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Sunday, August 05, 2012

LN jg1974-11-27.jgms.106mins.sbd-GEMS.91343.flac1644

Just a few quick notes.

1) I am pretty sure this is Paul Humphrey drumming. I can't prove it, but it's what I feel in my gut. The drummer is fast and great.

2) Some of this material is just amazing. "Valdez In The Country" and "Freedom Jazz Dance" should make us very Grateful that Merl was there to challenge Garcia with some serious jazz instrumentals. "Going, Going, Gone" is also just such a wonderful tune. If I had more time, I'd write up song notes on these three tunes.
  • One subpoint. There are those who suggest that the demise of the Garcia-Saunders relationship (and of the band LOM) in 1975) primarily reflected musical issues. Hypothesis 1: Garcia just couldn't hang with the deep jazz and funk that Merl and, e.g., Aunt Monk (could play); Hypothesis 2: "musical differences", in the sense that Jerry wanted to move to more white standards (boogie-woogie stuff with Nicky, southern white gospel stuff [really black, of course] with Keith, Donna and Tutt). Either way, what the jazz instrumental here recall for me is the extent to which Garcia really was challenged to play out with some of the this JGMS (and, to a lesser extent, LOM) material.

3) The performance is top-shelf. I can see why these guys thought this was a band with a future (as they head toward the apparently greater intended permanence of Legion of Mary, a band with a name). Everybody is great here. Merl is great. Martin is great. Garcia is great. John Kahn is great. The drummer is great. I don't know why things started getting so sluggish in 1975 --well, I have some ideas-- but this tape reveals a band full of pros who are drinking deeply from the well of American music.

4) I have corrected my understanding of the Betty tapes. There are three bunches. This is from "Bunch 1".

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
2119 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

November 27, 1974 (Wednesday)
106 min "Bunch One" Betty Cantor-Jackson soundboard

--set I (4 tracks, 52:52, probably incomplete)
s1t01. //Valdez In The Country [#15:05] [0:24] %
s1t02. //You Can Leave Your Hat On [#13:35] [0:18] %
s1t03. //Going, Going, Gone// [#12:56#] %
s1t04. //Mystery Train [#10:18] (1) [0:16]

--Set II (4 tracks, 53:23)--
s2t01. [0:04] He Ain't Give You None [12:56] [0:09] % [0:33]
s2t02. Freedom Jazz Dance [14:05] % [1:10]
s2t03. Someday // Baby [9:#24] [1:09]
s2t04. I Second That Emotion [13:41] [0:12] (2)

! Band: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! Lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals;
! Lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone, flute;
! Lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! Lineup: ?Paul Humphrey? - drums.

! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! TJS:
! db: shnid 89216 (less complete, deprecated); shnid 91343 (more complete, this fileset).
! ACT2: Paul Pena
! setlist: There may have been a song before Valdez In The Country (which would have been a strange opener).
! personnel: this is right on the cusp of the transition between Paul Humphrey and Ronnie Tutt, insofar as things proceeded in linear fashion. Of course, on any give night it could also have been Kreutzmann or someone else. This drummer sounds really active, light on the kick pedal but snappy on the snare. If forced to guess, I would say it's Paul Humphrey, but this really is wanton speculation. Gotta be Paul Humphrey!
! R: I will take the liberty of reconstructing the GEMS notes for my own purposes. So this is a compilation of two CD sources which had some common ancestors but diverged somewhere along the way. The primary source came to GEMS via Zack Tucker, with lineage MSR > P > D > CD. Source 1 provides all except first 1:30 of Valdez and last two songs, and was previously circulated as shnid 89216. Source 2 has precisely the same lineage, but came to GEMS via jjoops and the Tupperware of Treasures. Both sets of CDs were extracted and processed by Jamie Waddell on the **GEMS** Edit Station (primary software Wavelab 6.0) and circulated as a **GEMS** Production at Lossless Legs, ca. April 11, 2008.
! R: Genealogy: The common ancestry of the source CDs here is MSR > P > D > CD. These are "Bunch One" Betty Boards. For background, here's WBOTB co-conspirator Blake Gilpin's post to DNC on 7/28/98: "As far as I know, there were three bunches of "Betty Boards" that left The auction. Bunch One was the largest, purchased by a guy named Don, who knew the Sale was about to happen because his wife worked in the mortgage industry and saw the paperwork. Bunch One was the largest, purchased by a guy named Don, who knew the Sale was about to happen because his wife worked in the mortgage industry and saw the paperwork. This is the most commonly known and cataloged set of which the *reels only* were spun to PCM / Beta and most were circulated. The cassettes were not spun to digital. Some of the PCM-0 betas, specifically the Garcia Saunders material and others have not been circulated beyond Menke or possibly Dougal. ... The list of uncirculated material from Bunch One is below. (I fell into Don's and apparently Dougal's disfavor by letting a neighbor, who was an employee of the band, know what tapes we had. I had not been asked to keep these secret and I still maintain that it was the proper thing to do, if only as a courtesy. Probably just bad timing.)" These Bunch One Betties were later merged with Bunch Two (mostly comprised of Fall 1977 GD tapes, apparently), and I have traditionally (and perhaps mistakenly, or at least misleadingly) referred to these as "Second Batch" Betty tapes. I'll try to go back to original and standard usage, and to be more careful. (In my defense, Rob Eaton himself initially called these "the fourth box" until he concluded that these, which he restored in ca. 1995-1996, a.k.a. the water-damaged tapes, were one and the same.)
! setlist: seeder notes "The compilation of these two sources completes this show, minus a few missing moments in Bossa Martin [sic: Valdez In The Country], which started in late, and Someday Baby, which had a reel flip, and no patch source exists yet." I am not so sure. I think there's probably a song or two before VITC.
! R: s1t01 Valdez In The Country cuts in on a Martin solo. Things are cookin'! Unknown amount missing.
! P: s1t01 VITC is incredible. Martin is on fire, working with some great weird reverb. Merl's long electric-piano feature in the 6-7 minute mark is light and groovy and hot. @ 7:49 Garcia starts doing some syncopated off-key chordings, and then early in the 8-minute he alights with flowing fingers, so measured and controlled and so many things to say as we approach the 9-minute mark. Late in the 11-minute mark they start spacing out, really fantastic lunar-orbiter sounds from Merl, Jerry moaning around behind, the drums just gorgeous, and Martin maybe playing a little percussion, but very tastefully (cf. 11/2/74). Merl is having one of his finest performances here, as he and Jerry collaboratively pour some honey down the ol' rabbit hole. It's keeping a real nice beat, keeping the Brazilian rhythms, Martin, satisfied, picks up his horn early in the 14-minute mark, Jerry starts lettin' it roll down that same ol' rabbit hole (he's decided to follow it down, naturally), Martin takes the cue
! R: s1t01 VITC zipper @ 1:22
! R: s1t02 YCLYHO cuts in on "//take off your dress."
! P: s1t02 YCLYHO JG is doing some nice long pulling in the 6-7 minute mark, then quickens the pace with a solo that has some of the feel of what the GD would do in those long, pre-"Fire On The Mountain" versions of "Scarlet Begonias", ca. 1976. In late 8 and into 9-minute mark, Kahn starts really asserting himself with some beautiful, hefty descending blues bass lines. Descending from already down in the bottom, that is. Merl plays more electric piano over the 10-minute mark, while John is still really playing beefy, Jerry comping behind, Merl groaning as he floats over the keys, just a righty for awhile, drops some heavier and double-time left-hand around 11:00. The drop really, really cleanly into the melody again just at the 12-minute mark. Fixing up the tempo a little bit, readjusting the ass in the drummer's chair, and Merl returns to his lament about suspicious minds a' talkin' round the neighborhood.
! R: this is clearly a Betty Board. Listen to that drum tone! She has got it locked in.
! P: s1t03 GGG this is some of the straight-churchiest organ playing you will ever hear from Merl Saunders. The B-3's lament to God, and while silent prayers seem sometimes to fall on deaf ears, how could He not hear this call? Martin's flute is real gentle behind. "Grandma said 'Boy, go and follow your heart'," what a gorgeous line. Dylan. Man oh man.
! R: s1t03 Merl's organ comes into R-speaker around 0:22.
! P: s1t04 Mystery Train is not one that usually moves me, but this is just good, hot music. The drummer is locked right the fuck in, the rhythm is in a Brink's truck. Jerry's vocals are energetic. Kahn strands bass lines together like a pretzel maker right across the 9-minute mark, feels like he must have had both hands (and the bass, of course) up under his chin, wiggling his fingers across those thick strings. Nice.
! s1t04 (1) JG: "Thanks. We're gonna take a break for a little while. We'll be back a little bit later."
! P: s2t01 HAGYN listen to how distinctive the drummer sounds as he comes in! Gotta be Paul Humphrey (but, again, I am not sure ... "gotta be", my ass). Jerry blowing some glass 4:30ish, goes 'round again over the 5-min mark.
! personnel: again, when I listen to the start of Freedom Jazz Dance, this drummer sounds totally distinctive, and is hot as hell, by the way. It could be just how beautifully the drums are mic'd (thank you, Betty!), but sure sounds distinctive to me.
! R: s2t03 SB reel splice @ 6:25
! R: there's a high-pitched whine in the "source 2", beginning @ end s2t02 and continuing.
! R: s2t04 drops @ 0:14-0:26, 0:40-0:44, 1:22, 1:33, 1:44, 6:44, 8:35-8:36.
! s2t04 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. Looks like they're tryin' to close the bar. See you all later on."

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