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Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Demise of the Matrix, 1971

The Matrix at 3138 Fillmore Street (San Francisco, CA, 94123) [map | JGBP]: it's daunting to type those words and then imagine adding much to what we know, so meticulously gathered over decades. So I'll zero in on a relatively blank space: the venue's demise in 1971.

Ross Hannan and Corry Arnold's Chicken on a Unicycle hosts the data. Here's what we have from 1971 through the end of the year. (I won't discuss the venue's 1973 manifestation, which was in a different space, formerly Moulin Rouge, Casa Madrid, Mother's and Mr. D's, and later the Soul Train, Hippodrome and The Stone, at 412 Broadway (San Francisco, CA, 94133) [map | JGBP].)

02 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

03 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

04 February 1971
John Fahey

05 February 1971
John Fahey

06 February 1971
John Fahey

08 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

09 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

10 February 1971
Boz Scaggs

11 February 1971
Boz Scaggs

12 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

13 February 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

16 February 1971
Larry Coryell

17 February 1971
Larry Coryell

18 February 1971
Ramblin' Jack Elliott  

19 February 1971
Ramblin' Jack Elliott  

20 February 1971
Ramblin' Jack Elliott  

02 March 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

03 March 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

15 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

16 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

17 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

11 May 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders

02 March 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

03 March 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

15 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

16 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

17 April 1971
Danny Zeitlin Trio

11 May 1971
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders 

Here is an updated table. I have posted this as a Google Documents spreadsheet which, shockingly, Blogger is entirely unable to handle other than as a link. I reproduce the table as a picture here. These data, based mostly on my research in San Francisco Chronicle microfilm at the amazing San Francisco Public Library, will be concatenated into the Chicken at some point.

Table xxx. Matrix 1971 gigs, as of 9/28/2014.
January and February don't reveal anything particularly noteworthy. On February 7, Joel Selvin (1971) published an interesting little piece in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle Datebook (my beloved SFSECD), retracing the history of the venue and tying it to Garcia and Saunders experimenting with jazz-rock fusion in the contemporary period. Identified co-owners Ray Bregante and Peter Abrams give no hint of trouble in paradise. But then, after the reformed Sopwith Camel performs in the first week of March, the listings dry up. On March 8th, John Wasserman reports “Disheartening news -- the Matrix closed, maybe permanently," promising more information in the Wednesday column (Wasserman 1971a). Following up, as promised:
Nobody – mainly owners Ray Bregante and Peter Abrams – seems anxious to be contacted. From good second-hand information, it appears that they just got tired of hassles and, as long as two months ago, had expressed a desire to find a bigger place or just shut down. The Matrix has been surviving by the skin of its frets for a long time but had hoped to make a profit through the release of live albums. Among other things, this hasn’t worked out. More later. (Wasserman 1971b).
The promised further information never materialized, as far as I could find. On March 24th Wasserman (1971c) notes that the Matrix has reopened --this ended up being about a two-and-a-half week hiatus--, and listings pick up a little bit. There is no indication that the weekend with Jesse "Lone Cat" Fuller, May 14-15, will bring the curtain down. The Matrix drops from view, the Pierce Street Annex moves into the space, and the rest is history, at least until the relative present.

What happened?

I don't know. There's no reason to doubt JLW's rendering, that people just got burned out. It's probably just that simple, and is so characteristic of the human condition, bangs and whimpers mixing company, fraternizing. But I love the bookending: as the Matrix preceded the ballrooms on the front end of San Francisco's psychedelic era, it also anticipated their passing, little more than six weeks before the closing of the Fillmore West.

Selvin, Joel. 1971. The Matrix Club and the Rise of Rock. San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle Datebook, February 7, 1971, p. 4.
Wasserman, John L. 1971a. Aretha Franklin – Boss Blues Lady. San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 1971, p. 39.
Wasserman, John L. 1971b. The Real Match Was at the Fillmore. San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 1971, p. 54.
Wasserman, John L. 1971c. Some Travesties in the Music Biz. San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 1971, p. 42.

See also:
Some recent cites: on 3/3/71, see "Contradictions Are Fun"; on 5/11/71 see "Hey Merl, you wanna do that tune in 'G'? Get spaced out a little?"; on Jerry and Merl at the Matrix see my lengthy discussion with Corry Arnold, "Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Matrix - A Dialogue". More generally, click on the Matrix tag to see when it has come up here on the blog.

Contradictions Are Fun

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders were advertised to play the Matrix at 3138 Fillmore on Wednesday, March 3, 1971. But as far as I know, GD played a benefit that night at the corner of Van Ness and Market.

Indeed, the same-day SFC listed both, which is a neat reminder that maybe whoever was taking the calls for the "Something Else" listings under Wasserman's byline might not have known that Garcia was in the Grateful Dead. Occam's Razor suggests just a basic mistake, but the former idea tickles me more.

I wonder if Merl played the Matrix anyway? He had played there a week and a half prior with Carlos Santana, but Carlos was already in Ghana for the big gig in Africa. I wouldn't have minded hearing what Saunders-Kahn-Vitt would do as an organ trio, had I been down in the Marina this particular midweek. But there are lots of other interesting possibilities, which I invite you to speculate about in comments.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Thanks to all of those involved in getting this wonderful resource, bringing loads of heretofore unknown information into the light for the first time.

Jerry's collaboration with Ned Lagin forms a fascinating, little known piece of his musical mosaic. In my dialogue with Corry about Jerry and Merl (among other things), I gave expression to the view, probably at least part-cribbed from Corry's brain along the way, that Garcia needed "outside" music in his life, as part of the overall palette. I reckon that playing with Ned scratched that itch for Jerry. Remarkably, Ned has mostly stayed out-of-focus, out-of-earshot, offstage in the prevailing Dead and Garcia histories, despite the fact that he was a regular collaborator for over five years.

Indeed, Ned blurs many of my beloved, life-preserver-for-a-drowning-man institutional lines ... I think and write often about membership of a band, as distinct from being a guest, as distinct from a jam session or a one-off of some kind. Was Ned a member of the Grateful Dead? I think yes - he was an irregular member of the Grateful Dead, a member when he was there. I don't know when to say that started, though ... was he a guest at first? When he shift from one to the other, or was he just in the band as a member from the first time they came to his dorm room at MIT (!!!)?

Unanswerable questions, ultimately, though my empirical project requires me to make some judgment calls, to code some dummy variables as either '0' or '1'. I need to soak in Nedbase a little more, think a little on it. Feel free to tell me how you think it is in comments.

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Keystone Korner, May 20, 1971 (LN jg1971-05-20.jgms.80mins.sbd-boswell-smith.126365.flac2496)

Corry heard a lot of this keyboard work as Howard Wales. So did I. I also heard Jerry's guitar tone as 1968, and the recording as the Matrix. I parsed the tape, which seems correctly identified, we talked it over, and I think we agree that this is some very interesting tape.

Speaking for myself, I consider this some of Jerry Garcia's finest guitar playing, period. I can't recommend strongly enough that you check this out.

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
Keystone Korner
750 Vallejo Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

May 20, 1971 (Thursday)
80 min Boswell-Smith flac2496 shnid-126365

--(6 tracks, 80:26)--

--piece-of-tape-01 (43 minutes)--
t01. Save Mother Earth [8:40] -> collective improvisation [4:37] ->
t02. Save // Mother Earth [3:#56] -> collective improvisation [10:56] ->
t03. collective improvisation [14:54] %% [0:24] %

--piece-of-tape-02 (9 minutes)--
t04. noodling [0:12], untitled-19710520-1-blues [8:06] [0:20] %

--piece-of-tape-03 (28 minutes)--
t05. [0:59] Little Bit of Righteousness [22:45] ->
t06. untitled-19710520-2-slow// [4:42#]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, ?synthesizers?;
! lineup: ?John Kahn? - el-b;
! lineup: ?Bill Vitt? - 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.
! JGC:
! map:
! db: shnid-93137 | shnid-100855 | (this fileset). All three capture the same source reel. See notes below.
! metadata:
! see also: for some general discussion of the period. (5/11/71 listening notes) for a contemporaneous version of Save Mother Earth.
! R: likely lineage: MSR @ 7 1/2 ips > 1st copy reel (made by Kidd and owned by Jerry Garcia, in possession of Debbie) > 2nd copy reel (made and owned by Will Boswell) @ 7 1/2 ips;
! R: transfer: Revox A77 > Bottlehead tube tape pre pair Tesla tubes circa 1980 > Apogee Mini Me 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC monitoring and mastering > FLAC, transfer by Matt Smith.
! R: seeder notes: "Here's a fresh transfer by Matt from Will's reels using his new frontend."
! R: "This reel was first transferred by Matt in 2008 (shnid-93137).  It was retransferred in 2009 by GEMS (shnid-100855) due in part by the additional research Matt and David Lemiuex did. This transfer using the Bottlehead, December 2013. Remember that the nature of the tube transfer results in much lower gain, but a richer and deeper content. That's what 11 is for."
! R: the pitch of 5/11/71 (shnid-28784) and this SME are very different. I presume that one is off-pitch. Since Garcia says it's a tune in G (5/11/71 note 1), it should be fixable.
! P: t01 @ 8:32 Jerry strums the SME groove, but no-one else really bites. Jerry pursues something shiny 9:10. 11:19 we are drifting in space, a little cosmic drift, space dust. This is way outside the song structure. One way to think of the tracking is the various movements. It was SME, and we can take Jerry's strum @ 8:32 to signal departure from the theme. By 12:33 he is off in a deep, very Grateful Deadish space.
! R: t02 @ 2:38 there is tape discontinuity, but it doesn't feel very long to me. This occurs about 16 minutes into the recording, FTR.
! t02 I would have tracked this differently. The track marker is precisely where Vitt drives them back to SME, and they are playing SME.
! P: t02 in the 2-min range Jerry is playing some beautiful Spanish flavor, John matches the feeling very nicely. Things get good and dissonant 3:57, first taken out by John Kahn! Merl makes it spooky, and Garcia starts really doing some hammering, into a Tiger space 4:59 over 5, perfect scrubbing, more near-Tiger @ 5:06, some very stringy stuff, 5:38 piercing, controlled feedback, more squealing over 6, really riding it 6:07, Vitt splashes 6:12. Jerry drops from violin to viola register, but only briefly, Merl swirls some stuff forward, everyone out spacy together 7:30, Merl louder, Jerry strum more gently late 7, slowing it down and letting it breathe, Vitt splashes again 8:15, JG and BV putting some tempo on it, a slow sad thing 8:30. vitt is such a great player. Right around 9:40 he picks up the pace and drives the band into a faster piece, Jerry is playing BEAUTIFULLY here. This really is some of his finest guitar playing. BV's opening could be called the return to SME, because I can feel the song again in this part, especially from Merl, but I guess really from Jerry, too. 11:20 he's playing SME. @ 11:25 Jerry and Vitt both hit a three-beat run *perfectly in time with each other*.  Vitt is playing like magician here. This is a little faster, John is playing his After Midnight thing, Jerry playing lead guitar, overflowing, 12:42, fluent and voluble in this segment, lots to say. Listen to Garcia's fast runs 14:20! What a concept! Dropping down to spacy feeling to the end of the track.
! P: t03 At the very start of the track, he strums the Tighten Up theme. This is tracked at a new theme that Jerry promotes, louder. This stuff reminds me of the Hartbeats, say, at 45 seconds in.  This new theme comes up again 1:20 ish, it reminds me of Tighten Up. Drummer is SWINGIN', some great splashes 3:30 ish. track 3 really sounds like 1968 guitar tone to me. Yes, I hear what you are saying about the organist @ 5:36 - that's Wales. And the drummer is swinging really hard. And the bassist is walking it with a little modal feel that doesn't sound like John Kahn, necessarily. @ 6:45, 7:00 - Wales sound. Scrubbing 7:26, more through 7:45, plucks some stuff 7:54, plucking, pluck, pluck ... Garcia is suggesting some melody 8:30, but it doesn't take. Pretty good deep space over 10 - end.
! t03: applause analysis: sounds like a few dozen people in a small room. Sounds like Matrix, though since there are no tapes from KK it's hard to say what that room would have sounded like.
! t04: original notes: "This is one of the Wales songs, I think. Sounds like Wales on organ to me. Around 4 keyboardist switches to a piano for a bit, then 4:18 to organ." But 9/26/2014 I have revisited, and I am revising my opinion. I don't think it's a Wales original. It's something, but since the tape is JGMS, per the provenance, it can't be Wales.
! t04: Applause analysis: Not much of a crowd - sounds like Matrix to me.
! P: t05 this sounds like the same organist to me, but how can Howard be playing a Merl Saunders original? The bass @ 9:42 sounds like John to me, but I now feel thoroughly confused. Definitely the Wales thing @ 13:44. Bassist is feathering like Jack late 15. Garcia is hinting The Other One just before that, and still @ 16:11. I have never heard John Kahn play bass like that. @ 17:56 the drummer drops them right back to a great, fast LBOR thing, and it wanders away again. In late 22 early 23 bassist seems to be calling back LBOR, but it's not happening.
! P: t06 I may have been responsible for this being called Summertime, but it's not quite Summertime. Maybe late spring, har har. Bassist is playing some great stuff as the tape ends.

I am listening to Hooteroll? again

Something is definitely wrong with me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hey Merl, you wanna do that tune in 'G'? Get spaced out a little? LN jg1971-05-11.jgms.partial.aud.28784.flac1644

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
3138 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

May 11, 1971 (Tuesday)
20 min flac1644 shnid-28784

--(2 tracks, 19:58)--
t01. talk and tuning (1, 2) [1:03]
t02. Save Mother Earth [18:44] [0:10]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, ?synthesizers?;
! lineup: ?John Kahn? - el-b;
! lineup: ?Bill Vitt? - 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.
! JGC:
!db: (this fileset).
! venue: JGBP; COAU.
! map:
! listing: "Benefit Tonight to 'Bring Back Jack'," San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 1971, p. 45;
! general: I am listening to this 9/20/2014 in the context of trying to piece back together the "5/20/71" tape (listening notes). This piece of tape is the only leverage we have on those pieces of tape. Garcia's guitar does have a 1968 feel to it there, but I hear the same tone on this tape. This analysis partly informs two other posts from today Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Matrix - A Dialogue (9/24/2014) , and JGMS 5/20/71" is probably really JGMS 5/20/71 (9/24/2014). I noted the listing at JGMS: Matrix, May 11-12, 1971.
! historical: A freaking Tuesday night!
! R: Unknown source > reel > CD > Plexwriter PX-W4824A extraction (EAC v0.9 beta 4) > tracking (CD Wave v1.6) > sector boundary verification (shntool v1.01) > level 8 FLAC encoding (FLAC Frontend v1.7.1 Etree edition).  Reel >> digital by Harvey Lubar, EAC >> FLAC by jjoops.
! R: seeder notes: "Mono recording, hissy but basically very nice.  The Jerry Site lists a soundboard, but I'd guess it's an upfront audience recording.  I don't know anything else about the lineage."
! R: seeder notes: "Thanks to Harvey Lubar for getting this wonderful little gem into my hands! Here's hoping the rest of it turns up someday."
! R: I'd add that there is some wow, flutter, warbling, variable tape speed, and the like.
! t01 (1) @ 0:10: "Hey Merl, you wanna do that tune in 'G'?  Get spaced out a little?"
! t02 (2) @ 0:30: JG: "What's that?" MS: "I don't know."  JG: "Hey, c'mon man, the orange one, now it's the orange one, whatever that is.  Amber.  That one. Do away with it.  That's the exit light.  It's plenty. No, no, man.  Thanks.  Photo field [?]."
! P: t02 SME slow swampy start over the Navajo tone, then it jumps up in the 2 minute range, almost sounding Motownish, foreshadowing this group's take on Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her". Late 6, if you forced me to choose, I'd say that was 1968. Merl doing some really nice playing late 8. Darkening tone, slowing pace second half of 9, drummer does some swinging, Jerry says hello to him, but slowing the horses, very high up the neck 10:18. Jerry is playing a dream 10:45ish, gorgeous, BEAUTIFUL to 11, plucks some kooky stuff 11:08, but that was a terrific little 20 second piece. Now he's fuzzy and modal, drummer sets a driving beat 11:30, Jerry is with it, in the SME rhythm but closer to the hop at 2 than the swampy start, Jer pulls some bigguns 12:10 and he's decaying it, don't rush me, says hello to SME 12:30, bassist and band behind it, someone (Merl?) singing "nah nah nah nah" to it? Whoa. At 16:30 Jerry launches them to space again, until 16:42, when Garcia strums the big old Navajo chord at the heart of "Save Mother Earth". At 18:10 someone gives a voice signal and Jerry and the band wind it down. Nice.
! R: t02 Applause analysis: More upfront, larger audience, ?bigger room? Not the same room as 5/20/71?

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Matrix - A Dialogue

[ed: Corry sent me an email about Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders at the Matrix, which turned into a rather elaborate exchange on the subject. One piece of our correspondence involved the tape traveling as 5/20/71. This is some of Garcia's finest playing on tape in any context. I highly recommend that you check it out. I have done a little metadata analysis of the tape and reckon that there's no reason to doubt the David Lemieux-inspired conclusion that it is what it purports to be, and plenty of reason to concur in it.

Corry was stunned at how "out" this material is, sounding more like Howard Wales than Merl Saunders on keys, unmooring totally, in quasi-free jazz style, from the songs. I agreed with him, but, if my metadata analysis is right --and we both think it is-- then it is indeed Merl, and we may need, in my words (pace Bayes), to update our priors.

With Corry's permission, I am posting it more or less as we have it in email, with a few tweaks here and there. I originally planned that Corry would be in black and I would be in blue ("Tasty hemlock!"), but the quoting arrangement seems to work all right. Don't want too much formatting else Blogger will up and walk away on me.

Dialogue below the fold.]

"JGMS 5/20/71" is probably really JGMS 5/20/71

The tape traveling as Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, May 20, 1971, Keystone Korner (a.k.a. xx/xx/71 and 5/xx/71) probably really is Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, May 20, 1971, Keystone Korner (750 Vallejo Street, San Francisco, CA 94133) [map | JGC | JGBP | shnid-93137 | shnid-100855 | shnid-126365 |shnid-126389 and listening notes]

The most important reason to believe this is that Dead audio archivist David Lemieux, who has also had his hand in a number of Garcia releases, says it is, having compared it to an uncrirculated Garcia Vault recording dated the next night, 5/21/71.

For whatever reason, maybe because the music is just so mindfuckingly awesome and people get distracted, the metadata around this tape have been slippery. Corry prompted me to clarify my own understanding of the tape, which I have done and report here.

Current Metadata

As of late 2013, this presented as a Debbie tape of JGMS 5/20/71 at Keystone Korner.
Note the four dimensions: the provenance of the tape, the band, the date and the venue.

1) Tape: Pat Lee (from JGMF shnid-93137 notes): "It originated from a stash of tapes that Kidd Candelario made for JG back in the early '70's for his listening pleasure. It was labeled Garcia/Saunders jams with no venue or date associated with the tape. I don't remember if it was a cassette or reel source." I have gathered that Jerry's tapes found themselves in the possession of his ex-/"it's complicated" Debbie, whose Cincinnati-area acquaintance, or acquaintance's acquaintance Will Boswell obtained copies in ca. spring 1979. Note: contrary to the assertion in shnid-93137, the tape did not come from Peter Kafer. late shnids have more accurate information, though none of them have complete and correct information.

2) Band: see Pat's testimony: "Garcia/Saunders".

3) Date: We are given the date of 5/20/71 based on an analysis by David Lemieux, apparently comparing this with Garcia Vault tape dated 5/21/71. See shnid-100855.

4) Venue: Pat Lee and friends concluded that the tape was from the Matrix, based on its sound profile. Matt Smith reached the same conclusion, as reported in shnid-93137. The venue is currently given as Keystone Korner, which seems to derive from Lemieux's analysis. I think KK is right, see below.

Metadata Analysis

First, along with Rob Eaton, Lemieux would be the guy likeliest to be able to make this judgment, just for his ears and understanding of the music. The fact that he has access to a piece of tape that no-one else can compare, and that his A/B comparison leads to the JGMS 5/20/71 KK, is probably sufficient to call QED.

But, of course, I don't give up that easily when there are dead horses to beat. ;-)

Second, related, DL2 understands something that I think is hard to see from outside the Vault: tapes were probably recorded in batches at this early stage. In Bayesian terms, knowing that there's a tape of 5/21/71 in the Vault leads us to raise the subjective posterior probability that the prior night was also taped. Jerry wanted to have some tapes of this newish outfit to listen back to. He did that sort of thing. He had Kidd or Bob Matthews or someone come down to the club and spin a couple of nights' oxide. Maybe he leaves with the tape, or maybe he asks Kidd for it a day or month later. Kidd grabs one of the nights, while another night travels a different path, to an acclimatized Vault shelf in southern California somewhere. (It is noteworthy that "5/20/71" does not appear to be in the Vault, while 5/21/71 does - I agree with MS that this suggests that Jerry's tape --i.e., Debbie's tape-- was a master reel, so we are listening to a first copy. However, the tape feels edited down, too, so unless Will introduced these, it's possible that master reels are with Kidd or elsewhere.) Regarding specifically whether this might be Thursday 5/20 or Saturday 5/22, that's of course hard to say, but the tiny crowd makes Thursday sound more likely than Saturday. These shows were listed in the paper ("Rock, Pop Entertainment Here," San Francisco Chronicle, May 19, 1971, p. 59), but a Thursday might have been reasonably quiet.


Third, we are blessed with a 20 minute tape fragment traveling as "5/11/71 Matrix" (shnid-28784 | listening notes), also featuring "Save Mother Earth". Lemieux A/B'd two pieces of tape, but we can triangulate to publicly-traded tape. The "5/11/71 Matrix" performance of SME sounds very much like this one, on every level. It especially strikes me that Garcia's guitar sounds the same, and it sounds a little 1968ish to me. A few times I said "sounds like Hartbeats 1968" when auditioning. Yet these two pieces of tape must be very nearly contemporaneous to each other, and they seem to have arrived by reasonably independent routes within 9 days of each other in May 1971. (To ensure independence of observations, I'd like to ask Lemieux if he has listened to 5/11/71 or not.) Again, the fact that these seem to say "May 1971" makes it more likely that they really are from May of 1971. And, Bayes again, the fact that we have collector tape called "5/11/71 Matrix" joins the fact of Vault tape from 5/21/71 in increasing the likelihood of escaped-Vault tape from 5/20/71.


What about the old notion that this was a Matrix tape? I agree with Pat et al. that it sounds like the Matrix, both in terms of some monitor fuzz around the recording characteristic of tapes made there and in terms of the room feel. I did an "applause analysis" after t03 and t04, and it sounds like a few dozen people in small room. Moreoever, it sounds for all the world like a few dozen people in small room at 3138 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, based on all of the circulating tape from that room from about the same time period. It sounds like a Matrix Tape.

Yet, as Pat has said, "It was purely our guess that it came from the Matrix, due to the sound, nothing else" and here's the kicker - we have no idea what Keystone Korner sounded like. My notes have it as capacity 200. So, while I guess it was bigger than the Matrix, it was not a big room. If Lemieux is correct that this is a Thursday night, a reasonably small crowd might be indicated.

What worries me more is the consonance of this tape with every Matrix tape I have ever heard, which is, well, a lot, in terms of monitor fuzz, the sound of the hardware. The fact that "5/11/71 Matrix" is labeled as such and is very similar worries me a little bit, too, but not as much. He could have asked for tape to be spun both times and places that month, and although "5/11/71 Matrix" sounds like an ambient (i.e., aud) rather than a line (i.e., sbd) recording, that's not dispositive, either. Dead sound guys were known to record from the hall, no reason it couldn't have happened on a Tuesday at the Matrix. The tape is a little degraded (SME is pitched very differently on the two tapes), and it's hard to see. But, again, my point here is that we don't have a baseline of what KK should have sounded like. Lemieux does, and he thinks it sounds the same. So I reckon that what we are picking up is that as contemporaneous performances in small rooms, possibly recorded on the same gear, tend to sound a lot alike.

Bottom line

These pieces of tape are correctly labeled JGMS 5/20/71 Keystone Korner.

Corry concurs: "I have done a little listening and decided that your analysis is fully supported by the evidence, even if the evidence itself is pretty sketchy. A Thursday night tape (May 20), recorded and casually edited by an insider (like Kidd Candelario) for Jerry's pleasure and analysis makes sense of what is missing and present."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

JGMS September 9, 1971 - Harding Theater - New to The List

A few years ago we had a good time talking around some putative Dead shows at the Harding Theater, 616  Divisadero, on September 3-4, 1971. These shows have never been known from anything other than the listing I found, and they may not have happened.

I mentioned there the odd cluster of September 1971 Garciavents at the Harding - a September 10 JGMS billing and the NRPS gig from 9/23/71, in addition to the first weekend of the month. I have one more to add to The List, a Garcia-Saunders billing at the Harding on Thursday, September 9, 1971, per both a Datebook listing and an item in the SFC.

So now we have 3rd and 4th with GD, 9th and 10th with Merl and 23rd with the New Riders, all within the same month. That may be some kind of record - Jerry playing the same room with three different bands in the same month.

listing: DB, SFC, September 9, 1971, p. 44;
item: "Garcia, Fogerty at Harding," SFC, September 9, 1971, p. 44.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

NRPS w/o Jerry, pre-Buddy?

I had found some listings from June that had NRPS playing at a time when Garcia was known to be unavailable, June 21, 1971. I wondered what they did for pedal steel, but the question became moot when I scrolled ahead a day and found a cancellation notice.

Questions, answers, questions: I have found another conflicting listing between NRPS and GD in the pre-Buddy Cage period: August 26, 1971, with the Dead playing Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New Riders are scheduled to play the Longbranch Saloon in Berkeley (per JLW "Something Else" listing, SFC, August 25, 1971, p. 25).

I wonder if they played as a Dawson-Nelson-Torbert-Dryden quartet that night?

Szabo's Santana Sit-In, or, Santana's Jubilant Jam

I didn't see this listed at the great Santanamigos site (1971), so I thought I'd post it here: Santana sitting in with Gabor Szabo at the Concord [Jazz?] Festival, Sunday, August 15, 1971.

NRPS: July 24-25, 1971, New Monk - New to The List

listing: "Rock, Jazz This Week in Bay Area," SFC, July 23, 1971, p. 45.

New Riders are scheduled to play Freddie Herrera's New Monk Saturday-Sunday, July 24-25, 1971. Commander Cody slated to open. New to The List.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders & Tom Fogerty Sat-Sun, New Monk"

SFC 7/2/71 p. 52
Last year I spun some 1970 and early 1971 microfilm of the San Francisco Chronicle, and found seven new-to-The-List shows in a three-month span. If you follow the blog or scroll down a bit chronologically, you'll see that I have continued to discover more in the 1971-1972 period, and even as far out as 1974. I hope they are all tagged TJS-addition; that's my code for stuff that's new to The List, newly discovered Garcia shows. So long as there is nothing that fills the function of the much-missed Jerry Site, allowing updates from fan research, first-hand accounts, materials, etc., all in a classic List format, it will be especially important to track the bread crumbs that pop up along the way.

So, obviously I am searching these calendar listings and such because I believe there are still shows out there to discover, hiding in plain site on microfilm.

But, this, I never expected to find.

On Friday, July 2, the Grateful Dead played the Closing of the Fillmore West run, Garcia pulling off the rare trifecta of playing with three bands in the same day - the Rowan Brothers, the New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS), and the Dead. I need to think hard about when this might ever have happened again; maybe it never did. This night he played from 8:30 p.m. - 3 a.m. (Wasserman 1971).

The Fillmore West events would continue through the Fourth of July. Yet the 7/2 music listings show that Garcia would be otherwise occupied.

"Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders & Tom Fogerty Sat-Sun, New Monk"

It would appear that on July 3-4, 1971, while Fillmore West drew most of the eyes and ears, Garcia-Saunders-Kahn-Vitt and new arrival Tom Fogerty, did some tunes. Without elaborating all of the evidence here, I think Fogerty came in only mid-1971, and maybe as recently as the week before this (i.e., around 6/25/71 or 6/26/71). Fogerty lived in a big ol' Tudor or something in Berkeley, and the New Monk specifically, and working for Freddie Herrera generally (i.e., also at Keystone Korner) seemed to be working out really well. Fogerty would inhabit the Garciaverse for 18 months. The New Monk would become Keystone Berkeley, Garcia's musical home base for more than a decade (see also data).

The Sunday night July 4th show, especially, appeals to my aesthetic - a hot summer night (I haven't actually checked that - could have been cold and foggy) in Berkeley, friends and music for the 4th.  There's something very picturesque to me, very resonant with a une certaine idée de Garcia, about him finding a way, while he could, to take advantage of the fact that the spotlight was elsewhere to just play to the beer and sawdust set. Sign me up!


Wasserman, John L. 1971. When the Music Finally Stopped. San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 1971, p. 37. 

Tom Fogerty, Merl Saunders and Friends - June 25, 1971 Keystone Korner

The title gives a listing found in "The Music Scene--Complete Listings," SFC, June 25, 1971, p. 43.

Further down the same listing is Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and Tom Fogerty at New Monk on Saturday-Sunday (June 26-27, 1971). I certainly do wonder if Jerry was a "Friend" at the Friday show in the City. Perhaps he told them not to list him in case he was jet-lagged. Or maybe he was doing something else.

NRPS June 21-23, 1971 Boarding House - CANCELED

San Francisco Chronicle, June 21, 1971, p. 47.
Here's an interesting one that I don't quite know what to do with - NRPS and Rowan Bothers playing the Boarding House June 21-23, 1971.

Of course, Garcia was in France on 6/21, and even gaining back 7 or 8 hours he probably couldn't have been back to the City to play on Tuesday (6/22), though it's not impossible. Wednesday 6/23, however, our hero certainly could have been back and playing.

I do wonder who was playing pedal steel these first two nights, if the NRPS ended up playing?

**update, 5 minutes later **

Sometimes the answers to our questions are closer than we think. From SFC 6/22/71, p. 37:

I guess that answers that question.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

JGMS: May 25, 1971 Keystone Korner: new to The List

San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 1971, p. 42.

Garcia and Saunders listed for Tuesday, May 25, 1971 at Keystone Korner. New to The List.

More color around Friends and Relations and the Tuesday Fillmore West auditions.

JGMS: Matrix, May 11-12, 1971

There is a great half-hour tape labeled as Garcia-Saunders at the Matrix, May 11, 1971. I had always thought it was a little suspect, as I had never seen any other corroborating information, though it is listed at the Chicken's Matrix List.

This calendar listing from the San Francisco Chronicle (May 10, 1971, p. 45) not only puts JGMS at Matrix on Tuesday, May 11, but also Wednesday, May 12 - a new show to The List.

For color, I have been entering most everything I come across for 660 Great Highway. In 1971, I track Keystone Korner listings, since Freddie was still running it. I have also been entering the Tuesday auditions at Fillmore West whenever I find them - they have historically been absent from the Chicken's Fillmore West List, which originated in posters (of which there were none for the auditions).

No, I don't know who titular Jack is. I assume it's related to the SF mayoral elections, as many benefits seem to have been held at Friends and Relations. I assume based on today's electoral calendars that these were primaries, to select party candidates for the ca. November elections, but I don't know that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

JGMS: December 27-28, 1972 - Lion's Share

San Francisco Chronicle music listings, December 27, 1972, p. 44.

Garcia-Saunders-Fogerty at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, December 27-28, 1972, as listed in San Francisco Chronicle, December 27, 1972, p. 44. Both the Hayward Daily Review and Berkeley Barb at various points listed Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, contrary to circulating Garcia-Saunders tape (for which I have some notes that I just need to finish). But this SFC listing is later than those (day-of, for 12/27), and this info should trump earlier info.

I know there's a lot of back and forth on this show. Dave Tamarkin, Ed Perlstein, Pat Lee, and many other legendary young-at-the-timers might be able to weigh in. So there are recollections and there are tape labels, and now at least there's a fragment of hard contemporary evidence.

Corry, what's up with Stoneground being broadcast by KSJO-FM out of the Bodega in Campbell?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

David Nichtern and the Nocturnes

What an interesting looking little fragment. I wish I could hear it.

In All GSCBF All The Time news, I suspect that Nichtern hooked up with his band, including Hot Band pedal steel player Hank Devito, as well as Nicolette Larson, through the GSCBF. They were all there.

JGMS: June 11, 1974 Keystone Berkeley - new to The List

So here's a new one for The List: JGMS at Keystone on Tuesday, June 11, 1974.

But note, too, that Merl is playing Sand Dunes on Monday the 10th - this could very easily be a Monday on which Garcia sat in. The fact that Tony Saunders played with Merl and Jerry the week prior (June 4 and June 6) makes it seem even more likely to me. The fact that Jerry played under Merl's billing on May 31-June 1 at the Inn of the Beginning is also suggestive.

No proof will ever turn up, of course, so this can remain little more than speculation. But I sure would have liked to belly up to the bar at the Sand Dunes on this Monday, in the thick fog and salt, and catch some tunes.

Read more:


Friday, September 05, 2014

JGMS October 5, 1972 - Keystone - new to The List

I have Friday and Saturday shows in The List, but this Thursday listing is new to me.


Look at how my eye focuses - I want the listings big enough to read, and I want the publication information along with them, if possible. That's the scanning area I created and captured here.

Look what gets cut, "on the margins" of my view, you might say. Besides the adult theaters, there's some Maya Angelou action (there are a bunch of listings for her readings around this time) and, more importantly to me, a full schedule for the Black Expo at the Civic Auditorium. The piece that's recoverable is the piece that came as a by-product of my main focus. And what do I find but a Merl Saunders listing for Friday, September 8, 1972 in the main hall of the SF Civic Auditorium?

A few days ago I found information about Merl Saunders, September 7-10, 1972: Black Expo '72 in the Night Times, but nothing more specific. Ever hopeful, I said "[It'd be] Be neat to see which day(s) he played, with whom, and what". Well, at least I know more about the "when" part - Friday 9/8 - but not the other stuff. I wonder what Gar was doing that night? They would play a black music event May 29-30, 1973 at the Ash Grove, Garcia was free on a Friday, so anything's possible.

I doubt it happened, but I still wonder what it was. I have to assume this would be the Heavy Turbulence band, with Reverend Ron Stallings on tenor sax, Peter Welker on trumpet, Merl, not sure who else. Tony hadn't started playing to that level yet in summer 1972, I don't think.

Anyway, the Merl info caught my mind, but intersectionality and (in) visibility are worth me keeping in focus.


Was just enjoying Dead Sources on the nightmare scenario that unfolded at Georgetown on 10/23/70, and appreciating LIA's work curating this material. There is so much out there, I cannot keep up!

Thanks, LIA, for putting this stuff out there. Having the texts directly available is invaluable.

I wanted to riff from that and urge both all of my readers to follow the action at the links I keep to the right. I have them classified roughly as presenting data or analysis (though of course most do both). I myself keep RSS feeds and try to at least have a sense of what everyone is working on.

Shoulders to Stand On

There is some great work being done. Thank you, bloggers! If you know of other blogs I should link, please pass them along in comments. Thanks!

Finally, I want to encourage  anyone looking for a hobby, or who has a little interest in, say, doing some data analysis projects, some spatial work, or who is into digitizing, analyzing, and thinking about liner notes ... join the club! It's fun, and there are more data floating around than there is computing power trying to analyze it.