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Saturday, July 23, 2011

JGMS 19710920 Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931, USA. What a fantastic spot, and a review of the calendars and other materials so presciently and conscientiously preserved and generously shared by former employee-then-proprietor Mark Braunstein highlights its importance in the whole thing, *that* whole thing, as well. (I didn't see any evidence of the alleged Neil Young and Crazy Horse gig in '75 mentioned at RnR Roadmaps, but there are a number of Van Morrison dates.)

Lots of neat things have come up from these materials. I have already posted two newly-discovered New Riders of the Purple Sage shows at the Inn, August 20-21, 1971 (the latter presumably in the evening after "Mickey Hart's Barn Jam" happened earlier in the day). Now I have another one, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders from 9/20/71.

September 1971 was an interesting time, and it has come up a bunch. There's the whole keyboard thing. I had posted about September 3-4, 1971 GD shows that were listed for the Harding Theater, but that LIA doubts happened. In that post I speculate that these very shows --Sept. 3 and 4-- were the "Howard Wales" tryouts for the keyboard slot. I think we also got into how weird it is that for this little two month period the Harding Theater becomes part of the GD/Garcia universe. Why? Given that we know they started rehearsing with Keith ca. September 27, is it possible they rented this great little room as a rehearsal hall? This gave rise to "More on the Keyboardist Change ca. 1971" from me, again with lots of great comments.

I had also once posted about a possible NRPS gig in NYC on September 15, 1971. Here's an ad:

Village Voice ad for New Riders of the Purple Sage (open John McLaughlin), Manhattan Center Ballroom, New York, NY, 9/15/71.
As I noted in my original post, Billboard blurbed this as "Columbia's New Riders of the Purple Sage", so this looks for all the world like an industry thing. Scofield says that New Riders of the Purple Sage was released August 1971, so that fits, too.

Anyway, I have uncovered what a believe to be a faint record of a Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders gig at the Inn of the Beginning (8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA, 94931) on Monday, September 20, 1971. On this date the September 1971 IOTB ledger --not really a ledger, just an end-of the-month list of acts and their guarantees/percentages-- reads "Merl Saunders … [illegible] …Jerry Garcia". My scan is not very clear, but I saw it in person and scanned it because of this listing, so I am about 95% sure it's Saunders/Garcia.

When we add this listing into our current understandings of Jerry's whereabouts at this time, here's what we get, in reduced form:

What a week-and-a-half! From NYC w/ NRPS to Keystone Korner (where, I allege, he was connected by Donna Jean with Keith Godchaux) with Merl, to what used to be The Family Dog at the Great Highway --not sure who was running it September 1971-- --NRPS again-- to this newly-discovered show at the Inn, another New Riders show, then two nights of JGMS at the Lion's Share. All of this before GD rehearsals with Keith start on ca. Monday, September 27, 1971. Hell, maybe this 9/20/71 was Merl's tryout ... small room, Monday night, no publicity (ledger entry only) ... why not? Or maybe he was just jonesing to play, since the GD had been relatively quiet while figuring out the keys, and he was just packing in every gig he could. Maybe both.

Man, this stuff is fun.


  1. Silberman, Steve, An Interview With David Crosby, Dupree's Diamond Blues, No. 29, 1994, Fall.

    In this article Crosby states he was at Mickey's Barn on 9/20/71. He may have it confused with 8/20/71. He mentions that Garcia plucks Ghost Riders from the Sky, Wall Song and an early Fire On The Mountain. Anyone know the for sure date?

  2. The circulating tapes come directly from the taper, with recollections, so I see no reason to doubt 8/20/71 for Hart's Barn Jam.


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