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Friday, August 19, 2011

Aunt Monk: June 1, 1975, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

May 1975 Inn of the Beginning calendar, courtesy Mark Braunstein

What a great piece of art, first of all. I am afraid I neglected to note the name of the artist/artists on the IOTB fliers. Mea culpa!

Anyway, bottom right tells me that on Sunday, June 1, 1975, Jerry Garcia played with Aunt Monk (comprising inter alia Merl Saunders on keyboards and Martin Fierro on saxophone/flute) at the Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA 94931. This is the May 1975 IOTB calendar, and the names are handwritten in, with the standard Sunday evening free folk crossed out. The provenance makes it pretty certain that Garcia was there.

This is the last of the new-to-me Garcia dates to come out of these IOTB materials. To rehash, here’s the list:

  1. NRPS 8/20/71: new-to-me
  2. NRPS 8/21/71: new-to-me
  3. JGMS 9/20/71: new-to-me
  4. JGMS 1/14/73: new-to-me
  5. OAITW 3/5/73 8 pm: new-to-me
  6. OAITW 3/5/73 11 pm: new-to-me
  7. OAITW 4/24/73: new-to-me
  8. OAITW 7/18/73: confirmation
  9. Merl Saunders and Friends 5/31/74: new-to-me
  10. Merl Saunders and Friends 6/1/74: new to me
  11. Aunt Monk 6/1/75: new-to-me [this post]
Basically ten “new-to-me”, new to The List shows. That’s pretty awesome. I have a few more Garcia-related tidbits from these materials, but they are generally more speculative and/or less consequential than these. Thanks again to Mark Braunstein for sharing this wonderful trove of information.

So, who knows the ca. 1971-1975 proprietors of the Orphanage, the Boarding House, the Record Plant or the Longbranch Saloon? :)

Anyway, I won’t elaborate much on Aunt Monk’s 6/1/75 show, since I have already talked around many of the same issues on my post on the Merl Saunders andFriends shows on May 31-June 1, 1974. Just a few points.

First, I expect this’d be Tony Saunders on bass. He was pretty regularly listed in Merl’s bands from 1974 forward.

Second, I suspect the material we are able to hear from the Generosity on 2/14/75 and 5/9/75, thanks to amazing taper Robert Castelli and the crew at Mouth of the Beast who helped preserve and document his tapes, probably closely resembles the material that might have been played in Cotati on the night in question. Lots of jazz, funk, soul, R&B and Saunders originals, maybe even all instrumentals, though by this time Merl might have started singing a song or two, as he had in Legion of Mary and as he would eventually do in most all of his bands.

Third, Jerry and Merl would take a 3-plus year hiatus within six weeks of this sit-in. While Legion of Mary would sputter on through July 6th before ending mysteriously, the little one-offs seem to end. The next time Garcia would sit-in with Merl would be October 2-3, 1978 at the Shady Grove in San Francisco, according to TJS. (The older McNally-Arnold JG List only lists October 3, 1978, from which there is tape [shnid 20027 | shnid 97200]. TJS says these were benefits to keep Shady Grove open, but I don’t know the basis for either the Oct. 2 listing or that characterization. I don’t doubt it, but I just don’t know.) That little sit-in would seem to relate to their shared involvement in John Kahn’s 1979 band Reconstruction, which would be the last sustained live Jerry-Merl collaboration.

In a way, this sort of completes the skimming of the cream from these beautiful Inn of the Beginning documents. Ross has kindly entered lots of dates and (eventually) images from this IOTB research over at the Chicken, so that it’s preserved for posterity. Thanks again to Mark Braunstein for sharing thoughts, memories and filing cabinets!


  1. How many Grateful Dead members are on the May flyer? There's a lot of great rock prosopography here. For one thing, I found a new Kingfish date (May 8). I'll bet the Van Morrison dates are unknown, too, although I haven't checked.

    And of course we see The Tubes playing on May 11. This was during the period when they had recorded their first album with Al Kooper, but it hadn't been released. They were a truly unforgettable live band. So much so that my sisters and I named our cat after the lead singer, much to the dismay and confusion of my parents (RIP Fee 1976-1992).

    If a seer had told Vince Welnick in 1975 that he would have ended up in the Grateful Dead, he wouldn't have believed it. Hey, I saw the Tubes back then, and I still don't believe it.

  2. Steve Brown's calendars in the GD Archive indeed show "Garcia @ Cotati" on this date.

    ! ref: Steve Brown Papers, MS338, Box 1, Folder 4: "Calendars, 1974-76." Special Collections, UC Santa Cruz.


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