Like 2/16/74, this was a previously uncirculated Betty Board dropped by the mysterious 'alligator' into the ether at Lossless Legs, this one about five years ago. What fantastically lucky music fans we are to have had this band playing, Betty Cantor taping, Rob Eaton preserving and documenting those tapes, and 'alligator' sharing them.
The show strikes me as very characteristic for the period, which is only knowable in the sense that the Live at Keystone releases so thoroughly mine the July 10-11 shows in Berkeley (see my post on the distribution of the July 11, 1973 show across the official releases, which will also link to the other cuts into the associated sets of material). At this stage of the game, there are not really any Merl Saunders vocals leads, though here he does sing a few verses of “The System”. There’s lots of soul and R&B, some jazz, a smattering of other Americana and a number of Saunders originals that are approached as improvisational vehicles.
As I note in the listening notes below, there are two things of special interest about this show.
First is the setlist. When this was released, both "The System" and "Merl's Tune" were just identified as instrumentals. The correct titles were nominated by "sl halper" at deadnetcentral and have been confirmed. There are some very interesting selections here, with three bona fide Saunders-penned rarities.
· "She's Got Charisma" [Allan | Scofield] is a slow blues, in the same emotional register as "Lonely Avenue". The title is a little fluid. It was first released on the vinyl Fire Up (Fantasy 9421, 1973) as “Charisma (She’s Got)” and lacking Garcia. As Alex Allan notes, it was not included on the subsequent CD Fire Up Plus (Fantasy FCD 7711-2, 1992), but did appear on the 1997 Keepers CD (Fantasy FCD-7712) with a 1972 date and renamed “She’s Got Charisma”. I use the later-officialized title. As a side note, it appears to have been covered by Cal Tjader on a 1973 album Last Bolero in Berkeley (Fantasy, 1973), the credits of which also seem to include Paul Humphrey, who would later drum with Jerry and Merl.
· "The System" [Allan | Scofield] is a pretty nicely funkified piece of social commentary, including Merl's early ecological interest (cf. "Save Mother Earth" [Allan | Scofield]). This version has (some of) the vocals. I cannot remember if others do. My sense is that at least some versions they played are instrumental, but I'd have to check.
· "Merl's Tune" [Allan | Scofield], finally, is most readily accessed through the Garcia/Saunders/Kahn/Vitt Live at the Keystone, volume 1 release (Fantasy FCD 7701-2, 1988), a version which was played five days after this one. This particular rendition is interesting because the tune is only the barest skeleton for what they actually do. In fact, they never play the distinctive swooping intro followed by the fast carnival swirl that starts off the album version (and which I really like). Really, there's just Merl playing the organ line and the rest of the band playing around it. And the "Merl's Tune" theme pops up all the way to the end of the "collective improvisation" (i.e., jam) that follows it. In other words, it would be just as plausible to have that all tracked together and to think of it as a 25+ minute version of “Merl's Tune.” NB that Allan credits only Saunders for this composition, while Scofield credits Merl and a John White. I am inclined to go with Scofield’s information.
Second, there is an unidentified trumpet player throughout the second set of this show. I made a general post sometime back on Garcia’s unidentified guests. It needs an update. For now I’ll just note that there is an unidentified trumpeter on four dates in circulation: 12/28/72, 7/5/73, 10/2/73, and “9/1/74”. (I put “9/1/74” in quotes because the Pure Jerry #4 release with this date (Jerry Made JGCD0004, 2004) would certainly seem to be from more than one show.) Based on comments to the original post, the first seems like some random walking up from the crowd. The other three dates seem likely to be the same guy. I don’t have ears to hear this with any confidence, myself, but DNC poster ‘sl halper’ notes that this guy on 7/5/73 is doing some of the same stuff as the guy on “9/1/74”. Now, he’s copping Coltrane’s “Resolution”, which would hardly be his own little secret riff, but the sense I get is that it’s the same player.
Who might it be? I guess I plan on addressing that in my updated post on unidentified guests, but let me just throw out some candidates here. I elaborate as I can; where there’s no elaboration, it really means I am pretty much just guessing.
· Bill Atwood. Corry had suggested him as the player on 10/2/73, a suggestion taken up by Wolfgang’s Vault in its “release” of that gig.
· Ken Balzall. A Hooteroll? credit makes this one worth looking at. The AHATT principle.
· Joe Ellis. Deadbase has always said that it was Ellis playing trumpet during the Grateful Dead’s Fall 1973 East Coast shows, alongside Martin Fierro on saxophone. But in his comments, Corry avers that this information probably came from him and he’s not sure about it. Both Atwood and Ellis get playing credits on the GD’s 1973 release Wake of the Flood which, having been recorded in August 1973, is certainly in keeping with the timeframe under examination.
· Luis Gasca. Corry has offered him as a possibility in comments on my Garcia’s unidentified guests post. I don't think the player here sounds "Latin enough". Sorry, I said it. But it's just not at all what I would expect.
· Mark Isham. Blair Jackson reports that Isham denies it being him.
· Melvin Moore. He gets the trumpet credits on (Compliments of) Garcia, Jerry’s second solo album. I assume he’s an LA guy, but who knows.
· Hadi al-Sadoon. No evidence for it, just throwing it out there. He had apparently shared a stage with Garcia on 8/30/75 for a Keith and Donna [Godchaux] Band gig at the Orphanage [shnid 91765], so who knows? Scofield’s deaddisc identifies him as Hadi El Sadoon for his playing credits on Robert Hunter’s Tales of the Great Rum Runners; I have no idea which is correct or if both are acceptable transliterations of what I am just guessing is an Arabic name.
· Jack Walrath. A Doug Sahm connection. Update added 20110818: is this Jack Walrath the same Jack Walrath who played on Mingus's Changes Two, who composed the earth-shattering "Black Bats and Poles"? Man oh man, what a genius. And a hellaciously good, real aggressive trumpet player. The guy here is good, and having just spent some time again with Mingus, it could almost be the same guy. I dunno, I just don't have ears for the trumpet.
· Peter Welker. He has been mentioned as a possibility.
· John Wilmeth. He has a few playing credits on Keepers.
Of course it could have been someone else entirely, from any variety of connections. I really have no idea. Whoever it was, it’s probably worth noting that Garcia (I presume – could also have been Merl and/or John) was looking for something more than what he got out of the guitar-bass-keys-drums quartet setup. Of course there had been second guitarists, from Tom Fogerty (ca. 1971-early 1973) to George Tickner (ca. spring 1973). Sarah Fulcher had been around in the first part of ’73 and would appear with Garcia/Saunders at least as late as October, singing in her very distinctive scatting style. Martin Fierro would come in two weeks to the day from the performance being noted here (7/19/73, Great American Music Hall) and would be more or less around for two solid years, seemingly giving the band the fill and color that they (or someone) wanted.
Anyway, an interesting show and a really nice tape. Listening notes follow after the jump.
Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
The Lion's Share
60 Red Hill Road
San Anselmo, CA, 94960
July 5, 1973 (Thursday)
--Set I (6 tracks, 79:19)--
s1t01. After Midnight [10:22] [1:33]
s1t02. Someday Baby [9:02] [1:00]
s1t03. She's Got Charisma [18:39] ->
s1t04. That's Alright, Mama [13:01] [0:17]
s1t05. The System [18:37] [0:47]
s1t06. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [5:40] (1) [0:18]
--Set II (8 tracks, 96:46)--
s2t01. [0:17] I Second That Emotion [13:09] (2) [1:16]
s2t02. My Funny Valentine [18:54] [0:32]
s2t03. Finders Keepers [9:18] [0:29]
s2t04. Money Honey [8:17] [0:13]
s2t05. [0:12] Like A Road [9:18] [2:08]
s2t06. Merl's Tune [16:43] ->
s2t07. collective improvisation ... [9:55] [0:04] %
s2t08. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [5:40] (3) [0:19]
Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
Merl Saunders - keyboards, synthesizers;
John Kahn - el-bass;
Bill Vitt - drums;
?? - trumpet (set II only).
! 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: shnid 79032 (this source). Given lineage: MSR > DAT4x > Delta DIO 2496 > Soundforge > WAV > CD Wave Editor > FLAC; via alligator.
! R: Seeder notes: There are a couple of digital "snits" in there including a small one near the beginning of the first song.
! seed notes: A GEMS production -+-+- www.shnflac.net -+-+- Oct 2006.
! setlist: When this was released, both "The System" and "Merl's Tune" were just identified as instrumentals. The correct titles were nominated by "sl halper" at deadnetcentral and have been confirmed. This is certainly an interesting setlist, with three bona fide Saunders-penned rarities: "She's Got Charisma", "The System", and "Merl's Tune". The first is a slow blues, in the same emotional register as "Lonely Avenue". The title is a little fluid. It was first released on the vinyl Fire Up (Fantasy 9421, 1973) as “Charisma (She’s Got)” and lacking Garcia. As Alex Allan notes, it was "not on the subsequent CD Fire Up Plus”, but did appear on the 1997 Keepers CD (Fantasy FCD-7712) with a 1972 date and renamed “She’s Got Charisma”. I use the later-officialized title. "The System" is pretty nicely funkified piece of social commentary, including Merl's early ecological interest (cf. "Save Mother Earth"). This version has (some of) the vocals. I cannot remember if others do. My sense is that at least some versions they played are instrumental, but I'd have to check. "Merl's Tune", finally, is most readily accessed through the Garcia/Saunders/Kahn/Vitt "Live at the Keystone, volume 1" release (Fantasy FCD 7701-2, 1988), a version which was played five days after this one. This one is interesting because the tune is only the barest skeleton for what they actually do. In fact, they never really play the swooping intro followed by the carnival swirl that starts off the album version. Really, there's just Merl playing the organ line and the rest of the band playing around it. And the "Merl's Tune" theme pops up all the way to the end of of the "collective improvisation" (i.e., jam) that follows it. In other words, it would be just as plausible to have that all tracked together and to think of it as a 25+ minute version of Merl's Tune. Goodness only knows what we miss at the fade-out, though as I note below it's probably not a huge amount of material.
! Personnel: There is a trumpet player in set II who remains unidentified as of 6/26/2011. "sl halper" at deadnetcentral says this about him: "The trumpet player is almost certainly the same guy who's on Pure Jerry 4; he pulls out all the same quotes and is especially heavy with his attempts to play John Coltrane's Resolution over the jam on [Merl's Tune]."
! R: s1t01 AM enters right into a nice deep groovy pocket. The vocals are a little low to start, levels come up a minute or so in, but this is a gorgeous, glorious, full fat Betty Cantor-Jackson recording. Thank you, Betty. And thank you, RE, for rescuing this incredible document from the muck and filth. There remain occasional ticks and crackles. I think we can handle them!
! s1t01 after son, off-mic talk: JG something like "Let's do 'It's Too Late'." Then someone suggests something else (presumably "Someday Baby") and JG says "OK. Is that B-flat?"
! P: s1t03 @ 8:07-8:20 Merl starts playing around with a synthesizer, which he is working more fully in the 9:15 until 9:45, when he returns to organ. The song gets pretty well out there. The last 45 seconds of the track involve some pretty nice interplay.
! s1t05 "The System" is a nicely funkified number. This version has vocals. Do they all?
! s1t06 (1) JG: "Thanks a lot. We're gonna take a break, we'll be back in a little while."
! s2t01 (2) @ 13:38, unidentified band member: "Can the waitress bring up some beer and water please?"
! s2t02 MFV Merl comes in with some synth @ 16:40.
! If tracking for CD layout, original seed splits set II between Money Honey and Like A Road.
! s2t05 the trumpet player lays out for most of "Like a Road", coming in for just the last measure, around 8:45.
! s2t06 Merl's Tune is interesting, because they hit the theme a number of times, but they never really fall into the full-fledged song. @ 14:47 for about 15 seconds, then again @ 15:24, trumpeter quotes Coltrane's "Resolution".
! s2t07 has traditionally been listed as "Instrumental", and at one point I just renamed it "untitled 19730705", but it's really just "jam" or, more pedantically, "collective improvisation". @ ca 7:00 MS quotes "Merl's Tune" again, while trumpeter quotes Coltrane's "Resolution" again. And when it fades out it is very much in the "Merl's Tune" space.
! s2t07 jam fades out. No idea what's missing, but I doubt it's an awful lot--this second set already clocks in at over 96 minutes, and they didn't usually get too much longer than this, as far as we know, around this time. Maybe things were different at the Share than at the more commonly-played Keystone, of course, but we just can't know.
! s2t08 JG: "Thanks a lot."