, then stage setup changes for the rest of the track.
! s2t08 JG lead vox on DUAGH
! s2t10 SGB cuts out

Listening Notes: GASB, Thursday, June 13, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley (sbd)

Low-gen soundboard tape of Thursday, 6/13/74, Keystone, Berkeley (shnid 13768). Note the listing as Great American String Band, though the naming issue is one I am avoiding for now. I'll just go with GASB for this post.

Berkeley Barb, June 7-13, 1974, p. 24.
 A few analytical points:
  1. The setlist issues have been clarified by the Castelli tape, notes on which I'll post before too long. But Limehouse Blues definitely ends set I, and there is indeed a song ("Sweet Georgia Brown") after "Dawg's Rag" cuts out on this tape. The Castelli tape could be used to patch in the start of Colorado Aristocracy, the splice in Swing '42, the end of Dawg's Rag, and all of Sweet Georgia Brown.
  2. As the night before, Garcia plays acoustic guitar on Russian Lullaby. Not sure if, or at which point, he might switch back to banjo.
  3. Bob Gurland on the "mouth trumpet" is interesting.
  4. I may have noted more of the banter on the Castelli recording.
  5. As I noted in my update post on this run of shows, the "Louis Falanga 6/12/74" tape is actually this show, and the same baseline tape as the Castelli aud.

Great American String Band
Keystone
Berkeley, CA
June 13, 1974 (Thursday)

MS? > ? > CD > EAC > SHN
Source CDs from Ryan Shriver; extraction (EAC), .shn encoding (mkwACT), and sector boundary verification (shntool), 12/13/2002.

--Set I (9 tracks, 41:14)--

01. //Colored Aristocracy [#3:12] (1) [0:22]
02. Cedar Hill [3:42] [0:17]
03. Band Introductions (2) [3:02]
04. I'll Be A Gambler If You Deal The Cards [2:30] [1:10]
05. My Plastic Banana Is Not Stupid [3:14] [1:29]
06. Moonlight Waltz [4:22] [1:09]
07. Swing //'42 [5:#50] [2:22]
08. Methodist Preacher [4:17] [0:44]
09. Limehouse Blues [2:58] [0:30]

--Set II (7 tracks, 46:09)--

01. //Bud's Bounce (@) [#1:48] [1:44]
02. Dawg's Bull [2:19] [1:41]
03. Russian Lullaby [8:11] [1:50]
04. Virgin's Lament (@) [6:52] [0:55]
05. Swing '42 (@) [10:20] [2:03]
06. Drink Up And Go Home [3:04] [0:27]
07. Dawg's Rag// [4:32#] [0:18]
[MISSING: Sweet Georgia Brown (@)]

! Band: Great American String/Music Band
! Lineup: David Grisman - mandolin;
! Lineup: Richard Greene - fiddle;
! Lineup: David Nichtern - ac-guitar, vocals;
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - banjo, ac-guitar, vocals;
! Lineup: Buell Neidlinger (a.k.a. "Flame Bombadine") - ac-bass;
! Guest: Bob Gurland - coronet (s2t01 Bud's Bounce, s2t04 Virgin's Lament, s2t05 Swing '42)

JGMF:
! // = cut song; # = truncated timing
! Don't be frightened by the uncertain lineage--this sounds very nice.  I would not be surprised if this turned out to be MSR > cassette > DAT > CD, like the night previous and as this one sometimes circulates.
! The Castelli tape could be used to patch the start of Colored Aristocracy, the splice in the set I Swing '42, the start of Bud's Bounce, the end of Dawg's Rag, and all of Sweet Georgia Brown.
! mono recording
! d1t01 Colored Aristocracy fades in
! d1t01 (1) DN: "Here's one written by David Grisman, our mandolin player. It's called 'Cedar Hill'." RG: "Say-der Hill." DN: "Say-der Hill, I've just been corrected."
! d1t03 (2) Can we hear some more mandolin on the monitors? Would that be all right?" Movie talk, band introductions same as from Castelli aud. NB introduction of Flame Bombadine, after previous night when he insists on being called Flame.
! d1t07 Swing '42 tiny splice @ 5:41
! d1t09 The Jerry Site has listed Limehouse Blues as starting set II, but I hear continuous applause and tuning from the end of Methodist Preacher into Limehouse Blues, and continuous applause and tuning from Limehouse Blues into the set break announcement.  Also, I would not be surprised if more tunes were played after Dawg's Rag, since it sounds like the band is tuning up for another song. [2010 note: the Castelli tape confirms this: Sweet Georgia Brown closes the show.]
! d2t01 Bud's Bounce fades in
! d2t01 Bud's Bounce tiny splice @ 1:16
! d2t02 @ 3:01 (3) after Dawg's Bull, DN after being told by JG that they'll do Russian Lullaby: "Oh boy, are you in for a treat." DG: "This is an Irving Berlin number. We're gonna get ... we're gonna get Spudboy to render this one for us. ... He's got this on his latest LP. We helped him out on it."
! d2t03 JG on guitar on Russian Lullaby
! d2t03 (4) RG: "Flame likes to call this tune 'Virgin's Lament'."
! d2t07 Dawg's Rag fades out

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.


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.
! TJS: http://www.thejerrysite.com/shows/show/1014
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/110552 (this fileset, 16/44); http://db.etree.org/shn/111191 (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, http://shnflac.net/details.php?id=332193a21424db9e6014b3192b365516db5a3de9
! 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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Listening Notes: Great American String Band (GASB), Lion's Share,San Anselmo, June 12, 1974

**update 20140823 - Elwood 1974 is clear that GASB played the Lion's Share on Wednesday, June 12, 1974. Thanks to Blair Jackson!**

Here are some thoughts based on my notations from this recording (shnid 7331). I'll start with a few analytical points, then reproduce the raw notations below.

  1. It sounds like a single two-set show to me. That fact that Swing '42 was played twice in one night is just an anomaly. They probably had a pretty constrained repertoire worked-up. And the fact that Richard Greene calls them "Great American Music Band" and the pre-set II emcee (Freddie Herrera?) calls them "Great American String Band" just reflects the fluidity of the name in this moment, I think. That'll be a long, separate post at some point.
  2. Buell Neidlinger is Flame Bombadine, to answer Corry's query in comments back in July.
  3. Garcia plays acoustic guitar at least on Russian Lullaby, and possibly also the two songs following it. This version of Russian Lullaby is sublime. I'd have to think harder, but is this Jerry's only documented public performance on acoustic guitar until the 11/18/78 Rambler Room thing?

Notes follow.

Great American String Band
Lion's Share
San Anselmo, CA
June 12, 1974 (Wednesday)
sbd shnid-

MSR > cassette > DAT > CDx1 > EAC > SHN > FLAC.
Source CDs from Ryan Shriver; extraction (EAC), .shn encoding (mkwACT), and sector boundary verification (shntool), 2/13/2002.

--Set I (8 tracks, 39:15)--

s1t01. Colored Aristocracy [3:42] [0:07]
s1t02. Cedar Hill [3:35] (1) [2:21]
s1t03. I'll Be A Gambler If You Deal The Cards [2:19] (2) [1:17]
s1t04. My Plastic Banana Is Not Stupid [3:07] (3) [1:33]
s1t05. Moonlight Waltz [5:51] [0:07]
s1t06. Swing '42 [5:12] (4) [1:04]
s1t07. Methodist Preacher [4:29] (5) [0:55]
s1t08. Limehouse Blues [3:25] (6) [0:08]

--Set II (9 tracks, 51:54)--

s2t01. introduction (7) [0:09], Bud's Bounce [3:05] [0:30]
s2t02. Dawg's Bull [2:27] [0:02] % [0:58]
s2t03. Russian Lullaby [7:06] [0:20]
s2t04. Virgin's Lament [5:29] [0:36]
s2t05. Sheik of Araby [5:31] (8) [0:41]
s2t06. Billy Of The Lowgrounds [3:23] [0:55]
s2t07. Dawg's Rag [6:59] [0:26] % [0:16]
s2t08. Sweet Georgia Brown [4:52] [0:08] % (9, 10) [1:43]
s2t09. Swing '42 [6:06] [0:12]

! Band: Great American String Band
! Lineup: David Grisman - mandolin;
! Lineup: Richard Greene - fiddle;
! Lineup: David Nichtern - guitar, vocals;
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - Jerry Garcia - banjo, ac-g (s2t03 Russian Lullaby, s2t04 Virgin's Lament), vocals;
! Lineup: Buell Neidlinger (a.k.a. "Flame Bombadine") - bass.

JGMF:
! R: symbols % = tape discontinuity
! R: mono recording.
! venue: has sometimes been listed as Keystone Berkeley, but Elwood 1974 is clear that it's the Share.
! reference:  Elwood, Philip. 1974. From country to jazz – a snap. San Francisco Examiner, June 14, 1974, p. 27
! s1t02 @ 3:41 (1) RG after Cedar Hill: "Thank you. Can we have a little more mandolin in the monitors. We're the Great American Music Band. A nice humble title. ... We'd like to do a song next that's written by our multitalented guitarist, David Nichtern. It's called 'IBAGIYDTC'.
! P: s1t03 Neidlinger is bowing during IBAGIYDTC. This is a great, tight version of that song.
! s1t03 @ 2:58 (2) DN: "Who's doing the sound? Raise your hand? Can you bring up the treble in the guitar, at least in the monitor?"
! s1t04 (3) RG: "Might as well introduce the band. On bass we have, special from Los Angeles, Buell Neidlinger, a fine ...Buell is one of these 'peace, love' cats, with his ... groovy, Buell. David Nichtern on the guitar - he wrote that last tune, also. Jerry Garcia on banjo ... 6-string ... we'll have to turn that mic up, it's a ... softer instrument. David Grisman on mandolin. This is something written by Bill Monroe. [DN: "And, Richard Greene on fiddle."] It's called 'Moonlight Waltz'."
! s1t06 Swing 42 is there a banjo? Jerry gets called for solo in 3-min mark and it sounds an awful lot like acoustic guitar to me?
! s1t06 @ 5:37 (4) DN: "This one's gonna feature Richard and David, and it's called 'The Methodist Preacher'."
! R: s1t07 Some tape glitches after Methodist Preacher
! s1t07 @ 5:05 (5) DG: "I wanna send this out to Lanny. This is for Lanny. My dope dealer."
! banjo def. in Limehouse Blues
! s1t08 (6) RG: "Thank you, we'll be back soon." Definitely a set break announcement.
! s2t01 (7) unknown speaker intro: "[inaudible] everybody else and I guess it's time we get this thing underway. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back the Great American String Band."
! s2t03 JG on acoustic guitar on Russian Lullaby ... beautiful.
! s2t04 is JG still on guitar for Virgin's Lament?
! s2t04 after Virgin's Lament, hear Jerry say I wanna play banjo, then on banjo for Sheik
! s2t05 (8) RG "We're gonna play an old-timey, kinda mountain ..."
! instruments: JG on banjo for BOTLG, DR
! P: s2t08 Neidlinger bowing again on SGB
! d2t08 @ 5:15 (9) RG: "That's Buell Neidlinger on bass." BN: "No it's not, no it's not. That's a rotten lie. My name is Flame Bombadine. I was named that by Iggy of the Stooges, just prior to his smearing himself with peanut butter. This is a clean set, so we won't talk about any 'rock-n-roll'." RG: "Flame Bombadine?"  BN: "I certainly appreciate your applause. It's the .. it's the, uhhh ... that plus money is what I live on."
! d2t08 @ 6:16 (10) DN: "This tune that we're doing now was written by Django Reinhardt. ... written in the year of Richard Greene's birth." DG: "And yet it's a great tune." DN then asks Jerry "Why don't you say something?" JG: "Fuck it."

Great American String Band: June 12-14, 1974 (update)

**update 20140823 - definitely Lion's Share 6/12/74 and Keystone 6/13-14/74, per Elwood 1974. Thanks to Blair for providing the raw materials!**

So, awhile back I posted on the mid-June 1974 recordings of the Great American Music Band / Great American String Band. I have to leave the name issue alone for now, but for the purposes of this post let me refer to it as the Great American String Band (GASB). My purpose here is to come back to the conclusions I drew in that post, on the basis of new information reflected in Robert Castelli's audience recordings of some of these shows.

Let me start by reiterating what I had previously concluded:
In sum, regarding the mid-June 1974 GASB/GAMB gigs:

  1. despite what appears to be lots of confused and conflicting information on the tapes, I think we have evidence for three separate shows’ worth of music;
  2. despite what’s on the tape labels, I think there were shows at the Lion’s Share on 6/12 and at Keystone Berkeley on 6/13-14.
As I now understand it, I was half-right.

#1 was, effectively, wrong. Until the last month or so, circulating tapes came from only two shows. Serendipitously, Robert Castelli's recordings have recently come into the light thanks to him, Bob Menke and the crew at Mouth of the Beast. Thank you Robert, Bob and MOTB crew for bringing these forward! With these new recordings, there are indeed three distinct nights/pieces in circulation.

This gets me to point #2, which I believe to be correct. I am  99% now 100% sure there were GASB shows at the Keystone, Berkeley on Thursday June 13 and Friday, June 14, 1974. I am about 75%  100% sure there was a gig on June 12, 1974 and that it was at the Lion's Share.

This is what we now have in terms of recordings:
  1. Low-gen soundboard of Wednesday, 6/12/74, "Keystone, Berkeley" (shnid 7331). I now believe that this is a single two-set show (I had previously thought it might be separately billed early and late shows, or different dates entirely).
  2. "Louis Falanga master" audience tape from Jerry Moore's 1st gen reels of "6/12/74, Keystone, Berkeley" (shnid 83232), transferred and shared by Rob Berger. This is a different performance from the identically-dated sbd one just-above;
  3. Low-gen soundboard tape of Thursday, 6/13/74, Keystone, Berkeley (shnid 13768);
  4. Robert Castelli master audience tape of Thursday, 6/13/74, Keystone, Berkeley (1644-shnid 110663, 2496-shnid 110798)
  5. Robert Castelli master audience tape of Friday, June 14, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley, set I (shnid 110664);
Points:

First, most narrowly, the "Louis Falanga" tape of "6/12/74" is actually a tape of 6/13/74. The material is the same material going under that date in both sbd and, now, from Robert Castelli's master audience cassettes. Indeed, the Castelli is the same underlying recording as the "Falanga"; whether Louis was patched out of Castelli's setup, or vice versa, or whether one or the other is a copy of the other or the one, remains a mystery to me. Anyway, this stuff is 6/13/74. The other two tapes of this material, from separate sources but with the same dates, trump whatever was written on tape labels at some point in history.

Second, we now see that there are three distinct pieces: 6/12/74 (two sets) from the soundboard, 6/13/74 (two sets) from soundboard and the Castelli/Falanga audience tape(2), and set I of 6/14/74 from the Castelli audience tape.

Third, there shouldn't be much doubt about the Thursday-Friday, June 13-14 shows at Keystone. Here's the ad I posted earlier:


Castelli's tapes have pretty clear provenance and capture these shows, including the Good Old Boys sets. Not sure why he didn't get set II of the Friday night (6/14) show. Anyway, there shouldn't be any doubt about 6/13-14 at the Keystone, Berkeley. TJS should eventually be updated to reflect the 6/14/74 gig.

Fourth point, while I think the date is probably right, I have some questions about the venue on 6/12/74. The tapes say Keystone, and when I poked around these dates I didn't see any contradictory listings:



I didn't get anything listed at the Lion's Share from this timeframe, either:

I had said in my earlier posting that Richard Greene's datebooks showed him at the Lion's Share on 6/12/74, and this was my main reasoning for believing in this date. But now I can't find any notes on that and I am doubting myself. If I can reconfirm that detail, that would persuade me to list this material as from the Share. Barring that, and for now, all we have to go on, really, is the tape. Nothing contradicts it, but nothing else supports it. Update: Elwood 1974 confirms it was the Share on 6/12.

There are other bits and pieces relevant to all of this that would come from a more detailed reporting of the tapes, but let me follow up, first, by just posting some listening notes with scattered analysis. I'll try to round it all up afterword (no promises).

Eventually, I'll get to the name. I think I am just going to have to live with some non-linearity with that one, so I am pre-mourning the loss of the modern dream.

Reading Notes: “Dead Awaken: New Albums, Label, Tour,” Rolling Stone 163 (June 20, 1974), p. 28.

“Dead Awaken: New Albums, Label, Tour,” Rolling Stone 163 (June 20, 1974), p. 28.

This unsigned, one-column thing datelined from San Rafael is chock full of tidbits. I'll just throw them out and comment on them ad seriatim.

Gives 5/24/74 release date for Rum Runners and Garcia [Compliments], 6/21 for GD’s Mars Hotel.

I have Compliments out on Friday 6/21/74 and Mars Hotel on 6/27,  but those dates are not reliably sourced. Anyone have good solid dates?

“’Round Records,’ said Ron Rakow, head of both labels, ‘is a separate entity. Grateful Dead Records was designed to distribute just Dead product. We did this for maximum safety for the Dead.’ In other words, minimum risk.”


So the GD forced Garcia to create Round for his solo projects? (See my post on Garcia and Round here.)  That is a *very* interesting angle. (And the possibility that a bunch of them might go on to sink the label with their non-selling "product" would not be without irony.) Makes me think ...
Rakow: “Even a Garcia album is more high-risk than a Grateful Dead record. Some of the Dead don’t want a risk. Garcia likes risks, likes worries, so he can always be on the edge.”

Same theme as above, but this is very interesting to me. One thing it shows is how committed Garcia was to the GD. Even though the GD couldn't exist without him, they felt strong (and perhaps ungenerous?) enough to get him to shoulder his own risk *in addition to* radically lessening their own (on the GD side). I originally wrote "with friends like these ...", but having slept on it I guess I understand. If everyone but Jerry thought Rakow was a snake, and that seems clearly to have been the case, then it seems they were ensuring risk against Rakow, not against Jerry. Probably wise.
“[Rakow:] ’When Garcia wanted to do his LP, he and I got together with Jon McIntyre [sic] (the Dead’s manager) and Anton Round, an old rich guy I don’t know much about.’ … And another label was born.”
Does anyone know anything about Anton Round? I just looked through McNally's LST and didn't see him, which is surprising given how comprehensive McNally is (through the hiatus, anyway). Might this have been either a nom de guerre of Rakow, like his criminal alter ego? Or maybe some sort of associate of Rakow?

Anyway, lots of random bits and pieces floating around ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Swain's Music Store, Palo Alto, CA

I don't do much pre-GD, but Andy Childs's lengthy history of the GD in ZigZag in October 1973 mentions a Palo Alto music store, called Swain's, which I don't remember hearing about before. I need to read the whole piece more closely, and wonder how well it has stood up as a work of history. Anyway, since I have done a few pre-GD posts, and since LLD and Cryptical Developments both have local histories, I thought I might put this out there.
Later on towards the end of 1962 [Pigpen] got a part-time job at Swain's Music Store in Palo Alto, and it was there more than anywhere else that the Grateful Dead seed began to grow. ... Now Swain's Music Store, where Pigpen was working, was run by a guy named Troy Weidenheimer who had ideas about forming his own rock'n'roll band. He of course knew Pigpen, Pigpen knew Garcia, Garcia knew Kreutzmann, and so … a short-lived band called the Zodiacs was formed. Troy played lead guitar, Pigpen was on harp. They used a wide selection of drummers but most of the time it was Bill Kreutzmann, and Garcia would sometimes join in on bass guitar when he wasn't involved with his own bluegrass groups.

Sorry, no page number available - this comes from an electronic text copy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Birth of the Great American Music Band

Editor's Note: I should point out that the timing of this post was inspired by Corry, who has recently posted on the misty origins of OAITW and who earlier had posted on what might have been the "public debut of a very important band," the GAMB. While I think this post casts a different light on the "public debut" question, I am of course indebted to Lost Live Dead!


I am going to offer and try to defend the hypothesis, just articulated, that the Great American Music Band / Great American String Band was "born", as recognized by David Grisman at least, on Saturday, March 9, 1974 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA. I will try to post separately on the convoluted tale of the band's name.

Let me start by reproducing a calendar listing for the show from the Hayward Daily Review:


We see the following two listings:
  1. Saturday, March 9, 1974: Richard Greene, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and Skunk Cabbage; Great American Music Hall, SF, CA; two shows.
  2. Sunday, March 10, 1974: Richard Greene, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and Skunk Cabbage, Great American Music Hall, SF, CA (NB 6 p.m. to midnight)
I believe the first listing is effectively the first GAMB show, and the second is the first with Garcia. Let me lay it out for you.

First, let's recapitulate David Grisman's various tellings of the birth of GAMB.

A gig came up at the Great American Music Hall which was supposed to be Richard Greene and Vassar Clements, each with his own band. Richard asked me to play with him, so we got Eric Thompson on guitar, Sandy Rothman on banjo, and Bing Nathan on bass. Some promoter got a local group called Skunk Cabbage to back Vassar, and on the afternoon of the opening night both bands played a radio show. After Skunk Cabbage heard us play they said “We can’t play with Vassar; he belongs with you guys.” … So they opened the show for us, and we had Richard and Vassar and called it the Great American Fiddle Band. The second night Jerry Garcia played banjo, and Sandy Rothman switched to guitar. Bing Nathan couldn’t make the second night, so Taj Mahal played upright bass. Another musical friend of mine, David Nichtern … had been interested in my stuff … So he showed up the second night (ref 1, p. 34).

Richard Greene and I had a gig at the Great American Music Hall with Vassar Clements and his band, so we called it The Great American Fiddle Band (ref 2, p. 26).

The first quote establishes that Greene, Vassar and Grisman were at the GAMH together for two nights, with Vassar slated to open for Skunk Cabbage. That looks an awful lot like the March 9-10 listings. He also says that Garcia didn't show up until the second night, which is consistent with Jerry and Merl being in Berkeley on the Saturday night (March 9th).

Second, note the 6 pm - midnight billing on Sunday night. This was clearly something special.

Third, I have independent evidence that Grisman and Vassar were interacting with Jerry at precisely this time. There was a Round Records recording session at Columbia Studios, San Francisco, on Friday, March 8, 1974, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. involving Vassar and Grisman working on "Lonesome Town", "Indiana," and "Russian Lullaby". The first and last of these appeared on Garcia's Compliments, while the middle one is probably "Back Home in Indiana," which appeared as a Compliments outtake on the incredible All Good Things boxset.

Fourth, there is the tantalizing little 7-minute snippet of Stinson Beach rehearsals featuring David Grisman, Richard Greene, Jerry Garcia, Eric Thompson, Bill Wolfe, and maybe others, that is dated March 8, 1974. They work through "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Limehouse Blues," both of which were staples in the (too brief!) GAM/SB repertoire. Related, there is independent reason to believe that there are four reels' worth of materials labeled "Grisman's House", with this date, in the Garcia vault.

Fifth--and this to me is just the sweetest batch of evidence-- there is a fascinating set of fly on the wall recordings, a few hours' worth, labeled only "Bluegrass at Grisman's," that I think is relevant here. It's a mix of material, including some work-throughs of OAITW material (presumably from ca. early 1973) and some other stuff that sounds more like OAITW. But there's at least 20 minutes, and maybe more, of stuff that is clearly proto-GAM/SB, including very early run-throughs of Grisman's (eventually, but not yet!) amazing "Dawg's Rag." Sandy Rothman seems to be present for some of this, and Grisman, Greene and Garcia are omnipresent.

Now, here is the real kicker. At one point during this GAM/SB-ish material, we have the following exchange between what sounds like an older southerner and Garcia.

Older southerner: "Jerry, everybody, I'll see you bright and early tomorrow. You're playin' a gig tomorrow night, then?"
JG: "Yes I am, yeah."
Older southerner: "Sunday you'll be there."
JG: "Yeah, Sunday I'll be there."

Ladies and gentlemen, I am prepared to call it QED on this basis. This material is from March 8, 1974. Grisman and Vassar do a morning studio session for Garcia for a little payday. Then everyone heads over to Grisman's in Stinson Beach. We already know, from point three above, that a bunch of guys are playing proto-GAMB in Stinson Beach, and uncirculated tapes suggest it's at Grisman's house. It sounds for all the world like someone's living room, including side conversations, phone calls, etc. The southerner gives us days of the week: "tomorrow", a Saturday, when Jerry cannot be there because he has a gig, and then a Sunday when he will be there. Those are clear references to March 9 and March 10. When we circle back to Grisman's account (first quote above), it all fits together perfectly. Note that he mentions both Sandy Rothman and Eric Thompson as being involved with the GAMH gigs. Well, here we have Sandy with these guys on the "Bluegrass at Grisman's" recording, and Thompson listed on the 7-minute snippet that David Gans shared with the world on the amazing (if perhaps presently a bit troubled) KPFA. Way too much coincidence not to be correct, IMO.

In conclusion, the evidence overwhelmingly points in favor of the proposition that GAMB was born on March 9, 1974, and Garcia first joined in on March 10th.

One last thing: it sounds like it was a helluva a great show. One account based on interviews with Grisman refers to the legendary 1974 GAMH gig with a "monumental jam" featuring Grisman, Greene, Vassar, Garcia, Fierro, Nichtern, and “from these jams, the Great American String Band was born" (ref 3). Having Fierro in with those guys would have been interesting, to say the least. I hope he just brought the flute and left the sax at home! I have also heard tell of an incredible rendition of "Wild Horses" played by the GAM/SB with Sandy Rothman around this time frame, taped by Betty but with no tape in circulation, which I believe must be from this night. Sounds like fun! Set time capsule ..

REFERENCES:
  1. Forte, Dan. 1979a. David Grisman: Taking the Mandolin Beyond Tradition. Frets 1, 1 (March): 30-36.
  2. Juanis, J.C. 1992. Dawgwood Revisited. Relix 19, 6 (December): 25-27. 
  3. Sharpe, Ted. 1977. David Grisman: Mad, Marvelous Mandolinist. Blue Sky Review no. 7: unpaginated.

March 1974

I am working around an important (to me!) post about the birth of the Great American Music/String Band, and want to lay some foundation. So let me start by mapping the known-to-me Jerry Garcia engagements from March, 1974, and just making a few notes.

  1. Friday, March 1, 1974: JGMS @ Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA (TJS)
  2. Saturday, March 2, 1974: JGMS @ Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA (TJS)
  3. Friday, March 8, 1974: Rehearsal at Grisman's house, Stinson Beach, CA. David Grisman, Richard Greene, Jerry Garcia, Eric Thompson, Bill Wolfe, maybe others. (7-minute recording info
  4. Saturday, March 9, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley (TJS | sbd recording info)
  5. Thursday, March 14, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley (TJS).There is a setlist for this at the Jerry Site, and also a note that "E.W. Wainwright replaces Bill Kreutzmann on drums". Note that there's an as-yet unnamed instrumental in the setlist. All of this information is from Betty tapes preserved and notated by Rob Eaton, but not in general circulation.
  6. Friday, March 22, 1974, Chateau Liberté, Los Gatos, CA. (TJS | LLD post comments, including venue information)
  7. Saturday, March 23, 1974: GD at Cow Palace.
  8. Saturday, March 30, 1974: GD Mars Hotel sessions at CBS Studios, 829 Folsom Street, SF, CA.

So, why do I list this stuff here?

First, I think there was no March 1 show, at least not at GAMH, as listed (with some caveating) at the Jerry Site. Second, re March 2 at the Great American Music Hall (GAMH) in San Francisco, TJS has a listing based on a "Jerry & Merle" billing in the L.A. Free Press newspaper.  I think I can do this one better. Both of these points emerge from the scan below:



As you can see, Vassar Clements and Skunk Cabbage are playing the GAMH on March 1, while JGMS are there on March 2. Note, too, that Jerry and Merl weren't at the Keystone, either. So I doubt a March 1 show happened (though they could have been at the Lion's Share, I suppose).

Third, re: Vassar, we see him here playing 3/1 with Skunk Cabbage at the GAMH. I had noted in my post on the Skunk Cabbage set at the GSCBF that Vassar played around with them. Here are a few other dates I have managed to pick up for Skunk Cabbage, with and w/o Mr. Clements:
  1. Sunday, 11/18/73: The Cashews, Skunk Cabbage; New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA; (note Rowan Brothers billed there on 11/20, FWIW)
  2. Monday, 11/26/73: Juice, Jango, Skunk Cabbage, and others; Lion's Share, San Anselmo, CA.
  3. Tuesday, December 11, 1973: Byron Berline, Country Gazzette, Vassar Clements, Skunk Cabbage; Great American Music Hall, SF, CA.
  4. Friday, March 1, 1974: see above.
  5. Sunday, March 3, 1974: Skunk Cabbage with Vassar Clements and Western Union; Keystone, Berkeley, CA.
  6. Saturday, March 9, 1974: Richard Greene, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and Skunk Cabbage; Great American Music Hall, SF, CA; two shows.
  7. Sunday, March 10, 1974: Richard Greene, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and Skunk Cabbage, Great American Music Hall, SF, CA (NB 6 p.m. to midnight)

Fourth, finally, and by way of preview, ladies and gentlemen, I believe the above March 9th listing was the birth of the Great American Music/String Band, with Jerry Garcia joining in on the 10th. I'll post soon, hopefully tonight, on why I think the GAM/SB was born on this night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Great American Music Band: Wednesday, April 24, 1974, Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA

Clearly identified as the Great American Music Band by the emcee at the end, this is the quartet of Grisman (mandolin), Greene (fiddle), Nichtern (ac-guitar, vocals) and Taj Mahal (ac-bass). The performance doesn't light me up the way some of them do. The tape, via 'fstop',  is quite nice, though I'd guess that the Will Boswell/Matt Smith version may be even better. I'd have to do a side-by-side comparison. No Garcia Content, but since I mentioned this in GSCBF9 I thought I'd lay this out here.

Arlington Theatre is amazing, by the way. I saw the Allman Brothers there in the early 90s and it was one of the finer musical experiences I have had.

Great American Music Band
Arlington Theatre
1317 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

April 24, 1974 (Wednesday)
49 min sbd tape via fstop

(19 tracks, 49:09)
--main set (16 tracks, 44:21)--
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t01. crowd and tuning [0:31]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t02. Katy Hill [2:39] [0:37] (1)
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t03. Limehouse Blues [3:11] [0:11]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t04. banter (2), tuning [0:42]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t05. I'll Be A Gambler If You'll Deal The Cards [2:27] [0:14]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t06. banter (3), tuning, banter (4) [1:25]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t07. Swing '42 [4:46] [0:21]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t08. Dawg intro (5), song intro [0:26]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t09. Dawg's Bull [2:02] [0:10]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t10. "Tex" Mahal introduction [0:37]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t11. Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms [2:56] [0:42]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t12. David Nichtern intro, song intro [0:45]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t13. My Plastic Banana Isn't Stupid [3:13] [1:06]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t14. Midnight At The Oasis [3:46] [0:18]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t15. Dawg's Rag [5:38] [1:22]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t16. Sweet Georgia Brown  [3:50] [0:32] %
--encore (3 tracks, 4:47)--
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t17. pre-encore crowd and tuning [0:10]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t18. Orange Blossom Special [4:08] [0:09]
gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t19. outro (6) [0:19]

! band: Great American Music Band
! lineup: David ("Dawg") Grisman - mandolin;
! lineup: Richard Greene - fiddle;
! lineup: David Nichtern - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Taj ("Tex") Mahal - bass.

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.
! TJS: n/a
! db: http://db.etree.org/lookup_show.php?shows_key=389520
! venue: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2011/09/arlington-theater-1317-state-st-santa.html
! map: http://goo.gl/maps/U3Bfh
! R: fstop's unknown (low) gen sbd reel > CD > EAC > CD Wave > TLH (16/44 FLAC8).
! song: "Katy Hill" (gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t02): a traditional popularized by Bill Monroe (Allan).
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t02. (1) RG: "OK, here's a little something Hot Club style. ... Django Reinhardt ... It's called Limehouse Blues."
! song: "Limehouse Blues" (gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t03): (Lyrics: Douglas Furber; Music: Phillip Braham) (Allan).
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t04. (2) RG: "I'd like to introduce David Nichtern on guitar. He's also a very prolific and successful songwriter, and this is one of his songs. It's called 'I'll Be A Gambler If You'll Deal The Cards'."
! song: "I'll Be A Gambler If You'll Deal The Cards" (gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t05): I am using the title as given here, on the 6/13/74 GASB show, and perhaps another time or two. Deaddisc calls it "I'll Be A Gambler", noting "Registered title is 'I'll Be A Gambler'". I am not sure if, by this, the curator means has registered it that way, or it's officially registered that way somewhere.
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t06. (3) RG: "This is something called 'Swing 42', named after the very successful year of my birth."
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t06. (4) requests for soundman
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t07. R: Swing 42 SQ anomalies @ 2:45.
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t08. (5) RG: "This here's Dawg. I'd like to present Dawg. [Grisman laughs] Dawg is permanently trapped in The Zone."
! song: Dawg's Bull (gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t09): a Grisman instrumental, released in 1979 on Hot Dawg.
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t15. R: Dawg's Rag @ 2:40 some overload, mostly from the bass.
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t16. R: SGB more bass overload
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t16. P: SGB is all-instrumental, whereas on other occasions (4/20?) Taj also took vocals.
! gamb1974-04-24-fstop-t19. historical: emcee twice calls the band "Great American Music Band", including in note (6), the outro.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marmaduke and Jerry: unknown Bay Area "resort", ca. mid-June 1969

Gene Sculati, in a very insightful little piece written ca. mid-June 1969 (1): Recently “a local resort featured Dead accomplice Marmaduke singing country (and playing guitar) to the accompaniment of Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar.”

Anyone know of a Marmaduke-Jerry gig, ca. mid-June 1969, at a resort?

REFERENCE
(1) Sculati, Gene. 1969. What’s Become of the Grateful Dead? Jazz & Pop 8.9 (September): 22-24.

When did Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders first play together?

One of Garcia's most enduring, important and original musical partnerships outside the Grateful Dead was with Merl Saunders. From about Fall of 1970 through mid-1975, Merl and Jerry played steadily in various configurations that began as loose jam sessions with fluid personnel at the Matrix to the more institutionalized (named! east coast touring!) 1975 outfit Legion of Mary. After that band ended abruptly in July 1975 (a story that needs to be discovered and told), they parted ways for a few years and came back together in the soul-jazz-disco-funk trip Reconstruction from January to September, 1979. Things get more sporadic after that, with Jerry contributing to some Twilight Zone soundtracks (Saunders was musical director for the mid-80s revival of the TV show) and then to four tracks on Saunders's new agey Blues From the Rainforest. Saunders also played an important role in helping Jerry recover his musical dexterity after his 1986 coma. All of this is stuff that I plan on covering in more detail.

For now, the basic question: when did they first play together?

In a ca. 1995-6 interview included on the DVD release of  The End of the Road: The Final Tour '95 (Monterey Video DVD 313302), Merl indicates that he went down to Golden Gate Park and played with the Grateful Dead sometime in the late 1960s. I can't offer any precision or evaluation - it's certainly possible, but is presumably utterly unknowable from this vantage point unless someone's diary or some old photographs or some other account turns up.

The Jerry Site's first listing for "Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders" is for October 12, 1970, though if you go to the band summary for that "artist" entry it lists the first show as 12/1/70. slip_not added some Merl content (a quote about he and Jerry came to play together) on the 9/7/70 Jerry Garcia & Friends entry, but there's no obvious ex ante reason for that information to be attached to that date.

So we are in a bit of a quandary, but I have a few data points to offer.

My MO here is to examine gigs and studio sessions that might have been relevant to understanding when Jerry and Merl started together. For gigs, I am especially interested in looking at the evolution of the Monday Night Jam sessions at the Matrix, since the standard story is that Howard Wales dropped out at some point and Merl joined in. It may not have been a clean/linear break, but the data might help. For sessions, I am interested because of the Merl quote listed under 9/7/70 TJS listing linked above. There seems to have been a Heider's connection where the GD, the whole PERRO crowd (Crosby and the Jeffersons), Brewer & Shipley, and Danny Cox (the latter two of whom were under the same management) were jumping into each others' sessions to an astonishing degree.

Anyway, here are what I consider some relevant data.

  • 4/20/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; "Scenedrome" (calendar listing), Berkeley Barb, April 17-23, 1970, p.6.
  • 4/27/70: Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales, & Friends; Matrix; display ad; listed as jam session in Scenedrome; Berkeley Barb, April 24-May 1, 1970, p. 8.
  • 5/18/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; calendar listing, Good Times v.3 n.20, 5/15/70, p. 24. I believe this is the show that was released as Side Trips, vol 1. (Aside: "Thank you, sir. May I have another?")
  • 5/25/70: Howard Wales, Jerry Garcia & Friends; Matrix; Scenedrome listing in Berkeley Barb, May 22-28, 1970, p. 18. Doubtful JG was there, given GD show in the UK the night before.
  • 6/1/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.22 (5/29/70), p. 24.
  • 6/7/70: this appears not to have happened.
  • 6/8/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales; Matrix; [source suppressed]
  • 6/15/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.24 (6/12/70), p. 24.
  • 6/22/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.25 (6/19/70), p. 23.
  • 7/6/70: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales [double-check]; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.27 (7/3/70), p. 17.
  • 7/15/70: the first "PERRO" session at Heider's that I can document; Kantner session working on "Starship" and "Old Man" for what would become Blows Against The Empire; this and all related listings provided below show Jerry present [source suppressed]
  • 7/17/70: as above, but working on "Mau Mau";
  • 7/20/70: Howard Wales and Friends listed at Matrix for this Monday and the next night (Tues., 7/21/70); calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.28 (7/17/70), p. 18; no mention of Garcia.
  • 7/21/70: as above.
  • 7/22/70: Kantner session at Heider's ("Mau Mau"; "Together"); see 7/15/70.
  • 8/6/70-9/16/70: I have the GD's American Beauty sessions at Heider's from these dates; source: McNally, LST, p. 378.
  • 8/10/70: Kantner session at Heider's ("Starship"; "Old Man"); see 7/15/70.
  • 8/11/70: as above ("Starship"); see 7/15/70.
  • 8/21/70: Brewer & Shipley session at Heider's, for what would become Tarkio; Garcia listed ("50 States of Freedom"; "Oh Mommy"); [source suppressed]
  • 8/24/70: Garcia & Wales [double-check] Monday night Matrix session; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.33 (8/21/70), p. 21.
  • 9/7/70: Jerry Garcia & Friends; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.35 (9/4/70), p. 16.
  • 9/8/70: PERRO jams at Heider's: JG, Jorma, Jack, Kreutzmann ("Jam"); source: PERRO tapes.
  • 9/14/70: Jerry Garcia & Friends; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.36 (9/11/70), p. 16.
  • 10/12/70: "Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Friends"; Matrix; based on newspaper advertisement as listed at TJS; first TJS listing for Garcia & Saunders; spurious JG listing since GD were playing in Paterson, NJ.
  • 10/13/70: as above, though GD had no gig until 10/16 in Philly, and JG could well have flown home.
  • 10/14/70: as above.
  • 10/19/70: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.41 (10/16/70), p. 20; in the past we would have discounted this, since GD was in Minneapolis on 10/18 and Washington, DC, on 10/23, but I have increasingly come around to the view that he flew home more often than I might have thought, and likely as not played a gig whenever a night was open around this time. So I buy that this could have happened.
  • 10/26/70: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders; Matrix; calendar item in Good Times, v.3 n. 42 (10/23/70), p. 14. GD were between St. Louis (10/24) and Stony Brook (10/30), but on the logic just above I believe this could have happened.
  • 11/1/70 or 11/2/70: Janis's wake. Not relevant, just wanted to keep the record straight.
  • 11/2/70: I have a Jerry Garcia & Friends listing for the Harding Theater, but no source info. We have discussed this a little bit, but I am not sure where things stand.
  • 11/3/70: PERRO/If I Could Only Remember My Name (IICORMN) session at Heider's ("Cowboy Movie"); based on Steve Silberman "Crosby Connection" show played on KPFA, ca. 2001.
  • 11/3/70: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders; Matrix; note that this is a Tuesday; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.43 (10/30/70), p. 16.
  • 11/4//70: PERRO session at Heider's; no source information listed.
  • 12/1/70: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders; Matrix; note: Tuesday; calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.47 (11/26/70), p. 20).
  • 12/2/70: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders; Matrix; listed at TJS based on Joey Newlander newspaper research (Berkeley Barb).

Thatsalotta data, I know, but I wanted to put it out there for you all to see.

What do I infer from all of this about the titular question? The pivot looks to be right around the time of the 8/21/70 Brewer & Shipley session. (Full disclosure: in personal email, Corry played up the Brewer & Shipley connection to Danny Cox, and thence to Merl; so credit should go to Corry for helping me see the break in the series.) There's only one Wales listing a few days later, and then come the "Jerry Garcia & Friends" listings. I would guess that Merl became a "Friend" at the 9/7/70 Matrix show (otherwise why not list Wales, as they had all year?), but there is no smoking gun in these data. Merl's name doesn't appear in listings until 10/12/70, which has the drawback of being a listing known to conflict with GD performance 3000 miles away. But it certainly suggests that Merl was definitely around by this time.

I believe I spoke with Danny Cox, and he doesn't have any old paperwork regarding his sessions at Heider's. I have not tried to contact the Brewer & Shipley people, but that might be a better lead.

In sum, in answer to the question of when Jerry and Merl first played together (qua Jerry & Merl), I'll say September 7, 1970. And maybe walk back and say that slip_not may know a thing or two. ;-)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Reading Notes: Jackson, Harry. 1970. On Tour with the Dead. Zygote, July 22, 1970: 41-44.


I have only a bad photocopy, with no page numbers, of an article written by Harry Jackson, with the only visible title word being “dead.” I am not 100% sure the above reference is correct. I will refer to pages as they appear on my copy.

The article is based on observation/interview at the March 21, 1970 Port Chester, NY GD shows. He reports a little bit on the early show, does some interviewing, then reports a bit on the late show, which ended ca. 3 a.m.

Jackson 1970, copy p1: “They’ve only been running rock shows out in Portchester for a few weeks, and the big crowds aren’t coming in yet. So they really went out of their way to pull the press out to see the Grateful Dead.”

Jackson 1970, copy p1: improved vocals as biggest change in GD at this time.

Jackson 1970, copy p1: Cutler tells Jackson that “’the boys were tripping’.”

Jackson 1970, copy p1: Hart on better harmony vocals: “We’ve been influenced, you see. We’ve been tampered with. … Steve Stills came in and stayed with me for about two months, and we hung together. And Crosby, and they were hanging out with us. So, you know, we were sittin’ around singing and getting together and getting the harmonies better.”

Jackson 1970, copy p2b: Mickey Hart: “We just finished an album the other day.” [Workingmans]

Jackson 1970, copy p3a: Mickey: “We don’t have any time off.” Q: Is that financial? MH: “Financial.”

Jackson 1970, copy p3b: Mickey is noncommittal about the show they just played … 3/21/70a, one of the greatest ever! He says it was “a little staggery … it wasn’t a super set.”

Jackson 1970, copy p3b: He leaves Mickey to find someone else: “We wandered upstairs and found Jerry Garcia talking to a photographer at the back of a narrow dressing room. The groupies were so tightly packed in on the floor that we couldn’t get to him. He was in the middle of a long rap about corner cutting at record companies. Sam Cutler’s head appeared, and he signaled. Jerry looked relieved as he picked up his guitar. “’Wow, I got to stop rapping and start playing’.”

Jackson 1970 copy p3a: question to Sam Cutler from another reporter about “the album that was just recorded.” [Workingmans]

Jackson 1970, copy p3a: Reporter’s words: “The Dead have always had problems getting themselves together as ‘professionals.’ In the past, all their affairs have been handled by members of their family. This has led to all sorts of problems.” [JGMF: I wonder if someone discussed Lennie "on background"?]

Jackson 1970, copy p3b: goes on to do a pretty good job to describe the pretty amazing end to the late show. After 3 a.m. when the show ended.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

GSCBF11: John Hartford (& Friends): Sunday, April 28, 1974, ca. 20:15

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.


Previous installments:

John Hartford comes on around 8:15 and plays like a real pro on banjo, guitar, and fiddle for about an hour, it seems. Norman Blake (guitar), Tut Taylor (dobro), Vassar Clements (fiddle) and Doug Dillard (banjo) join in as the set moves forward. I am not quite sure what all's being played, nor by whom, for the encores. See my notes below.

Update: I have now listened to both the "Debbie reels" version and the Kuykendall version, as the latter has been gently edited by PB at the Steam Powered Preservation Society. The Kuykendall source is less complete but better sounding. See the extensive notes below. I am leaning toward the idea that the Debbie materials indeed do come from cassette masters, while the Kuykendall tapes are indeed from reels. There is still much to unravel here. Anyway ...

~~~~~

Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival
Marin County Veterans' Auditorium Building and Grounds
San Rafael, CA

<--Ramblin' Jack Elliott precedes-->

John Hartford & Friends
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 20:15

Source: "Debbie reel 4/27/74" CD 4 of 4
Provenance: unknown sbd recording (?maybe MSC > C?) > reel
Transfer: AKAI GX 636 playback > Apogee mini ME @ 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC (monitoring/mastering) > lynx one soundcard > wavelab 5.0 > CD, by Matt Smith.
Lossless encoding: EAC > CDWave > TLH (FLAC level 8).
Tagging: Foobar 2000.

(17 tracks, 59:51)

--John Hartford (banjo)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t01. % ambient noise % [0:38]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t02. //Old Joe Clark [#6:28] [0:08]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t03. Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie [5:20] [0:16]

--John Hartford (guitar)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t04. tuning and talk [1:30]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t05. Turn Your Radio On [7:34] [0:10]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t06. Good Old Electric Washing Machine [2:12] [0:20]

--John Hartford (fiddle)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t07. tuning, false start & talk to soundman [0:43]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t08. Skippin' in the Mississippi Dew [5:01] [0:07]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t09. Boogie [3:15] ->
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t10. Jelly Bean Psychedelic Song [1:10] [0:18] %

--John Hartford (??instrument??); enter Norman Blake (guitar), Tut Taylor (dobro), Vassar Clements (fiddle)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t11. Steam Powered Aereoplane [7:12]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t12. call out Doug Dillard, tuning [2:43]

--John Hartford (??instrument??); Norman Blake (guitar), Tut Taylor (dobro), Vassar Clements (fiddle); enter Doug Dillard (banjo)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t13. Wheel Hoss [2:05] [0:08]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t14. encore calls [1:05]

--encore (note: 2x fiddle, dobro, banjo, guitar, bass)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t15. tuning, talk (1) [1:42]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t16. Peacock Rag [2:08] [0:15]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t17. Foggy Mountain Breakdown [6:03] [1:13] %

Notes:
! % = tape discontinuity; # = truncated timing; // = cut song
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t02 OJC cuts in with hot levels, adjust in first 0:12.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-2015-Hartford-t15 (1) JH: "This is the California Chapter of the Dobrolic Practoral Society, which is an organization founded by Tut Taylor in Georgia to honor the dobro."

<--Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys follow-->

~~~~~

Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival
Marin County Veterans' Auditorium Building and Grounds
San Rafael, CA

<--Ramblin' Jack Elliott precedes-->

John Hartford & Friends
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 20:15

Provenance: "master sbd reel" (a.k.a. Kuykendall source)
Source: "SBD: MR > DAT > Echo Mia > Cool Edit > CDWave > Philips CDRW804 > EAC > WAV > SHN."
Transfer: "PB" of thespps.org: received shns > wavs > joined wav (shntool) > tracking (Total Recorder Pro 6.1) > SBE fixed (shntool) > flac(6) (Flac frontend 1.7.1 / flac 1.1.2a) > tagging (Foobar2000 Live Show Tagger).
This info file by JGMF.

10 tracks, 43:44
[MISSING: Old Joe Clark]
hartford1974-04-28t01. //Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie [#4:58] [1:45]
hartford1974-04-28t02. Turn Your Radio On [7:28] [0:12]
hartford1974-04-28t03. Electric Washing Machine [2:10] [1:02]
hartford1974-04-28t04. Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew [5:23] [0:18]
hartford1974-04-28t05. Boogie [3:05] ->
hartford1974-04-28t06. Jelly Bean Psychedelic Song [1:09] [0:05] %
hartford1974-04-28t07. Steam Powered Aereo Plane * [7:05] %
hartford1974-04-28t08. Wheel Hoss ^ [2:08] [0:07] % (1) [0:54]
--Encore--
hartford1974-04-28t09. Peacock Rag ^ [2:05] [0:16]
hartford1974-04-28t10. Foggy Mountain Breakdown// ^ [#3:31]

Notes:
! % = tape discontinuity; # = truncated timing; // = cut song
! * with Blake, Taylor & Clements
! ^ with Blake, Taylor, Clements & Dillard
! This fileset calls the event the "First Annual Golden State Bluegrass Festival." GSCBF is technically correct, though the program does call it the first annual.
! This source definitely sounds better than the "Debbie reels" source, less hiss. The Debbie source is also more present in the L channel than this one, which seems to have a more balanced, centered sound. This could well be from master reels for all I know, though I am slightly dubious about that. It certainly looks for all the world like this is a 7.5 ips reel side (note the proximity to 45 minute total time). The "Debbie reel" source, of course, clocks in at 60 minutes. The big differences are the start (7:30 or so more on Debbie) and the end (3:45 or so more on Debbie). There a few more minutes missing here between the Doug Dillard call onstage and the start of "Wheel Hoss", and another 1:45 or so (encore calls from the crowd) between Wheel Hoss and Peacock Rag. That probably accounts for the lion's share of the time difference, though this source makes the Debbie tape (with its possible cassette gen) feel like it's running a bit slow. I suspect that, as Matt Smith's genealogy for the Debbie reels suggests, they may be sourced from cassettes. I.e., the Debbie reel source for this Hartford set probably lived on a 60-minute cassette at some point, perhaps even from the master. The patterns of recording discontinuities don't match this perfectly (the Debbie source seems to start with 35 continuous minutes of tape, whereas we'd expect 30 at a time from 60-minute cassettes), but everything else points in this direction.
! hartford1974-04-28t01 Up on the Hill comes in about 21 seconds into the song.
! hartford1974-04-28t01 Note that the time between Up on the Hill and Turn Your Radio On is identical here and on the Debbie tapes. Same between Washing Machine and Skippin'.
! hartford1974-04-28t04 Haven't figured out the time difference between the two versions of "Skippin' In The Missippi Dew" ... this one is about 15 seconds longer, and I don't hear a splice in the Debbie version. I am sure I am missing something.
! hartford1974-04-28t08 (1) JH: "This is the California Chapter of the Dobrolic Plectral Society, which is an organization founded by Tut Taylor in Georgia to honor the dobro."
! hartford1974-04-28t10 Foggy Mountain Breakdown cuts out @ 3:31 ... ouch!

<--Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys follow-->

THESPPS INFO FILE BELOW:

John Hartford & Friends  
First Annual Golden State Bluegrass Festival,
Marin County, CA   

04/28/74  

John Hartford - guitar, banjo, fiddle
Norman Blake - guitar
Tut Taylor - dobro
Vassar Clements - fiddle
Doug Dillard - banjo  

1.  //Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie
2.  Turn Your Radio On
3.  Electric Washing Machine
4.  Skippin' In The Mississippi Dew
5.  Boogie >
6.  Jelly Bean Psychedelic Song (break?)
7.  Steam Powered Aereo Plane*
8.  Wheel Hoss^
9.  Peacock Rag^
10. Foggy Mountain Breakdown//^

* with Blake, Taylor & Clements
^ with Blake, Taylor, Clements & Dillard

Original Source: SBD: MR > DAT > Echo Mia > Cool Edit > CDWave > Philips CDRW804>
Recieved as CDA audio.  EAC > WAV > SHN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PB's notes:  Original info and shntool files are included. 

Instead of just converting shn to flac for TheSPPS I decided to re-track this show in order to append tuning and false starts to the previous tracks and split "Boogie" and "JBPS" into two tracks.  This allows for jumping to the music if you wish while still preserving the original show as recorded.  The shntool composite md5 fingerprint for the original shn files and final flac files are the same:

f439fd696ac5634d54d38a2afe6d9342  [shntool]  composite

This lineage: received shns > wavs > joined wav (shntool) > tracking (Total Recorder Pro 6.1) > SBE fixed (shntool) > flac(6) (Flac frontend 1.7.1 / flac 1.1.2a) > tagging (Foobar2000 Live Show Tagger)

ffp

hartford1974-04-28t01.flac:4983759746f56a4978bd7ca48a4da118
hartford1974-04-28t02.flac:169101b2f474f1924e3b3b1b572f26d3
hartford1974-04-28t03.flac:0b7339a4aaf66a8b902732f94cf21acc
hartford1974-04-28t04.flac:8e1ac3ebf83606081040785f167c1cad
hartford1974-04-28t05.flac:247f5fe059eef2dde6f23b290404070e
hartford1974-04-28t06.flac:372b567ffff98e47a4b4d918246d09a4
hartford1974-04-28t07.flac:1dfc5333455254316ce51ac3ad4c4af0
hartford1974-04-28t08.flac:68e5f7949c92e64adce674ce41841a22
hartford1974-04-28t09.flac:67824a9c9e02029b467b054d860cddba
hartford1974-04-28t10.flac:921e7bbd546071ba4df9b7c5b6865220

    length     expanded size   cdr  WAVE problems filename
     6:43.52       71211548    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t01.flac
     7:40.08       81162860    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t02.flac
     3:12.22       33920588    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t03.flac
     5:41.23       60206540    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t04.flac
     3:05.00       32634044    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t05.flac
     1:14.22       13105388    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t06.flac
     7:05.23       75024140    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t07.flac
     3:09.45       33445484    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t08.flac
     2:21.24       24928892    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t09.flac
     3:31.24       37276892    ---   --   ---xx   hartford1974-04-28t10.flac
    43:44.18         441.47 MB                    (totals for 10 files, 0.5600 overall compression ratio)

Reading Notes: Grosswald, Mike and Glen Blavat. 1978. Jerry Garcia’s Band Under the Stars. Happytimes (Philadelphia), March 31, 1978, p. 15.

Grosswald, Mike and Glen Blavat. 1978. Jerry Garcia’s Band Under the Stars. Happytimes (Philadelphia), March 31, 1978, p. 15.


Grosswald-Bavat 1978: This is a really nicely done piece from what I assume was a Philly underground paper, Happytimes, around the time of the JGB’s visit to that town in mid-March (3/16/78 at the Spectrum Theatre). Garcia had actually promoted Cats Under the Stars pretty vigorously, including interviews at least on March 10 in Rochester, March 11 in Pawtucket, and March 17 in NYC. It is well-established that Garcia poured himself into the album, loved it from an artistic point of view, and felt the sting of its commercial failure very, very deeply. I’d go so far as to say that he gave up trying after CUTS dropped through the charts like a stone. But that’s a matter for another post (or a book chapter!). For now, some reading notes.

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: CUTS described as “brilliant” [CUTS]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: “The evolution of the Jerry Garcia Band has pretty much mirrored the development of the Grateful Dead. What started at as loose, informal jazz sessions at San Francisco clubs several nights a week has developed into a tight ensemble that writes and produces its own material”. JGMF: interesting and spot-on analogy. There’s a common, underlying evolutionary process in both bands, from spontaneity and “chaos” to institutionalization and “form”. [GD-JGB]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: “’We started playing by pure coincidence ten years ago,’ recalled John Kahn, ‘in a real small club in ‘Frisco called the Matrix which hasn’t existed for at least eight years. It used to be a Monday night jam session type of gig. Jerry was with organ player Howard Wales, myself, and Bill Vitt, and I’ve been playing with Jerry ever since. The jamming went on for years; most of the time five or six people would join in.’” [JGMS]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: Kahn: “’Wales quit and I got Merl Saunders, who I knew from my jazz playing days, to join us.’ Being known only as The Group in the beginning is indicative of how loose these early sessions were. [JGMF: yes!] ‘Nobody thought of having a name or any kind of focus besides showing up and jamming. We tried to avoid all the bullshit that we could,’ Kahn added. [JGMF music without bullshit]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: addition of Tutt and Fierro gave birth to “Legion of Mary” [LOM]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15 quoting JG from a ca. 1975 interview, re LOM: “Legion of Mary is a different sort of group for me. I don’t write material for it. We play other people’s songs that we like and just have a good time. It’s like a low profile is more desirable for me. The Dead and this group are two different trips. And this one has a lot less pressure associated with it because we haven’t made an effort to get famous at it. That’s one of the things that makes it possible. I couldn’t take the pressure of being a double celebrity. It’s a drag just being it once.”

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: recording CUTS: JK: “was recorded in the Grateful Dead warehouse where they rehearse in San Rafael. Garcia has a 16 track studio machine and we got a real compatible Neve board from the budget of the next hundred million albums.” [JGMF, NB: would be in debt from JGB, for awhile, least!]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: Kahn speaks to the consonance of the JGB recording process: “We all sort of think the same way musically and the production worked out real well in contrast to other situations I’ve been involved with where everybody contributes different ideas thus you end up nowhere. That can be a real drag.” [JGMF: Reflections?]

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: after the JGB tour, Kahn goes out with Maria Muldaur, including in the area April 10 (opening for Bromberg at the Valley Forge Music Fair). GD will go on tour starting April 6th in Florida.

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: Maria Muldaur: “Maria Muldaur is now a permanent member of the Garcia Band … ‘I totally cherish being part of a musical experience like this,’ she elucidated. ‘I never was a Dead Head, but I’ve become involved because my old man is the backbone, the right hand man of the Garcia band. John and Jerry have a particular musical exchange happening. Their music has evolved and they’ve helped each other grow musically immensely and that’s when I came to respect them. At first I went to their gigs and thought this is pretty loose,’ Maria continued, ‘but then I saw that the place where they come from musically has nothing to do with putting on a tight show. There’s this intimate interchange and there’s an openness that happens. He may bumble a few notes, but that absolutely doesn’t matter ‘cause of where he takes it. And then to see the whole audience get it every time and not just applaud a solo, but levitate out of their seats. That’s a special thing to be a part of.’”

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: “During the recent [GD?] hiatus, Donna spent time setting up a nursery school with Mountain Girl, Jerry’s old lady.” I didn’t know Donna and MG were close.

Grosswald-Bavat 1978, 15: “Cats Under the Stars, the Jerry Band’s best album to date, is sure to propel the Band to new heights of musical stardom. And while Jerry Garcia’s worst fears of becoming a double celebrity are being realized, apparently the feeling is ‘Cats in the limelight / feels like it’s all right.’” That is pretty brilliant.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

GSCBF10: Ramblin' Jack Elliott: Sunday, April 28, 1974, ca. 19:30

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.


Previous installments:

Back to Sunday evening. This is a 37-minute set by folk balladeer Ramblin' Jack Elliott (RJE). Some banter during the Greenbriar Boys set at ca. 15:00 suggested that RJE was backstage, and he mentions during his set that he just flew in on "a ae-ro-plae" after a gig the previous night in Detroit. I cant' find any RJE tour dates readily available, but I am guessing a glance through Detroit area bookings would find him there on Saturday, April 27, 1974.

Anyway, this is an interesting set, at turns stunningly beautiful (I am a real sucker for "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright") and then sloppy and, well, rambling, like he shouldn't have sipped from that particular batch of Kool-Aid. On balance I find it totally compelling.

The recording is also interesting. It's said to be from the "Debbie reels", but there are a number of recording discontinuities within this 37-minute span of tape. The other Debbie stuff seems pretty continuous, which makes me wonder. It also makes it impossible to say whether what I list below was the whole RJE set or not.

Anyway ...

Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival
Marin County Veterans' Auditorium Building and Grounds
San Rafael, CA

<--Skunk Cabbage precedes-->

Ramblin' Jack Elliott   
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 19:30

Source: "Debbie reel 4/27/74" CD 3 of 4
Provenance: unknown sbd recording (?maybe MSC > C?) > reel
Transfer: AKAI GX 636 playback > Apogee mini ME @ 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC (monitoring/mastering) > lynx one soundcard > wavelab 5.0 > CD, by Matt Smith.
Lossless encoding: EAC > CDWave > TLH (FLAC level 8).
Tagging: Foobar 2000.

(9 tracks, 37:00)
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t01. % San Francisco Bay Blues (1) (2) [4:44] [0:28]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t02. (3) Talking Fishing %// Blues [3:#42] [0:14]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t03. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright [3:04] (4) [0:56]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t04. Cup Of Coffee [5:58] [0:13]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t05. % //Pretty Boy Floyd (1) [3:49] [0:23]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t06. Old Shep [2:45] [0:23] % [0:36]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t07. If I Were A Carpenter [3:46] (5) [0:33] % [0:06]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t08. talk (6) and tuning [1:28]
--Encore--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t09. Strawberry Roan [3:04] [0:45]

Notes:
! % = tape discontinuity; # = truncated timing; // = cut song
! There is some vocal mic distortion here.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t01 (1) w/ unknown harp player
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t01 (2) RJE: "we just got together about ... y'know, 15 minutes ago" (re: harp player)
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t02 TFB begins with a beautiful 40-second or so little guitar passage that I thought about tracking separately.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t02 (3) RJE: "I don't know what you been thinking. I just got off a airplane here."
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t02 TFB gap/splice @ 3:25-3:33
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t03 @ 3:44 (4) RJE: "I was over in Detroit doin' a gig last night, and I came back here on a aero-plane, and I would rather be drivin'."
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t04 @ 0:17 RJE: "I sure am glad to be here y'know ... I wouldn't miss it for the world"
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t04 @ 5:18 RJE asks what time it is, and is told (and repeats) "7". That is pretty darn consistent with the Festival schedule and gives even more confident that we have the Sunday night schedule, at least, pretty well pinned down.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t05 PBF clips in
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t06 Like TFB, Old Shep track starts with a great guitar improvisation (this one about 45 seconds). Very nice.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t06 @ 2:27 RJE sort of aborts Old Shep after about a minute and a half. "You know the story. I don't think you want to h ... [trails off]" and the song ends.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t07 (5) encore calls
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1930-Elliott-t08 (6) including discussion of "Diamond Joe"

<--John Hartford follows-->