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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Kicking off the January '86 Garcia/Kahn acoustic tour

LN jg1986-01-24.jgjk.all.aud-CC.138168.flac1644

A huge bulge of heretofore elusive Garcia tape from the late 70s and especially the 80s has been hitting cyberspace. I don't have much time for this, just a few scattered notes laying down some markers for eventual discussion of the tour.

First, a tour snapshot.

Snapshot of the January '86 Garcia/Kahn acoustic east coast tour

Then, listening notes from newly-circulating closet call material from the first night out. For some reason, two short sets for JGJK seems fine - it's not always easy to listen to.
Jerry Garcia and John Kahn
D.A. R. Constitution Hall
1776 D St NW
Washington, DC 20006

January 24, 1986 (Friday) - 8 PM
CC shnid-138168

--set I (7 tracks, 37:13)--
s1t01. /Deep Elem Blues
s1t02. Friend Of The Devil
s1t03. When I Paint My Masterpiece
s1t04. Little Sadie [4:19] ->
s1t05. Spike Driver Blues [4:26] ->
s1t06. Jack A Roe
s1t07. Run For The Roses

--set II + encore (6 tracks, 38:52)--
--set II (5 tracks, 31:07)--
s2t01. Dire Wolf
s2t02. To Lay Me Down
s2t03. I've Been All Around This World
s2t04. Bird Song
s2t05. Ripple//
--encore (1 track, 7:45)--
s2t06. Goodnight Irene [7:37] (1) [0:08]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and John Kahn [JGJK]
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - ac-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - ac-b.


! db: (this fileset). Nothing in digital circulation prior to 4/17. Probably very few copies of this show were traded.

! JGBP: Notes the following gigs in a room in which "every president since Calvin Coolidge has attended events": 11/2/75 Jerry Garcia Band; 11/27/83 Jerry Garcia Band; 8/8/84 Jerry Garcia Band; 11/20/84 John Kahn (acoustic); 1/24/86 John Kahn (acoustic).

! map:

! ref: Billboard, February 8, 1986, p. 37.Ticket I see went for $14.50. Show did well, selling out 3,741 for reported gross of $53,288.

! R: AUD (marked 2nd Gen) kindly provided by wk &

! R: transfer: TDK SA90 > Nakamichi CR-5A > Edirol FA-66 > Wavelab 2448 > R8Brain > CD-Wave > TLH > FLAC 1644 tagged. Transfer by Andrew F. 04/2017

! R: s1t01 DEB enters in progress, not much missing. PA mix improves about a minute in, and tape follows.

! historic: The January 1986 Garcia/Kahn acoustic tour --seven shows in nine days for John Scher in interesting, core northeast halls-- was a lucrative proposition for the two partners. Billboard reported this show as a 3,741 sold sellout grossing more than $50,000.

! song: "Little Sadie" (s1t04): Every Deadhead of this era knew the tune from the amazing and massively circulated 2/13/70 Fillmore East tapes, but of course it's draws in several great American song forms and traditions. See  "Sadie" presents a character fragment of the sort that avowedly drew Garcia in, illiterate antihero Lee Brown having shot the titular girl in the street for no apparent reason, slept soundly, and rather ineffably turned himself in to get "41 years to wear the ball and stripes".

! P: s1t04 LS @ 1:20, 1:35 very good guitar work at these instances and around. Very solid. There are moments here that sound as engaged as the later work with Grisman, very nice acoustic guitar, John also holding things down well. @ 3:30 Garcia revisits the first verse, then closes the song. There was a little fumbling around the end, but he was decisive and mostly hit it. This was an *excellent* Little Sadie.

! song: "Spike Driver Blues" (s1t05): Garcia didn't do many work songs, but this one is fun.

! P: s1t05 SDB: The acoustic setting is really good in letting him just sing vocals without too much strain. That helps him give more expression. "This is the hammer | that killed John Henry" is done with great around-a-fire-in-a-holler feeling and movement.

! P: s1t06 JAR here's another one that the show-attending Deadheads would have known, from Reckoning. But, yikes, the vocals are too much, first half of 2.

! R: s2t05 Ripple cuts out at "there is a fountain".

! P: s2t06 GI I am coming to this after having FF >> from Jack A Roe to here, not necessarily compelled to hear set II. 

! song: "Goodnight Irene" (s2t06): This is a favorite of mine. "Gonna take another walk downtown" is Garcia alchemizing New Orleans and his beloved San Francisco, and of course "jump overboard in the river and drown" is a mighty close reference to his own father's death. He played it with the Dead on 12/31/83, the night he and MG finally married after 17ish years.

! P: s2t06 GI @ 2:37 he does "sometimes I live in the country" -- but did he miss the "ramblin | stop all that gamblin'" verse? A little voice scratch early 3. I expect he'll want to play his guitar. He digs in with gusto, fluid and dextrous and with great energy. Good stuff. The vocals are too rough to really make this one to recommend to a novice. @ 4:20 he hits ramblin' / gamblin' ... "come home to your wife and children" all given great feeling. Shaky vocals late 4. 5:10ff he really swings and digs into his guitar pieces here, which I really like. 5:35ff drops into a jazzier swing, John not all there with him. Now John walking it up over 6, but I find him mostly not quite where I want him.

! s2t06 (1) JG: "Thanks a lot. See y'all later."


  1. Nice post.One correction: Garcia and Mountain Girl were married 12/31/81 not 83.

  2. Thanks, David. I had thought that, too. And I remembered a story (I thought from McNally) that it was tied to doing Irene. Yet he did Irene on 12/31/83, so I am confused.

    1. I think it was Cold Rain played on 12/31/81 that might have been influenced by the backstage nuptials.

  3. It's funny that I use this show to name-call John Scher, when it fact it is probably slightly unrepresentative of the booking/promotion/production of most of the tour. The ticket says "CDP Presents".

    I have never seen papers around this tour, but my sense is that maybe DC was different in that Scher was more likely to sub out to local promoters in DC. I am not even sure that's right, but that's the tickle in my brain. If that's right "CDP Presents" was the local partner, but John Scher still executed the whole tour for Jerry and John.

  4. CDP was Cellar Door Productions. Link

    This was a fun show to transfer, wasn't expecting much, but the 2nd set really delivers some great guitar playing in Dire Wolf thru Birdsong. (By the time I saw the tour at the Ritz, they were sounding a little "tired".)

    I hear some muffled taper talk in Ripple just before the tape cuts off. I'm guessing that security was approaching and maybe the tapers shut it down. I hear that this was a hard venue to get a recording. Those D.A.R. ladies may have been as tough as old Wolfgang himself...



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