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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Third Night Out with Tony Saunders: JGMS, Keystone Berkeley, June 6, 1974

**updated 21:18 Eastern 20111213, mostly up front with some more historical context**
LN jg1974-06-06.jgms.all.aud-falanga.6375.shn2flac

A wonderful tape and a wonderful performance. Sounds like the same bassist as 6/4/74 to me, and I now think that's Tony Saunders. I don't know who is drumming (though the thought of it being Paul Humphrey is tantalizing)

We get to hear what I presume to be Freddie Herrera a time or two, interesting given how central was the Herrera-Garcia partnership over the years.

Get it for the rarity "Darben The Redd Foxx" (formerly known as "Ptah, The El Daoud", FKA "Bag's Groove"). Love it for most every note.

This three-night, midweek run of shows (Tues., June 4 and Wed., June 5, 1974 at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, then Thursday at Keystone Berkeley) is part of a jam-packed week of shows.

I have written about the Inn of the Beginning shows on May 31-June 1, 1974, which may have had a quite different set of players (Tony Saunders on bass, whoever was drumming for Merl On The Side [MOTS] on the drums). Shows at the Great American Music Hall always seemed to be special, and I'd bet that 5/30/74 show (which exists on tape in the Third Betty Batch) is interesting. On the other end is the huge GD show in the Oakland Athletics' centerfield at the Oakland Coliseum, about which Corry has an important post that I have barely had time to engage. Mix in a little studio work, and you've got Jerry Garcia, vintage May 30-June 8, 1974, the slacker who only works nine out of these eleven nights.

Midweek runs are always worth looking at, it seems like. Just not the modal gig, and interesting things are often involved, including better paydays for club owners than they'd normally get on a [fill in midweek day here] night. Things maybe a little looser, guests are called up, etc. On my view, the three night run at hand got better as it went along, so that 6/6/74 P 6/5/74 P 6/4/74. Where on 6/4 it sounded like Jerry wasn't listening (or hearing) very well, by this night everyone is together and they're all bringing their A game. Maybe the Berkeley juice is different than the San Anselmo juice ... either way, a top-notch show. Listening notes follow.

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
2119 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
June 6, 1974 (Thursday)
Falanga aud shnid-6375 shn2flac

--set I (7 tracks, 90:43-2:22, ca. 88 mins)--
s1t01. talk (1) and tuning [0:24]
s1t02. Someday Baby [12:10] (2) [2:15]
s1t03. Expressway (To Your Heart) [20:15] [1:49]
s1t04. He Ain't Give You None [13:28] [0:36]
s1t05. My Funny % // Valentine [21:#12] [0:17] %
s1t06. tuning [1:34]
s1t07. I Second That Emotion [14:09] (3) [0:09] % pre-set II tuning, talk [2:22]

--set II (3 tracks, 2:22+53:23, ca. 56 mins)--
s2t01. My Problems Got Problems [20:58] [0:18] %  (4) [1:15]
s2t02. Darben The Redd Foxx [19:52] [0:10] % (5) [0:25]
s2t03. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [10:15] (6) [0:10] %

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone;
! lineup: Tony Saunders - el-bass;
! lineup: ?? - drums.


! 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:

! db: (this fileset). There are no other known recordings.

! R: Field Recordist: Louis Falanga [possibly with Bob Menke]

! R: Field Recording Equipment: Sony ECM-270 + Sony ECM-250 microphones > Sony TC-152 cassette deck; [JGMF note: I think this is two early for that setup. I think that setup was probably for ca. May-June 1975 Falanga/Menke tapes, or maybe even later (e.g., 1976). I am really just speculating. Might have been a TC-110.]

! R: Field Recording Location: from front tables, microphone onstage, one mic directly in front of Jerry's amp, the other pointed stage center to catch the rest of the band;

! R: Subsequent lineage: unknown transfer to DAT x1 > CD > EAC > CD > EAC > SHN. Probable chain of Bob Menke to Jim Powell to Jack Warner to jjoops. Extraction and compression using EAC and mkwACT by shn2flac conversion by jgmf 9/13/2009.

! R: What a breathtaking recording. It's hard to imagine that Louis (and maybe Bob) set up at the table in front of Jerry (R of center) and put their mic(s) onstage, one near his feet pointing into his monitor and the other aimed to center-stage. The sound quality is breathtaking, and the vocals aren't even as low on this tape as on other onstage recordings. This is one of the best, to be sure. Puts you right there.

! P: Overall, I think this is an outstanding show, combining the tightness and upbeat temps of the '73 band with the more exploratory band of August 1974 and the increasingly sluggish unit of thereafter. For example, I note that Expressway [Allan | Scofield]  is very long, but it never drags. Over and over throughout this show, I find myself marveling at how coherent, energetic and expressive Garcia is. Hell, the whole band is on. I am not sure if the bass player is John Kahn or Tony Saunders. There's no reason to assume it's anyone but John, but if it is him then his playing is exceptionally inventive, his bottom thicker and fatter than just about any other time. If this is John Kahn, he's positively on fire. Merl also has a lot going on this night, as he did the two nights' prior. He's got a really nice tone working and mixes up the brighter, more carnivalesque Jimmy Smith stuff (which I hear more in these June shows than in your typical show), with the slightly darker and more downmarket sounds characteristic of Merl's own compositions. He's doing it all. Martin Fierro plays with exceptional tastefulness, maybe really in the sweet spot of his time with Garcia and Saunders. In '73 and early '74 he's feeling his way around. By August 1974 he's doing more honking and squawking as things really stretch and lengthen out. Here, he's right there with everyone, dropping some straight jazz and lots of his original licks that are delivered with some restraint. Very nice. Finally, I have no idea who the drummer is. I guess we'd traditionally say it's Bill Kreutzmann. I can't tell. But whoever it is, the guys is a freaking monster. This tape really captures the drumming crisply, but I think it's also that this guy, is really hitting and always right where he should be. Overall, an A+ show from my perspective. @@

! personnel: upshot: I can only confirm Garcia, Merl Saunders and Fierro. I am about 99% sure this is Tony Saunders on bass.

! s1t01 (1) JG: "Whoever's got control of the light dimmer ... it's the light dimmer that's making that buzzing sound. It increases the intensity of this stuff. It's nice."

! s1t01 @ 12:58 (2) Freddie Herrera: "You guys need some kind of help up there, man? What's happening?" @ 13:15 Garcia: "What are we doin'?", strums Expressway @ 13:31.

! P: s1t03 Expressway The bassist and drummer are both in the pocket. The bassist does some nice fat funky stuff, including that distinctive little run @ 0:46, 1:18, a little six-note descent that I heard on the 6/4/74 version (s1t02 of that tape, about 40 seconds in). Is this Tony? This version is a little slower and more elaborated than earlier versions, over three minutes longer than the one from two nights before. Merl nice solo in the 8-9 min mark, very tasteful, while Garcia strums rhythm underneath. Martin gets his CTI on @ 10:40ff with a little bit of Red Clay. This is a long version of Expressway, but it doesn't feel like it meanders. By 16-minutes in I am telling myself that this is one of the hottest versions of @@ Expressway they ever did. I think the Soul Survivors would dig it.
! R: s1t03 ETYH a little muffling @ 1:35ish. Digi-chirp @ 16:22.

! personnel: s1t04 Is there a second guitarist audible @ 3:56 of HAGYN? Sometimes the more closely I listen, the less I hear.

! s1t04 @ 13:38 almost sounds like we can hear a cash register - cha-ching! Nice contextual color from the tape.

! s1t05 MFV Garcia calls the tune.

! R: s1t05 My Funny Valentine gap @ 8:53-8:58

! R: s1t05 My Funny Valentine skip/pop/click @ 10:10-10:11

! s1t05 MFV @ late 19-min mark, the drummer starts doing some nice march stuff. He's great!

! P: s1t07 ISTE @ 9:20 ish Jerry is doing some very tasteful picking, very expressive all the way through the 9-min mark, and into early 10-min mark.

! s1t07 (3) JG: "We're gonna take a break for a little while, we'll be back a little later."

! R: s2t01 Problems Got Problems drop @ 19:40

! s2t01 MPGP Garcia doing some fantastic twangy soloing in the 10-11-12 minute mark ... Steely and glassy at the same time. In the 12:30 mark he does some inventive syncopated upwards progressions that I really like.

! s2t01 (4) Garcia calls the tune, "Oh hey, let's do that [inaudible, but strumming the chords]".

! s2t02 Darben The Redd Foxx: As of 1/24/2015, that's how we know it. These old notes pertain to the notion that it was "Ptah, the el Daoud": It's amazing how well they perform this relative obscurity. Alice Coltrane's album of the same name [wiki | discogs] was released on Impulse in 1971 (AS-9196; my CD version is Impulse IMPD-201, 1996). I am sure I am copping from some of the reviews I just eyeballed (see Stacia Proefrock's Allmusic entry), but the titular composition and the whole record are indeed rich and lush. Garcia and Saunders are only known to have performed this song twice, on June 4th and June 6th, 1974, and both performances are quite memorable.

! s2t02 @ 20:17 (5) ?Freddie Herrera?, over the PA, but to the band: "We're startin' to run in to the after hours [inaudible]", at which Garcia starts strumming How Sweet It Is, right on cue.

! s2t03 (6) JG "Thanks a lot. See y'all ... later."

1 comment:

  1. I just relistened to this one and imho it's the best of the three Tony shows -- the second set in particular is just outrageous.

    fwiw, I don't think that voice is Freddie Herrera, though: I would bet it's the Keystone's soundman, who would be talking to the band through their monitors (not over the PA system), where Louis Falanga's own mics were set up. It *could* be Herrera, but it seems to me more like a soundman checking in with the band.


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