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Friday, June 06, 2014

Garcia and Marley

At some point I will write up Garcia's engagements with reggae. It's an interesting story, really revelatory.

In the meantime, on a lark, I played with Google Ngram for these two. Ngrams are a very neat tool.

Figure xxx. Google Bigram: Bob Marley and Jerry Garcia, 1965-1981

The vertical is the percentage of all consecutive two-word phrases in English language books from the given year, digitized by Google (all of them, pretty much, by the 1970s), comprised by the respect phrases "Jerry Garcia" and "Bob Marley".

This metric is good to compare over time appearance of the phrase (of N components, hence Ngram) (look at the sharp Marley trajectory to his passing, and Garcia's relative stability to this point).  Hypothesis: "Grateful Dead" will reveal this same kind of trend as Garcia; both will spike up 1986ff.

But it's also good to compare cross-sectionally, i.e., Garcia and Marley. Very simply, the picture says that Garcia was more popular earlier in this series, their stardom paths crossed in 1973, and Marley soared to greater fame until his death, while Garcia's level was established around 1973 and stayed steady during the rest of the period to 1981.



10 comments:

  1. What is on the vertical? What ae we tracking through the years? Record sales??

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    1. Frequency of phrases "Jerry Garcia" and "Bob Marley" as percent all two word in all digitized English language books.

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  2. Enjoyed recent speculation on whether Garcia attended oct 73 marley shows at the matrix, harder they come predates this. Family man says he was guest at November 73 concert and garcia offered to lend them the dreads sound system!,,

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  3. To expand on this, Aston 'family man' Barrett, the wailers bass player and arranger, said he was bill Graham's guest at the nov ucla show on nov 11, later released as a Dave's pick. He said Jerry backstage offered him the use of the deads sound system for their upcoming tour in June 1975, thus Jerry must have been or the plan was already in the works in nov 73 for the oct. 74 retirement from touring.

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  4. So glad you circled back to this! I don't think it means JG already knew the Dead would be on hiatus. I think that decision didn't come until much later, ca. August 1974. The Wailers were playing tiny little rooms in June '75, right? So the Dead could have lent them stuff out of spare parts.

    I hadn't picked up your earlier comment about Family Man being backstage in 11/73. That makes it seem much more likely to me that JG probably saw the Wailers at the new Matrix.

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  5. As for Jerry seeing the wailers at the matrix in October, 73 it's worth noting of the 4 or 5 other bands to play with the wailers those nights, one was slewfoot with Mathew Kelly later of kingfish, and the Stuart little band the house band for the great American music hall which opened for many bands who have played there including the dead, Bill graham interested in the wailers two bands with social connections to Garcia playing that night, his obvious interest in reggae, he was hangin with jimmy cliffs band at this time.

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  6. Interesting. Do you have a complete list of the bands that played these nights at the new Matrix?

    Mickey Hart made a tape of one of these sets at least, so the story goes.

    Who was hanging with Jimmy Cliff, Bill, or Jerry (or both)?

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    Replies
    1. Best list of bands that played the New Matrix is here, scroll to the bottom
      http://www.chickenonaunicycle.com/Matrix%20Shows.htm

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  7. https://issuu.com/marleyarchives/docs/oaklandtribune102673?backgroundColor=%2523222222

    Review of the oct 30 show mentions the opening acts.

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  8. Support act David Rea's 1973 album Slewfoot was coproduced by Bob Weir and the players were Bob, Keith & Donna, Nelson, Cage, Torbert, Kahn, Dryden, DiDominico, Kelly, Richard Greene, Charles Lloyd, James Ackroyd (of James & the Good Bros), Chris Herold and Bill Cutler, Dead associates one and all. I've never come across a copy.

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