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Thursday, August 20, 2015

GD: August 19, 1970 at the Fillmore West

! R: field recordist: Gene Taback

! R: field recording gear: Sony TC-124 with Sony stereo mic
! R: transfer: Master/1st generation cassettes played back on Nakamichi Dragon > Digital Audio Labs Card Deluxe soundcard (96Mhz/24 bit)> HD.

My goodness, I love love love love love this acoustic set. The recording really captures a feeling.

"How Long Blues" spinning now, very nice.

Here are Jim Powell's typically awesome acoustic set notes, from Deadlists:
David Nelson plays mandolin on Friend Of The Devil, Dark Hollow, Tell It To Me, Rosalie McFall, Cold Jordan and Swing Low. Pigpen plays piano on How Long Blues, Candyman, Ripple, Truckin', and New Speedway. There's a hint of harmonica at the beginning of Ripple; it seems too discreet to be Pigpen's. Jerry plays electric guitar on Cumberland and New Speedway while Bobby continues acoustic. Marmaduke provides bass vocal accompaniment on Cold Jordan and Swing Low. It seems probable that this set as listed is missing a tune from Pigpen (compare Operator the previous night). This set was preceded starting at 8:00 by an unbilled opening set from a bluegrass vocals quartet, possibly the Rowan Bros.
see also: "GD: August 17, 1970, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA", with some setlist Reconstruction. Did my conjectures there make it into Deadbase 50, BTW?


  1. Small correction: Jim Powell wrote the deadlists notes.

    "Did my conjectures make it into Deadbase 50?" Of course not!

    I wonder who the bluegrass vocals quartet was - it wasn't the Rowan Bros.

  2. I also wonder about the bluegrass singers.

    1. A plausible candidate would be Berkeley's High Country, with Butch Waller.

    2. What leads you in that direction, Corry?

    3. The band wasn't "on the poster" so they wouldn't have been paid much. There were almost no bluegrass bookings at FW, so it's not like a BGP entity would have been likely trying to get an act on the bill. All that points to a local long-haired bluegrass band. There weren't many choices.

      One possibility would have been Styx River Ferry, who had played the FW Tuesday night auditions. They were Nashville transplants who played a critical role in making bluegrass hip in the Bay Area, at a place called Paul's Saloon, in the early 70s.

      Another choice would have been High Country, out of Berkeley, led by Butch Waller. Waller was an old pal of Garcia's, and among many other things had been with Jerry for his first acid trip on May 1,1965. Because of the connection, High Country seems more likely (High Country is still around, you could email Waller off the website).

  3. This is one of the great recordings of the year 1970, for sociological purposes. The hometown shows are the most neglected (thanks, East Coast bias ;-)), but the vibe they capture is incomparably loose and open. Gene Taback captured an August 1970 night at the Fillmore West, lots of spirituals --sometimes you gotta get your God on on a Wednesday, too -- an infectious open joy from Garcia and the whole crew. Nelson sounds great on the mandolin (e.g., on Rosalie McFall). A wonderful document!

  4. I think Nelson is playing guitar on "Wake Up Little Suzie", some real Bakersfield here, but I can't be sure.

  5. "New Speedway Boogie" very late in its brief run, a surprising choice to me for this night, but what do I know?


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