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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Reasonably Good Voice and Superb Guitar: JGB on the Russian River, May 31, 1982


So, this show came up a few days ago as one at which Liz Stires and Julie Stafford were probably singing backing vocals. Part of an interesting occasional discussion on personnel issues in which the early 80s JGB backup singers and drummers have been the matter of some focus (see also here on the late '83 JGB tour).

The only copy I know of is shnid 95427, which derives from an unlineaged audience recording preserved by the GEMS folks at Lossless Legs. It's basically a nice, upfront audience tape. Not even too much crowd noise. You get the limitations of being up so close (low vocals), but the recordist did a nice job and everything is present. A few cuts here and there, but, hey, we all have a few blemishes, don't we?

The show is quite nice. I am sometimes surprised by the things I find, despite lots and lots of listening. (I guess that capacity to surprise is always there, else why are we doing it? Anyway ...) I would have expected a rather sloppy show, given that they are off the beaten path, Monday night, and all that. Just another gig. But, in fact, Jerry is in reasonably good voice and his guitar playing is absolutely superb. He isn't quite as fast here as he is in other first-semester 1982 shows, which is to the good. He is hitting nice clean notes, elaborating pretty lengthy thoughts, and so forth. Standouts for me are the Valerie, Roadrunner and especially Dear Prudence. I almost never give a fig for DP but this one has some shimmering guitar work for a couple of minutes around 7 minutes in. Overall, then, not in a big coke-fueled rush that finishes with one of those coke-blast-45-minute-just-pay-me-so-I-can-score-lets-play-Midnight-Moonlight sets that would become so common in the Bay Area in 1984-1985. Just working methodically through some really neat progressions, taking care, feeling it. Do y'thing, mang.

So everything has just a little extra something to it after a rough start to How Sweet It Is. There is a harmonica player identified as Matthew Kelly during "Mystery Train," which benefits from the harp. They take some time to really get the old engine a-chugging at the start. Part of me thinks this does not sound like Matthew Kelly, but I am really not in a position to have any confidence about that. Guest shots were very rare during this period --I have long maintained they relate inversely to Jerry's opiate intake-- and overall things have a little extra something on this night..

Anyway, various and sundry notes below.

Jerry Garcia Band
River Theatre
16135 Main Street
Guerneville, CA 95446-8301
May 31, 1982 (Monday)
GEMS aud shnid-95427

--set I (6 tracks, 55:08)--

s1t01. introduction, tuning [0:19], How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You [9:09] [0:06]
s1t02. % [0:15] Catfish John [10:18] [0:09] % [0:08]
s1t03. Valerie [6:36] [0:04] % [0:27]
s1t04. I Second That Emotion [12:46] [0:04] % [0:07]
s1t05. Love In The Afternoon [9:56] ->
s1t06. Run For The Roses [4:37] [0:07]

--set II (6 tracks, 66:44)--

s2t01. crowd and tuning [0:23], (I'm A) Road Runner [9:50]
s2t02. /Knockin' On Heavens Door [14:#22] [0:05]
s2t03. //Mystery Train [10:#25] [0:09] % [0:09]
s2t04. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [7:56] ->
s2t05. Dear Prudence// [13:#27]
s2t06. //Tangled Up In Blue [#9:46] [0:06]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Bill Kreutzmann - drums;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards (organ);
! lineup: Jimmy Warren - keyboards (electric piano);
! lineup: Liz Stires - backing vocals;
! lineup: Julie Stafford - backing vocals.
! guest: Matt Kelly - harmonica (s2t03).


! 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.


! Personnel. This show takes place during a period of some fluidity (and certainly ex post uncertainty) about personnel in the JGB. Here is what I think we have here. There are definitely two keyboardists, Melvin on organ (probably a Hammond B3) and Jimmy Warren on electric piano (probably a Fender Rhodes). There are two female backing vocalists. I am not qualified to judge who they are, but various discussion on JGMF, LLD and elsewhere leads me to conclude that this is Julie Stafford and Liz Stires.  Julie Anzaldo recalls "Liz and Julie" singing at an '82 River Theater JGB show which included Roadrunner. Since there are no backing vocals on 10/24/82 (same venue, also including Roadrunner), it would seem this is the Liz & Julie show that Julie A. recalls. Oh yeah, we also cannot be 100% sure that this is Kreutzmann drumming.  BK is the conventional listing, and since I can't discern who's drumming I follow convention here.

! R: Source: Unknown Audience recording > ? > cdr > eac > wav > Gems Edit Station > flac.Edited and Mastered by Jamie Waddell on the GEMS Edit Station. A GEMS production -+-+- -+-+- Trac'ed Cdwave Flac'ed level 8 TLH.

! R: GEMS Notes: - Big Thanks to Katfish John for sharing his cd's - Numerous mic bumps were fixed, some artifacts may remain - Beginning of Tangled Up In Blue cuts in - End of Dear Prudence Cuts out - Mystery Train cuts in - Recorder was turned off between some songs

! s1t01 enters on emcee introduction.

! Recording. What a lovely little FOB audience tape. Imperfect, but aren't we all! Vocals are low and there is some considerable phasing in the beginning. It seems a nice representation of the JGB at a freaky little theater on the Russian River. Oh yeah, no Russian Lullaby? C'mon, man.

! s1t01 They are a little lost to start of HSII.

! s1t03 JG takes a nice cookin' solo in Valerie. He is playing pretty well.

! s1t05 LITA some audible mic issues @ 2:20 ish

! s2t01 This is a pretty peppy RR.

! s2t02 KOHD clips in.

! s2t03 Mystery Train special @ start, Jerry pulling off a little bit to let it settle in. Nice!

! s2t05 Dear Prudence splice @ 3:24, 12:49

! s2t05 Dear Prudence @ 8-min mark, a minute or two before and after, JG is playing really nice, long lines ... very thoughtful and clean. Gorgeous.

! d2t06 TUIB cuts in, anomalies @ 0:10, 0:50; muffling 1:22-1:26, anomaly @ 1:29

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