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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Fat Man Is Back - LN jg1987-02-24.jgb.all.aud-pinney-gems.82610.flac1644



Poster for JGB 2/24/87 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, February 24, 1987, image courtesy of Wolfgang's Vault.

Since I gathered an ad and a few listings in Santa Cruz, I gave the 2/24/87 JGB show at the Civic Aud a spin and discovered a great tape (a single one in circulation, thanks to taper Tom Pinney and all involved in getting his tape into the Official Record) of a Garcia Band sounding really good and band leader who sounds cogent, focused, engaged, and increasingly frisky. I'd need to listen to more of the surrounding shows to get a really clean sense, but I if I draw a straight line between some of the Rock Bottom shows (and even some of the early 1986 shows) to the great 18 months that would begin on 8/29/87 and end on 5/19/89, I pass right through this show on the way up. (I do now see that I wasn't doing backflips over 3/14/87.)

I cannot believe Bill Graham Presents ran this with what we might render today as #thefatmanisback, nor that the Garcia people allowed it to run. But here we are! That Lucky Old Sun is a stunningly improbable highlight for me. I never thought I'd hear of it highlighting, less still writing of it. I usually find it a bore. But of this version, on this listen, I have nothing but love. Let's use TLOS as a window on the show.


! song: That Lucky Old Sun [Allan | deaddisc]: The great Tin Pan Alley songwriter Haven Gillespie wrote this reverie with the lesser-known Beasley Smith, a glimpsed-thought-turns-philosophical-truism solar daydream, which makes a really good point. Americana? How about Frankie Laine, Sarah Vaughan, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Louis Armstrong covering your song -- in 1949 alone! Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, the Righteous Brothers, and too many others to name would follow.

Jerry put it in his repertoire immediately after the coma, draping it in mournful hopefulness, the man who six months earlier lay at death's door, three weeks in the hospital coming back to something like life, thinking "Man, if I get out of here, I'm gonna play every chance I get" (Vaughn 1987, 80), now coming back to health, regaining strength, maybe the coma wrung the junk-sickness out of him, too, because he's clear-headed for the first time in forever, like more than a decade depending on how you reckon it, and he's playing a neat little gig at the Santa Cruz Civic, the breathtaking little Civic Aud, and he's working his craft. Check out the Jerry Band on a Tuesday night, a worknight, February 24, 1987, and hear him right where he belongs, in a sweet little room working up a slice of Americana for an appreciative listener. It's not perfect, but it's careful, attentive arranging, singing and guitar playing. The song is perfect for JGB #21b because Melvin can swirl up a sweet, colorful Sunday garland right around your ears, drape it around you a little, the ladies supply the backing diaphragm that lets Jerry focus on articulation, phrasing, breath management, and the band simmers it just right, so there's room for the same guitar feel, well plucked and articulate rather than face-melting (though Jerry still plays LOUD!). You don't have to love Garcia to concede him his place, doing this song – see 2/24/87 for what I hope is the open and shut argument.

The whole show and tape have this sweet feel. Garcia sounds great, the band sounds great, the tape sounds great, and I wish I had been able to sit in deco splendor on this night, maybe drink some club soda and commune with the Jerry Band. "The Fat Man Is Back," indeed!

Jerry Garcia Band
Civic Auditorium
307 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

February 24, 1987 (Tuesday)
Pinney shnid-82610

--set I (7 tracks, 50:09)--
s1t01. //Cats Under The Stars [#7:52] [1:34]
s1t02. Forever Young [8:48] [0:17]
s1t03. [0:20] Stop That Train [7:49] ->
s1t04. Run For The Roses [5:22] [0:11]
s1t05. And It Stoned Me [6:45] ->
s1t06. My Sisters And Brothers [4:10] ->
s1t07. D//eal [6:#53] (1) [0:08]

--set II (6 tracks, 57:29)--
s2t01. [0:47] Harder They Come [9:49] [0:17]
s2t02. I Shall Be Released [7:23] [0:09]
s2t03. [0:10] Think [7:49] [0:07] % [0:16]
s2t04. Dear Prudence [10:55] [0:06]
s2t05. That Lucky Old Sun [9:53] ->
s2t06. Tangled Up In Blue [9:38] (2) [0:09]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band #21b
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Jaclyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals;
! lineup: David Kemper - drums.

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.
! JGC: https://jerrygarcia.com/show/1987-02-24-civic-auditorium-santa-cruz-ca/
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/82610 (Tom Pinney MAC, this fileset, only known source!).
! map: https://goo.gl/maps/kkDtK
! venue: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2011/09/civic-auditorium-307-church-st-santa.html
! handbill: http://images.wolfgangsvault.com/jerry-garcia-band/poster/memorabilia/SCC870224-PO.jpg
! ad: Good Times, February 19, 1987, p. 21;
! listing: Good Times, February 19, 1987, p. 30;
! historical: Rather remarkably, the WV handbill has the tagline "The Fat Man Is Back". Jerry must have been in a sporting mood about it, I guess. Tuesday night gig, Garcia sounds amazingly clear and focused. This show is a delight to hear, after the darkness of the Rock Bottom series. This is a man working his craft with newfound enthusiasm. He is still regaining strength and stamina - the sets are about an hour. But he definitely sounds like he's getting stronger. Two snaps up on this vintage 1987 JGB.
! R: field recordist: Tom Pinney;
! R: field recording equipment: 2x Beyer M88 (XY 90 degrees) > Sony D5 MAC;
! R: field recording location: FOB Center - 20' from stage;
! R: lineage: cassette (1), Tape from the collection of: Russ Cansler;
! R: Cassette Transfer: By Todd Evans: Cassette (1) > JVC TD-V1050 cassette deck -> Lynx Two A/D (24-bit, 44.1kHz) -> Wavelab 6.0. Transferred February 15, 2007. Edited and Remastered:  Wavelab 6.0 with Waves Plugins and Ozone. Dithered L2,type2,ultra 16/44.1  SBE FREE by Jamie Waddell. a www.shnflac.net **GEMS** production  February 16, 2007.
! R: seeder notes: "a very solid recording"; "first circulating source of this show, 20 years later";
"very strong version of Think"; "tape flip at the start of Deal"; "seamless transition between the discs"
! R: seeder notes: "Big Thanks To Todd Evans for the Transfer! And Sincere Gratitude to Tom Pinney for Taping and Russ Cansler for the genorosity and insight to share this missing show with GEMS and the community as a whole!"
! P: Jerry sounds in great voice this night. Very nice. This is an excellent all around show, not a weak spot in it.
! R: s1t07 Deal tape flip at start
! s1t07 (1) JG: "We'll be back in a few minutes."
! P: s2t05 TLOS is a great example of Garcia being attentive and careful in his vocal delivery. He's locked in. This version has some deliberate guitar playing, but nothing super-incendiary, which he could sometimes achieve in the unlikely setting of this song. Hits something cheeky at 6, again 6:25, reminding you he's playing rock, big downward thing 6:33, Melvin comes in big, on cue, scrubbing 6:59. This is an excellent version of a song that I normally don't pay much attention to. Melvin' swirly thing across 7:30. He always plays it the same, but it works; i.e., this is a good arrangement. Nice careful singing 9:15ff, nicely done. Very, very nice. Sounds gorgeous.
! song: That Lucky Old Sun (s2t05): The great Tin Pan Alley songwriter Haven Gillespie wrote this reverie with the lesser-known Beasley Smith, a glimpsed-thought-turns-philosophical-truism solar daydream, which makes a really good point. Americana? How about Frankie Laine, Sarah Vaughan, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Louis Armstrong covering your song -- in 1949 alone! Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, the Righteous Brothers, and too many others to name would follow. Jerry put it in his repertoire immediately after the coma, draping it in mournful hopefulness, the man who six months earlier lay at death's door, three weeks in the hospital coming back to something like life, thinking "Man, if I get out of here, I'm gonna play every chance I get" (Vaughn 1987, 80), now coming back to health, regaining strength, maybe the coma wrung the junk-sickness out of him, too, because he's clear-headed for the first time in forever, like more than a decade depending on how you reckon it, and he's playing a neat little gig at the Santa Cruz Civic, the breathtaking little Civic Aud, and he's working his craft. Check out the Jerry Band on a Tuesday night, a worknight, February 24, 1987, and hear him right where he belongs, in a sweet little room working up a slice of Americana for an appreciative listener. It's not perfect, but it's careful, attentive arranging, singing and guitar playing. The song is perfect for JGB #21b because Melvin can swirl up a sweet, colorful Sunday garland right around your ears, drape it around you a little, the ladies supply the backing diaphragm that lets Jerry focus on articulation, phrasing, breath management, and the band simmers it just right, so there's room for the same guitar feel, well plucked and articulate rather than face-melting (though Jerry still plays LOUD!). You don't have to love Garcia to concede him his place, doing this song – see 2/24/87 for what I hope is the open and shut argument.
! s2t06 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later."

REFERENCE:

Vaughan, Chris. 1987. (Grateful) Dead Fingers Talk. Spin 3, 4 (July): 74-76, 80.

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