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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Checking Donna Out While Jamming With Her Husband: JGB, April 2, 1976


I'll tag this "VN" in the title, for viewing notes. B&W Monarch Entertainment video from the Cap in Passaic. Not even a crusty aud in circulation, and low-gen video of the complete show drops from the sky, 28 years later. Wow.

Viewing notes below. One of the most interesting things for me is to have some Archimedean leverage on who sings the harmony vocals on the various songs. The higher male parts are Tutt, the baritone is Keith.

Garcia is unbelievably bouncy and animated. There's a lot of great stuff. "Moonlight Mile" is sublime, though imperfect. "Lonesome And A Long Way From Home" could use a little boost out of the gate, but it has some really interesting spaces, including a quite explicit "Fire On The Mountain" theme, as was common during this era.

Great to be able to see this. Astonishing, in fact. Check it out.

Jerry Garcia Band
Capitol Theatre
326 Monroe Street
Passaic, NJ 07055
April 2, 1976 (Friday) – 11 PM (late show)
113 minute low-gen B&W video

introduction (1) 0:28
Sugaree :29-10:06 -11:20
Catfish John 11:21-20:03 –22:30
The Way You Do The Things You Do 22:31-29:05 -29:58
Mystery Train 29:59-39:33 –41:32
A Strange Man 41:33-47:56 –48:40
Moonlight Mile 48:41-58:54 % 59:00
Harder They Come 59:01-74:50 -76:52
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down 76:53-87:00 -88:19
My Sisters And Brothers 88:20-95:40 ->
Lonesome And A Long Way From Home 95:41-112:30 (2) -112:41

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band #3
lineup: Jerry Garcia – el-guitar, vocals;
lineup: Donna Jean Godchaux – vocals;
lineup: Keith Godchaux - piano, vocals;
lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
lineup: Ron Tutt – drums, 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: none as of this writing (3/11/2014).

! band: JGB #3 (

! map:

! venue:

! JGC:

! historical: unbelievable. Not even an audience tape, not of either show from this night, and a complete video emerges! Wow.

! (1) John Scher: “On drums, Mr. Ron Tutt. On bass, the indestructible John Kahn.” Etc.

! P: Sugaree Big huge grin and swaying, though the fingers need a little warming up. The tempo is turgid. Keith feature over 5-min mark, ho hum. Tape warbling. Is there any chance the whole thing is running slow? 7:45 Jerry is so blissed out, so is John, checking Donna out. Great little pulls down the neck around 8:20, so animated! He’s putting his whole body into every note.

! P: CJ has the three voice harmonies, Jerry, Donna and Tutt! At 14:06 you can see Tutt singing “walking in his footsteps in the sweet delta dawn” … wow! Again, crazy expressiveness over 17 min mark, his whole body swaying, digging into every note. Rocking and singing. Sweet! Tutt again @ 19:33 … they have this choreographed! @ 20:34-20:43 is that Harry Popick talking to Tutt?

! P: TWYDTTYD I think this is Keith singing harmonies! Yes, at start of song can see Tutt, and he is not singing. Garcia’s first solo sounds almost like the melody of (a? another?) Motown. He takes a second run round the bases, crowd, enthused, Jerry responding, Tutt banging. He skipped a beat but no-one else did, and he caught up right on the 1, big cue to Donna for the “you made my life so rich” verse. Nice.

! P: MT @33:07 another run ‘round the bases and it’s good. More good in the late 33 min mark when he is tearing up, nodding shaking his mane over the 34 mark. Outstanding. Smiling and shredding. Another very fluent solo 36:30ish and ff. Pulling @ 37 wow! Some fanning 37:17. He is on fire, gunslinging 37:30, bobbing his head like it’s 1968.

! P: Moonlight Mile. My goodness. Long noodle to start. Vocals come in 51:45. The paragraph Jerry writes up until 53:48 leaves me breathless. It’s like a Nabokov sentence, so richly textured. Just another “mad, mad day on the road” … “just another moonlight mile down the road” …  Nooohhh … they are all ready to do the “down the road … down the road … down the road” shouting, Donna and Ronnie, and Garcia pulls the rip cord. Why, Jerry, why? It rolls to an end, but it should have gone on. Check against other versions #songs-M, but that “down the road” climax is essential, and this version lacks it. Ahh, well. Maybe Jerry needed to pee.

! P: HTC Jerry finds a nice groove 63 over 64, back to bobbing, smiling, gesticulating. Keith nice lead 64:20ff, very pretty, fingers well-filmed 64:40. KG another nice turn after 65. Nice shot 65:39, Keith, clean hair, nose and above over the 9' Steinway baby grand, still grooving nicely, Garcia starts saying hello after 56, chunky underneath and peaking hello, 66:30, Keith some nice scales. Late 66 he steps on Jerry’s solo, Keith was going to go a third time around. He is so loud and percussive. So Garcia soloes and they both do, and that’s fine, Keith pulls back on the volume a little into 67. So Keith’s feature was about two and a half minutes, he was ready for more. Jerry starting to liquefy late 67, then doing a little wailing, looking over at Keith, puts his hips into it 68:20. Really, really nice. 68:40 Jerry starts doing big cords while Keith trills, Garcia making paragraphs of doubled syllables, not as fast or baroque as the earlier stuff, but interesting because he’s doubling his cords and then skipping the ones in between. Nice. Return to vox 69:40ish. 70:30 Donna was going to do another chorus, but Garcia goes to “the oppressors” verse.

! P: TNTDODD can’t tell if that’s Keith singing the baritone part. 86:05 Jerry shredding, again 86:20

! Sisters and Brothers marred by tape problems. But this is a deepy, swampy, Dorothy Love Coates groove. 90:10 Donna holding onto the Steinway and swaying … oh my. Watch Jerry sing @ 90:45! Wow. 94:30ish we can see that the baritone singing is Keith, because Tutt is in frame and he’s just grooving and drumming.

! P: LAALWFH they aren’t quite on the same page to start, need to go round the bases. That’s unfortunate. So, too, is the 1976 tempo. See, this song needs to bust out the gate. And it doesn’t here. So not off to a good start. @ 97:00 Keith hits a clam and Donna shoots him a nasty look, right on camera. See 4/3/76b for how it’s supposed to sound, or 4/1/76. 97:30 ish Jerry goes to see about a technical issue, some distortion. 97:50ish he solos. 100 minute mark we haven’t achieved liftoff, Garcia is working a little to coax the notes out of his guitar, and his bandmates. They get something cooking around 101:45. Now some nice syntactical sustain in the 103 minute mark, very long phrases. 104:30ff JG gets back to the LAALWFH melody, and he’s doing some very interesting work with Keith, looking back directly at him, they are together on this little thing happening over 105 minute mark. Jerry is checking Donna out, jamming with her husband, long run down and back up 105:39ish, there it is Jerry, right there, that’s the spot! Late 106 mark Keith is hitting the FOTM stuff, Jerry joins him 107:15, or nearly, but Keith is definitely on that. Jerry’s phrasing is long extended, here, Tutt starts banging 107:45, Jerry down to FOTM theme, he is playing FOTM over the 108 minute mark, fanning 108:06, 108:18 real high. Tearing it up. 108:33 this if JG playing FOTM, wow, picks something special right at 108:58, so so nice. Back to LAALWFH on the guitar, 109:15ff, really back at 109:30, slow it down, how’s he gonna signal the big return? Silence 110:00-110:10, then the big return, but the tape is dying here. Just in time to get the big return before it dies, thank you tape gods. They are going over “somebody help me” more times than usual, over and over. Return 111:40, but we are in warbleville.

! (2) JG: “Thanks a lot.”


  1. This really is an unbelievable video, truly dropped from the sky. I saw the JGB about six weeks later (May 21 '76 Orpheum released as Don't Let Go), and this is what it was like. All the songs like "The Way You Do The Things You Do" were complete revelations, we had heard rumors that Garcia played this stuff but had never heard it (not tapes circulated), it was completely mind bending.

    Because of the angle of the cameras, you can see all sorts of stuff. Right after "Catfish John," what are Jerry and Donna laughing about for such an extended conversation? Then you see Keith pull out what appears to be a setlist, and shift his mic to his face, since he will have to sing backing vocals on the song (meaning: they had setlists).

    For all the records that Ron Tutt played on, and there were a lot, and big time performances, did anyone but Jerry let him sing harmonies? He's pretty good--it must have made the shows really different for Tutt.

    Another thing that the camera angle encourages for me is the hypothesis that the musical attraction for Garcia of playing with the Godchauxs was actually Donna, not Keith. Jerry could have gotten Mark Naftalin or a dozen other players to hold down the piano chair reliably, but if you look at the joy with which he duets with Donna on all these songs, I think it was musically all about her. Certainly he had female singers for most of the rest of the history of the Jerry Garcia Band, and I think that was a bigger part of the sound he was seeking than anyone seems to have considered (it being a Boys Club and all). Just another way that Sarah Fulcher, for all her failings, was more of a signpost to new space than most will give her credit for.

  2. Yes, I saw Keith with the setlist, pulled it out of his pocket.

    Yes, John and Jerry both seem quite obviously madly smitten with Donna ... and who wouldn't be?

  3. I know what you mean about Jerry seaming smitten with Donna. The first thing I thought was "man, her husband's right there!" But this was a better fit for Donna. 'A Strange Man' was definitely playing more to her strengths that most of what she was able to do with the Dead...


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