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Sunday, May 01, 2011

LN jg1970-09-20.nrps.all.sbd-reynolds.97866.flac1644

Program cover for An Evening With the Grateful Dead; Featuring The New Riders of the Purple Sage; Joe's Lights. Fillmore East, September 17-20, 1970.


Already the September 17-20, 1970 GD-NRPS run was the New Riders' third trip to Bill Graham's Fillmore East in the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" format. On May 15 they had done a single night which is revered and has been preserved for its official posterity as Road Trips v3 n3 [dead.net | deaddisc]. July 9th-12th had the set in a midnight show format, has been the source of much confusion over the years, and is still poorly understood, to my view.  September sees another full four-night run, most of which was thankfully preserved for all posterity by the enterprising Fillmore East crew members who ran a parallel set of tapes to the house/band tapes by splicing lines down t a reel machine, what, in the basement or the broom closet or something. Thanks to them and to all of the tapers and traders over the years who have passed down these most enjoyable (to me) data.

As a result of tape availability and performance quality, the Grateful Dead sets from these shows are quite well known and justifiably legendary. The last night, Sunday 9/20/70, is a delight from start to finish. The acoustic GD set contains lots of rarities and features David Grisman playing with Jerry in public for the first time. It may be the sweetest acoustic set Jerry Garcia ever played--it's that good. Unbelievable versions of just about every damn song: UJB, Deep Elem Blues, (fast!) FOTD, Big RxR Blues, Dark Hollow, Ripple, To Lay Me Down, Truckin' (yes, acoustic), Rosalie McFall, Cumberland Blues, New Speedway Boogie? Wow. Do yourself a favor and give this stuff a listen. People and instruments are swapping in and out and it's a beautiful, collectively crafted set of music.

The electric set is diverse and huge, with a monstrous "Caution" that stands as one of the band's massive blowouts. It's a beast. I'd say the "Sir Mick" tape is the best one circulating -- far from perfect, but quite nice. (Caution has the sonic anomalies that exist on all known copies.)
Program (inside cover) for An Evening With the Grateful Dead; Featuring The New Riders of the Purple Sage; Joe's Lights. Fillmore East, September 17-20, 1970.


The New Riders sets are less well-known. In working through the 1970-NRPS-Matrix matrix, I wanted to do some extra listening around, and this was one of the sets I stumbled on.

There are two things of note about this show as far as I can see.

First, "Together Again" is the Buck Owens bawler. This is only the second version known to me (9/2/70 -- yes, they are different versions). It's weird how they do this song so truncated, only the first verse. Anyway, as Marmaduke says (LN #9), "That's your Buck Owens tune for the evening."

Second, Garcia's steel work on the John Dawson original "Death And Destruction" is nothing short of breathtaking. Stepping back, the tune sounds very much derivative of various David Crosby-related material, including Torbert playing a bass line that sounds for all the world like "Wooden Ships". But more importantly, and here's where my very limited musical vocabulary will fail me, the color and tone of the song are all Crosby, mostly "Laughing" with a little "Cowboy Movie" mixed in. Garcia's steel absolutely wails and moans and soars on this music, occasionally plunging underwater, a mournful cry. And if you know the electric and pedal steel guitar work Jerry did on Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, what many, including Jerry himself, consider his best studio-recorded work, you know how fantastic his one and feeling are. This really helps me understand Corry's distinction between playing a "lick" and playing a "sound" ... the latter is what Garcia was constantly after. In fact, in just going to notes I found this, Garcia talking ca. early 1971 (Stuckey 1971, p. 37):

I’m not really trying to become a steel player. I’m trying to duplicate something that’s in my head. … On the new David Crosby album I played one thing that I really, really liked; it was starting to get to where I can hear the steel getting to. 

They might as well have had this show on in the background when talking about this. Anyway, I need to investigate "Death and Destruction" a little bit more closely.


Basic listening notes follow.

New Riders of the Purple Sage
Fillmore East
105 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
September 20, 1970 (Sunday)
sbd shnid-97866

--(10 tracks, 79:41)--
01. tuning [0:39], introduction (1) [0:09], Hello Trouble [3:19] (2) [0:16]
02. If You Hear Me When I'm Leavin' [6:16] [0:53]
03. (3) Truck Drivin' Man [3:10] [1:00]
04. Superman [3:55] [0:29]
05. Glendale Train [5:04] (4, 5) [1:36]
06. Death and Destruction [12:10] [0:39]
07. Henry [3:45] (6, 7) [2:10]
08. Last Lonely Eagle [7:00] [1:08]
09. Cecilia [4:14] (8) [0:43]
10. Together Again [2:20] (9) [0:56]
11. Louisiana Lady [3:38]
12. The Weight [7:25] [0:32]
13. Honkey Tonk Women [4:55] (10) [1:02]

! ACT1: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
! lineup: John Dawson - el-g (rhythm), lead vocals;
! lineup: David Nelson - el-g (lead), harmony vocals;
! lineup: David Torbert - el-bass;
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar, harmony vocals;
! lineup: Mickey Hart - drums.

Tape specs:
SBD -> Master Reel -> CD -> EAC (secure, offset corrected) -> Cool Edit Pro -> TLH -> FLAC16.

Seeder notes:
-- Left channel was boosted approx 3db via Cool Edit Pro.
-- Various anomalies remain.
-- Verified sector boundaries via Trader's Little Helper and encoded FLAC level 8.
-- Circulated by Chuck Reynolds - January 2007.

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/2132.
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/97866 (this fileset)
! map: https://goo.gl/maps/75Kk8
! t01 (1) Emcee, not Bill Graham: "OK, welcome, the New Riders of the Purple Sage"
! t01 (2) "If You Hear Me When I'm Leavin'" referred to as an "E shuffle".
! t02 is sometimes labeled as "Can't Pay the Price" or "I'm Going On My Way". The title above ("If You Hear Me When I'm Leavin'") is how Alex Allan lists it, based on the official NRPS setlist site, and I follow those usages.
! t03 (3) Ladies from the crowd yell in unison for "Louisiana Lady," and Marmaduke, ever chivalrous, says "We'll get there. We'll play it, I promise, I promise", then has to tell the rest of the band that the tune they have already started is indeed "Truck Drivin' Man".
! t05 (4) @ 5:28 JG, off-mic: "That was all right."
! t05 (5) @ 6:30 They are talking song selection, Dawson mentions "Death And Destruction," to which Jerry replies "Yeah, let's try it. I won't do a lot of rhythm."
! t06 Death and Destruction sounds for all the world like a David Crosby contribution, mostly "Laughing" with some "Cowboy Movie" mixed in. The soaring steel licks Jerry is laying down are completely reminiscent of his electric guitar work on Crosby's IICORMN. @@ Jerry gets some beautiful underwater sound @ 4:00. Very long song. So Crosby! Torbert also plays the "Wooden Ships" bass line.
! Amazing how huge the FE crowd sounds relative to the Matrix, which I have just been listening to.
! t07 @ 4:12 (6) Dawson: "I gotta fix my 'G' string." Member of NYC audience gives him the "pretty" whistle. Some guy in the crowd yells something about El Paso. Dawson, off-mic: "What?" Garcia, smiling behind his beard: "Somebody wants to hear El Paso." JD: "El Paso? We gotta get Weir out here." JG: "That's what the guy said. 'Bring Weir out and do El Paso,' he said." Jerry is incredulous.
! t07 @ 5:20 (7) Crowd laughs, not sure what's going on. JG: "If it's consistency you're lookin' for, go look somewhere else." Single audience member claps. JG: "Thank you."
! t09 Cecilia sounds a lot like El Paso to start. Garcia comes in with a sweet little thing to kick the song off, different from what I remember hearing on other versions. It's nice playing. You can tell he's pretty well warmed up on this fourth night of the run.
! t09 @ 4:33 (8) JG: "Marmaduke's got a broken string."
! t10 Together Again is the Buck Owens bawler. As of 4/25/2011, this is only the second known version (9/2/70). It's weird how they do this song so truncated, only the first verse.
! t10 (9) JD: "That's your Buck Owens tune for the evening."
! t13 HTW: the less said about the 1970 NRPS versions of this song, the better, IMO.
! t13: House music: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes".


REFERENCES:
Stuckey, Fred. 1971. "Jerry Garcia: ‘It’s All Music’." Guitar Player 5, 3 (April): 24-26, 36-39. Source #125 in Dodd-Weiner 1997.
Dodd, David G., and Robert G. Weiner. 1997. The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography. Music Reference Collection no. 60. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the last night (9/20/70) of this four night run. I attended the late show. Vividly remember the whole concert - so loved all these shows they did with NRPS. I went to most of the Fillmore and Capitol theater shows during 69-71. They were all indescribable but the best I recall was this show and 6/24 in Port Chester. For some unknown reason, I saved my ticket stub and the program for this show and same from 6/24.

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