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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Who Was John? JGB at GWU, April 3, 1976 (early show)

 LN jg1976-04-03.jgb.early.aud-CC.xxxxxx.flac2448

OK, maybe the last post of my hiatus hiatus.

4/3/76a. This is probably the same source tape as shnid 82761. A nice show.

Jerry Garcia Band
Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University
730 21st and H Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

April 3, 1976 (Saturday) - Early show, 7 PM
80 min CC aud-1 flac2448 [upgraded version as shnid-138204]

(7 tracks, 80:10)
t01. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [8:00] [0:12] %
t02. Catfish John [10:00] [0:08]
t03. That's What Love Will Make You Do [10:40] [0:05] % dead air
t04. Who Was John [12:20] [0:08] %
t05. After Midnight [11:48] [0:05] %
t06. I'll Take A Melody [16:50] [0:05]
t07. Russian Lullaby [9:33] [0:04]
[MISSING: The Harder They Come]

! Band: Jerry Garcia Band
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Ron Tutt - drums;
! lineup: Keith Godchaux - keyboards;
! lineup: Donna Jean Godchaux - vocals.


! 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: (slipnut aud, probably related to this one in ways unfathomable); (optimal version of this CC source tape).

! venue:

! R: at least four gens of hiss on this sucker before it gets to this point. It runs longer than shnid 82761, but this doesn't sound fast to my unreliable ears. Nearly every song clips in. There ain't nothing wrong with this tape, overall. It sounds fine and is worth being represented in the digital realm, in my not-too-picky opinion.

! historical: One of the best shows Garcia ever played started about four hours after this one. The Lisner Auditorium late show, 4/3/76b, is justly revered. It's a great show, with a top-3 version of "Don't Let Go", two amazing recordings (the attributed one, by Scott Jones, is breathtaking, as is the anonymous one), a great vibe. Top-shelf Jerry. One of the tapes that you should share with your friends who are Jerry-curious. The 4/1/76 show (Palace Theater, Waterbury, CT) is also a beaut, well-taped by Steve Rolfe ?and Jerry Moore?, with a monster "Lonesome And A Long Way From Home" to close things out. Generally speaking, though, there are tons of holes in our understanding of March-April 1976, because there are a lot of shows that were only very badly taped, and some for which no tapes circulate at all. That has pretty much been  the case for this show, which only late-in-the-day made the jump from slightly-raggamuffin cassettes to the digital realm. So, being able to report on this show is a pleasure.

! P: This show is has a few stumbles, but it is overwhelmingly in the pocket. Home churned butter, a nice stone dish and a silver knife, and a hunk of fresh crusty bread. Everything is well- (though not flawlessly-) played. Garcia's voice is sweet and his singing expressive. Not rushed. He's not embarassed by his voice or trying to figure out how to sing stuff - he can hit it just as he wants. The white Travis Bean is liquid electricity, the fingers' voice. It is smooth and round when he wants it to be, by turns bouncy, swampy, threadbare, and a little jagged. Tempos are toward the fast end of 1976, which I take to be a good thing. More like 4/3/76b (the same night, of course) than 2/14/7 .... zzzzzzz ..... 2/14/76. All in all, a totally pleasurable listen. A good palate cleanser for the late show.

! P: t01 HSII Jerry sounds wonderful, lively, totally into it. Like young love, it is.

! P: t03 TWLWMYD nice scream of appreciation. Everyone is feeling the groove that the band has laid down from 'go'. Tutt is such a rock. Keith does a sharp piano run right around the 9-minute mark that just shows him totally engaged. They lose the handle a little bit in the 9-minute mark.

! R: t04 Who Was John fades in, not much missing.

! song: "Who Was John": t04: "Who Was John" is one of those songs that existed in its time (25 appearances, throughout calendar year 1976), with no real hint of it before or since. It really spoke to its period very well. It ties in with the story of Keith and Donna's entry into the JGB, which is known in bits and pieces, but needs to be told at length. (Maybe Corry has already done it!) The upshot is that, at least from late 1975, Jerry was spending a lot of time at Keith and Donna's, listening to old gospel records, hanging out playing and singing. I know that as of the end of the year, Garcia and Mountain Girl split up, leaving Stinson, potentially kicking around a few weeks over the holiday (Rakow's?), and showing up at Deborah's Victorian in tony Belvedere in January '76. With Nicky flaming out phosphorescently in a three-month stint at the keys, Jerry and John and Ron Tutt had tried out a bunch of keyboardists: Larry Knechtel (I believe), the mysterious "Tim Hensley" (i.e., Tim Henson), and the Bayou Maharajah himself, James Booker. None of these guys seemed to work out, for whatever reason. So Keith became the keyboard player, with the added virtue of Donna's gorgeous harmony vocals, with the added virtue that they had been practicing singing and playing some numbers that could be played live, as well as a bunch of Jerry and John's old favorites. Anyway, that's what happened, and "Who Was John" was a piece of that puzzle. It's in the same space as "A Strange Man", the Dorothee Love Coats biblical sometimes known as "Sumerian Woman".

! P: t04 WWJ Garcia's playing in the 9:30 mark is scorching. He is totally in The Zone. This version of WWJ is played a little faster than it would be at other times in 1976.

! P: t05 After Midnight is quite hot. A slow, but not too-slow boil. Who can resist Donna's little "What it is all about" line? I am in love with her everytime she sings it. Hot as hell. Listen to his soloing in the late- 6-minute mark, continuing into 7-min mark. WOW, absolutely incendiary.

! P: t06 ITAM Jerry does some beautiful scaling late 13-minute mark into 14. Fluid and gorgeous. Then @ 14:55 he does some angry tearing and scratching, just a little burst, then drops back into the chorus. Nice.

! P: t07 not clear why crowd member felt compelled to sing the chorus of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American band!" at the start of Russian Lullaby, but there you go. Perhaps he just came to realize that JGB was an American band, and that he was part of it.

! R: t07 Some inaudible taper talk, mic movement, in the first minute.

! Disclaimer: This is part of a "Closet Call" project aimed at making missing Garcia dates available for study. These are "warts and all" ... straight transfers of the source cassettes with editing only of the most offensive tape transitions and such. If you don't like hiss, possible speed problems, etc., etc., then move along. And, to anticipate a FAQ: no, I don't plan on doing 16/44s of these. Thanks to wk for supplying these tapes!

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