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Saturday, May 20, 2017

JGB at the Warfield: April 21, 1995

LN jg1995-04-21.jgb.all.aud-vasseur-ladner.21900.shn2flac

Third to last JGB gig, on the home court. A little bit of historical background, some analysis of the musics figuring in the setlist, and a brief note on "Johnny Too Bad" ("my God, this is just great, so full of feeling") will figure in the listening notes below.

Jerry Garcia Band
The Warfield
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
April 21, 1995 (Friday)
Vasseur shnid-21900 shn2flac

--set I (7 tracks, 56:08)--
s1t01. The Way You Do The Things You Do  [10:10]
s1t02. Forever Young  [10:38]
s1t03. Money Honey  [07:35]
s1t04. Run For The Roses  [05:26]
s1t05. Ain't No Bread In The Breadbox  [08:48]
s1t06. My Sisters And Brothers  [04:52]
s1t07. Deal  [08:36]

--set II (5 tracks, 59:00)--
s2t01. Shining Star ->  [22:39]
s2t02. Johnny Too Bad ->  [7:07]
s2t03. Don't Let Go  [13:32]
s2t04. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)  [09:36]
s2t05. Midnight Moonlight  [06:04]

! ACT1: JGB #23
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, v;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Donny Baldwin - drums;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals.


! JGC:


! map:

! db: shnid-21900 (Vasseur shnf, this fileset)

! band: URL

! historical: This is Garcia's third-to-last Garcia Band GOTS gig, and knowing this, and that he'd be dead in three and a half months, naturally biases the llistening experience. Blind randomization of listening would be the way to do it, but who was time to genuflect before the infererence gods? Anyway, it's good to do. Chris Ladner's misSHN comments also informed my listen. I only listened to set II, featuring the 40 minute Shining Star -> Johnny Too Bad -> Don't Let Go medley. It's not great in any conventional sense. Garcia can't sing very powerfully, and his whole body is frail, his wrists are sore. He probably doesn't weigh as much as you'd think, because he's bloated and his muscles have atrophied. He was still diving as of February, whether or not you believe he last-minute canceled the February 10th show from an encounter with a jellyfish, and Bay Area Deadheads of the day harbored some doubts, and diving would be like the only physical activity he'd engage in to confuse his muscles from playing, sitting around, driving around in his day-to-day. He was mostly struggling against an enlarged heart, diabetes, a forty-year several-pack-a-day smoking habit, etc. etc.

! P: Garcia gives the fans an honest's night music, especially in view of the fact (that we only know for sure ex post) that the man is dying. He offers up a tasteful selection of postwar American music. The Garcia Band gave Jerry the chance to play R&B, which the Dead just didn't do. The show opens with TWYDTTYD, the scrappy Great Migration lament "Money Honey" gives the old man a chance to belt a little, while the second set-opening "Shining Star" calls forth the rituals of the Warfield and of the Garcia Band at the end, church is in service, nice and easy call-and-response, Jerry gets the chance to sit back, lovingly play with sound, make some music for the assembled, trusting the band to frame it while he paints. "Don't Let Go" was JGB's "jam vehicle", such as it was. This one shows plenty of verve, nothing really to complain about (except maybe the singing, but I discount very heavily since it's near the end).

! setlist: So: 4 R&B (TWYDTTYD, Money Honey, Shining Star, Don't Let Go); 3 white contemporary Americana (Dylan-Forever Young, Norton Buffalo - Breadbox, Pete Rowan's Midnight Moonlight); 2 Garcia originals: Run For The Roses, Deal; 1 traditional gospel: MSAB; 1 reggae: JTB; 1 other: "That Lucky Old Sun". Written by white guys (Haven Gillespie and Beasley Smith), first done by Frankie Lane, lots of black and white greats did it. Written 1949 - what would we name the musical genre?

! R: field recordists: Chuck Vasseur and Janet Vasseur

! R: field recording gear: 2x Neumann KM54 > DAT

! R: lineage: DATx > CDx > DAE (QPS QUE 2410 EAC0.9 offset corrected secure mode) > editing as above (SF6) > tracking (cdwav editor) > sector boundaries confirmed (shntool) > SHN (mkwact) via Chris Ladner. shn2flac jgmf 5/19/2017.

! R: seeder comments:  Highly listenable audience recording with relatively minimal close up chatting.  Rates a 2.4 on the "Hey Dude" index.  Charged first set with beautiful Forever Young with Jerry wailing it out, hard drivin' Money Honey (this is not your teleprompter Jerry).  Second set kicks off with a stellar Shining Star that instead of dying off into a lagging audience chant Jerry keeps Shining Star going with a reggae beat and drops perfectly into "Johnny Too Bad" which drifts right into the self-explanatory Don't Let Go - over 43 minutes of continuous jamming.  Not what you'd expect for the 3rd to last JGB show.

! R: seeder comments: Thanks to JIm Powell for the source CDR. misSHN in the rain, 1/2004.

! P: s2t02 JTB my God, this is just great, so full of feeling. John doing some interesting things 7, Jerry switches gear real fast to DLG.

! P: s2t03 DLG voice totally shot.


  1. re That Lucky Old Sun and genre -- would you call it "tin pan alley"? I don't know if that's really considered a genre, per se, but it's a less unwieldy indicator than "pre-R&R/R&B 20th century popular commercial (implied: white?) songwriting" -- Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, showtunes, that kind of stuff. Russian Lullaby would be an example (though you could also consider it jazz, given that jazz musicians picked up on it as a vehicle for improvisation), and Lazy Bones is another one, but off the top of my head I can't think of Garcia playing other songs from this vein of American pop music. There must be at least one more, given Garcia's affinity for those songs? There's that story about Garcia being delighted that Steve Parish's uncle(?) was tin pan alley lyricist Mitchell Parish.


    Yes, you connect up everything I might have been able to think of. It's just "popular" music, or something like that.

  3. Someone should make a list of all Garcia's covers grouped by genre, song date, and/or region... It might answer questions like, "how many Tin Pan Alley songs did Garcia play?"

    1. But it can and should be done!
      Til then, though, at least there are a couple sites listing Garcia's songs alphabetically with composer info, which is a start.

    2. Lonely Avenue. Doc Pomus.

  4. While Russian Lullaby, written in 1926, would be considered Tin Pan Alley, songs written in the 1940s should not.That period ended in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I think American songbook might be better, or American Popular Song. Tin Pan Alley was the period when a hit song meant a lot of copies of sheet music were sold. With the onset of radio of records, that world disappeared, although certain aspects continued into the 1950s. I know Dylan claimed that he killed it off when he started writing his own songs, but thee world of Tin Pan Alley was over long before that. The professional songwriter would remain, and although we went through a period in the late 20th century when popular singers and bands wrote their own songs, a look at the same charts todays will find many of the tops songs are written by someone else than the singer. This is 21st century American Popular Song.

    1. Goodness, that is so neat. I think I am starting to understand it. Care to comment on one of my own interests, how race plays out in this idiom?

      The Harvard Dictionary of Music defines it as "Slang term for anything connected with popular song publishing in the United States. The term originated in the early 1900s, when the popular music trade was concentrated on West 28th Street, New York City; it is now largely outmoded" (Apel 1969, 853).

    2. Anyone know a source tracking data over time on sheet music sales? I will Google forthwith.

    3. The role of race in Tin Pan Alley is two fold. First, it was almost exclusively the province of white men. There were exceptions such as Joseph Stern, who published Irving Berlin's first song (and gave him his name), also published "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by the Johnson brothers, but by and large it was an all white male (and some women) club.

      Race was a subject of many songs in the first quarter of the 20th century. Those ethnic songs seem incredibly racist today, and while all were not meant in jest, many were. For African Americans, like the Jews, Germans and Italians before them, these songs were a sign that they had joined the nation's melting pot. They were seen (primarily in vaudeville) and heard as the kind of jokes you make about your friends but never someone you don't know. To be clear, there was an innate racism of the time, but a number of "coon" songs were not intended to be pejorative.

      For instance, Irving Berlin greatly admired the minstrel show and though blackface was part of the American experience, almost like we would view commedia dell'arte. He stood up for Ethel Waters when her costars in his AS THOUSANDS CHEER refused to take a curtain call with a black woman. he wrote a number of wonderful songs for Waters in that show and when he wanted to “inject a serious note into this musical,” he wrote a very powerful song for her. Each number or skit was announced by a headline projected on a curtain above the stage. For “Suppertime,” the headline was “Unknown Negro Lynched by Frenzied Mob.” Waters dressed in simple clothes sang the dirge as a black woman preparing dinner for her children after learning that her husband has been killed. “If one song can tell the whole tragic history of a race,” said Waters, “‘Supper Time’ was that song.”

      When Berlin wrote THIS IS THE ARMY to support efforts in WWII, he created the first integrated Army unit, and he made it a policy that the unit could only go where all were welcome.

      I have digressed, but race's role in Tin Pan Alley was, like so much else, nuanced.

  5. "From the late 1800s to the early 1950s, 28th Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway, became known as Tin Pan Alley. Tin Pan Alley was a major publishing hub. Publishing staffs included piano demonstrators, arrangers, staff composers and lyricists. Tin Pan Alley became an assembly line. Current events and developments became the subject of many pop songs. Competition flourished. Success was measured by the sale of sheet music. Around 1913, Billboard Magazine started the first sheet music sales chart. New markets for sheet music opened up, such as department stores and Five and Ten Cent Stores. At the helm were the songpluggers. Today, songplugging is simply referred to as promotion."


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