greeting

Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The One and only book of Dead lists, 1974-1985

Does anyone have a hard copy of this that they might consider scanning? ["Have rare vintage lists to trade"!?!? :)]? Better, anyone have a scanned copy?

Best, anyone have , or know anyone who might have, a hard copy that they'd be willing to part with?

I'd like to add this to the JGMF archives, study it, etc.! TIA.

Here is the Library of Congress Catalog information:

The One and only book of Dead lists, 1974-1985.


LC control no.:
86108037
LCCN permalink:
Type of material:
Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Main title:
The One and only book of Dead lists, 1974-1985.
Published/Created:
[Wayne, Pa.] (30 Deepdale Rd., Wayne 19087) : [Other Half Productions, 1985]
Related names:
Other Half Productions (Wayne, Pa.)
Description:
132 leaves ; 28 cm.
Notes:
Cover-title.
Subjects:
Grateful Dead (Musical group)
Concert programs.
Rock music --United States --Bibliography
LC classification:
ML42 .A366 1985

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NRPS-Matrix-1970 06 of 7: LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions

Overall Impressions

The 86 minute sbd-sourced recording identified as NRPS at the Matrix on Wednesday, September 2, 1970 captures some really loose moments. David Nelson is absent this night, out sick, and so Garcia is more forward both in terms of instrumental leadership but, especially, in terms of harmony vocalizing. He just didn't do too many harmonies behind the pedal steel, ever. I think he really had to focus on his hands, knees and feet (which sounds like enough to occupy anyone!). But here he jumps in with enthusiastic harmonies, at little cost (that I hear) to his steel playing. Nice. Marmaduke is slurring very, very heavily in set I, though it affects his banter with/to the crowd more than his singing, which is obviously more important. He seems to set himself straight a bit for set II.

I have no idea how many people are in the room. Sounds like a small but enthusiastic bunch. To my clumsy ears the tape is sonically superior to the 7/29 and 7/30 tapes. My instinct is that it sounds more like 7/7 in terms of sound quality, but I need to try out a specialized listening enterprise to make any tape comparison with any kind of confidence. This is one of the more complete tapes of the NRPS-Matrix-1970 set, with lots of off-mic chatter and tuning available for transcription. I have done what I can in that regard.

Dating and Venue

Like every other NRPS-Matrix-1970 tape, this one has some dating ambiguity. Chicken on a Unicycle's state of the art Matrix list shows Seatrain and Kracker Jacks down in the Marina this night. There is no known basis for a NRPS entry except the tape, and we know that those can be unreliable, at best. The only thing that I can hear on the tape that helps with dating is the "Big Yellow Taxi," which the 7/29/70 tape suggests they picked up in Hawaii in June 1970 (see those notes for details). So all we can really conclude is that this show takes place after that, i.e., the second half of 1970 or later. I don't hear anything else that might help me identify the date with any precision. Based on some of the uncertainties around Matrix newspaper ads and listings, I am coming around to the view with most of these tapes (except 4/30) that they are approximately correctly dated. Indeed, I feel pretty comfortable just continuing to list this as 9/2/70, despite the lack of any corroborating evidence.

Regarding venue, I asked this question in re 7/29/70, but does anyone know if Matrix showed "weird movies" at setbreaks during this time frame? Dawson references it again at the end of set I here, as he had done on the earlier-dated recording.

Historical Interest

The whole premise of this series is that there's historical interest in the NRPS-Matrix-1970 interface.

The obvious things here are a couple of setlist rarities. Foremost among them are another version of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" (which also appears on 7/29/70) and, especially, the only known NRPS version of the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun." [check that - 4/25 and 4/28/71, around the famous Dead/Beach Boys set of 4/27. I am not sure how that escaped me - h/t Grateful Seconds] To hear Garcia playing pedal steel over this number around Labor Day 1970 is just too amazing. Had he ever played that song publicly before? What about surf music in general? I don't have anything in my notes (but confess to not having checked The Sources) about him playing surf music, but I'd bet it's absolutely possible. He grew up and was playing in coastal California in the first half of the 60s, for goodness sake. Why the hell not tear it up a little bit, lay down some fuzztone and try to get some chicks? Specifically, though, to find a Beach Boys connection in the setlist fascinates. Is there any other Beach Boys-Garcia connection besides the unbelievable 4/27/71 Fillmore East encounter?

I don't know what "Little Boy" is, the song said to follow "Glendale Train" on the Jerry Site's list. Anyone? It might be "Two Little Boys", apparently a traditional played in an earlier Garcia life by the Black Mountain Boys, but without being able to hear it I can't say.

Everything else is standard NRPS: mostly Dawson originals with a few country covers thrown in. Lots of good Bakersfield sound here, even without Nelson's picking.

Far and away, though, the feeling is what's so interesting. This entire enterprise I am involved in began with the observation that Garcia On The Side was supposed to be about "music without bullshit", i.e., playing in front of an audience, but without all of the baggage of being Jerry Garcia Of The Grateful Dead. And being able to hear Garcia so relaxed, so loose, so open to playing whatever, just playing, is fantastic. Quite often on these tapes one can hear the band talking off-mic about what to play, and Garcia just basically being pretty agreeable to play whatever. So nice! Then you get a little sardonic Jerry humor, as they are looking to replace some strings after "I'm In Love With You". Garcia, affecting a sneer:

They use the good steel for the war. [crowd laughs] They do man, really, it's awful.

Big deal, I know. But, as I have said over and over again, before too long Garcia would rarely find himself in a performing situation in which he felt comfortable saying anything at all to the crowd, let alone anything humorous or even obliquely (anti-) political. I am sure that in future years he would lament his perceived inability to just go down to the bar and fuck around. Thank goodness we have tapes that display him doing it for as long as he felt he could.

Listening Notes after the jump.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

NRPS-Matrix-1970 05 of 7: LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions
Tape Features

The tape identified as New Riders of the Purple Sage, Matrix, San Francisco, CA on Thursday, July 30, 1970 is a degraded bust listenable 98-minute soundboard recording. It came to me from an impeccable source, It is more tightly edited than either of the other July 1970 NRPS tapes, 7/7 and 7/29. To me this implies a different downstream lineage than those tapes. It is typically assumed that master reels would have been held by Peter Abrams, though I am not in a position to judge the accuracy of that assumption. But somewhere along the line this was edited down more tightly, and I doubt it was on the fly, at the show. So from the presumed common wellspring of Peter Abrams's tapes, this 7/30 and those other two seemed to have traveled different paths.

Overall Vibe of the Show

Sounds like just a good old time foolin' around at the bar. It seems to run quite late. Here's Cousin Ace regaling the sparse and shrinking crowd, sometime-late-a.m.: "Well the rats are desertin' the sinkin' ship. And, uhh, in the meanwhile we're gonna do a ... [interruption by Marmaduke: "Welcome to the campfire folks... "] ... hot lead and bloodshed ballad ... ["... this is story time ..."] ...sad story time ... ["... here on the plains"] and it goes like this." Gettin' late, boys.

Dating

Like 7/29 and 4/30, though, this tape is also inconsistent with other known streams of evidence. LIA has already gone over this pretty exhaustively, but I it helps me to organize myself from the ground up. So let's look at the July 30th dating.

A line ad in Good Times v3 n29 (July 24, 1970), p. 16 listed Harvey Mandel at the Matrix on 7/30.
Good Times v3 n29 (July 24, 1970), p. 16, courtesy of Ross Hannan.
A calendar in the Berkeley Tribe v3 n3 (issue 55) (July 24-31, 1970), p. 28) listed Smokestack Lightnin':

Berkeley Tribe v3 n3 (issue 55) (July 24-31, 1970), p. 28; courtesy of Ross Hannan.

Ross Hannan argues authoritatively that line ads such as the one in Good Times would have been submitted well in advance, while calendar items such as the one in the Tribe would have been called in much closer to the publishing date. In case of conflict, we should give precedence to calendar listings over coeval published ads. In the case at hand, Hannan's method would list Smokestack Lightnin' for this date.

The only "evidence" for Garcia being at the Matrix on 7/30/70 takes the form of tape labels. In terms of NRPS gig being noted here, there are still further reasons to be suspicious. The tape now known as 7/29/70 used to be mislabeled 7/30/70, and set I from the former still travels as "4/30/70, set I". (Aside: I believe the "4/30/70" dating is based entirely on this tape, which I believe I have conclusively determined is from after mid-June 1970. Is there any disagreement about this? I am hoping we can put that date into its proper category, a phantom gig based on a slip of the hand, '7'-->'4'.) This reduces our confidence even further that this is what it purports to be.

The GD acoustic set dated 7/30/70

There is also a Grateful Dead acoustic set known as "7/30/70 Matrix" [shnid 17077]. It is indeed plausible that these GD and NRPS sets belong together. The personnel is identical (at least in bits and pieces) except that Lesh is presumably playing bass in the GD set and that David Torbert is presumably playing bass in the NRPS set. I don't have ears to verify either of these claims. Given the fluid history of NRPS bassists at least through the first quarter of 1970, it could be Lesh for both, Torbert for both, or someone else entirely. I can't tell. Weir sits in with NRPS, and Nelson and Dawson sit in with the GD. I do not know if Bill Kreutzmann or Pigpen is around in the GD set; I just can't hear things to that level of precision. But I'll go ahead and say that I don't think they're there -- at least not onstage.

Note that the first NRPS piece (I'll call it set I) runs only 23 minutes. Normally, we would conclude that it's incomplete (and probably missing the material at the start of the set, since there's a set break announcement over continuous tape after Lodi). I do think it's probably incomplete. But it could also be that this night was different, and ended up including the mini GD acoustic set. That might have substituted for at least some part of the expected additional NRPS material.

None of this tells us anything about the correct date of the material (NRPS, GD or both). LIA speculates that some of this stuff might be from the presently-open night of 7/27/70 at the Matrix. That makes sense to me. Maybe it's from the newly-discovered July 31 - August 1, 1970 NRPS/GD shows at the Lion's Share, though that would raise the question of how we have tapes (another point that LIA has made). I am intrigued by the possibility that the order in which the acts are listed for those shows might reflect that NRPS was "first billed" over the GD, which might be consistent with NRPS doing two sets and GD just a little acoustic one. These might be from some other time altogether. I was hoping that the listens might shed some light, but unfortunately I don't think they do.

Noteworthy Material

"Kaw-Liga," Hank Williams's posthumous #1 hit about a star-crossed cigar store Indian and his beloved squaw, just dripping with insane rodeo-clown pathos, is only known from the earliest NRPS recording, August 7, 1969 at the Matrix. So it sort of surprised me to see it here, on a tape I think is approximately correctly dated to late July 1970. But there's just so little tape, we just don't know ... they might have always played it, or anyway always had it available in common and liked to play it on a lark. It is nothing short of fantastic, much slower than the '69 version and really wonderfully haunting.

The Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" is absolutely the best song of this recording and one of the fantastic little rarities out there. Typically, this song has only been associated with the "Bobby Ace and the Cards From the Bottom of the Deck" shows at California Hall (SF, CA) on June 11, 1969 and at the Matrix on April 17, 1970. (Given that Judy Dawson is the source for both of these lists, it sure seems odd that she caught both of these shows, and that there were two such similar shows 10 months apart ...) From a contemporary review I have also determined that the NRPS played it, with Bob Weir accompanying, at the Hell's Angels benefit at the Anderson Theatre, NYC, on November 23, 1970. Because 7/30/70 falls within the range of time during which they were occasionally breaking out this song --seemingly only on special occasions, really loose nights-- "Cathy's Clown" seems at least straightforwardly consistent with the present 7/30/70 dating of this material. Like the other Everly Brothers tunes they occasionally busted out ("Wake Up Little Suzie", "Oh Boy!", "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)") this one was probably just part of the common stock of songs that these guys all knew. This is the only NRPS recording of it of which I am aware.

"Lady Came From Baltimore" is written by one tragic-sounding fella, Tim Hardin, and features some beautifully mournful pedal steel work around maudlin lyrics. There are only two other versions known to me, in recordings identified as September 18, 1969 at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati and September 2, 1970 at the Matrix. 

Weir sitting in with NRPS

I started by thinking that Weir sitting in with NRPS was pretty rare, but it's not that rare. Here are the instances I can see from 1970 of Weir sitting in with the Riders:
  1. May 2, 1970: Harpur College, Binghamton, NY
  2. May 7, 1970: Dupont Gym, MIT, Cambridge, MA
  3. May 15, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY
  4. July 3, 1970: McMahon Stadium, Calgary, AB, Canada [source: Deadlists]
  5. July 30, 1970: Matrix, SF, CA [this tape]
  6. September 18, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY
  7. November 23, 1970: Anderson Theatre, New York, NY
There may well be others, and I haven't even thought about 1971.

Typically, Weir would be  called on in his "Cousin Ace" persona to sing a bunch of hit country covers: "The Race Is On", Marty Robbins's "El Paso", Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried", Kris Kristofferson's "Me And Bobby McGee", the Mel Tillis hit "Sawmill" (not to be confused with the George Jones's "Seasons Of My Heart", what they drug out a time or two), and so forth. I don't usually have much to say about Weir, but this is a period of massive development for him as he evolved toward a much more front-and-forward role in the GD. With Pigpen withdrawing, and with the marked development of Weir's guitar-playing and singing relative to, say, 18 months earlier (late 1968, ca. "The Firing"!), it was crucial in establishing the balance that Garcia seemed to need with that band.

NRPS -> GD Cross-Fertilization

The foregoing speaks to reverberations out to the GD, another topic that I rarely broach. But there are a couple examples that I see here of the NRPS doing just that.

First is the harmony vocals. Now I don't think Dawson is a great singer, but I think he's a very good songwriter and arranger. He sings some mighty nice harmony vocals on some of these Bobby-led tunes that sound a lot like what Garcia would do later. Now I suppose that whichever record they copped it from may well have had these arrangements, in which case Dawson would be epiphenomenal to the story. But I wonder if this isn't an example --a rare one, I'd say-- of how Dawson might have influenced Jerry.

Second, we can see some echoes into future Grateful Dead songs and setlists, many of which would endure a good long while. The final three numbers with Weir --"El Paso", "Mama Tried", and "Me And Bobby McGee" -- were or would become staples of the Bob Weir cowboy song slot in Grateful Dead setlists. "Mama Tried" was already established by 1970. "El Paso" is interesting in the context of the given date of July 30. Besides an eyewitness account from a GD show at the Rock Pile in Toronto on July 8, 1969, there are no known GD versions until July 11, 1970 (Fillmore East, New York, NY) and July 14, 1970 (Euphoria Ballroom, San Rafael, CA). The next is the Golden Hall (San Diego, CA) listing dated August 5, 1970. This seems to make a July 30 dating for this very plausible, indeed. "Me And Bobby McGee", finally, entered the GD repertoire in November 1970 and stayed there through 1974.

Oh yeah, third, one more thing: I swear I hear the "Here Comes Sunshine" melody in Garcia's pedal steel line to start d2t01, Dawson's "Superman."

All right, how's that for anticlimax? Listening Notes follow below the jump.

Friday, April 22, 2011

LN jg1970-07-30.gd.33mins.sbd-cotsman.17077.shn2flac

Vegas is skeptical that I can do the NRPS-Matrix-1970 thing in seven posts, but I never claimed I'd do them consecutively. And, well, if I happen to cover related terrain, well, that's just how it goes. And it just so happens that LIA's post "The Hartbeats - July 1970" mentions some GD material that I'd like to post on right about now. ;) Specifically, I'd like to do Listening Notes on the GD sets dated Thursday, July 30, 1970 (Matrix, SF, CA) and Wednesday, August 5, 1970 (Golden Hall, San Diego, CA). Since LIA has posted such thorough analyses, I'll just post the listening notes I have written up (with LIA's analyses in mind), without further comment.


Grateful Dead
The Matrix
San Francisco, CA
July 30, 1970 (Thursday)
acoustic set; unknown if there was an electric set

SBD > ?? > CD > EAC > SHN (shnid 17077) > FLAC level 8 (TLHv2.6.0, build 168, 'convert encoding format' command).

(7 tracks, 32:46)
t01. To Lay Me Down [6:09] [0:38] {6:47}
t02. Dire Wolf [4:00] [0:06] {4:06}
t03. Candyman [6:29]
t04. stage banter (1, 2 3) [2:42]
t05. Rosalie McFall [3:32] (4, 5) [1:52] % [0:12] {5:36}
t06. A Voice From On High [2:49] [0:02] % (6) [1:04] {3:55}
t07. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot [2:54] (7) [0:14] {3:08}

Lineup:
Jerry Garcia - acoustic guitar, vocals;
Bob Weir - acoustic guitar, vocals;
Phil Lesh - (?electric?) bass;
Mickey Hart - drums (tracks 1-3 only);
David Nelson - mandolin, vocals (tracks 5-7);
John "Marmaduke" Dawson - ?guitar?, vocals (tracks 6-7).

Seeder Comments:
- This short acoustic set seems to be all that the Dead played in capping off a couple New Riders sets at the Matrix.
- Sound Forge was used for a slight pitch correction and minor edits.
- Part of The Music Never Stopped Project 2003
- Thanks to Chuck Gannon; edits/encoding by JCotsman.

JGMF Notes:
! 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.
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/17077 (this recording, degraded sbd).
! t04 @ 0:16 (1) some drunk-sounding guy mutters something inaudible, and Garcia says "Go away, man. Get your own band." Guy: "What?" JG: "Get your own band." Guy: "My own band?" JG: "Sure." Guy: "What does that mean, 'get my own band'?" JG: "It means fuck off, man. Fuck off." Guy keeps muttering some stuff. Says something to Weir. Weir: "I don't care, man." A weird exchange, for sure.
! t04 @ 0:59 (2) JG: "Is Nelson here?" @ 1:04 Nelson, laughing: "Ha ha, take care of my boy there, Hart."
! t04 @ 1:18 (3) Nelson: "Are you guys gonna do some gospel numbers? Aw, you don't need drums on gospel numbers."
! t05 @ 3:50 (4) JG: "Where's Marmaduke?"
! t05 @ 5:15 (5) Weir: "'I Hear A Voice A' Callin''." I only note this to underline that this traditional goes under many names, as many traditionals do.
! t06 @ 3:27 (6) JG: [clears throat] "Is this gonna work? Just stand back a little [inaudible]. Turn the microphones up. Let's do it that way." Nelson: "Barbershop." [cross-talk] JG: "This is an old principle. It's called singing in a group."
! t07 (7) Nelson: "Thank you. Thanks a lot."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

'Yayyyyy, Jerry!'


LN jg1981-04-18.jgb.all-1.aud-jaret.107843.flac1644

Looks like I hear a mixed bag - HSII and CJ strong to start, but on STOF I call him zonked - "Sounds like he's learning how to sing on smack", and there are various clusterfucks. Little kid in the crowd gives a "Yayyyyy, Jerry!" as Our Hero steps up for "Let It Rock", but the band fails to rise to the occasion.

Jerry Garcia Band
Phoenix Theatre
201 Washington Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
April 18, 1981 (Saturday), 9 pm
all-1 Phil Jaret Minches xfer MAC shnid-107843

--set I (7 tracks, 64:33)--
s1t01. tuning [0:12]
s1t02. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You) [7:24] %% [1:49]
s1t03. Catfish John [10:00] [0:03] % [0:36]
s1t04. Simple Twist Of Fate [15:02] % [0:03]
s1t05. Let It Rock [9:04] [0:06] %
s1t06. Sitting Here In Limbo [11:03] ->
s1t07. Tangled Up In Blue [10:01] (1) [0:08]

--set II (6 tracks, 59:17)--
s2t01. tuning [0:34]
s2t02. I'll Take A Melody [13:27] [0:02] % [0:16]
s2t03. That's What Love Will Make You Do [9:43] [0:04] %
s2t04. /Russian Lullaby [11:37] [0:03] %
s2t05. Dear Prudence [12:56] [0:03] ->
s2t06. Midnight Moonlight [10:18] [0:05] % [0:06]

[MISSING --encore-- The Harder They Come]


! ACT1: JGB #12b (1/27/81-6/1/81)
! lineup: Jerry Garcia: el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn: el-b;
! lineup: Daoud Shaw: drums;
! lineup: Jimmy Warren: keyboards (Fender Rhodes);
! lineup: Melvin Seals: keyboards (Hammond B3).
JGMF:

! R: 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/1529

! JGC: jerrygarcia.com/show/1981-04-18

! db: shnid 107843 (this source); shnid 93183 (same master, earlier transfer, deprecated except contains the encore, Harder They Come). Not sure why the later Minches transfer lacks that song.

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/3FytTvSsaf72

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2012/08/phoenix-theatre-201-washington-street.html

! band: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html. JGB #12b, this is the shortlived twin-keys-no-vocalists configuration, with Daoud Shaw drumming (one presumes). I have called this "the twin keys quintet." Earlier note: Garcia-Kahn-Seals-Warren-Shaw quintet version of the Jerry Garcia Band. A weird little period in this configuration, starting ca. 1/27/81 and ending ca. 6/1/81. After that, ca. 6/24/81, backing vocalists Essra Mohawk and Liz Stires come in.

! R: field recordist: Phil Jaret

! R: field recording equipment: JVC M-201 Stereo Microphone > Teac PC-10

! R: transfer and FLAC encoding by David Minches: Master played back on Nakamichi Dragon > Grace Lunatec V3 (24/96) > Digital Audio Labs Card Deluxe > Adobe Audition 3.0 > Ozone 4.0 > FLAC encoding, pitch correction by Joe B. Jones. This is the 16/44.1 version.

! R: s1t02 HSII @ 1:05 big level jump. A couple of tape discontinuities @ 7:41-7:59

! P: HSII: Jerry is fired up! Check out his singing in the "Open my eyes at night" (2nd) verse starting @ 1:37.

! P: CJ @ 5:25 Jerry just tears it up with some fast strumming to catch up to the one ... awesome!

! P: STOF is kind of a clusterfuck. Jerry is zonked, just cannot get the vocals together. Sounds like he's learning how to sing on smack. I know this doesn't seem consistent with the note above about HSII, but anyway.

! s1t04 STOF bass feature for about two minutes from 6:46ff.

! P: Jerry tried to end the song @ 14-min mark, but the drummer just keeps playing.

! Historical: Classic. At the start of Let It Rock you can hear a little kid, maybe 3-5 years old, yelling "Yayyyyy, Jerry!"

! P: s1t05 Let It Rock really isn't happening. This band is not clicking. Jerry comes in with some fanning @ 7:15, some nice fanning over key changes and running around a little. He is bringing it here, but the band overall is pretty uneven.

! R: s1t06 SHIL levels are very low.

! s1t07 (1) JG: "We're gonna take a short break. We'll be back in a few minutes."

! R: s2t02 ITAM levels up @ 3:42

! P: d2t02 ITAM nice fanning in 11:30 range

! P: d2t03 TWLWMYD love the guitar tone JG is getting in the 8-min range.

! R: d2t04 Russian Lullaby clips in

JG19810624: Wednesday, June 24, 1981, Sherwood Hall, Salinas, CA (UNCERTAIN)

We have the great good fortune of working some pretty data-rich terrain. It varies from place to place, period to period, but partly as a result of the work of folks who might read this blog (semper fi!), a lot of Garcia's performing life is pinned down pretty well in terms of its basic architectures. Not so much that it's not interesting, mind you --we all like a challenge, right? The thrill of hunting down a fact or flashing on an observation?-- but enough to sink your teeth into. Indeed, and probably like the world at large, there's a lot more evidence than insight to go around.

That's nice for other reasons, too. For the scientifically-inclined, we can expect not only logical argumentation, but also empirical support, for a big chunk of what we are examining. I love that and think it's really important to be conservative in changing the status quo designations, assignations, etc. But it also means that we are almost certainly committing lots of type II errors (false negatives). Of course we miss the stuff that has left no trace. But we also miss the stuff that's floating out in the ether somewhere, that snatch of memory or that rumor or whatever.

Here I think I have a case of a snatch of memory that we should commit to the record. I am going to argue --based wholly on the testimony of one person, and on my own additional conjecture on top of that-- that the Jerry Garcia Band (Garcia, Shaw, Seals, Warren, and guest bassist Phil Lesh) played Sherwood Hall, 940 North Main Street, Salinas, CA, 93906-3913, on Wednesday, June 24, 1981.

Correspondent Charles C. Peterson relayed the following, and very graciously allowed me to reference him. Thank you, Charles!
I am 100% certain that I saw the JGB in Salinas CA, with Phil Lesh on bass, in late June 1981. I was in Pacific Grove for a summer invertebrate zoology course, the show was my first date with my lab partner (whom I later married) (and divorced), and by August the class was over, I was back in Michigan and she was back in Palo Alto ... given the combination of (subjectively) clear memories and the time-stamps provided by known circumstances, there is simply no way I could be wrong about this.
He elaborates as follows:
I was taking a class at the biological field station in Pacific Grove and my guess is I heard about the show from a poster in a record store there or in Monterey. I asked my lab partner to go with me (as I knew nobody else in town and liked her) and we [drove] over the mountains to Salinas. Neither of us had ever been there before, but we'd both been reading Steinbeck and we talked about that.
Regarding the venue, Charles recounts the following:
I remember the hall as a cheesy VFW-type place with no seats and maybe an eye-level stage. No ... theater curtain or anything; I got the impression it was a hall-for-rent more than a concert venue. We were pretty close without trying very hard; it wasn't packed.

Sherwood Hall was like a community center or something; no seats, just a big flat gym-like floor and a 5-6-foot stage at one end. I seem to recall low-ish ceilings. Not a large place; I am notoriously shitty at estimating crowd numbers but it seems to memory like less than a thousand of us were there; there was plenty of floor-room at the setbreak.
Regarding Lesh:
The band came out and after things quieted down somebody yelled "Good to see you Phil!" and he smiled and waved. I remember what me and my date were wearing but not Garcia. During the setbreak everybody sat down on the concrete floor and hung out.
Charles is sure the show is not the one that gook place on August 6, 1981 at the same venue:
I'm ... sure it was earlier than August ... I took the June half of a June/July class (and then hung around for July) and I'm sure it was in June. I'd bet money it was a day or 2 before the Santa Cruz and Warfield shows.
Recall that he has specific professional and major life markers to pinpoint the date. I find all of this totally credible.

Now, Charles doesn't say Wednesday, June 24. So I am speculating/extrapolating here even beyond what Charles has supplied. But I think it's a pretty safe exrapolation. Why? Here are some points, in no particular order.
  1. I asked Charles if he recalls it being a weeknight or a weekend. His reply: "It was a low-key enough deal that it must have been a weeknight; also I seem to remember having had class that day." Now, this is far from 100%, but it's suggestive.
  2. Charles recalls that "it was a day or 2 before the Santa Cruz and Warfield shows", i.e., a day or two before June 25 and June 26, 1981.
  3. Charles notes that there was "a Santana tour in 1979 that also went Salinas -> Santa Cruz -> SF" and wonders whether it might have been the same promoter. I have just found an article in Billboard (fn1) that confirms that Bill Graham was promoting shows at precisely these three venues: Sherwood Hall in Salinas, the Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz, and the Fox-Warfield Theatre in San Francisco.
  4. Charles has the concrete memory of Phil Lesh being there, specifically welcomed by name by the crowd, and we know that Lesh was not present on the August 6 show (I have listened to it, and it's John Kahn). I am also 100% sure that that August show is correctly dated, given the posters and ads, the tape, the friend-of-taper's recollections and the "Happy Birthday Jerry" chant on the tape.
  5. We know that the Garcia Band liked to woodshed guests, new band members, etc. in out-of-the-way places before taking them to the usual haunts in the core Bay Area. With Nicky Hopkins in the Fall of '75, they started off at Sophie's in Palo Alto, far-away Sacramento, and tiny and local Fairfax. In early '81, the Garcia-Kahn-Seals-Warren-Shaw quintet debuted at the Keystone Palo Alto. The fall 1982 return of Greg Errico to the drummer's seat took place at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Etc. Given that the next two shows to be played in June 1981 were higher-profile shows (in the sense of larger, Bill Graham-run rooms), and that Phil Lesh was subbing for Kahn during this period, it makes sense that they'd want to work out the kinks in front of a less seasoned crowd. I have to think that the Salinas locals would have fit the bill.
When I look at that pattern of facts, I am become persuaded that this was a night or two before the Santa Cruz show, and that the most likely date for this event is Wednesday, June 24, 1981. I acknowledge that there's uncertainty around this estimate. It could have been the 23rd or the 22nd, but why would it have been?

Regarding other personnel, I asked if there were backing vocals, and also asked if there was any chance it was Merl playing keyboards, since he showed up on June 25th in Santa Cruz. His replies:
Gut feeling: no backing vocals, but I’m not at all sure.
I don't think Merl Saunders was on keys; I think I would have known him by then from the Keystone records. Not 100% sure.
Analysis

I am generally skeptical of memory as an exclusive basis on which to add a Garcia date. But I find this too persuasive to ignore. I am entering this gig into my own list.

I do have a few questions/bigger points.

First, where the heck was John Kahn? If this gig happened, there would now be four dates (6/24-26/81 and 8/22/81) in a two-month period when John is not there. It would happen a few more times in March of '82, I think. This is truly exceptional. In the twenty-plus years from when they started playing together, there are only a tiny handful Garcia On The Side shows without John Kahn on bass. It's weird.

Second, the fact that these appear to have been Bill Graham Joints is noteworthy. Garcia had a long partnership with Freddie Herrera, which Corry has documented so beautifully in terms of the professional relationship and in terms of the basic data. It was only in 1987 that Garcia finally stopped playing Herrera venues and switched over to Bill Graham in the Bay Area. (I imagine that was a devastating loss for Freddie and probably personally painful for Jerry as well. After the GD and John Kahn, Freddie Herrera was probably third in the Garcia loyalty sweepstakes, even before his wives and kids. But I digress.) Was Graham courting Garcia, trying to take him from Freddie? One would have to think so. Did this June run discussed here and the odd little "1st Northern California Tour" of August 6-7-8, 1981 have anything to do with this putative inter-promoter competition?

Third, I note Charles Peterson's uncertainty about backup singers. He could only report a gut feeling. Unless another attendee, or a participant, or some other data materialize, we won't know whether there were backup singers at this show. My own gut tells me that Essra Mohawk and Liz Stires probably sang, even if only on a few numbers. I can't imagine they wouldn't have wanted to debut at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, get their live performing sea legs under themselves there, rather than at the larger Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium the next night. It would be more consistent with the broader pattern for them to have been there. Again, though, we just cannot know.

If anyone knows anyone in Salinas, can you please send them down to the local library (assuming they still have those in cash-strapped California) to spin some microfilm from late June 1981 in search of ads, calendar listings, show reviews, or anything else? Much obliged.

REFERENCE

fn1. Jack McDonough, "New Venues Blossoming Throughout the Bay Area," Billboard, April 14, 1979, pp. 41-42, accessed via Google Books.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NRPS-Matrix-1970 04 of 7: LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions
The 133 minute sbd recording traveling as New Riders at the Matrix on Wednesday, July 29, 1970 has all of the qualities you'd expect at the NRPS-Matrix-1970 intersection. A pretty good tape, largely complete (so it would seem), including tuning and off-mic stage talk. It's a period of NRPS's development that is underscrutinized (beyond the overall neglect of the New Riders) since the tapes don't circulate widely. Both because of tape and east coast bias, more is known about the touring band of the rest of 1970-1971, the one that opened for the GD in medium-sized college rooms and theaters across the land, than this mid-1970 band that's woodshedding in tiny Bay Area joints such as the Matrix, the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, or Mandrake's in Berkeley.

There's also a characteristic shroud of doubt around the date/venue combination. I'll address date and venue in turn.

Regarding dating, first, this recording apparently used to travel dated "7/30/70". Ouch. It helps even less that this set I is the same as "4/30/70, set I." Most confusingly, the evidence from this week at the Matrix is all over the place, and none of it supports the presence of the NRPS at Matrix on Weds.-Thurs., July 29-30. LIA has recapped all of this in his thorough way, so I won't go over the same terrain -- see his post "The Hartbeats - July 1970".

I was hoping that a forensic listening to the recordings of the NRPS Matrix Tapes dated July 29-30, 1970 would shed some light on all of this, but my hopes have been dashed. Here's about the only date-relevant information from 7/29, from John Dawson introducing the New Riders' version of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi":

We're tryin' to do 'Big Yellow Taxi', which was number two in Hawaii when we were there. And Hawaii has this big pink hotel right there on their famous boardwalk, right there on the beach.

Now, Jerry and the Grateful Dead were in Hawaii twice in 1970, in January and in June. But as I understand it, the NRPS only accompanied them in June. (McNally [1999 p. 351] narrates the first trip with no mention of the Riders or any member, and the dog is silent everywhere as far as I know.) If true, that would eliminate the "4/30/70" dating for this material. Hypothesis: 4/30/70 was an erroneous transcription of 7/30/70, the old (apparent mis-) date for this same material. All we can know, then, is that this NRPS set takes place after mid-June. Unfortunately, this doesn't get us any closer to figuring out the late July 1970 dating confusion.

I hear only two things that might shed some light on the venue. The first is Dawson's setbreak announcement: "Thank you, we'll see you after a few weird movies here." Can anyone say whether this would have been the Matrix, the Lion's Share, or somewhere else? Or is it just too vague? The second is that the recording has some of the amplitude changes that I associate with the '68 Matrix Tapes, where the mics seem to be sound- (or maybe pedal-, but I don't think so) activated. Anyone know what I mean by that?

What do I conclude from all of this chasing my tail? My instinct is that the July 29th dating is very approximately right. The contradictory listings for the Matrix this week suggest that there was a lot of fluidity, for whatever reason. Who knows? Under such a cloud of uncertainty, where the contradictory evidence contradicts itself, the tape is likely the best we are likely to do with dating this stuff. So I'd propose on the basis of this analysis that we all ding the "4/30/70" listing and keep 7/29/70.

I won't spend much time on the performance, except to say that it's sloppy. "Big Yellow Taxi" is really the only song of any historical interest, insofar as this would seem to be the first of only two known NRPS renditions.  Inchoate listening notes after the jump.


GD/NRPS19700731-19700801: Lion's Share, San Anselmo, CA

Note 2/12/2012: This post has been thoroughly revamped and is now deprecated. Please use/refer to the new post of 2/12/2012.

Here are the listings for "New Riders of the Purple Sage & Grateful Dead, Lion's Share, 9 pm" for both Friday, July 31, 1970 and Saturday, August 1, 1970, in the "George" (calendar) section of the Berkeley Tribe v3 n4 (no 56) (July 31 - August 7, 1970), back page. I had mentioned it in comments at LLD and wanted to make sure everyone had the documentation.



The Saturday night, of course, would be Jerry Garcia's 28th birthday. I bet it was a fun night in San Anselmo.

It remains an open question to me whether these are the shows remembered by Corry's informant "Michelle Mc", as relayed by him at LLD:

the acoustic Grateful Dead played a number of shows at the Lion's Share. They played two or three nights in a row, on a weeknight in the middle of the Summer of 1970. She knows--she went. These shows were utterly unpublicized, and only friends of the band were given the heads up. 

These meets the midsummer 1970 consecutive nights pieces, but not the "weeknight" or "unpublicized" pieces (though the Tribe may not be far from unpublicized, sort of a pulp Twitter feed). There's a lot of mystery surrounding this little period of time in Garcia/GD history.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NRPS-Matrix-1970 03 of 7: LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.

  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions
Here I discuss the two-set show on Tuesday, July 7, 1970. I will post my full listening notes below, but let me extract and post about what I hear on a few different dimensions.

Dating

Unlike "4/30/70", there's little doubt about this date, not least because of the poster reprinted as AOR 2.105. COAU's Matrix shows list raises no red flags. So it seems like the NRPS were indeed at the Matrix on Thursday, July 7, 1970.

Courtesy Iver McLeod, http://home.myfairpoint.net/charrymcleod/


I'd also say there's little doubt but that the recording circulating (lightly) as 7/7/70 is probably indeed from that date, or a date very close to it. For me the smoking gun is John "Marmaduke" Dawson's preface to their rendition of Merle Haggard's sad & sloshy "The Bottle Let Me Down" to close set I: "We just took a lovely train ride that this song was very popular on." This is a sweet little piece of context supporting the dating. They would have gotten back from the Festival Express trip maybe around July 4-5-6, and here Dawson is on "July 7" talking about the train ride they all just took. If it's not July 7th, it's mighty close to it, in my evaluation.

Recording

My copy of this show is a degraded but listenable 119 minute soundboard tape of uncertain provenance, though clearly a Matrix Tape. It runs pretty continuously. There is more reverb, especially on the vocals, than I hear on other NRPS-Matrix-1970 recordings.

I believe this recording is lacking the first 30 minutes of the show. We have a 43-minute piece, cutting in on Me And My Uncle, that runs pretty continuously to a set break. Then we have a seemingly complete second set clocking in at 76+ minutes. I conclude that we are missing the first 30 minutes based on two observations. First, where we have complete sets they seem to run about 70-75 minutes. So, a priori, I'd say it's missing thirty minutes. Second, about 27 minutes into the recording, after the fantastic John Dawson-penned ode to dope smugglers, "Henry", we hear some off-mic talk: "How long we been playing?", to which the answer is "about an hour." This would of course imply that there's a half-hour missing up front. A nice little convergent indication, only obtainable by painfully close listening (see note 5 in the listening notes, below).

Historical Interest

What an absolutely fascinating and important recording and performance this is. It really is an exceptionally loose-sounding thing, a night of country and western at the bar. Forward from this point, Garcia might never have such a low-key public gig again, and I mean that. I love hearing him respond to Marmaduke's question about what he wants to play at one point: "I'll try anything." Do y'thing, mang.

Most importantly for history, Garcia is playing a number of different instruments this night. At some points he is playing banjo, in what I believe to be his only public banjo playing between ca. 2/19/69 (w/ High Country) and ca. 2/27/71 (w/ James and the Good Brothers). Extending this range to the prior and subsequent public banjo performances beyond this range would take us back to ca. 1964 and probably forward to 1973 and the birth of Old And In The Way (OAITW). So this is an exceptionally rare instance that probably deserves closer musical analysis than I can give it. I'll just say that while I am often relatively lukewarm about Garcia's banjo playing, I find it outstanding here, possibly because it's behind such novel material as the aforementioned "Henry" and a possible singleton, an instrumental version of the fiddle traditional "Turkey in the Straw".

Garcia also plays a bunch of electric guitar on this show. Etree's show listing and, by extension, TJS's entry include the following note, presumably creditable to Noah Weiner: "No pedal steel played at this show. Jerry played electric guitar (though it doesn't sound like his 1970 Grateful Dead gear) and banjo." I have to say that I am completely confounded as to what Jerry's playing when it's not banjo. Sometimes it sounds like his regular axe. Sometimes it sounds like a Stratocaster, which is of course so characteristic of Bakersfield electric guitar. And sometimes it sounds to my inexpert ears like pedal steel. WTF? No idea.

There are a few personnel notes to make, as well. First, etree and TJS have historically listed Spencer Dryden as drummer, but I think that's wrong. It doesn't fit the standard timelines (he comes in later in the year, ca. November), but more importantly I hear Mickey's voice off-mic a few times (see end of s2t13, for example). Second, and also contrary to etree/TJS notes, the female singer on Long Black Veil (s2t07) is "Bev", not "Kim", per note #12 below. I have no idea who "Bev" is, but she's got kind of a Joan Baez thing going and it's all good.

Performance Quality

Whatever he's got in or under his hands, Garcia's playing this night is fucking fantastic. Check out the sublimely sensitive work he does on the Dawson tearjerker "All I Ever Wanted" ... melodious, dripping, mournful fret work. It's unbelievable to hear Garcia awash in so much Americana, from "Turkey in the Straw" on banjo to the Don Rich-inspired Strat work on a bunch of the country-western numbers.

There are some technical difficulties that result in annoying static from time to time. But they aren't oppressive. Dawson sounds reasonably sober on this night, which is always a plus for the quality of the vocals.

Other Observations

The material played by the New Riders is so dang fascinating. I know everyone knows the repertoire, but listening through this stuff it really sank in just how deeply "country" the early New Riders were. Over half the songs are Dawson originals, and I am struck by how many good and nice songs he wrote. The grim shoot-em-up "Dirty Business" is always a highlight, though this version is a little short and it misses the steel guitar's filthy, grinding vibrato. "Glendale Train" is another great outlaw tune. For some reason I feel less sympathy for poor Amos White (who, along with his retirement watch and fob, gets blow to smithereens and ends up "in fifteen pieces fifteen miles apart") than a law-abiding listener should, but I guess there's no accounting for taste. Dawson's sensitive-cowboy fare ("Cecilia," "Fair Chance To Know," "Garden of Eden") lights me up a little less, but it's fine. I am head over heels crazy for "Last Lonely Eagle" despite what might be a cloying preachiness. It's just a great song, and knowing it was written during an acid trip at Pinnacles National Monument really gives it some transportational power.

Beyond the Dawson originals there's a cornucopia of country, making up maybe 40% of the songs. The Bakersfield influence comes through really, really strongly, and though the Riders have some pretty rough edges (not least Dawson's uneven singing), I am not surprised why, with this material and these players, they went on to a considerable measure of success.

Listening notes follow.

New Riders of the Purple Sage
The Matrix
San Francisco, CA
July 7, 1970 (Tuesday)
119 minutes, probably missing ca. 30 minutes from start of show

Disc One (7 tracks, 42:56)
--Set I--
s1t01. //Me And My Uncle* [#2:58] (1) [0:53]
s1t02. Dirty Business* [6:54] [0:40]
s1t03. Truck Drivin' Man+ [4:03] (2) [1:15]
s1t04. (3) Portland Woman* [5:01]  [1:08]
s1t05. (4) Henry+ [3:33] (5) [0:20]
s1t06. All I Ever Wanted* [9:20] (6) [1:11]
s1t07. (7) The Bottle Let Me Down* [5:15] (8) [0:25]

Disc Two (14 tracks, 76:28)
--Set II--
s2t01. tuning [1:28]
s2t02. Workin' Man Blues* [5:15] (9) [0:22]
s2t03. Glendale Train* [4:09] [0:29]
s2t04. Cecilia* [4:42] % [0:06]
s2t05. (10) [0:17] The Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line* [3:48] [0:56]
s2t06. Last Lonely Eagle* [6:43] (11) [1:13]
s2t07. Long Black Veil*# [4:19] (12, 13, 14) [1:43]
s2t08. Delilah+ [4:11] (15) [0:35]
s2t09. Brown Eyed Handsome Man* [5:10] [0:24]
s2t10. Fair Chance To Know* [4:34] [0:08]
s2t11. noodling and tuning (16, 17, 18) [8:00]
s2t12. Turkey In The Straw+ [2:35] (19) [3:07]
s2t13. Garden Of Eden* [8:10] [0:28]
s2t14. Louisiana Lady* ... [#3:30]

Lineup (per etree):
John Dawson - rhythm guitar, vocals;
David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals;
David Torbert - bass, vocals;
Jerry Garcia - (*)electric guitar, (+)banjo;
Mickey Hart - drums.

Recording specs:
unknown sbd > CD > EAC (extraction) > CD Wave (tracking) > Traders Little Helper (flac8 encoding) > foobar2000 (tagging).

JGMF notes:
! 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/805
! db: no lossless filesets as of 4/16/2011. See http://db.etree.org/lookup_show.php?shows_key=164212 for the show listing at etree.
! P: What a fascinating show! It's just wonderful to hear Garcia being able to play so loosely.
! R: This is a pretty degraded sbd, but it's totally listenable. There is lots of reverb, on the vocals especially. It's distinctive about this recording relative to the other 1970 NRPS Matrix sets. There are lots of equipment issues which come through on the recording as static.
! Garcia: etree (Noah Weiner) says "No pedal steel played at this show. Jerry played electric guitar (though it doesn't sound like his 1970 Grateful Dead gear) and banjo." This would be consistent with the gear not having gotten home from Canada yet, but I am having a terrible time what all he's playing. The banjo tunes (noted with the '+') are clear enough. But the guitars puzzle me. Sometimes it sounds like he's playing a Stratocaster. Other times it sounds like his regular electric guitar. Occasionally if not often it sounds like pedal steel. For now I am keeping Noah's notations.
! Personnel: Etree and TJS have historically listed Spencer Dryden as drummer, but I think that's wrong. It doesn't fit the standard timelines (he comes in later in the year, ca. November), but more importantly I hear Mickey's voice off-mic a few times (see end of s2t13, for example). Also, contrary to etree/TJS notes, the female singer on Long Black Veil (s2t07) is "Bev", not "Kim", per note #12 below.
! R: s1t01 MAMU cuts in "I went to the barroom and ordered drinks for all"
! s1t01 @ 3:41 (1): off-mic, unidentified speaker, probably Dawson: "a little Lost Lonely Eagle?" JG: "Sure." Yet they're tuning up Dirty Business, that's what Dawson announces ("Here's another little destruction song"), that's what they play, and the tape runs continuously into the start of "Dirty Business". Confusing. Guess they changed their minds.
! Does it sound like Garcia is playing a Stratocaster? Bakersfield smiles. s1t02 sounds like steel to me.
! R: There is a lot more reverb on the vocals than I recall hearing on the other 1970 Matrix tapes.
! s1t03 (2) JG: "Microphone, microphone. Leave this one on all the time." Dawson: "It wasn't loud enough, whatever it was. Now's it better? The poor boy's in there tryin' to figure out which knob it is."
! s1t04 (3) Dawson: "This one's for all the Portland women in the audience."
! P: s1t04 Portland Woman is a trainwreck.
! s1t05 (4) Dawson: "This is dedicated to all the dope smugglers."
! s1t05 (5) off mic talk: "How long we been playing?" "About an hour." This comes about 27 minutes into the recording, implying that we are missing the first 30 minutes of the show. That seems very plausible to me, especially since this set only clocks in at 42:56, while most of these July 1970 Matrix NRPS sets run 70-75 minutes.
! P: Hearing Garcia play banjo on Henry is unbelievable. What a fantastic effect!
! s1t06 @ 10:10 (6) Nelson: "Anybody got a flat pick?" Dawson: "Ah ha ha, a couple of hands going into pockets ... It's gotta be a hard one." Nelson: "Got it." Dawson: "Got it, all right."
! P: s1t06 AIEW Garcia's guitar work is sublime. Listen to the stuff he is doing in the 7-minute mark ... breathtaking. I can't tell what guitar this is, though I am sure someone with good gear ears could do so easily.
! R: s1t06 AIEW some static at various times throughout the song. You can hear some talk around 4:00ff suggesting that these are sound problems from the stage/house (and are not an artifact of the recording).
! s1t07 (7) Dawson: "We just took a lovely train ride that this song was very popular on." This is a sweet little piece of context supporting the dating. They would have gotten back from the Festival Express trip maybe around July 4-5-6, and here Dawson is on "July 7" talking about the train ride they all just took.
! P: s1t07 TBLMD @ 1:27 listen to Jerry's really tasty solo there. Does that sound like a Strat?
! R: s1t07 more static ... there's a loose chord somewhere.
! s1t07 @ 5:23 (8) Dawson: "We're gonna take a few minutes to sit down -- to sit down and drink some beer. So we'll come back and play some more in a minute."
! s2t02 (9) Off-mic talk about what to play next, and I think I hear Garcia say "I'll try anything." Right on, Jer.
! R: s2t03 GT more cable static
! s2t05 (10) Dawson:  "This is for all you Waylon Jennings fans. [laughs] How many Waylon Jennings fans have we got here? OK, all right. Well at least there's somebody."
! d2t06 @ 7:00 (11) Dawson: "We had a request to do Long Black Veil, and we can do it with a duet, so we're gonna do it that way."
! R: s2t07 @ 4:21, after Long Black Veil, an instance of very up-close clapping. Weird for a sbd.
! s2t07 (12) Dawson: "That's Bev."
! s2t07 @ 5:28 (13) JG: "Is Phil here?"
! s2t07 @ 5:44 (14) JG: "A little ban-jar here."
! s2t08 (15) Dawson: "Well, we can try it. I can't guarantee a performance on this one. This is one that's been shaky with us recently ..."
! s2t11 @ start (16) Nelson, off mic: "Nahh, the Grateful Dead do [inaudible]"
! s2t11 @ 0:43 (17) Marmaduke: "We gotta couple of fiddle tunes we can play on acoustic guitars and stuff here. So we'll see what we can // send David into the other room to get his guitar."
! s2t11 @ 5:53 (18) Nelson, mic check: "Hello, hello, hello in there. Eat my shorts. Are you getting this?"
! P: s2t12 Turkey In The Straw is fantastic!
! s2t12 (19): Dawson: "We're at a loss for something to do with ending, so we'll go back the other way."
! s2t13 near end of track I think I hear Hart asking "What is it, Marmaduke," asking him to call the tune.
! R: s2t14 Louisiana Lady fades out

NRPS-Matrix-1970 02 of 7: LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions
This is the earliest putative recording of a NRPS show at the Matrix in 1970, and it embodies many of the general features of the NRPS-Matrix-1970 nexus. The tape ultimately derives from the "Matrix Tapes", soundboard (line) recordings on reel-to-reel tape. It is said to be set I only.

The date of this recording is questionable, for two main reasons. First, the Chicken on a Unicycle (COAU) Matrix list shows Sandy Bull at the Matrix this night, and Ross Hannan classifies this listing as spurious. Second, as I will elaborate at much greater length in installment four of this little series, the material from "4/30/70 set I" duplicates "7/29/70 set I," and I find the latter dating much more likely to be approximately correct.

I do not know of any evidence other than tape that supports a 4/30 dating. Because I conclude that this is a mislabel and I discuss the material at length in the corresponding (late July) context, I won't go on at any length, and my listening notes will be much lower-res than subsequent ones will be.

I will just say that in an absolute sense, the April 30 date makes some sense. We currently believe that NRPS played a "stealth" gig on 4/29/70 at the Peninsula School in Menlo Park, CA. We also know that the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" concept took its show on the road starting the night after this, Friday, May 1, 1970 at Alfred State College in Alfred, NY. We know that across the decades Garcia liked to do some low-key local shows to warm up new bands and/or new members, especially in advance of a national tour.

But there's just no evidence whatsoever that NRPS played the Matrix on 4/30/70 except this seemingly-mislabeled tape. So I'd say science requires us to list this date as doubtful unless and until something else comes up.

Quick question for the cognoscenti: did the Matrix show weird movies at set breaks? Marmaduke mentions this at the end of the tape. I am 95% sure this material dates from after mid-June 1970, if that matters. Sounds like a Family Dog thing to me, but what do I know?

NRPS-Matrix-1970 01 of 7: Introduction

NRPS-Matrix-1970: a seven part series discussing New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) gigs at the Matrix, 1970, including listening notes on the circulating tapes, speculation on dates, observations on playing, general pontificating.
  1. Introduction
  2. LN19700430: Thursday, April 30, 1970
  3. LN19700707: Tuesday, July 7, 1970
  4. LN19700729: Wednesday, July 29, 1970
  5. LN19700730: Thursday, July 30, 1970
  6. LN19700902: Wednesday, September 2, 1970
  7. Analysis and Conclusions

Preface

The idea of the New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) playing the 120-capacity Matrix at 3138 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA, 94123 in 1970 is pretty exciting one on a lot of levels. It's the overall symmetry point in an n-dimensional issue space covering the venue, time period, personnel and band questions, tapes and dates, and so forth. The information and insights gleanable on each dimension reflect into the others and shade and color them in a totally unique way. It's an interesting time in an interesting place with interesting people playing interesting music. Good enough for me.

Venue

The Matrix [COAU | Rock Archaeology], of course, is one of The Venues were history unfolded itself. This is true, most importantly, in the big picture of San Francisco music, most obviously the Jefferson Airplane arc. It's also more narrowly true of Garcia On The Side. Out in the Marina, Jerry did some of his first outside dabbling in the Grateful Dead era with "Mickey and the Hartbeats" in October 1968 [GDG | JGMF]; played his first public banjo (as far as I know) of the Grateful Dead era  ("2/19/69") [LLD | GDG | JGMF]; woodshedded the Bakersfield country concept with some of the first billed New Riders gigs in August 1969; moved a guitar-keyboard-bass-drum quartet concept from a wide-open Monday Night Jam to what would become, by 1975, The Jerry Garcia Band; played out with the great David Crosby, and so forth. If walls could talk, and all that. I have done a data dump on my  1970-1971 Garcia dates at the Matrix, though of course that post should probably be updated to reflect everything we've learned. (So much to do!)

Band

It's of course well known that NRPS [JGMF] toured with the GD in 1970 and were integral to the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" show format, comprising acoustic Dead, NRPS, and electric Dead. Less well-known is that the Riders appear to have been Jerry's midweek-hometown band in 1970 (see also Harris 1970, 32). The GD played nearly every Friday-Saturday in 1970 whether at home or on the road. Local Mondays were the province of the celebrated Monday Night Jams with either Wales or Saunders on keyboards, Kahn on bass, and presumably Vitt on drums. But, as one can already see from the list of tapes that I'll cover --assuming for the moment that those dates are accurate-- the Riders spent a fair number of Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursdays at the Matrix, and a quick glance tells me that Mandrake's also hosted a bunch of midweek shows. If 1970 was Garcia's most prolific gigging year --and I think it was, insofar as NRPS sets opening for GD are counted-- playing small clubs Mondays and many midweek nights absorbs a chunk of the delta relative to other years.

Personnel

The Riders apparently saw a period of near-total inactivity from November 1969 through ca. March 1970. One possible exception is NRPS January 19, 1970, Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley and there are some doubts about the shows that have historically listed during March. They pick up in the second quarter and play through the rest of the year. They do so with new bassist David Torbert, who appears to take over the slot vacated the previous winter by a seemingly disinterested Phil Lesh. By the end of the year, Spencer Dryden will have replaced Mickey Hart on drums. In late June - early July, the Grateful Dead and the New Riders take the Festival Express train ride, where they first encounter Buddy Cage. Garcia apparently hatches the idea pretty quickly, if not on the train itself, that Cage should replace him as the NRPS pedal steel guitar player. It takes about 15 months for that to materialize, but materialize it does.

Tapes and Dates

For all of these reasons, and also because the material is diverse and fascinating, we are very fortunate to have quite listenable, occasionally very good, often reasonably complete soundboard recordings of the shows/dates listed above. As a class, the Matrix Tapes are well known and much-discussed. I wish I had a better mechanism for scooping up everything that's been said on this topic -- maybe I should extend my method of promiscuous tagging to this subject, as well. [ed: Done!] So these tapes are precious historical documents.

But their accuracy is questionable. Corry once forcefully argued that "you can't believe anything about the date on a Matrix tape box," though an earlier Corry had articulated the more tempered view that "Matrix dates tend to be approximately correct, but often not precisely correct." Yellow Shark has said, based especially on pre-1970 materials, the venue is even sometimes someplace other than the Matrix.

I think the more tempered view is closer to the mark insofar as the 1970 NRPS tapes are concerned. That is, while there is some doubt about each of the dates I list above as New Riders 1970 NRPS gigs at Matrix (except July 7th, with its well known poster), my analysis will lay bare at least some stuff consistent with most of them. We can't pinpoint, but the date range implied by a close listen is usually close to the date we list (e.g., 7/7, 7/29, 7/30), or otherwise it is unrevealing on the question (e.g., 9/2). There's only one outright contradiction, and that's that the same set of material travel as both "4/30/70 set I" and "7/29/70 set I". I will advance the argument that the latter is approximately correct. There is less evidence available about whether the venue actually is the Matrix, but I hope to uncover a few tidbits that might let others more knowledgeable than I make some more informed judgments.

Were there other 1970 NRPS dates at the Matrix, besides these? Not that I see, though of course there could have been unadvertised, unrecorded shows of which we are unaware. The ones I discuss are the conventional NRPS-Matrix-1970 ones. To dispense with one open possibility, could the Monday night "Jerry Garcia and Friends" listings of September 7, September 14 and October 26 have been NRPS gigs? Sure, they could have been, but I don't think they were. Most of us are operating under the reasonable assumption that 1970 Monday Night Matrix gigs were the Wales and then Saunders bands. NRPS-Matrix-1970, as I said above, seems to have been a midweek phenomenon.

Summary

Anyway, my aim is just to map out what I find at the NRPS-Matrix-1970 nexus.

I do hope that this inquiry will equip me, at some point, to evaluate the material circulating as Grateful Dead @ Matrix, 7/30/70 and GD @ Golden Hall, San Diego, CA, August 5, 1970. LIA has argued that the "tape of '8/5/70 San Diego' can't be from San Diego, but is likely from a San Francisco club show", specifying that he believed that set to be a July 1970 "Hartbeats"-listed set from the Matrix. I think both of these tapes are more or less what they purport to be, but I need to put my thinking together.


Beyond that, what do I think I'll conclude? It's crazy to write the intro without knowing the conclusion. And I have not cleaned up all my listening notes yet, so I am not sure what I have (except that I have way too much and way too minutely detailed). But here are a few tentative conclusions.
  • The "4/30/70" tape is the same material as "7/29/70, set I". I think the July dating is approximately correct, which leaves the status of a 4/30/70 gig in some doubt.
  • I think the July material is, generally, roughly accurately dated.
  • I can't say much about the September 2 dating. It's a distinct show, but I can't yet tell when it might be from.
  • There are a lot of *exceptionally* loose moments in these sets. It's not all sunshines and unicorns, but it is relentlessly interesting. To me.

Acknowledgments

There have lately been some fantastic discussions of related stuff, but especially 1970 Matrix shows, over at Lost Live Dead (LLD) (Corry's "John Kahn IV" post, covering John Kahn's known live 1970 performances) and at Grateful Dead Guide (GDG) (LIA's post on the July 1970 Hartbeats shows). I am Grateful to everyone involved in those discussions for their knowledge and wisdom! I would love for more people to get involved in these conversations, so please do consider this invitation to weigh in!

Reference
Harris, David. 1970. Rock’s First Family: Grateful Dead. Circus 4, 4 (March): 32-35 .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eddie Claridge Presents


ad from the Village Voice, June 27, 1974, p. 67: Eddie Claridge Presents, Capitol Theatre (x49 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester, NY): Friday, July 12 [1974] 9 pm, David Bromberg with very special guest Eric Andersen.

I only know of Eddie Claridge as the legendary New York-area taper. Since tapers are my heroes, I try to know their stories as much as I can, and I did not know that Eddie Claridge was also a promoter.

Anyway, mostly because I likes me some images.

Monday, April 11, 2011

LN jg1986-10-18.jgb.81mins.sbd-jgmf.112794.flac1648

Jerry Garcia Band
The Stone
San Francisco, CA
Saturday, October 18, 1986

--Set I (6 tracks, 33:58)--
s1t01. //Think [#3:52] [0:12]
s1t02. And It Stoned Me [5:25] [0:30]
s1t03. Run For The Roses [5:21] [0:02] ->
s1t04. Let It Rock [4:49] [0:59]
s1t05. Forever Young [6:24] ->
s1t06. Deal [6:19] [0:04] %

--Set II (6 tracks, 47:16)--
s2t01. Harder They Come [10:28] [0:06]
s2t02. Knockin' On Heaven's Door [9:35] [0:12]
s2t03. Dear Prudence [9:46] [0:17]
s2t04. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) [6:25] ->
s2t05. Gomorrah [6:02] ->
s2t06. Tangled Up In Blue// [4:22#]

Lineup:
Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
John Kahn - el-bass;
Melvin Seals - keyboards;
David Kemper - drums;
Gloria Jones - backing vocals;
Jaclyn LaBranch - backing vocals.

Specs:
MSC > 1C > 1DAT (16bit/48kHz) > Panasonic SV-3700 playback > Pyle Pro cables > WaveTerminal 2496 > Wavelab v5.0.1a record (16/48 wav) > CDWave v1.9.8 (tracking) > Traders Little Helper v2.4.1 (FLAC encoding, level 8) > foobar2000 v0.9.6.8 (tagging).

JGMF Notes:
! 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/1816.
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/21300 (John Corley audience recording). No soundboard source in circulation as of 4/10/2011.
! R: Nice soundboard recording from a period in which there are very few. At some point this should be patched with the Corley aud tape, which could supply the missing ~90 seconds at the start of Think and the missing ~5 minutes at the end of Tangled Up In Blue.
! P: Overall, this is a pretty workaday first set and a pretty nice second set. A first set comprised of six 5-6 minute songs, clocking in around 36 minutes total, feels pretty cursory. It provides a kind of hit-and-run tightness which is merely interesting. To be fair, the man was at death's door 14 weeks prior to this, and we know that he had to develop his chops and his stamina progressively. Third show out, he's not quite there yet. The second set strikes me as still very short (under an hour), but better than set I. I will forever lament the emergence of "That Lucky Old Sun" into the Garcia Band's repertoire, but it's their band and they get to play what they like, so I'll leave it at that.
! R: s1t01 Think enters in progress.
! R: s1t01 Think static @ 2:42
! setlist: Public JGB debut of "And It Stoned Me" (s1t02). Second public JGB performance of "Forever Young", after the Triumphant Return show (debuted on October 4, 1986). Third public JGB performance of "Lucky Old Sun" (October 4 and 5, 1986).
! R: Guitar is very low in the mix. s1t02 And It Stoned Me level adjustments @ ca. 2:42.
! P: s1t04 Let It Rock takes a while to settle in, with Kemper and Jerry not quite on the same page. It ends up being played at a very fast tempo, Garcia really on the seat of his pants with the lyrics; kind of makes it interesting. This may be the peppiest JGB LIR ever.
! P: s1t05 Forever Young Jerry has a hard time staying in key. He hits the high notes in the chorus OK, he's just changing key during the verses, trying to find the right spot.
! P: s2t01 Harder They Come Jerry sounds refreshed, invigorated. It could just be that they hit the pocket of HTC and it's in a good range for his voice. You can hear him re-learning how to sing onstage here in October 1986, two weeks to the day and only the third show back. Gone was harsh croakiness of '85 GD ... after the coma, he changed his singing style to better accommodate his vocal limitations. This was also probably a needle's eye through which song material had to pass, with Jerry figuring out what he could and couldn't do, if if he could, how. A lot to learn, and it took a little while. I have always thought that's partly why his guitar playing was relatively unadventurous from late '86 through most of '87. I think he was focusing on re-learning how to sing, and letting the process of relearning how to play happen more organically. The vocal constraint was the one that required more attention ... the guitar playing was just fine. Anyway, to the point, this HTC is very tight and very sweet sounding, which really comes through on the nice board tape, on which only the bass is still too faint. Kemper is really hitting, really swinging on HTC, a super tight pocket. Melvin is just filling some sweet licks back behind, the ladies' harmonies are spot-on, everything sounds well-rehearsed. Jerry gives a little extra "What I say, now what I say" toward the end, and it finishes strong. Excellent @@ version of HTC.
! P: s2t02 Knockin' On Heaven's Door is also just fantastic. This song was always better with the JGB than with the Dead, with Melvin's organ just being so spot-on, the beautiful raised tempo parts like the one about 6 minutes in here ... wonderful.
! P: Kemper does a little march thing about 3 minutes into Dear Prudence that's pretty sweet.
! P: s2t04 Lucky Old Sun has never been a favorite of mine. But this one is interesting for at least two reasons. First, the sbd tape allows you to really hear what's happening. Second, it's an interesting early version ... more uptempo than later ones.
! R: s2t04 Lucky Old Sun there's some weird, low-tone vibration happening from time to time. Sounds a little like a very low helicopter rotor.
! R: s2t06 TUIB cuts out, maybe a few minutes missing.