F#%$ 'em if they can't take a joke.
Blogging pace is VERY SLOW, until further notice.
Thanks for the plug for my site! That's the credits as listed on the album.Alex
Perhaps I haven't dug deep enough, but have you (or any of the other JG scholars) ever written anything on John Kahn's writing and arranging? I find the strings on "Mississippi Moon" to be so spooky and cool every time I hear it--the dissonance and harmonics makes it seem like the strings and oboe (?) are feeding back. And then didn't Kahn also write the music to both "Midnight Town" and "Leave the Little Girl Alone"? Both those songs, to my ears, seem like mild attempts at making Garcia sound "current" (as opposed to timeless). "Midnight Town", to me, has an almost T Rex/Diamond Dogs-era Bowie glam feel to it. I always picture running eye liner and discarded feather boas as a coke party is winding down at 4am. And "Leave the Little Girl Alone" seems kinda almost New Wave. Any thoughts or stories regarding all this?
What an awesome question. I am not qualified to say. Kahn had strong academic interests, and overall I'd call him quite cerebral. He was certainly never about pure physical power, at least not in the Garcia period.Someone who reads and understands music (i.e., not me!) might have a good time looking at his charts, see what kinds of signatures would define the John Kahn sound.And since you mention androgyny, the 1976-1977 JGB videos show that Donna was not the only feminine force in that band ... Kahn was gazing in a very nurturing supportive way at Jerry, maybe crushing on him just a little bit.
I have a stack of BAMs documenting a great New Wave scene, biweekly. I have to think some of that hit Jerry and John. They must have gone to the Mabuhay or whatever and checked some of that out?
Another question that I thought of just after sending (and walking away from the computer) is, besides the co-writing credits on Garcia albums, are there any other songs that Kahn is listed as writing/co-writing? I should check if any mid-70's Muldair albums have him listed. And HA! re: Kahn ogling Jerry. There is that bond that junk buddies seem to have. Keith Richards describes his junk-based friendship with Gram Parsons as being as intimate as two men can be without being sexual. There's also video evidence of both Jerry and John ogling Donna, which I think you've referred to. Maybe that 1976 Capital Theater show? (no wonder Keith kept himself more or less obliterated in 76-78). I'm sure the lines and boundaries regarding relationships just did not exist in their world. In Billy K's book he makes mention of everyone in the band loving Donna, musically and physically--or something like that. Makes a puritanical New Englander like me shudder! ;)And lastly on that subject, in the extras on the Grateful Dead Movie DVD, Jerry and Donna have a pretty nice guitar/vocal back and forth/call and answer thing going on during the Scarlet Begonias jam. That Donna seems oblivious to the fact that one of her tank top straps has slipped adds to the sexy undertones. Ok, gonna do some quick Kahn songwriting research. I do find his story quite interesting (Hollywood kid etc) and he was obviously brilliant. Shame that the only speaking I've ever heard him do are on those two '78 JGB radio interviews where he sounds pretty darn wasted.
The one album where I am aware of songwriting credits for Kahn (not counting "jam" group credits) was the album Southern Comfort, recorded in San Francisco in 1970.http://deaddisc.com/disc/Southern_Comfort.htmThe album was supposed to be produced by Nick Gravenites, but he was too busy, so Kahn did most of the work and got a co-producing credit. The lead singer and drummer of Southern Comfort was Bob Jones, one of Kahn's best friends. Kahn and Jones were in Mike Bloomfield's band (with Nick G) at the time.
Well hot damn. I think readers of this blog will recognize quite a few names on the credits of Maria Muldaur's second solo album. Quite a party! I'm gonna try to track this album down. http://www.allmusic.com/album/waitress-in-a-donut-shop-mw0000315863/credits
!Thank you for joining the conversation!