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Friday, July 06, 2012

LN jg1973-01-24.jgms.early-late.sbd-nfagdtrfb.100216.flac1644


(I know my titling of the Listening Notes posts only really works for me. But since the blog is “scratch paper”, it’ll just have to be this way.)
(Man oh man does Blogger's formatting suck. One can't compose online, because stuff can get lost [viz my long beautiful post on Wales-Garcia 1/26/72]. One can't compose in Word, because Blogger can't swallow even pretty basic formatting [or Word doesn't make it clear to Blogger what it's doing]. Anyway, sheesh.)

Listing for Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at Boarding House, 960 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, 94109, Tuesday-Thursday, January 23-25, 1973. Source: San Francisco Chronicle-Examiner Datebook, January 21, 1973, p. 4.

The Sarah Era


I have been listening to tapes and contemplating materials from the Sarah Era –the period from ca. January 14, 1973 through ca. October 2, 1973 during which Sarah Fulcher sang with The Group, Garcia-Saunders-Kahn-Vitt, around the San Francisco Bay Area. I have touched on the following (from the jgmf etree list):
  1. 01/15/73 JGMS Inn Of The Beginning Cotati CA 9573 Listening Notes
  2. 01/23/73 JGMS Boarding House San Francisco CA noncirc handbill, ads, discussion
  3. 01/24/73 JGMS Boarding House San Francisco CA handbill, ads, discussion
  4. 01/25/73 JGMS Boarding House San Francisco CA 7670 (A&B) Initial handbill, ad, discussion (2011); listening notes for shnid 7670 (2012).
  5.  03/07/73 JGMS Keystone Berkeley CA 31501 listening notes
  6.  05/04/73 JGMS Homer's Warehouse Palo Alto CA 31283 Listening Notes
  7. 05/29/73 JGMS Ash Grove Santa Monica CA dating (?No Sarah?)
  8. 05/30/73 JGMS Ash Grove Santa Monica CA dating (?No Sarah?)
  9. 07/05/73 JGMS Lion's Share San Anselmo CA 79032 Listening Notes (no Sarah)
  10.  07/10/73 JGMS Keystone Berkeley CA material from 7/10/73 on the Live at the Keystone releases (No Sarah)
  11. 07/11/73 JGMS Keystone Berkeley CA material from 7/11/73 on the Live at the Keystone releases (No Sarah)
  12. 07/19/73 JGMS Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA San Francisco Phoenix review, brief discussion
  13.  09/01/73 JGMS Keystone Berkeley CA Keystone handbill for 9/1/73 and 9/2/73
  14.  09/02/73 JGMS Keystone Berkeley CA Keystone handbill for 9/1/73 and 9/2/73

   
For the record, I believe Sarah is absent on 8/5/73, present on 10/2/73 and possibly present on 10/11/73. Only the middle date is available for listening analysis (including at Wolfgang’s Vault). I don’t see anything that she would have sung on 10/12/73, and I know she’s not present on 11/3/73. For now, then, 10/2/73 at Winterland stands as the end of the Sarah Era, as presently documented. I am hypothesizing at actually includes 10/11/73. Bottom line, there's significant variation, and we don't really understand what drove it, i.e., why Sarah Fulcher was present or absent on any given night during her Era.

Live at the Keystone


She was absent from what would like have been two of the most financially- and perhaps professionally-consequential gigs of her life, the Jerry Garcia - Merl Saunders (JGMS) July 10-11, 1973 Keystone Berkeley shows.

July 1973 Keystone Berkeley calendar, courtesy of Fred Herrera and Merl Saunders, Jr.



The Group manifested --Freud first made me write "menifested", on which more at some point-- as the Garcia-Saunders-Kahn-Vitt quartet and recorded enough material to establish a lifetime of steady, modest income. The two nights have been released, and re-released, and re-re-released, nearly in toto over the years. On vinyl came Live at the Keystone (Fantasy F-79002, 1973), Keystone Encores, Volume 1 (Fantasy MPF 4533, 1988) and Keystone Encores, Volume 2 (Fantasy MPF 4534, 1988). Per Scofield, at the advent of the CD era “the tracks from the original double LP and the two 1988 releases were reconfigured and released as Live At The Keystone, Volume 1 (Fantasy FCD 7701-2, 1988), Live At The Keystone, Volume 2 (Fantasy FCD 7702-2, 1988) and Keystone Encores (Fantasy FCD 7703-2, 1988).” And I won’t even begin with the various compilations and re-releases.

[update, 8/1/2012: Looks like the shows will actually be released in toto later this year. Affirms the point, needless to say.]

As Corry’s “Jerry Garcia Album Economics, 1973-74 (John Kahn XIII)” lays out so well, Garcia et al. were looking remarkably like grownups in 1972-1973. Relatively speaking, of course. Merl had two high schoolers, and Merl Jr. remembers that the live album bought the family its first house. Garcia had his place with Mountain Girl and two little girls, Mountain Girl's daughter by Ken Kesey, Sunshine, and three-year old Annabelle (Trixie would be born the next year). This was the most domestic phase of Garcia's life, Dad not just a good provider, as one might have said, but often actually physically present. I am under the impression that both John Kahn and Bill Vitt had young kids as well.

So, time for some grownup business decisions to go with grownup responsibilities. These seem to have included the various personnel variations that we observe over the course of 1973. The year started with Tom Fogerty still billed, but, far as I can tell, apparently never playing with The Group again. Sarah. George Tickner as another possible second guitarist. Maybe a mystery trumpeter  (12/28/72) or two (7/5/73), try on some horn colors. Figure out who’s good, who’s cool, who knows the stuff or has the background or chops necessary to pick it up. Oh yeah, grownups, one more thing: choose who gets paid and who doesn’t. Sarah Fulcher didn’t. “Nothin’ personal, darlin’, just business,” I am sure they told her.

Performance



All of that by way of background for a great night of music at the Boarding House, 960 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, 94109: Garcia-Saunders-Kahn-Vitt and Fulcher, Wednesday, January 24, 1973. Early and late shows, unknown start times, but running over 90 minutes each. Great performance by the whole band, one of the shows that bears repeated listening. Vintage Garcia-Saunders. It’s considerably better than 1/15/73 and, to my ears, a little better than the next night (1/25/73). SteveSw sums up my feelings on the performance very nicely when he says “this show is a much better example of what this configuration is capable of than the ones we listened to before”, i.e., from earlier in January. I may even like it (and especially certain numbers, such as “I Was Made To Love Her”) even more than Steve does. In fact, I'll go ahead and call it my favorite January 1973 material. Every number creates its own pop, as appropriate, or settles you down deep in some American musical pocket. Seriously, there is not a clunker in the whole bunch. Event Dixie Down had me singing and, perhaps for the first time in multiple hundreds of hearings, feeling a little sympathy, if still no empathy, for ol’ Virgil Caine. I feel like I am dancing about architecture here, but the music simply shines.

SteveSw suggests that those pressed for time check out this version of “Georgia On My Mind” (Allan | Scofield | TJS), and who am I to argue? I’d only further that you check out the “Jam” track from the early show tape (a-t07, “collective improvisation”). It has some "After Midnight" feel at the start, but really only Jerry and only at the very beginning. Merl plays some very period-distinctive brassy synth while Jerry and John let it melt a little bit. The real treat comes about 8:15 here is what I am thinking of as The Group’s ghost story. Sarah opens the funhouse door with some spooky vocalizations at 8:15. Jerry strikes like a brown on a Colorado caddis hatch, flirting with and even briefly touching “The Tiger” in the nine minute mark while Sarah’s phantom wails creep everyone out. It’s not clear that “this place as clean”, as the little lady in Poltergeist might say. One could really scare the neighbors with this Halloween night ha'nted house soundtrack, which runs probably 4 minutes all told (into the 12-minute mark). Fantastic, distinctive stuff!

After the ghost story, there’s more good listening for you. Jerry scales around a little, fast strumming and a little GD-flavored picking at 13:21. With no Bobby Ace on the scene to blow the vibe with "Me And My Uncle" (the flavor there in Jerry’s playing), things stay pretty unmoored until Garcia things down, pregnantly, in the late 14-minute mark, wailing a little over more synth & Sarah. Everyone sounds lonely, all together, for a while. I almost hear gentle strains of “Imagine”  before Sarah brings out the first-ever Garcia version –and, for all we know, one of the first-ever live versions by anyone, anywhere—of “Like A Road Leading Home”, church-time in Memphis. Great stuff.

Setlist



While I think the performance is particularly good, it’s also particularly enjoyable because there is just a lot of great American music finding expression here. The Group’s repertoire is broad, deep, well-rounded and pretty well-conceived as show and, if one were inclined to think this way, as possible (vinyl) product.

I begin by noting that there are no obvious “jam vehicles”, numbers seemingly designed to open up improvisationally . The modal tune probably clocked in in the 3-minute range on the AM radio dial in its original form. Garcia and Saunders, of course, are perfectly willing to make room, so we get extended, funkified, street-struttin’ versions of Steve Wonder’s great “I Was Made To Love Her”, the Soul Survivors’ “Expressway (To Your Heart)” and Martha Reeves’s scorching rave-up “Honey Chile”, the players bobbing and weaving and Sarah, the Satin Doll, rocking the mic. They stretch out nicely on some blues, as well.

Related to the lack of specific improvisational vehicles, The Group plays no Merl Saunders compositions on either the 1/23/73 show (TJS) nor this one. The next night, they’d do no fewer than three. I am not sure if they planned it this way, if they’d save the outside stuff for the last night when they were good and warm, or if the mood just struck them one way or the other, and the clustering is coincidental.

There were not really any Garcia, Kahn or Vitt compositions to play, but there were a couple of mysterious tunes that I presume to have been written by, or at least for, Sarah Fulcher, both of which appeared in the late show. “Find A Rainbow” (Allan | TJS) is a pleasant midtempo that finds Jerry starting with his best Tom Fogerty/George Tickner impression, pretty straight chunka-chunka, gradually smoothing and fattening his tone. Sarah sounds absolutely lovely, trying to find a rainbow, despite looking out dirty windows … and Jerry … mellifluous. Some of Sarah’s improvisations fall flat in the 6-minute mark, but overall this is a lovely piece of music. As far as we know, it would never be played live again. “Go Climb A Mountain” (Allan | TJS), has some nice anthemic qualities that Garcia perceptively pushes, building himself up, John joining in, releasing the tension, working it back up. I could hear this song opening itself up to double-time jam of the sort we get on 5/5/73, but it doesn’t happen, an unrealized (and possibly wholly imagined!) possibility.

Songs



Here are some comments on specific songs.

a-t01 "Hi-Heel Sneakers" was a 1964 #1 R&B hit for Tommy Tucker, a.k.a. Robert Higginbotham, on Checker Records (Checker 1067) (Allan | Scofield | wiki). It's a fucking fantastic tune, such a wonderful feel, the steppin'-out-on-a-Sunday, bible-in-my-hand-but-razor-in-my-belt trope of Lackawanna Blues, an “uptempo 12-bar blues” (wiki). This version gets my toe-tapping, though I don’t think I have ever encountered one that didn’t. Go listen to Tommy Tucker do it, though absolutely everyone else did it, too, including the Dead on at least two occasions (11/19/66 and 8/3/69).

a-t03 "That's All Right" is commonly referred to among Garcia/GD-oriented listkeepers as "Who's Loving You Tonight?", but that is incorrect (Allan | Scofield [WLYT?, TAR] | TJS). This is a tune written by Jimmy Rogers. It is distinct from "That's Alright Mama", written by Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, though it is mistakenly credited to him on the Merl Saunders CD Keepers (Fantasy, FCD-7712, 1997). I had originally mistakenly listed the composer as Jimmy Rodgers, "the Singing Brakeman". The correct author, Jimmy Rogers, "was Muddy Waters' rhythm guitar player for much of the 50's. His given name was Lane but he took Rogers after his step-father." Thanks to commenter Paul for the correction and additional color!

There is a strong case for common usage (i.e., WLYT?) here, but I will resist it and stick with the correct title, as best I can determine. After this third known JGMS performance, they’d shelve it for a year, revive it briefly in early 1974 (1/17/74, 3/9/74), and retire it from the stage for the rest of Garcia’s career. One final Jerry would play this song as part of a wonderful medley of Jam -> That’s Alright Mama -> That’s All Right on about 10/2/75 at His Master’s Wheels studio in San Francisco (60 Brady Street, right?) during the Reflections sessions. I need to revisit that great piece of music and see if I can glean anything from it.

a-t04 “Honey Chile” (Allan | Scofield | TJS). Motown female sensations Martha Reeves and the Vandellas had a 1967 hit (Gordy G 7067, released 10/14/67) with this in-your-face number about a woman who just loves him too much to leave the man who done her wrong (in addition to being shiftless, lazy, and no-good). Wiki: " the tune rose to number eleven on the Billboard pop singles chart and number five on the Billboard R&B singles chart." The Jackson 5 covered it in 1971, but Sarah Fulcher's rendition is quite certainly inspired by Martha Reeves. This is one of only 8 versions documented at TJS, all of them presumed to be sung by Sarah Fulcher.

a-t06 "Are You Lonely For Me" goes by a few different titles in the (GD/Garcia) Lists, including "Last Train To Jacksonville". Allan and Scofield are not consistent (Scofield includes ", Baby?"). For now I will use the version without extraneous punctuation (the comma and question mark). It was “written and produced by Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell)” and “first recorded by Freddie Scott” (Shout Records, 1966), who had it #1 on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues charts for four weeks in early 1967 (wiki; NB Scofield says charted in 1966). Commenter nick has suggested that Jerry and Merl probably got the song from Al Green's 1971 breakout Al Green Gets Next To You (wiki). Now, I know thatmMaking data parsing easier is not a good reason for my titling choice, but I don’t know how to judge, otherwise, from among the alternatives. So I choose the version without the comma and question mark.

Garcia-Saunders did this tune a documented 13 times between 1972 and 1974 (TJS). The Grateful Dead, playing as Jerry Garcia and Friends and backing up none other than Bo Diddley, played the song at least once, on March 25, 1972 at the New York Academy of Music (Deadlists | dead.net). The earliest known Garcia On The Side version (though 3/25/72 might count!) comes from the legendary 6/30/72 (TJS | JGMF) show, is a real monster, stretching to a long and spacy jam. This is the second documented version. It was more frequent in 1974, including the very well-known Rheem Theater tape (2/9/74).

a-t08 "Like A Road Leading Home" is a beautiful piece of Don Nix / Dan Penn Stax poetry (Allan | Scofield | TJS) understood to be making its Garcia debut here. Sarah put it on her record Sarah & Friends (TMI 30968, 1971) (Arnold | Scofield | Billboard), which Steve Cropper produced in Memphis. Corry first hypothesized that Sarah brought the tune to The Group, and I think this seems undeniable. She takes the vocals entirely on her own. Since I believe the band rehearsed at least a time or two with Sarah, trying to concatenate repertoires all while, y’know, learning to play together, I suspect Sarah had played her record for Jerry/John/Merl/whomever. But they might already have been familiar with the tune. Commenter nick notes that Like A Road appeared on Albert King's 1971 Lovejoy (wiki), and spending a little time with that record, it certainly seems like something Garcia would have had in his record collection.

Jerry clearly fell in love with the song, if not the songstress. Within a few months he was singing it on his own, as a kind of featured “sweet” Garcia vocal, and we are fortunate to have great tapes from ca. 5/29/73 (dit “5/23/73”), 7/5/73 and 7/11/73, the latter version appearing on the Live at the Keystone double LP (Fantasy F-79002, 1973). To my ear, he rarely struggled with the lyrics, which tended to be the case with songs that Jerry loved to sing, specifically. Why Sarah was not present to sing it, or anything else on those other early “Like A Road” nights, nor to share in the financial rewards of the Fantasy release, remains unclear. Jerry and Merl played it a few more times post-Sarah (into 1974). It would appear in Jerry Garcia Band (JGB) a little in 1981 setlists. From 1984 until the end of his life Jerry would play it regularly enough to be together, but rarely enough that it always felt special, a little church for the lost and weary soul.

b-t04 "Georgia On My Mind" is a super-rarity. I need to complete this note, but NB it first appeared on 12/28/72. Sarah was in town in December. I wonder if she was there, or if they had already been working a few things up with her?


Listening Notes



Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
Boarding House
January 24, 1973 (Wednesday)
188 min Betty Cantor-Jackson soundboard, early and late shows

Listening Notes
Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
Boarding House
January 24, 1973 (Wednesday)
188 min Betty Cantor-Jackson soundboard, early and late shows

--Early Show (9 tracks, 94:43)--
a-t01. ... Hi-Heel Sneakers [#8:50] [0:06] % [0:12]
a-t02. I Was Made To Love Her [11:43] [0:17] % [0:05]
a-t03. That's All Right [10:49] [0:18] % [0:08]
a-t04. Honey Chile [14:36] [0:16] %
a-t05. tuning [0:41]
a-t06. Are You Lonely For Me [13:26] ->
a-t08. Like A Road Leading Home [11:22] [0:16] %
a-t09. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [5:38] (1) [0:09]

--Late Show (7 tracks, 92:55)--
b-t01. [0:05] Expressway (To Your Heart) [17:55] [0:21]
b-t02. Find A Rainbow [12:08] (2) [0:28] %
b-t03. After Midnight [13:51] [0:17] %
b-t04. Georgia On My Mind [15:19] [0:48]
b-t05. Money Honey [7:46] [0:02] % [0:27]
b-t06. Go Climb A Mountain [13:41] [0:07] % [0:05]
b-t07. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [9:30] (3) [0:07]

Lineup:
Jerry Garcia – electric guitar, vocals;
Merl Saunders – keyboards (Hammond B3 organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano), synthesizers;
John Kahn - bass;
Bill Vitt - drums;
Sara Fulcher - vocals.

JGMF:
! 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: http://db.etree.org/shn/100216 (this fileset) is the superior source. The older filesets (shnids 4492 and 9783) are derived from the same root master and probably also pass through some of the same initial hands as this source (see below), but according to the seeder they should be sonically deprecated by this seed. I believe him – Andrew F. is generally good and careful.
! R: Eaton: “01/24/73 The Boarding House, San Francisco Ca - complete  4.8,186min, Sbd, A0D1, Reel Master->PCM 0->Dat 1, 44k,  10inch Master Reels@7.5ips 1/2trk->PCM x 0->3700 x 1”.
! R: Given lineage:  "Source: MSR > ? > DAT; Transfer: DAT > Sony D10P > Coax SPDIF > Audiophile-2496 > Wavelab > R8Brain > CD-Wave > TLH > FLAC 1644, via Andrew F." I believe this is a Second Betty Batch tape. It probably has a PCM gen (Dougal Donaldson's) and at least one (Ryan Shriver) DAT gen before the source DAT. One little source of doubt is that the early show circulated quite generally for some years before late show really emerged. But it all feels like a Dougal Donaldson pathway to me.
! db: For the record, the older filesets have the following stated lineages. 1) shnid 4492 (92 minute early + 1st song of late show), MSR > P > DATs > Sony PCM-M1@44.1kHz playback > optical S/PDIF > Digidesign 001 > HD as Sound Designer 2 @44.1kHz > Pro Tools LE (tracked and converted to wav) > SHN, via D. Metz (from Ryan Shriver), ca. September 2000 or earlier; 2) shnid 9783 (71 minutes, continuation of late show, i.e., all but first song): MSR > PCM > DAT > CD > EAC > SHN, via jjoops (from AJL), ca. 6/2/2002. That fileset mentions that some copies claim a cassette gen. NB: All of the above lineages for early and late are consistent with this being a Second Betty Batch tape.
! R: "Source note: This 1996 DAT improves on the 4492/9783 set. 4492 was found to be mono, and has clipped wav's thru-out. 9783 appears to have been compressed, and L&R are flipped. This source combines early & late shows into one file-set."
! R: "Patches were added to repair problems with the DAT source: - High Heel Sneakers; 5:22, 6:13, 8:35, from ID-4492. - I Was Made to Love Her; 0:52, 1:57, from ID-4492. - Honey Chile; 9:20 > 10:11, from ID-4492. - Like a Road; 10:11 > 10:50, from ID-4492. - After Midnight; 3:19 > 3:54, from ID-9783. - Go Climb a Mountain; 10:05 > 11:15, from ID-9783."
! R: seeder note: "There are numerous small snap-crackle-n-pop events thru-out the recording; fixed major pops with Wavelab, and left most as-is, as these seem to be present on the MSR. Several cuts at start of Dixie, 0:07 > 0:14, 0:30, and 0:39. Pops around those cleaned-up and blank spots left as-is. Some sub-second digi-zaps patched over with an alternate DAT source. Thanks to Cbass for assistance with this project. Andrew F. 07/2009".
! song: a-t01 "Hi-Heel Sneakers" was a 1964 #1 R&B hit for Tommy Tucker, a.k.a. Robert Higginbotham, on Checker Records [Allan | Scofield]. It's a fucking fantastic tune, such a wonderful feel of a substantially disappeared steppin'-out-on-a-Sunday, bible-in-my-hand-but-razor-in-my-belt black tradition. This version gets my toe-tapping, though I don’t think I have ever encountered one that didn’t.
! R: a-t01 HHS enters in progress.
! P: a-t02 IWMTLH Sarah Fulcher on lead vocals. Jerry comes in with his first solo at 1:15, and it's like an arrow to the heart, bullseye right out of the gate. Merl takes some nice turns in the late 6-minute mark, even eliciting a yowl from Ms. Fulcher. Excellent. They are interacting nicely, the whole band.
! song: a-t03 "That's All Right" is commonly referred to among Garcia/GD-oriented listkeepers as "Who's Loving You Tonight?", but that is incorrect (Allan | Scofield (WLYT?, TAR| TJS). This is a tune written by Jimmy Rodgers. It is distinct from "That's Alright Mama", written by Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, though it is mistakenly credited to him on the Merl Saunders CD Keepers (Fantasy, FCD-7712, 1997).There is a strong case for common usage (i.e., WLYT?) here, but I will resist it and stick with the correct title, as best I can determine. After this third known JGMS performance, they’d shelve it for a year, revive it briefly in early 1974 (1/17/74, 3/9/74), and retire it from the stage for the rest of Garcia’s career. One final Jerry would play this song as part of a wonderful medley of Jam -> That’s Alright Mama -> That’s All Right on about 10/2/75 at His Master’s Wheels studio in San Francisco (60 Brady Street, right?) during the Reflections sessions. I need to revisit that great piece of music and see if I can glean anything from it.
! P: a-t03 TAR in the late 4-minute mark, Jerry and Merl are working really well together. Merl is just B3'ing it, and Garcia is comping a little bit. They are communicating well.
! P: a-t04 The start of Honey Chile shows off Vitt's fantastic drumming and Betty Cantor-Jackson's amazing talent as a recording engineer.
! song: “Honey Chile” (a-t04 ): This is one of only 8 versions documented at TJS, all of them presumed to be sung by Sarah Fulcher. It was played on 1/15/73, but I didn’t say much. I said a little more about the song in connection with 5/4/73.
! R: a-t04 change in SQ at 9:25-10:12.
! song: "Are You Lonely For Me" (a-t06 )goes by a few different titles in the (GD/Garcia) Lists, including "Last Train To Jacksonville", and Allan and Scofield are not consistent (Scofield includes ", Baby?"). For now I will use the version without extraneous punctuation (the comma and question mark). It was “written and produced by Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell)” and “first recorded by Freddie Scott” (Shout Records, 1966), who had it #1 on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues charts for four weeks in early 1967 (wiki; NB Scofield says charted in 1966). Making data parsing easier is not a good reason for my titling choice, but I don’t know how to judge, otherwise, from among the alternatives. Garcia-Saunders did this tune a documented 13 times between 1972 and 1974 (TJS). The Grateful Dead, playing as Jerry Garcia and Friends and backing up none other than Bo Diddley, played the song at least once, on March 25, 1972 at the New York Academy of Music (Deadlists | dead.net). The earliest known Garcia On The Side version (though 3/25/72 might count!) comes from the legendary 6/30/72 (TJS | JGMF) show, is a real monster, stretching to a long and spacy jam. This is the second documented version. It was more frequent in 1974, including the very well-known Rheem Theater tape (2/9/74).
! P: a-t06 AYLFM: JG is playing a nice little melody, sounds almost like a snippet of a different song, during the 4-min mark. Merl is in a nice spot in the 7:30 range while Jerry picks chords and flavorful little melodies behind him. Around 9 minutes in Sarah comes in and lets us know that she's been searching everywhere, looking for her baby. 10:45 Garcia hints at a little whale cry, but it's nicely integrated with the song, very nice. Some fast and nice guitar runs, including an incredible fretclimb around 11:24.
! P a-t07 collective improvisation (i.e., "Jam") has a lot of "After Midnight" feel at the start. Merl does some very distinctive synthesized trumpet sustains around 5:30. They are all playing, all touching some interesting themes. They start breaking it down in the 7-min mark, more groovy synth by Merl ca. 7:35 and forward. Betty's tape is wonderful. @ 8:16, Sarah floats some really haunting vocals over the top, and together they are creating a real ghost story. Jerry starts urgently near Tiger-ing in the 9-minute mark, pulls a Tiger at 9:30 while Sarah seriously creeps me out and leaves me feeling a little unclean (in the Poltergeist sense). One could really scare the neighbors on Halloween night with this interlude. More ha'nted house wailing from Sarah toward the 11:30-12:00 range, Jerry now scaling around, fast strumming and picking a little GD-flavored stuff at 13:21 ... if Bobby Ace were around he'd pull out "Me And My Uncle" in this 13-minute mark. Quite unmoored here for a bit. Jerry starts slowing things down pregnantly in the late 14-minute mark, some more synth and Sarah jumps back in in the early 15-minute mark. Everyone sounding lonely, all together, sort of. The drop into Imagine/Like A Road is very tasty. Yow!
! P: a-t08 Sarah starts with the words "I'll climb a mountain”, but then she locates herself inside "Like A Road Leading Home". She is doing lead vocals here. Jerry is playing beautifully, as he would for 20+ years. It was always a perfect song for him. It sure sounds to me like this emerged pretty spontaneously. Of course, they had probably run it through a time or two (actually rehearsed?).
! song: a-t08 "Like A Road Leading Home" is a beautiful piece of Don Nix / Dan Penn Stax poetry (Allan | Scofield | TJS) understood to be making its Garcia debut here. Sarah put it on her record Sarah & Friends (Trans-Maximus, Inc. [TMI], TMI 30968, 1971) (Arnold | Scofield | Billboard), which Steve Cropper produced in Memphis. It seems undeniable that she brought the song into the Garcia-Saunders band. For all the world, it sounds like Garcia and the guys are playing Lennon's "Imagine" before Sarah starts singing Like A Road. She takes the vocals entirely on her own. It's possible Garcia had never played the tune, nor maybe even ever heard it, before this, though perhaps more likely that Sarah had run through it once or twice with them. As far as I can tell, it did not appear on record, except for Sarah’s, until 2002, at which point Garcia could already hear it from Don Nix himself in the Great Beyond (wiki). Jerry clearly fell in love with the song. Within a few months he was singing it on his own, as a kind of featured “sweet” Garcia vocal, and we are fortunate to have great tapes from ca. 5/29/73 (dit “5/23/73”), 7/5/73 and 7/11/73, the latter version appearing on the Live at the Keystone double LP (Fantasy F-79002, 1973). He’d play it live several times a year –never too much-- for the rest of his life, seemingly always as a special salve for the lonely, weary soul.
! R: a-t09 TNTDODD splice @ 0:07-0:14, drops @ 0:30, 0:38-0:39
! P: a-t09 TNTDODD Jerry is singing the verses, Sarah is joining him on the chorus.
! a-t09 (1) JG: "Thanks a lot. We'll see y'all later."
! P: b-t01: Expressway is one of my all-time favorite Garcia-Saunders numbers, but this version comes out of the gate a little bit sluggishly. Nothing wrong, just a little slower tempo than I prefer. That said, Jerry jumps into his first solo feet first, no hesitation whatsoever, and also seems to be pulling the tempo up a little bit as he goes. By 2 minutes in, I'm either used to this more laconic pace or it has picked up a little bit. Jerry is plucking some really glassy stuff in the late 7- and early 8-minute mark. Very pure stuff. Sarah is singing really nicely, IMO.
! P: b-t02 "Find A Rainbow" is very, very nice, a really pretty composition. Garcia is all over this number, and Sarah is singing very tastefully.
! b-t02 (2) Sarah Fulcher: "Thank you."
! P: b-t03 AM Jerry doing some nice whale-crying, followed by glassy plucking and pulling, in the 10-minute mark, before bringing things back to the tune proper.
! P: b-t04 GOMM Garcia pulls some very long sustains in the 3-4 minute marks, abetted by some urgent pulling wrapped in reverb around 4:47. John Kahn steps out for some soloing @ 9:34 for a minute or two.
! P: b-t05 Sarah and Jerry sing "Money Honey" together, or occasionally together. Or, like SNL’s Almost Pizza, “that was their intention”.
! P: b-t06 GCAM is a little schematic, compositionally speaking, though I think here Sarah sings with more confidence than she would the next night (1/25/73b).
! b-t07 (3) JG: "Thanks a lot. See y'all later."

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for another great set of notes! I've never been a big fan of Sarah's contributions, but your recent posts have made me want to revisit all this material with a fresh pair of ears.

    Two bits of minutae re song provenance:
    "Are You Lonely For Me" was also on Al Green's breakthrough lp Al Green Gets Next To You, released Aug 14 1971 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Green_Gets_Next_to_You). Given the date (and the fact that it's Al Green), I've always kinda figured that was where Merl or Jerry got the immediate inspiration to do the tune. Also, "Like a Road" was on Albert King's Lovejoy album which came out in 1971 as well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovejoy_%28album%29). I don't know if I misread you or not, but Sarah's version wasn't the only recording contemporary to the band -- though it certainly stands to reason that Garcia first heard the tune from Sarah's own recording.

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  2. nick, I really appreciate your insights.

    I was, indeed, suggesting that about Like A Road. Not sure how I arrived there, but I will fix it.

    AYLF: Interesting, and probably right. One of the things so hard to reconstruct is where the songs came from, who picked them, which of the sometimes-numerous arrangements of a given tune to use, etc.

    Not having "been there" as a music consumer at the 1973 juncture, it's kind of illuminating, in spinning through Matt Scofield's amazing work at deaddisc.com, to see how many versions of some songs there really were. Coming a little later, I have tended to think of songs in a more band-oriented way (i.e., "a Stones song"), than a song-oriented one ("a Stones version of song x"). Partly that's why I have had to adjust myself to the concept of remixing, though I am coming increasingly to see it as just an explicit version of what has been happening implicitly since the dawn of man.

    Of course, it's also poses the interpretive challenge: how did Jerry et al. come to bring songs into the band? Did Jerry mostly find inspiration on the radio, or from records? If the latter (which I strongly suspect), where did he shop? I know later on he'd buy records from John Goddard's Village Music in Mill Valley.

    I'd sure love a chance to catalog Garcia's record collection. I bet it's impressive.

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  3. I have updated.

    Albert King's "Like A Road Leading Home" (from Lovejoy) most definitely sounds like an arrangement that ol' Jerry would have liked and might have borrowed from.

    Al Green's "Are You Lonely For Me" sounds like a very different arrangement, much more uptempo.

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  4. That's an interesting article although 1973-01-25 is still the only January '73 show I can enjoy due to its relative lack of Sarah.

    One small point, I'm not sure if it's just a spelling correction but it could lead to confusion.

    That's All Right is not a Jimmy Rodgers tune, it's a Jimmy Rogers tune.

    Jimmy Rogers was Muddy Waters' rhythm guitar player for much of the 50's. His given name was Lane but he took Rogers after his step-father. He is no relation to "the Singing Brakeman" Jimmie Rodgers author of all those Blue Yodels.

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  5. Fixed, thank you!

    I am one of the ones who likes Sarah and appreciates what she tried to bring to the band, and what they were going for by having her. Of course I understand the alternative view.

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  6. I got around to tracking down Freddie Scott's original "Are You Lonely For Me?" -- Jerry's vocal delivery seems more patterned after Scott's, though it's no surprise that Jerry's version is considerably slower than either Scott's Al Green's. Ultimately, it seems like 6 to 1, half a dozen to another ultimately, so who knows?

    On another note, I've also been revisiting both 1/24 and 1/25 over the last few days and have been very pleasantly surprised. I'm another one who doesn't typically go for Sarah's "contributions" to this lineup, but the core band is so good that it's hard to complain. Everything sounds great! Thanks for the inspiration to spend some focused time with both shows.

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  7. Cool. Thanks for reading, digging in with some listening, and reporting back!

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!Thank you for joining the conversation!