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Thursday, May 26, 2011

LN jg1974-02-16.jgms.all.sbd-alligator.91471.flac1644

A few days ago I posted about an advertised but canceled Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders band gig (Kahn and Kreutzmann rounding things out) scheduled for 2/16/74 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. I irresponsibly dropped a few notes about the replacement show for the night, and here I follow up on those bits and pieces. It'll be a little repetitive vis-a-vis the first post, but I want to round out the picture more satisfactorily. So, I'll (I) go again through the date context (including why an east coast gig would have been especially interesting), (II) run through some of the empirical terrain around the Berkeley gig, (III) give the key points I extract from my listen, and (IV) post my listening notes.

I.  Date context: why an east coast gig on 2/16/74 would have been noteworthy

What's noteworthy about this canceled gig, I think, is that the Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders group was not touring much beyond the Bay Area, and not at all off the west coast, at this point. Beyond the Bay Area, they had done the May 29-30, 1973 shows at the Ash Grove in Santa Monica, CA and the September 5-6 Hells Angels and Cap Theatre shows, before canceling gigs at the University of Iowa (10/20/73) and San Diego State (11/18/73).

After 9/6/73, JGMS wouldn't get back out of state (and to the core northeast) until July 1-3, 1974. So finding a listed gig in the middle of this range is pretty interesting, all the more so since, unlike those shows, there was no (planned) GD activity out east around the same time.

September 5, 1973 is the gig on the S.S. Bay Belle in NYC Harbor, immortalized in the film "Hells Angels Forever". Who knows the story behind that one? I haven't checked The Sources, but it's got to be interesting. Then the September 6, 1973 gig at John Scher's Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ the next night in front of the GD tour starting in Nassau on September 7th. To my knowledge this would be the second John Scher-produced GOTS show, after the Old And In The Way gig in Passaic on June 6, 1973. (As an aside, I have more or less ruled out the possibility of OAITW gigs in Camp Springs, NC on September 1-2, 1973 and the even less-likely Harpers Ferry, WV on September 7th.) I can only conclude that the planned gig 1) had some record company money behind it, and/or 2) related, reflected Jerry's desire further to build his non-GD audience base out east.

That's it beyond the Bay Area for this band during this timeframe. And instead of a 2/16/74 show in Passaic, we instead find the Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders band, as so many Saturdays before and following, at the Keystone, 2119 University Avenue in Berkeley, CA, 94704.

II. The Empirical Terrain of the 2/16/74 Berkeley show

The ever-reliable listings in the Hayward Daily Review --and, BTW, if anyone knows Kathie Staska and/or George Mangrum, who wrote the amazing "Rock Talk by KG" column for many years for that paper, please send them over here!-- from the February 15th edition (p. 51) list Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders for February 16th-17th, with Paul Pena billed for the second night as well. I am trying to determine if there's anything odd about the listings that might suggest that they were booked late, after an east coast gig had been canceled, but I find nothing unusual. I wonder if the Passaic show was canceled early enough that the Keystone was still free? Or if Freddie held it open for them "just in case"? Or if someone had been planned and got bumped ... or none of the above. We'll probably never know. There's nothing in the record available to me that points toward any of these. Anyway, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders are listed for Saturday 2/16 and Sunday 2/17, the second night also billing Paul Pena (Hayward Daily Review, February 15, 1974, p. 51).

Unlike so many other shows from this time period, we have three other data sources on the 2/16/74 Berkeley show. To quote myself, this is "maybe the only show from this time period represented by an audience recording (made by Louis Falanga, shnid 8063, missing the last two songs), a soundboard recording (shnid 91471, complete), and an ex post review." The review (1) is brief, but informative: we are told there is a conguero in the band, and we are treated to some nice color, the audience "packed into a crowded, smoke-filled room for three dollars a head", shoeohorned into the club "like cattle in a packing house", but grooving to good music.

Two absolutely fantastic tapes round out the record of this show. I'll probably note the Falanga aud separately, so I won't go into it here. I'll report next on what the board tape reveals for me.

III. Analysis

(a) The Tape

This board tape entered general circulation maybe three years ago from a mysterious, generous Garcia-vault-connected source named alligator. The tapes he/she dropped were all beautiful Betty Boards, from the "missing 3rd batch" that never made it into general circulation. Full, nice tapes. This tape is missing about 7 minutes at the start, which are, happily, available from the aud recording. So I'd guess that the total show time, with cross-patches, is probably 150 minutes.

(b) The Show

The performance is mediocre, to my ears. "More interesting than good", as I say below. Why interesting? Mostly because of personnel, also for a setlist rarity.

(c) Personnel

First, we assume that Bill Kreutzmann is drumming, though it's possible it was someone else. We believe that he was drumming with JGMS around this time, and of course he was identified for the abortive Passaic show for this date. We also assume Kahn is playing bass. Seems pretty safe.

Second, it has long been noted that there is a conguero sitting in the whole show. The contemporary review mentions it and the tapes reveal that this guy is very good. I have traditionally assumed that this was Armando Peraza. Not sure if that's documented somewhere or if it was my guess, based on his reported presence on February 11, 1972 and a published characterization of him as a "recently added member" of the group from around that same time (2).

Third, most interestingly, a second guitarist comes in for the second number. After a nice, hot "Soul Roach" he (presumably, with possible apologies to Alice Stuart) plugs in, tunes up and bends a few nice notes in the first couple of minutes of "La-La" [Allan | Scofield], not to be heard from again. Someone comes in and does some "la-la" vocalizing a few minutes later (ca. 6 minutes into the song). Sounds very Santana-ish to me. This might mean it's Peraza vocalizing while playing the congas, or it's the mystery guitarist. And maybe the Santana-ish vocals imply the second guitarist is a Santana guy? It's definitely not Carlos. It's someone who's not playing real loud, more of a rhythm guy to my ears. Thoughts?

My second guess about the second guitarist is Paul Pena. He was listed as opening on 2/17/74, though not on this night. But he was around a ton during this period. Either Freddie or Merl or Jerry or some/all of the above or someone else liked the pairing, because it was a very frequent combination. I have a studio date of October 4, 1973 for (some of) Garcia's work on Pena's New Train (not released until 2000). I know of no live performances together, but the back of my mind has always told me that it had to have happened a time or two. This could be one of them.

Anyway, anytime we get an episode of Garcia hosting someone onstage, it's worth noting. His willingness to do this sort of thing is a proxy for (if not effect of) his health: they are positively correlated. It also makes one wonder how much more of this there is. We know of a bunch of sit-ins from this period (that should be a post), including July 12, 1974 at Keystone by a second guitarist that I reckon to be David Nelson. More and better tapes, and lots of close listening, will likely reveal more of this sort of thing.

(d) Setlist

As I noted in the first post, the setlist rarity here is the Merl Saunders composition "Little Bit Of Righteousness" (also published as "Righteousness"). Regarding the name, the vinyl release Merl Saunders (Fantasy F-9460, 1974) gave the shortened title, while the 1997 reissue CD Keepers (Fantasy FCD-7712)  gave the longer title. On the intuition behind lex posterior derogat priori, I will go with the longer (later "officialized") title. It has sort of a CTI feel, with Martin doing a Stanley Turrentine thing. Another analogy might be a Zawinul composition from ca. '69 Cannonball Adderley Quintet. It's slower and darker, not the same pop of "Mercy Mercy Mercy" or anything like that, but some of the same swing. It's an awfully nice composition - bravo, Merl! This is the third of five known Garcia-Saunders live renditions of the song between 1971 and 1975. (It also appeared, improbably enough, in a Keith and Donna setlist from 8/20/75. The version missing from The Jerry Site is the otherwise-undated 1971 version found on the amazing, incredible, breathtaking, time-stopping shnid 93137). It was probably played many more times that are unknown for lack of tapes/setlists.

The other relative rarity is "Soul Roach", an instrumental credited to Merl Saunders and Ray Shanklin [Allan] and inspired, Scofield tells us, by "a swinging family in Denver". It looks like it was on Merl's first album (Merl Saunders Trio and Big Band, Soul Groovin' (Galaxy Records, 1968) as well as on the Garcia-relevant Fire Up (Fantasy 9421, 1973; re-released on CD, with different material, as Fire Up Plus [Fantasy FCD 7711-2, 1992].) It showed up at least twenty times, so it's not that rare. But it's good and interesting, generally speaking.

References for the post above, then listening notes below the fold.

(1) Beard, Micahel. 1974. Rock Notes: Garcia at Keystone. Daily Californian Arts Magazine no. 16 (February 22, 1974), p. 7.

(2) Hunt, Dennis. 1972b. Playing Small Rock Clubs is a ‘Release From the Dead’. San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, April 9, 1972, p. 8.

IV. Listening Notes

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NRPS: Gypsy Cowboy (Columbia KC-31930, 1972)

Anyone know the recording location/dates of this album? I assume that this was at Heider's, since the great Stephen Barncard gets production and engineering credits. I see there's a blog called "Recording Wally Heider" ... I'd love to see more emerge there, though I haven't really poked around.

Anyone know the release date? Since the single from the album was released in February 1973, very late '72 seems likely release date for the whole album.

Scofield's deaddisc entry is here:

Anyway, just curious.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

LN jg1973-xx-xx.oaitw.88mins.sbd-PNW.99222.flac1644

This is shnid 99222, a somewhat degraded soundboard tape of Old And In The Way (OAITW) with Richard Greene on fiddle. I had mentioned it when it first came out.

I surmise that this is Thursday, April 12, 1973, Granada Theater, 1216 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. It's not certain by any stretch, but that's what I figure.

I have made lots of notes, so I'll just mention that note 15 contains a little exchange that really underscores the "Burden Of Being Jerry".

Old And In The Way
Unknown Venue
Unknown City, Unknown State (probably CA)
ca. April-May 1973

--Disc One (13 tracks, 51:02)--
d1t01. (1) [0:05] //Going To The Races [#2:25] (2) [0:11]
d1t02. (3) [0:09] I Wonder Where You Are Tonight [2:19] [0:08]
d1t03. (4, 5) [0:28] Down In The Willow Garden [4:19]
d1t04. (6, 7) [0:29] Old And In The Way Breakdown [1:59] [0:10]
d1t05. Land Of The Navajo [7:40] [0:03] %
d1t06. [0:23] 'Til The End Of The World Rolls Around [2:18] [0:09]
d1t07. (8) [0:32] Panama Red [2:18] [0:11]
d1t08. [0:22] I'm Knocking On Your Door [3:50] [0:11]
d1t09. (9) [0:48] Instrumental [3:06] (10) [0:32]
d1t10. (11) [1:14] Down Where The River Bends [4:43] [0:06]
d1t11. band introductions, talk (12, 13) [1:41]
d1t12. Blue Mule [4:35] [0:13]
d1t13. (14) [0:45] Love Please Come Home [2:20] [0:08] %

--Disc Two (9 tracks, 33:15)--
d2t01. [0:49] Lonesome L.A. Cowboy [4:02] [0:12]
d2t02. (15) [0:37] Pig In A Pen [2:33] [0:11]
d2t03. banter (16) [1:21]
d2t04. Hard Hearted [2:43] [0:08] %
d2t05. (17) [0:47] Turkey In The Straw [1:56] [0:13]
d2t06. % [0:38] White Dove [4:02] % [0:11]
d2t07. (18) [1:12] Thirsty In The Rain [3:02] [0:09]
d2t08. [0:09] How Mountain Girls Can Love [1:53] (19) [1:20]
d2t09. Orange Blossom Special [4:28] (20) [0:34]

--Rehearsal Filler (2 tracks, 3:57)--
d2t10. talk (21), Blue Mule workouts// [3:28]
d2t11. Cedar Hill// [0:29]

Peter Rowan - ac-g, vocals;
David Grisman - mandolin, vocals;
Jerry Garcia - banjo, vocals;
John Kahn - ac-bass;
Richard Greene - fiddle.

Source Tape: MR > ? > R @ 7.5 ips
Source Tape digitization: AKAI GX 625 playback > Apogee Mini Me (24/96) > Apogee MiniDac (monitoring/mastering) > Wavelab 5.0 (dithered to 16/44 via Apogee) > CD, by Matt Smith.
Subsequent digital realm: EAC > WAV (TLH confirms no sbes) > FLAC (TLH), by GEMS.

Seeder notes:
- The presence of Richard Greene on fiddle suggests this show was between March and May 1973.
- wow, thanks Will Boswell and Matt Smith for this "new to general circ." show.  you guys rule!
- and, as of now, we don't have OAITW doing a number of these songs!
- there is slight distortion in a few places. This tape warbling, however, is a bit harsh from d2t06 white dove on.

! 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 99222 (somewhat degraded sbd; this recording).
! d1t01 (1) dead air, layer of hiss starts @ 0:03 until 0:05
! d1t01 (2) RG mic check, lots of reverb. Garcia "No, wait a minute, wait a minute man. Don't put it high [inaudible]."
! d1t02 (3) JG: "Oh hey, how about IWWYAT"
! d1t03 (4) DG: "'Willow Garden', you wanna do 'Willon Garden'?" JG: "Sure."
! d1t03 (5) @ 0:24 DG song intro: "A little traditional murder ballad for ya."
! R: d1t03 DITWG warbles in 2:30 mark.
! d1t03 P: Garcia takes a solo @ 3:12-3:37. I know some would not want to countenance the possibility, but I hear his banjo limitations.
! d1t04 (6) ?Rowan?: "Why don't we do [inaudible]?" There's a chuckle and some cross-talk and JG says "Because you don't know it." Guy: "I can fake it!"
! d1t04 (7) @ 0:31 DG introduction "This is the, uh, Old And In The Way Breakdown."
! R: d1t05 LOTN bad speed issues @ 5:50
! R: d1t05 LOTN bad tape much @ 6:48
! d1t07 (8) @ 0:13 DG: "This boy over here on the git-tar, his name is 'Panama Red'. 'Panama Pete'."
! d1t08 IKOYD starts with Rowan knocking on his guitar, simulating door, replying to himself "What's that noise? C'mon in" as the song starts.
! d1t09 (9) DG: "I'd say it's time for a banjo & fiddle tune."
! d1t09 (10) Richard Greene: "Thank you, thank you." JG: "Thanks a lot."
! d1t10 (11) @ 1:10 JG: "It's time for the Old And In The Way patriotic moment. This is it coming right up."
! d1t11 Personnel: David Grisman: "I'd like to introduce the members of the band. Peter Rowan here on the guitar. Lil' John Kahn on the bass. Fiddlin' Richard Greene back there. On the 5-string banjo, Spud Garcia." JG: "Playing mandolin tonight we have David Dawg." Note for the evolution of nicknames in OAITW.
! d1t11 (12) DG: "We're gonna render one now called "The Blue Mule."
! d1t11 (13) @ 0:56 PR: "How many people here have heard of Bill Monroe? [applause] This is the song of Molly and Tenbrooks."
! d1t13 (14) DG: "We got a brand new number here for ya. We were just workin' it out in the car." PR: "Actually we got a brand old number."
! P: d2t01 LLAC again I can hear JG's banjo limitations in the solo @ 2:50ff.
! d2t02 (15) DG: "Any requests?" Chick: "Let Garcia sing!" JG to DG: "You had to say something." THIS IS EXTREMELY REVEALING. Chick yells out again: "Let Garcia sing!" Rowan, in a sort of an east coast accent: "Awright, we'll let'im. You don' think he can sing, huh?"
! d2t03 (16) RG: "We've have a lot of requests for the 'Orange Blossom Special' .. But, wait ... I myself haven't played it in years." Band: "You lie!" RG: "And furthermore, these boys here, on the stage tonight, don't know how the tune goes." Lots of laughter.
! d2t05 (17) RG: "We'd like to honor a request right now -- 'Turkey In The Straw'."
! R: from d2t06 "White Dove" forward, these are quite bad speed problems.
! d2t06 WD Garcia vocals
! d2t07 DG: "We're gonna do a little Peter Rowan number called 'Thirsty In The Rain'."
! R: s2t08 is practically unlistenable (even for me!) because of speed problems. We are aural witnesses to the demise of a set of batteries. RIP, old friends.
! d2t08 (19) JG: "See y'all later." Encore calls, including some close-to-the-mic urgings suggestive of a possible audience tape? Then when you hear the room there's a lot of room sound ... definitely recording ambiently. Re: venue, sounds like a moderate-sized auditorium to me. More room echo than you'd get in a club like the Lion's Share, for sure. Doesn't sound like Keystone, either. Auditorium, or theater.
! d2t09 (20) @ 4:52 Emcee: "That's it, folks, g'night. Thank you very much. G'night." I don't recognize this voice, so it doesn't shed much light on the venue.
! d2t10 filler (21) JG: "I don't have any of them numbers." Other guy: "I think I have the office's." JG: "Oh, call them up and tell them - ?Ned?, who's Parrish's old lady, to tell Parrish to get serious. That'd work." That followed by some goofiness, microphone talk, some runs through the harmony introduction to "Blue Mule", and some running through that song.
! I am not going to get into what the rehearsal material might be. There's a need to go through the OAITW rehearsal material with a fine-toothed comb, and I don't want to tackle it here and now.
! Given the provenance of the recording (Will Boswell to Matt Smith), my best guess as to what this really is would be as follows: Thursday, April 12, 1973, Granada Theater, 1216 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. First, we know that Boswell acquired some tapes from a Santa Barbara soundman, including the 4/24/74 Great American Music Band tape. SB soundman, maybe this tape was also from his collection. Pat Lee suggests that the fact that the reels were on BASF tape stock is consistent with the Santa Barbara soundman idea. (Note that while this April 12, 1973 OAITW date is generally unknown and undocumented, Richard Greene's datebooks show him at the Granada on this date. It's possible he was there with some other configuration, but it seems likely that this was OAITW.) Second, we also (think we) know that Richard Greene was only playing with OAITW, perhaps only intermittently, in ca. April-May. We know the band started without fiddle, the John Hartford played in a time or two, that Richard was around, and that Vassar enters for the Boston show on June 5. Third, the more I reflect on this the more it seems like a relatively spacious room, and the more this indicates an out-of-town show. I see the following local venues played by the band at this time: Boarding House (San Francisco), Lion's Share (San Anselmo), Orphanage (San Francisco), Homers Warehouse (Palo Alto). There was a show at Bimbo's 365 Club on May 25, but Richard was not there. How big was Homers Warehouse? The other places were small clubs, ca. a couple hundred seats as I understand things. Out of town, by contrast, they place the Granada, Churchill High School (presumably the gym) in Eugene, OR (Tuesday, May 8, 1973) and the Paramount Theatre in Portland (Wednesday, May 9, 1973) during this period. Upshot: large room suggests out of town; provenance suggests Santa Barbara, for which there seems to be a theater date that includes Richard Greene. I doubt we'll ever be able to pin it down with certainty, but that's how it feels to me.

JGMS: February 16, 1974, Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (CANCELED)

Billboard 1/10/74, via It's All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago, h/t Corry.
An ad for a show by Jerry Garcia, Merle [sic] Saunders, John Kahn and Bill Kreutzmann (call 'em Garcia/Saunders, or JGMS), with Sons of Champlin opening, Saturday, February 16, 1974 at the Capitol Theatre, 326 Monroe Street, Passaic, NJ, 07055.

This is positively stunning, I have to say. If this were to have happened, it would have been only the third Garcia/Saunders show off the west coast, after September 5, 1973 (the "Hells Angels Forever" show on the S.S. Bay Belle in New York City harbor) and September 6, 1973 at this same Capitol Theatre Passaic. (Aside: I have been spelling it "Theater", but the ad and the current website both say 'Theatre'.) Those were just in front of a GD tour starting in Nassau, NY on Friday, September 7. This 2/16/74 date doesn't look like that - no GD gigs out east, and hard to imagine that the February 22-24 Winterland shows were booked at the last minute. Even the next east coast shows, July 1-3, 1974 at the Bottom Line in New York City [ed: Corry says July 2-4, but that's not right], had some anticipated (or at least hoped-for) shows around them in Canada and Wisconsin.

But the one under consideration looks like a pure one-off. Bearing in mind that John Scher would promote Garcia out east for the next 21 years, it would be especially interesting to learn what they had in mind, what was planned. I suspect that this was intended to promote Live at Keystone. Matt Scofield has that released in 1973 (of necessity late in the year, since the album was recorded in July), though the context of a show review discussed below suggests that they may have been publicizing the album in early '74. Insofar as Round Records is kicking off and Garcia has a big personal financial stake in it, he has an incentive to get serious about solidifying an east coast fan base (as the GD had done 3-4 years previously). So a one-night scouting trip, perhaps an investment in more record sales, would make sense.

Why was the show canceled? No idea. Instead, on Saturday, February 16, 1974 and Sunday the 17th Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders played the good ol' Keystone in Berkeley, CA. The Saturday show has a few features worth mentioning. It's maybe the only show from this time period represented by an audience recording (made by Louis Falanga, shnid 8063), a soundboard recording (shnid 91471), and an ex post review. The audience recording will destroy you as a capture of a moment in time. These Louis Falanga, later Falanga and Bob Menke, tapes are stunning aural documents. The soundboard tape serves history not only by giving us a different and very clean representation of the show, but also by supplying the last two songs of the show. The jewel here is a take on the little-known Saunders composition "Little Bit Of Righteousness" [Allan -- NB I think his information around this contains errors], which would appear (uncertain tense) on Merl's eponymous 1974 Fantasy LP and re-released as part of the 1997 mashup CD Keepers.

The review of the Saturday show is wonderful to see and, while it seems to coincide with record company promotion (the reviewer mentions the new Fantasy album Live at Keystone), it makes one wonder what treasures lie within the still unscanned (AFAIK) pages of the Daily Californian. The opening graf paints a nice picture:

With so much free music around on every street corner and spot of grass, why would anyone want to get packed into a crowded, smoke-filled room for three dollars a head and listen to store-bought music at the Keystone? There aren't many answers to this question, but the Jerry Garcia / Merle [sic] Saunders act is one of them, and it jammed us in last Saturday like cattle in a packing house.

[Garcia] hides unobtrusively against the wall and leaves the stage to his band: bass, a single horn, Saunders' organ, normal percussion and, inexplicably, a bongo drum player.

The standard notes mention a conga player, and I have historically and too-casually assumed it was Armando Peraza; it could have been anybody. It's good playing. I can only assume this is Kreutzmann drumming on his presence during this time period (including in the ad for the canceled 2/16/74 show in Passaic).

Anyway, thanks to Corry for sending along the scan and to the It's All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago for bringing this fascinating, unknown cancellation to my attention.

Beard, Micahel. 1974. Rock Notes: Garcia at Keystone. Daily Californian Arts Magazine no. 16 (February 22, 1974), p. 7.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

GD in Walnut Creek; East Bay Psychedelic Scene?

Can anyone anywhere add anything about these three Grateful Dead shows in Walnut Creek, CA? Little is known about the first, and next-to-nothing about the second two.

**update 20150905: the 1968 shows have been demystified**

1. Grateful Dead, Sunday, October 23, 1966: Gymnasium, Las Lomas High School, 1460 South Main Street,Walnut Creek, CA 94596-5383.

  • Deadlists:
  • Deadlists notes: "Originally scheduled for Walnut Creek Library, showtime 3 PM." 
  • JGMF: I have elaborated the venue as "Gymnasium" based on the ads below.
  • JGMF: Not sure where the "originally scheduled" information comes from. Below is a mention and calendar listing for the show from the Contra Costa Times, October 20, 1966, p. 12:

The "Coming Attractions" listing for the GD show ("Coming Attractions," Contra Costa Times, October 20, 1966, p. 12) reads as follows:

"The Grateful Dead, rock-and-roll quintet, Art Forum Series, Walnut Creek Civic Arts Center, 3 p.m., Las Lomas High School gymnasium.

Then there's a little article ("'The Grateful Dead' Ducats Still Available," Contra Costa Times, October 20, 1966, p. 12) pimping the tickets:
The Civic Arts Center, City of Walnut Creek, advises that tickets for the concert, "The Grateful Dead", are still available. This rock 'n roll, second in the series of the Art Forum events, will take place at the Las Lomas High School gymnasium, Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at $2 each at the Civic Arts Center, 1445 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.
 I'll leave it to the GD historians to see if we learn anything from that. From a "Walnut Creek" (or a "1960s East Bay Psychedelia") perspective, it's just a little splash of color on a phenomenon that is very obscure (or penumbral, with your --ch-ching!!-- $5 word of the day).

Over at, meanwhile, user 'oakland dupree' gives an attendee's view [lightly edited]:

This was my first Grateful Dead show. There were maybe 50 -100 curiosity seekers. Very few teens like me. It was a free "arts and lectures" - type concert in the afternoon. Jerry wore a yellow Pigpen t-shirt. They were eating cookies and offered them to the audience. No takers. LOUD and good! Life changing concert for me. ... Someone passed out Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion fliers. A week or so later, I journeyed to 710 Ashbury and purchased a Pigpen long sleeve olive green polo shirt with turtle neck from MG. A few years later I gifted it to Debbie, background singer on Aoxomoxoa.
Sounds amazing. I wish I had a "Pigpen long sleeve olive green polo shirt with turtle neck [bought from Mountain Girl]". You get your sweet pippy I do. The fliers sound interesting too, natch ...

  • As an aside, not sure if Jefferson Airplane people would learn anything from the 10/28/66 Saint Mary's College, Moraga, CA listing in the "Coming Attractions" calendar "Coming Attractions," Contra Costa Times, October 20, 1966, p. 12):
The "Jefferson Airplane" with Patty Phillips "The Chosen For," concert sponsored by the Associated Students of Saint Mary's College, 7:30 p.m., Slip Madigan Memorial Gymnasium.
The SMC website doesn't really do the school's very interesting history justice. That said, let me just keep "Slip Madigan" in my head as the "Rudy" of this little college (with a $111 million endowment ... not bad!) in the gorgeous rolling hills of the east bay. Mmm mmm mmm.
  • As a second aside, I see from a Santana performance list of undetermined veracity that they are listed for Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek on April 1, 1969. 
    • As an aside to the aside, not that that same site has Santana at Gymnasium, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA. Corry or Ross or LIA or Bruno or anyone, how much stuff is "out there" on the East Bay?

Anyway, just hoping to learn more!

2. Grateful Dead, Friday, March 1, 1968: The Looking Glass, 1300 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek, CA, 94595.

3. Grateful Dead, Saturday, March 2, 1968: The Looking Glass, 1300 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek, CA, 94595.

update: see for more on these 1968 shows, including proper venue, etc. etc. What follows is just kept for the record.

I'll just discuss these together, naturally enough. Scattershot style, unfortunately, but IIWII. lists "Looking Glass" as another billed band, not as the venue name. No venue name, just address. Funny. Given what I observe about the location below, I have a hunch that this was not a club at all, but a house party.

There is almost no information anywhere about these shows. I looked in the CC Times for evidence of this gig or, poking around this time period, listings for this venue. I found nothing. Google really turns up nothing. Corry's "Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary March-April 1968" avers that "this event and venue are the most mysterious of this time period". Neither LIA nor Ross has much to add in comments.

The location, 1300 Boulevard Way, Walnut Creek, CA, 94595, is an odd one and would have been much odder in 1968, when this area probably still had walnut trees. Boulevard Way has always been an odd little corridor in a little town that has a few of them (despite now being extreme shi-shi). It runs southwest from the shadows of the I-680 / US-24 interchange. It was an odd little no-man's land in the 1970s. Even presently, it features mixed light industrial / commercial (though not much retail) and multifamily residential. It gets a little leafier and turns due south through more single family type homes, ending at Olympic Boulevard. As I recall, that street parallels the old train tracks. Coming in off of Boulevard Way, to the right Olympic runs due west toward where Reliez Station would have been (in Lafayette). The left it runs northeast and takes you toward the southern edge of Walnut Creek.

From the street view of 1300 Boulevard Way, you get a sense of the neighborhood as it exists in my mind. Not the Nieman Marcus side of town, though presumably, now, expensive by any sane measure. It would not have been expensive in 1968. This is a pretty obscure place to have a night club, I can tell you that. I am not surprised that it (presumably!) wasn't around for very long, if it really was a nightclub. Ross speculates that it might have been a rehearsal or something. I'd guess it was a house party, or damn close to it. Maybe some kids rented a warehouse space and threw a party. Las Lomas is not that far, and the old Del Valle High School (closed 1979, thank you Proposition 13) was even closer. The absence of attendees listed at makes me very, very suspicious, and I think the notation (which probably derives from Deadbase) listing "Looking Glass" as a band and not a venue provides an important clue.

Surely if there were a psychedelic club in Walnut Creek in winter-spring 1968, even if only briefly, there would be some memory of it. Was there any psychedelic scene in the East Bay to speak of? Here's hoping one or two recllections might be jogged by this post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Just wanna mention that there's an amazing literature on blogging as a, or an aspect of the, scholarly vocation. I know of it but I haven't read it. For me, the most relevant aspect would be how standards of evidence and citation have evolved, and where they stand. E.g., is there an authoritative "best practice" of a blog post citing another blog post in MLA, Turabian, and/or other standard? It may be time to get serious with this to start plugging into some pretty amazing web-of-knowledge kinds of possibilities.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OAITW late summer 1973 advertised shows: probably didn't happen.

Boy oh boy has it been quiet in the blogosphere that I know (here, LLD, and chez LIA). Busy busy busy with other things.

So, just to warm back up, I figured I'd grab a small random thing.

At various places and times I had speculated on/wondered about some possible Old And In The Way shows at bluegrass festivals during the latter part of summer 1973. This is a "chapter" in my head. For now I'll just say that these dates probably didn't happen:

  • July 4, 1973: 1st Annual Pennsylvania Old Time Mountain-Country Gospel-Bluegrass & Blues Folk Music Arts Festival,Valley View Park, York, PA;
  • July 26 or 29, 1973: First Annual West Virginia Peace, Love, Blues and Bluesgrass [sic] Folk Music Festival, Aunt Minnie's Farm and Country Road Park, Rt. No. 33 and 119 (Stumptown), Glenville, WV;
  • September 1-2, 1973: 9th Labor Day Weekend Original Blue Grass Music Festival, Camp Springs, NC;
  • September 7, 1973: First Annual Harpers Ferry West Virginia Indian Summer Bluegrass Folk Music Festival, Harpers Ferry, WV.

If I had to write the book today, that's what I would say. Alas, because somehow it's more fun to discover a "missing" show. So finding that it had just gotten to advertising stage but probably never happened is a bit of a letdown. But I just don't think they happened.

There's nothing here that we hadn't more or less already concluded (though Corry holds out hope for Camp Springs, I think Bartenstein's non-recollection is sovereign). But since this is a thing that interests me, since my blogging brain and fingers feel in need of some warming up -- six days since my last post is the longest I have gone in quite awhile-- I thought I'd just chum the water with this reminder.

If anyone, anyone, knows where there are good bluegrass blogs that might be likely places to see if anyone knows/remembers anything? I'd also love to be educated by some bluegrass experts. I have pleaded for help on the GSCBF at the California Bluegrass Association message board. But I'd love to find any good sites and also educate myself more. TIA.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Last Quartet Show

LN jg1982-10-23.jgb.all.aud-knudsen-GEMS.112275.flac1644

This show is the last for the short-lived October '82 quartet configuration, which did a quartet of shows on 10/13/82, 10/21-22/82 (neither of which has ever circulated), and this night. In Guerneville on the 24th, backing vocalists would augment the ranks. If I am not mistaken, this could be the last show the JGB ever played as a quartet (in case you were wondering).

I have made a series of posts discussing band personnel/membership issues in 1981-1983.

This "membership" theme isn't properly considered/elaborated in social science work on institutions/organizations, as far as I am concerned. It should be central: after all, we are dealing with social aggregates.

Investigating the margins of each membership era -- a little before and, to a greater extent, a little after any personnel change -- can be interesting in lots of ways. The early 80s are particularly interesting, for all kinds of reasons. First, there are lots of personnel changes, giving us lots of little natural quasi-experiments to think about. Variance is good. Second, substantively, I think the evidence suggests that Garcia was really looking for a stable band, but it took him several years to get the blend just right. So there's some amount of tension in this nearly-interstitial music. Garcia and the other band members have to focus, listen to each other and generally engage each other more than at other times. In lots of ways, the Garcia Band would challenge Jerry less and less over the years, and this seemed to be how he liked this band. It was a comfort band. He got challenged enough for his taste with the always more dissonant Grateful Dead. But during these moments of breaking in new personnel that equation is in some ways reversed, or at least the positions of JGB and the GD are closer to each other on the comfort or consonance <--> dissonance dimension.

Third, as I have argued in some of the posts linked above, "break-in" shows for new members were more likely than the average gig to be weeknight and off-the-beaten-path (see discussion of the possible 6/24/81 Salinas gig for another engagement with that theme).  Partly as a consequence, they were less likely to have been taped, and as a consequence of that there has been more uncertainty around who was where, when, when they showed up and left, where it was and what they played, who subbed for whom whenever that was, and so on. Thank goodness that there have been listmakers over the years to help with all of this, something about which I'll have more to say. Here I'll just say thank goodness for all of the intrepid, foreword-looking and generous tapers such as Jeff Knudsen, who rolled tape while tripping the Keystones fantastic during this period. Tapers, your work is very important and much appreciated. Thanks.

One of Jeff's tapes is Saturday, 10/23/82 at the Keystone Palo Alto at 260 California Avenue in Palo Alto, CA, 94306. As far as I know this is the only recording to make it out of the club that night, and it's a nice tape. Gotta love that the guy just danced to the music with a couple of cheap mics under his armpits, running to a cheap deck sitting in plain view on the table, and made a tape that's fun to listen to and historically important.

This is the last of four shows by the Garcia/Kahn/Seals/Errico quartet (10/13/82, 10/21/82 and 10/22/82 being the others). They are still warming themselves up, though I have to say that Errico drums like a mofo. The next night, in out of the way Guerneville, would see the introduction of Jaclyn LaBranch and DeeDee Dickerson as Garcia's backup singers. Ms. LaBranch would be a JGB fixture ever-after, her 12.5 years in the band surpassed only by constant bandmate Melvin Seals (14.5 years) and the one and only John Kahn (ca. 25 years).

Anyway, a few listening notes for the record.

Jerry Garcia Band
Keystone Palo Alto
Palo Alto, CA 
October 23, 1982 (Saturday)
77 minute Jeff Knudsen audience recording

--Set I (4 tracks, 32:07, missing 1 song)--
s1t01. How Sweet It Is [8:37] [0:02]
s1t02. % (1) Catfish John [11:02]
[missing It's No Use]  
s1t03. // I Second That Emotion [#6:42] -> 
s1t04. Run For The Roses [5:36] (2) [0:06]

--Set II (4 tracks, 43:43, missing 1 song)
s2t05. (I'm A) Road Runner [8:27]
s2t06. The Harder They Come [14:24] [0:04]
[missing Valerie]
s2t07. // Dear Prudence [11:56] [0:10] ->
s2t08. Midnight Moonlight [8:24] (3) [0:23] dead air [0:03]

Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
John Kahn - el-bass;
Melvin Seals - keyboards (Hammond B3 organ);
Greg Errico - drums.

Tape and Transfer Specs:
! R: field recording equpiment: Marantz SuperScope microphones > Aiwa HS1 cassette master.
! R: subsequent analog history: master cassettes > 1st generation cassette by Jeff himself.  Note: "All his collection is such.  This was done by him to get the show in order on tapes, as set one was recorded on both tape sides 'A', and set two was recorded on both sides 'B'."
! R: transfer to digital domain: 1st gen cassette > Apogee Mini ME 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC > Wavelab 6.0 by Matt Smith.
! R: digital domain: edited and mastered by Jamie Waddell on the **GEMS** Edit Station at 24 bit 96kHz. Weiss-Saracon for conversion to 16 bit 44.1kHz. TLH for FLAC8 Tag&Rename for MetaData SBE Free.
! R: Meta: A **GEMS** Production      March 2011

! 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 recording).
! Seeder note: Huge thanks to Jeffrey for sharing his recordings and Matt Smith for the transfer work
! R: seeder note: Recorder was turned off between some songs
! From info file: Jeffrey Knudsen Equipment: AIWA-HS1 Cassette Deck and Marantz SuperScope microphones. Location:  "I always taped from the front row tables with the recorder simply laying on the table in full view. There was a piece of tape over the red 'on' light and the mics were black with black chords. I took napkins from the venue and folded a wad up and taped the two mics together with the napkins separating the front ends and the back end were together. That way the mics had some angular separation. I then put the whole mess in a black sock and stuck it in my armpit.  Everyone stands the moment the show starts (except at the front row balcony tables in Berkeley) so I would point my shoulder at the stage when Jerry was instrumental and then I would point my shoulder up to the overhead monitors when he sang. In Berkeley I just had the mics taped, in a sock and laying on the table, and pointing at the stage."
! More taper info, from info file: "This run of shows (10/21-22-23/82) were that last shows of 1982 that I was able to record before I moved to Barbers' Point, Hawaii.  I was in Party Mode #342.67b for the whole weekend and just had a hard time with that miserable 'pause' button. It was very distressing to look down and see the recorder not working and having no idea what happened. Well, that is not exactly true. LSD was in the mix -- go figure. Such was the price to pay for such a good time. This torrent is the first time that this show has been circulated. Hopefully another version will show up so the whole show can be patched together."
! Historical: This is the only known recording of the final show of the Garcia/Kahn/Seals/Errico quartet of October 1982 (10/13/82, 10/21/82, 10/22/82, 10/23/82). As I have often noted in connection with personnel/band membership issues, and especially in the first half of the 1980s, the pivotal shows during fluid periods were often a little off-the-beaten path and less likely to have been taped. Despite this being a Saturday night show, my hunch is that the Keystone Palo Alto was just less likely to host a taper on any given night than the other Keystone clubs. That's conjectural, though testable. Anyway, as we know the next night would see a gig waaaay off the beaten path -- at River Theater, Guerneville, CA -- and the introduction of Jaclyn LaBranch and DeeDee Dickerson as Garcia's backup singers. Ms. LaBranch would be a JGB fixture ever-after, her 12.5 years in the band surpassed only by constant bandmate Melvin Seals (14.5 years) and the one and only John Kahn (ca. 25 years). How long did Ms. Dickerson stay in the band? I have some question about that, but I'll try to elaborate my thinking on that separately.
! R: tape is quite solid. Not super-high definition, but I can hear all of the instruments and the vocals reasonably distinctly.
! s1t02 (1) Taper talk. Guy in crowd yells "rock and roll!". Maybe in response, or maybe in response to something else, taper says "Your wish come true" right on the opening notes to Catfish John. So not sure if he is affirming that it's "rock and roll!" or to someone's (unheard) call of Catfish John as the next tune.
! P: s1t02 CJ Jerry's voice is sounding a little strained, a little fragile.
! P: transition from s1t03 ISTE to s1t04 RFTR is a "true" one, in the sense that Jerry spins it out. It's not a long, well-developed segue, but it's not a pause/stop-for-a-3-count segue, either. Somewhere in between. At this time frame and in the state he was in during it, that's pretty adventuruous. Remember, too, that Errico is just getting warmed up (only his 4th show in this go-round with JGB, which would last through June 5, 1983 out on the east coast). So it's nice to see Jer pushing things even just a little.
! P: s1t04 RFTR ends with an off-beat, just a new band not 100% sync'd up. Sounds like maybe Garcia was considering another song, but discretion being the better part of valor he sheepishly gives the (2) "We'll be back in a few minutes" setbreak announcement.
! P: s2t05 RR bad vocal clam in first verse, on "toothbrush".
! R: s2t07 Dear Prudence comes in before the second ("let me see you smile / ... / like a little child"), maybe 2-3 minutes missing here?
! P: s2t07 at the end of Dear Prudence and heading toward Midnight Moonlight, you can hear that they still aren't 100% meshed. Right at the end of DP Jerry, John and Melvin are keying right into Midnight Moonlight, but it takes 10 seconds to indicate it to Errico and get him with them. Not a criticism of him, by any means -- fourth show in for him on this stint, and they hadn't done this segue yet. Things are hanging, and then Errico just starts pounding out a rock rhythm for Jerry to jump onto. He jumps on in the wrong key, but recovers OK and things manage to take shape.
! s2t08 Mid Moon This whole version is quite a standout because of Errico's playing, which really pushes Garcia not just pacewise, but in terms of driving his voice a little harder. That said, I think I hear why JG wants backup singers. His voice just can't hold it at the end. I bet he walked off stage and said to John "find me a few chick backup singers".
! d2t08 (3) JG: "Thanks a lot, see you later."

Monday, May 02, 2011


edited 20110502 am

It is presently "commonly known" that the "An Evening With The Grateful Dead" show concept / set format debuted in Alfred, NY on Friday, May 1, 1970 [Deadlists | TJS | shnid 95683 |]. McNally (2002, 366) narrates things this way, Deadlists' entry presents the show in conventional AEWTGD form, and so forth. This post will establish that the 5/1/70 show didn't follow the conventional AEWTGD format, and cast some slight doubt on whether this was even an AEWTGD show at all. It'll also clear up some venue confusion and blabber about lots of other things.

I don't do much Grateful Dead, and tend to think it's much better done by others. But the NRPS-Matrix-1970 stuff, and a lot of what LIA has recently been writing about (e.g., "The Hartbeats-July 1970"), has me needing to reflect on the 1970 GD acoustic sets a little bit. My main aim was to get at the 7/30/70 and 8/5/70 sets, of which I have done the first. In trying to "get at" shows, however, I tend to start by listening to them, then by listening around them (e.g., to some other shows that might have some logical connection to the one under scrutiny), and then by listening to them again, hopefully consulting The Sources, taking notes on everything. Ridiculously roundabout process, but there it is.

Here, my idea was that bookending these 7/30 and 8/5 shows would be productive. So I picked 5/1/70 (the first known AEWTGD) and the Fillmore East 9/20/70 (a late-period AEWTGD show). Of course this turned out to be a ridiculous rabbit hole, since as it happens neither I nor anyone known to me has the New Riders set from 5/1/70, though Jim Powell documents it at Deadlists. Then the acoustic set turned out to be interesting, then the show turned out to have some interesting anomalies, then some bigger questions came into play. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I have a long (for me, not LIA!) post in the guise of listening notes involving, inter alia, analysis of some of the many narrative lines that pass through the particular node of An Evening With The Grateful Dead, Alfred, NY, Friday, May 1, 1970.

Common Knowledge Around This Node

First, McNally says the AEWTGD concept debuted in Alfred, NY on May 1, 1970. As I understand it, this is indeed so widely (if reflexively) agreed to that it's not even folk wisdom. I'd call it common knowledge. The 5/1/70 entry at Deadlists is structured just like the rest of the AEWTGD shows.

Second, the set structure of an AEWTGD show is also commonly known. The Deadlists entry for 5/2/70b includes Jim Powell's note "An Evening With The Grateful Dead 1970", with quotes from an interview Garcia did while in England in May 1970 (1). The upshot is that the AEWTGD set structure was as follows:
  1. (I) Acoustic Grateful Dead (AGD)
  2. (II) New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS)
  3. (III) Electric Grateful Dead (EGD)
Garcia narrated it to Dick Lawson on May 24, 1970:
What we've been doing in the States lately is having An Evening with the Grateful Dead". We start off with acoustic music, with Bobby and I playing guitars, light drums and very quiet electric bass. Pigpen plays the organ. Then we have a band we've been traveling with, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, where I play pedal steel, not guitar, Mickey plays drums, and three of our friends from the coast, musicians that we've known for a long time, are fronting the band. So we start off with acoustic music and then the New Riders of the Purple Sage ... and then we come on with the electric Dead, so it keeps us all really interesting, and it's six hours of this whole development thing. By the end of the night it's very high.
Based on a skim of Deadlists for the year 1970, I don't see any deviations from this order on known recordings.  I believe that this set structure is also common knowledge.

By way of summary, common knowledge of 5/1/70 tells us two things:
  1. this was the debut of the AEWTGD show structure; and
  2. the AEWTGD show structure went AGD-NRPS-EGD.

Engagement with this show generates some small doubt about the first claim (though I think it's probably right). The second may still be true, but it's not what happened on 5/1/70. Making a mountain out of a molehill, I argue that the true running order of AEWTGD 5/1/70 was (I) NRPS, (II) AGD, (III) EGD.

Not a big deal, but interesting to me to note it. As I will argue below, this is a pivotal moment in Jerry's professional arc, where it was time to get down to business, start making a little money. After getting ripped off by Lenny, and with Mountain Girl looking to settle down with a their new baby, it's time to start generating some coin (pronounced as "kwahn," naturally). Anyway, things would get more and more institutionalized from roughly this period forward. Finding that the show format was not quite settled (or something prevented it from taking place, whatever it might have been ...) just gives a little finer grain on the evolution of things. Even if it's only one show, it connects the time period before the AEWTGD format was established with the time period during which it was in place.

The tape provides two clues as to this unusual set order.

  1. there' s a snippet of emcee talk at the start of the fileset which cuts in on "this bill is five hours long. Now, the Riders just filled up//" before cutting out and returning to the start of the AGD set. If this snippet were in the right place, it would suggest that the show order was NRPS-AGD-EGD, rather than the canonical AGD - NRPS - EGD. Now, that snippet could be in the wrong place, but I don't think it is.
  2. at the end of the AGD set Garcia says "We'll come back with our electric stuff in just a moment", over continuous tape. Now, could he have meant the New Riders? I suppose so, but I really, really doubt it. (Aside: this is also where Weir asks the crowd "You wanna hear Pigpen?" prompting Jerry to inform Bob, off-mic, that Pig "doesn't wanna do anything. LIA just did a Pigpen post and mentioned this, so I thought I'd note. We might even have a partial explanation via the partly redacted testimony below!)

The third clue about the running order comes from Philip Orby's testimony to me in private correspondence. I reprint most of it below. He has clear markers for the progression of the show and clearly remembers it as NRPS-AGD-EGD. (I have a few thoughts on the use of single testimonials as evidence in my post on a possible JGB show in Salinas on June 24, 1981.)

I should note that another attendee, MAXROD, recounted the standard AEWTGD set format to me. But he noted that he relies on present information in reconstructing some things, and so I think this should be discounted.

Based on all of this I conclude that this show ran NRPS-AGD-EGD, rather than the AGD-NRPS-EGD progression that is usually assumed.

Here's where this leaves me: do we even know whether this show was even billed as "An Evening With The Grateful Dead"? I have never seen any ticket stubs or ephemera, no contemporary press items, anything. McNally says it was the debut of the format, and that's pretty powerful stuff. It certainly should have been, given that it's the first show of a very important tour, one that would set the Grateful Dead on a solid foundation of economically viable touring for the next quarter-century. So we don't have any reason to doubt it, and lots of reason to think it was. It's just a question, is all.

"An Evening With The Grateful Dead": Some Reflections

Anyway, the AEWTGD show structure/concept was important in a lot of ways.

First, as Corry and many others have noted, it allowed the GD to travel with a small number of additional bodies (Dawson, Nelson and Torbert) for a reasonably big payoff: they had their own opening act and could probably demand premium prices for the 5+ hour evening of music (see LN note #1 below to hear the Alfred emcee or organizer making just this point to what sound like a bunch of bellyaching anarchists, radicals, leftists, pinkos and other unsavory types). Especially after Lenny Hart robbed them blind, the Grateful Dead needed to start generating some serious cash. It's no coincidence that 1970 would be probably their heaviest touring year (I could run the numbers easily enough, but I don't feel like it). The AEWTGD show format brought financial benefits, full stop, and that was important for what needed to become, at this point more than ever, a true working band. One that will pay off in the long run. One that will allow these guys to buy a ranch in Marin or Sonoma, do a little "livin' off the fat a the lan'", as a different "Lenny" might say. With characteristic insight, McNally (2002, ch. 31) titles this chapter, running March-July 1970, "Might as Well Work". He really does have a way with words ... this captures a ton.

This tour would continue to solidify the Grateful Dead as a nationally viable band, a process the "end of the beginning" of which would be the slightly tighter March-April 1971 tours to midwest and northeast towns and colleges.  This would stand them in good economic stead for no less than a quarter-century.

Second, related, McNally (2002, 366) astutely notes that with the AEWTGD, the GD would become a "full-range band" (Garcia's term) musically, with a huge repertoire and incalculable creative/exploratory possibilities. It's no coincidence that McNally (2002, 366) uses AEWTGD as launching pad for a pithy summary of the rest of the GD's history and the band's astonishing range over most indigenous American musical forms: "Over the next two decades they would play nearly 500 different songs, of which roughly 150 were originals. Those 350 cover tunes would span a large portion of American music, to a level unmatched by any other band." He goes on to enumerate the genres embodied in this repertoire: rock and roll, blues, jug band music, folk, Stax-Volt, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, country-western, gospel, sixties garage rock, calypso, western swing, and New Orleans (McNally 2002, 366-367).

While this range would continue to expand after 1970, the basic set structure of 1970 (less the NRPS) would become the basic set structure of Grateful Dead shows forevermore, with first sets focused on shorter, often more basic, tunes, and second sets more exploratory and often more potent. This arrangement made sense, of course, allowing the band to loosen up a little bit before pushing the limits. It worked well for the band, and was a functional adaptation. I don't think there's any path dependence to it out of the AEWTGD structure. I merely note that it is a form that found first expression in the AEWTGD show.

Third, most importantly, one might consider NRPS as Garcia's first real side project, where "real" means both that things were planned rather than ad hoc and, related, that there was money involved. This would be the very first time in Jerry's life --I am confident about that-- that he'd be onstage in front of a paying, non-Bay Area audience in a band that had been billed as something other than "Grateful Dead".

Now, if this is speciation it's also necessarily a process (i.e., unfolds over time), and a slow moving one at that. NRPS is like the fish with legs, wading out from the deep murk to catch some sun and dry land fun, and then stumbling back into the ocean for the night. The thrust of Jim Powell's analysis at Deadlists over the years has been the NRPS was indissociable from GD during the AEWTGD era. They are essentially the same. AGD, EGD and NRPS are all part of the thing called GD, in this lexicon. That's fine, and there's no reason to argue any of these points since they're just definitional, and can't be resolved through logic or evidence. There are just tradeoffs to be made through different conceptualizations. And I do tend to take a different view. I do think of NRPS as qualitatively different as the first institutionalized (professionalized, monetized, whatever) expression of Garcia On The Side. By this point, only Garcia and Hart were in both bands, though "Bobby Ace" Weir would occasionally lend a hand on NRPS sets while Nelson and Dawson would quite regularly come out and help AGD on the gospel numbers. Anyway, I take Garcia playing for paying east coast customers in a band billed as something other than the Grateful Dead represents a major change which would manifest itself over the next 4 years in the gradual development of a full fledged GOTS touring career.

A Few Questions About AEWTGD

First, has anyone ever considered the extent to which AEWTGD might be tied up with Lenn's Perfidy (accepted, no longer denied, from ca. March 1970) and with the engagement of David Torbert as NRPS bassist around this time? Or is this already well-known and I just missed it? Corry has done the key work on the latter question and has expressed puzzlement at the whole story of Torbert's engagement. I think it's all of a piece, and all driven by the need to pay the bills. [update: this is almost certainly Corry's idea, credit where credit is due!]

Oh, and more grownup stuff in Jerry's life: Annabelle is born on February 2nd (yes, two days after the New Orleans bust, and Garcia in St. Louis), and around this time (I can't pin the timing down) it seems that Mountain Girl starts house-hunting in western Marin.

There's something of an evolution toward AEWTGD, of course. A look at growth of country and acoustic stuff in 1969, culminating in the impromptu acoustic set on 12/19/69, establishes the basic idea of a separate acoustic pre- or interlude. But it sure seems to me that around March 1970 everything comes to a head.  See also Corry on ca. 4/18/70, Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck.

(Aside: if they really needed the money, it would have made the most financial sense to have Phil Lesh continue playing the bass for the New Riders. The fact that they went out to get Torbert suggests, first and foremost, just how little interest Phil Lesh had in doing that [or they in having him do that].)

Second, has anyone ever narrated the interwoven trajectories of Casady and Garcia around this period? They obviously played together in their first dalliances outside (but during the existence of) their "day" bands. As enterprises in exploring roots music, Hot Tuna and Dawson-Garcia --> NRPS have some similarities. In 1969, Hot Tuna was playing an interlude set at Jefferson Airplane shows. I don't know if they were ever billed as a distinct act (I assume so), but if so there's a really close analogy to what Jerry would do with the New Riders. I should probably consult Tamarkin's Got a Revolution! on this point, but I seem to recall these parallel parts of the CVs aren't narrated - the focus is (reasonably) on where the lines intersect. My point is, it would be interesting to me to learn that JA/Tuna had established the precedent of using a barely-speciated spinoff as a way to fill a complete billing (and be paid accordingly). Subsequent parallel history shows the side-projects becoming more speciated and independently institutionalized over time.

This Recording

The recording is a hodgepodge of three sources:

  • Source 1: SBD -> Master Reel -> CD (Deep Elem Blues through Cumberland Blues)
  • Source 2: SBD -> Master Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD (The Race Is On through the middle of Drums)
  • Source 3: SBD -> Master Reel -> Reel -> Dat -> Sonic Solutions -> CD (middle of Drums though the end of the show.
A few things that are unusual about this, anymore. First, the three sources imply three paths out of a common master, or anyway through to the "present" from a common well spring. It's not that common anymore. Nowadays so many things can be traced directly back to the GD vaults that these pastiche sources have been kind of nudged out of existence. Second, Deadlists has a note "A [sic] to Latvala there is no tape in the vault for this show", but it proceeds to list the tapes on the Eaton list, corresponding to sources 2 and 3 above. (These are the sources for which Charlie Miller thanks David Gans in the shnid 95683 info file.) I think that note is mistaken and probably was so when it was posted, since as of 1997 one track ("New Speedway Boogie") had already been released on Fallout From The Phil Zone. (Of course, that album included non-vault sourced material such as the 8/6/71 "Hard to Handle", so who the hell knows?)
The recording is characteristically excellent, except that source 2 seems to run fast to my ears, notwithstanding that it shouldn't, per the stated lineage.

This Show

Regarding the metadata surrounding the show, the location/venue is extremely confusing. There are at least three name variants running around: Alfred University (TJS), Alfred College (Deadlists), and Alfred State College (the Soto-Arnold Grateful Dead List, about which I hope to post reasonably soon). McNally (2002, p. 366) doesn't give the name of the college, only the town. So, which was it?

Well, if we allow our trusty Google to take us to a map of Alfred, NY, we see the "University" the "State College" variant, and a "State College, Alfred Campus" variant. Sheesh.

Anyway, trying to be all scientific, I conducted searches in Google News Archive for the year 1970 for the name variations using an exact phrase search. The candidates and the number of results returned follow.
  • "Alfred State College": 4
  • "Alfred College": 2
  • "Alfred University": 69
Perhaps needless to say, this had me pretty persuaded that the place we are talking about was known in 1970 as Alfred University.

Wrong. I will list this as follows: Gymnasium, Alfred State College, Alfred, NY. This is based on various eyewitness testimony. hosts no fewer than four filesets for this date. We are indeed fortunate! Among these one can find these two pieces of testimony (edited for grammar, etc.) .The first is available at the item for this fileset, where commenter "thejeffy" says this:

I was there. I was a freshman. The show was at the Tech college, across the valley. ... [I] remember hanging out with Phil and Mickey as they loaded the station wagons to split after the show. I think there were maybe 50 people at the show

On an older fileset, "Tom209" says

My first Dead show. We came from St. Bonaventure. It was in the gym. I think I saw Jerry, sitting in a men's room sink, playing a guitar ... and a conga line around the stage for Lovelight
Correspondent Philip Oby graciously gave me a full narrative that really ties everything together and paints a picture of the scene and some crucial details about the show.
It was the homecoming concert for Alfred State College, a SUNY affiliate. I went to Alfred University, the best ceramics school in the good old USA. We called the kids across the street “techies.” Both schools are located in the rolling hills in the southern part of the beautiful Finger Lakes area of NY in the charming little town of Alfred NY. I’d love to know which techie had the brilliance to get the Dead for their homecoming. But attendance was open to both schools.

The show started around 8 PM. Most of the people there at the beginning of the show were unfamiliar with the Dead and had no idea what they were getting into. The show opened with the introduction of the New Riders of the Purple Sage (Jerry on steel and Mickey Hart on drums) and during the break at the end of a very solid set the audience dropped from about 250 people to around 150 hearty souls. I guess they thought it was country music.

The next set was acoustic Dead à la Workingman’s Dead.  [ed. Awesome story about Pigpen redacted. But if the [redacted] in which Pigpen is alleged to have partaken was particularly potent, that might explain why Pigpen didn't come out and sing a song or two at the end of the acoustic set.] The acoustic set ended, the band took a break and again the audience was cut in half, so there were 50 - 75 knowledgeable souls left.

By now it was almost 11 PM. The roadies moved the equipment they used for the first two sets, revealing an impressive wall of amps. The Grateful Dead came onstage and Jerry walked up to the mike and said (and I quote): “I guess all we have left now are the connoisseurs.”  And then they promptly blew our socks off. All I remember of the next few hours was dancing and cheering. The sun was soon to come up ... That was my first show.  ... I have no ticket stubs or ephemera. It was a free show paid for by Alfred State College.
Fantastic. Thank you again, Philip. And since Philip's narrative is so rich, I'll add the additional color of MAXROD's account:

May 70 was a very wacky month. I was a senior in H.S. and the world was getting very wobbly … Vietnam raging, domestic turmoil over it, racism rampant, Kent State only a few days away, 5-4-70, then Jackson State … RFK, MLK. But there still were Dead shows to go to, thank goodness, my first being in early Feb 70 Fillmore East. I had a whole bunch under my belt by the time May rolled around.

Alfred College. The show was in a gymnasium. I had a ticket that someone gave me so I don’t think it was free, but I couldn’t tell you how much it was. Wasn’t very big as I recall. This was still part of the Dead’s touring routine, not unlike a Willie Nelson family show, where folks come and go in all sorts of combos. ... Those acoustic sets back then more often then not turned into a hybrid type acoustic/electric by set’s end, and sometimes also acapella for the gospel tunes.

Anyway, all of the above leads me to list the venue as "Gymnasium, Alfred State College, Alfred, NY". No idea why "AU" was so much more in the news in 1970 than "ASC", but there you have it. Homecoming, tiny crowd, May 1, 1970. I can almost smell the tear gas. But, as Maxrod's point about the fluidity of personnel and the hootenanny style swapping around players and instruments really underscores, things were also loose and fun and interesting. In my listening notes below I observe that the acoustic set does just sound like fun, and the band is pretty damn tight. Good music. And good call, homecoming committee! Way to go, techies! One final note: the Soto-Arnold list has had the name of the host institution right all along, but that knowledge never made the leap to bits and bytes.

References, then listening notes after the jump.

(1) Whenever it comes to 1970 Grateful Dead, Deadlists remains indispensable, due not least to the exemplary scholarship of Jim Powell. His posts for the year are powerfully researched and argued, based primarily on careful auditing of every available scrap of tape. His scientific progress was documented through the Deadlists project, which needs to take its place in my overall narrative of the List-Making Tradition As It Relates To Garcia And The Grateful Dead, or whatever I am going to call it. I would welcome input from Deadlisters who have any recollections to share, though I suspect that a ton of the history is still just available on the same servers as in ca. 2000, threaded in the way that listserve/online discussions were, a beautiful record to what was a monumental endeavor. The fact that it is still relevant today --and it absolutely is-- based on the original data protocols and research is a great testament to what was accomplished. Tip o' the hat to all involved.
(2) Dick Lawson, "What Will Be The Answer To The Answer Then?" Friends no. 8 (June 12, 1970), pp. 10-11, quote apparently from p.11. This is source 096 in the Dodd-Weiner annotated bibliography next note.
(3) 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.
(4) McNally, Dennis. 2002. A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. New York: Broadway Books.

Listening Notes:

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 [ | 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:
! db: (this fileset)
! map:
! 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".

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.