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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Garcia's unidentified guests

Unidentified guests on Garcia shows. Updated 12/27/2019.

LLD's post on flute players with the GD got me thinking to the vexing question of the unidentified trumpet player on the Pure Jerry vol. 4 release (Keystone, "9/1/74"), which got me thinking to other unidentified guests on Jerry (non-GD) shows. So I figured I'd post a list and see what, if anything, turns up.

- NRPS 1970-07-07, Matrix, SF: "Bev" partners with Nelson for the vocals on "Long Black Veil." Corry: "I have been thinking about the guest vocalist on "Long Black Veil." My initial nominee would be Beverly Bivens, former lead singer of the group We Five (who hit it big in '65 with Sylvia Tyson's "You Were On My Mind"). The We Five are generally lumped with The Mamas And The Papas and those sorts of groups, but the band members were well connected to the Fillmore/Avalon bands. Bivens had left the We Five in 1967, despite their success, due to management issues. She had married bassist Fred Marshall in 1966, and she largely stepped away from professional music after 1967."

- JGMS 1972-12-28, Lion's Share, San Anselmo: trumpet (check which songs). Dave Tamarkin remembers this as a "trumpet player who just walked up out of the crowd."

JGMS 1973-07-05, Lion's Share, San Anselmo: trumpet player for set II. DNC user "sl halper" says this: "The trumpet player is almost certainly the same guy who's on Pure Jerry 4; he pulls out all the same quotes and is especially heavy with his attempts to play John Coltrane's Resolution over the jam on d3t2 [Merl's Tune]."

- JGMS 1973-07-19, Great American Music Hall: harmonica player.

- JGMS 1973-10-02, Winterland, SF: trumpet player. Wolfgang's Vault says this is Bill Atwood, based on a suggestion by Corry Arnold. Bill Atwood chimes in in comments noting that Joe Ellis did the fall '73 GD tour trumpet playing (with Martin Fierro on sax), and suggests that this might be Ellis.

- JGMS 1974-02-05, Great American Music Hall: commenter extraordinaire runonguinness says in comments that there might be a second saxophonist, especially audible last three minutes of "My Funny Valentine". I need to revisit.

- JGMS 1974-02-16, Keystone, Berkeley: conga player (I guess Armando Peraza) and second guitarist.

- JGMS 1974-07-12, Keystone, Berkeley: guitar player. David Grisman shows up on mandolin and Martin is absent, so the lineup is definitely funky this night. Also on the bill is Locomotiv G.T., about which I know nothing, but which could of course have supplied the guest. I also wonder about Paul Pena, who was on the bill a lot during this period. Corry doubts either of these possibilities, suggesting it might be someone close to Grisman, possibly David Nichtern.

- JGMS 1974-08-15, Great American Music Hall: trumpet player

- JGMS "1974-09-01", Keystone, Berkeley: trumpet player. The Pure Jerry release (#4) is a composite of more than one show, so the date is a little hard to pin. The trumpet player is only partly unidentified, as I understand that his first name was Michael.

- JGMS 1974-09-02, Golden Gate Park: second horn player, maybe Snooky Flowers?

- JGMS 1974-10-27, Golden Bear, Huntington Beach: circulating tapes list the guests as Ringo and Maria Muldaur. I only know of one Ringo, but have no idea if this is him. Need to revisit.

- JGMS 1974-12-28, Golden Bear, Huntington Beach: attendee RD comments that a trumpeter blew some at the end of "Freedom Jazz Dance". Need to check tape.

- JGB 1977-01-29, 1977-01-30, Keystone, Berkeley: there is a rhythm guitar player. I now know who this was, but am saving it for the book.

- JGB 1977-04-09, Keystone Palo Alto: again, a second guitarist. As with 1/29 and 1/30.

- Reconstruction 1979-01-30, Keystone, Berkeley: female vocal accompanist on "Do I Move You?"


  1. I have a lot of comments on this post, but I'll limit my first one to Keystone 7-12-74. Locomotiv GT was a Hungarian rock group, who played in a heavy Led Zeppelin-prog rock kind of style. It doesn't seem like a natural fit.

    Paul Pena played in a pretty bluesy style, and was friendly with Garcia, so its more plausible. On the other hand, he mostly played solo and was also blind. Its a bit of a stretch to sit in for blind musicians with loud music, because so many cues are visual, but its not impossible.

    If Grisman was there, I'd be more inclined to suspect a guitarist friend of Grisman's--David Nichtern perhaps?

  2. re: 7/12/74 ... yeah, good point. Maybe even Nelson.

    re the early '77 ones, I have often wondered if it's John Rich, who plays pedal steel on 12/22 and 12/23/76. I have been desperate to find information about him, but the John Rich that comes up in search results is the latter half of the country duo Big & Rich, and I don't think that's him.

  3. I think there are some extra musicians on the 12/20/72 Keystone Berkeley (aka Lions Share 12/28/72) show. I have the tape in a box somewhere.

    The Jerry Site lists Roger Troy (whom I don't count as a guest, exactly, in this context), Danny Cox on guitar and "unknown" on "horn." I think the horn is a trumpet, so its another lost trumpet piece.

    Danny Cox was a not-that-interesting singer songwriter. Merl produced one of his albums about 1971 (Jerry didn't play on it).

  4. One likely candidate for a lot of the trumpet playing would be Luis Gasca. Gasca was a character's character, and an excellent trumpet player who didn't record that much. Originally from Texas, he had played with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and others, and ended up in San Francisco in the late 1960s.

    Gasca had a residency at a Broadway club called Andre's, and all the musicians hung out there, particularly the Santana band. Jerry Garcia definitely hung out there, but whether just a few times or often is unclear. In any case, there was a big after hours jam scene with heavy players at Andre's.

    Gasca was an influential musician to a lot of SF rockers, because he had been around. He worked with Janis Joplin at one point, and he played trumpet on the studio recording of "Mexicali Blues", but his name doesn't come up much. The one album he recorded during that period (For Those Who Chant on Blue Thumb, 1971), supposedly on Santana's studio time, has a heavyweight cast and is way out of print. Apparently, the party got the better of him and he dropped out of music, but he was a scenemaker and a player at the time.

    Gasca is still alive and well, but for a long time he pretended he wasn't, which should give you an idea of what a character he was.

  5. I'm my own grandpa here, but if you read through the comment thread on the Wolfgang's Vault 10-2-73 JGMS show, the suggestion that Bill Atwood is the trumpet player comes from me. Prior to my comment, they had it as a question mark.

    I don't know that for a fact--it could just as well be Joe Ellis, Luis Gasca or any other mystery characters.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. WRT the 10/2/73 trumpeter--Has anyone ever seen a picture of the Fall 73 Dead tour with the horn players? The assumption that it was Martin Fiero and Joe Ellis probably comes from Deadbase, and their source for that was, um, me. They were on Doug Sahm's album, so I assumed they toured with them.

    I am now contradicting myself. Is the internet great or what? Why was I so sure it was Atwood at Winterland? Who knows.

    Probably we should just start over. No one really recalls who played trumpet with the Dead in 1973, so we--or should I say I--are (am) just making assumptions based on assumptions.And we all know what happens when we assume...

  8. Now you're your own grandpa and his rival. ;-)

    Hopefully once the UCSC archives open up there'll be contracts and other documentation. I'll poke around to see what I can find in the meantime.

  9. 12-28-74 Legion of Mary at the Golden Bear:
    I remember a trumpet player stepped up mid-set and asked Jerry if he could sit in and Jerry said "Sure!" During the punches at the end of Freedom Jazz Dance, he launched into an excruciating off-key squealing solo and wouldn't stop! Jerry was shaking his head in disbelief and dismay but graciously didn't cut him off and let him finish his butchering, but did step forward right away to say "Thanks, man" when the song ended. The guy was sweating like a pig and appeared to be pretty drunk and I imagine that was the end of his collaborations with Jerry and Co.

  10. As a tangent to the Led Zeppelin reference above (I would have added this to comments on one of a couple LLD posts, but LLD doesn't have an anonymous option to post), Wall's bio of the band at pp. 169-170 notes that the band's March 1970 tour was billed as "An Evening with Led Zeppelin." The band's manager Peter Grant said he came up with this "corny" tag based on an"old Thirties stage line" and his experience as a "fourteen year-old stage hand." It looks like "An Evening with the Grateful Dead" started to show up later in 1970, including in Lydon's September 1970 Rolling Stone article. Any connections between the two on this?

    The author also writes that this billing would allow Led Zeppelin "to play for as long as they wished each night, setting entirely new precedents for spontaneous live performance no rock artist - not Cream, not Hendrix, not the Stones, no one - had ever attempted before."

  11. The An Evening With The Grateful Dead show is very interesting to me. I have written about it a time or two, most extensively in discussing the first date under the format, 5/1/70 (m/d/yy):

    Thank you for illuminating the history of the concept, and its then-recent deployment by Zeppelin of the format.

    So, one possibility is that the Dead (maybe the recently-arrived road manager Sam Cutler) saw Zep doing it and borrowed it. A mimetic process. And there are plenty of reasons for the GD of ca. spring 1970 to be looking around for viable business models. Not least, because they themselves lacked one, and it was biting them in the ass to the tune of however-much-it-was they owed in March 1970 when Lennie absconded and the true (and parlous) state of their business affairs was fully revealed. It was catastrophic ... anyone know the amount off-hand? So they needed a model, and it's my sense that they brought Cutler in in part to provide a modicum of order on the business side. So he was probably looking around. And I am sure he had a pretty good sense of what the English bands were up to.

    That's the likeliest scenario to me. Another intriguing possibility is that the concept of the An Evening With show format was independently rediscovered an unknown number of times. It happens all the time in science, and sometimes involves not just rediscovery, but initial discovery. Garcia, for one, had at least some concept of the music/entertainment industry from his father, probably thought about it while listening to the Grand Ole Opry with his grandmother (Tillie, right?), and of course had already founded the Grateful Dead, was helping launch the New Riders, was increasingly dabbling around in outside musical ventures (Howard Wales), etc. etc. And all of these guys were freaky weird amateur folklorists ... hell, maybe Nelson or Hunter or Bobby Peterson or someone else came up with it.

    Or, it could be a little bit of both. :)

    But, again, thanks for your comment. This makes me want to investigate the history of AEWTGD a little more.

  12. That is an interesting observation, and one I hadn't noticed before - but it's true, on some tapes of Led Zeppelin's March/April 1970 shows, the announcer starts the show by saying, "We present an evening with Led Zeppelin." And by Aug/Sep 1970, they were using "An Evening With Led Zeppelin" on their posters.

    Coincidence or borrowing, who knows? "An evening with..." doesn't seem like such an unusual idea for any band that's decided to tour without openers & play extra-long shows.

    I think the Dead beat Led Zeppelin to the acoustic-sets idea, though! Zeppelin didn't start doing the 2-or-3-song acoustic interlude in their shows until about August 1970.

    It's funny, too, that the Zeppelin biographer writes that Zeppelin's ability to play as long as they wanted each night was "unprecedented"... Considering the Dead already had a reputation for playing til dawn, at least on the East coast!

  13. When I first read the quote, I expectd that AEWTGD was going to precede AEWLZ and that it was just Grant hyperbole. That didn't seem to be the case, though, based on the AEWTGD dates. While an "Evening with..." doesn't seem to be too unusual, it was interesting that Grant provided a basis for using that title for their shows. I do think the quote on "setting entirely new precedents" was over the top...but I am also a huge fan of Zeppelin from 1970-1975

  14. I love a lot of the albums, but I have never been able to dig too many of their live shows. I think I just haven't heard great recordings. Lots of boomy audience tapes, and then the few sbds I have all seem to be compressed (lots of noise reduction) and just weird-sounding to me. Before CDs I had the live record and saw the video a few times, but they always sounded like crap to my ears.

    What would you recommend in terms of a live recording that really captures Zeppelin at a peak?


  15. I collected Zeppelin tapes before I got into the Dead - still like their 1970-71 shows especially. (The 1973 live album is about as good a representation of live Zeppelin as Steal Your Face was of the Dead...)
    It's true that there are many poor recordings of early Zeppelin. The Live at the BBC CD has (most of) a good 1971 BBC show; and the How the West Was Won CD compiles two 1972 shows in very good sound. The recent DVD set has the famed professionally-recorded 1/9/70 show, among many other later snippets.
    As for boots, I recall 9/14/71 Berkeley being especially magical, although maybe it was just the time I heard it - it's one of those boomy AUDs - and 9/29/71 Tokyo, a so-called 'stage tape,' is very well-regarded (you can hear the band talking to each other between songs, plus it's the best show of that tour).
    Well, I'll leave it at that, since I haven't listened to Zep tapes in a long time, but I know there are a lot of good-sounding SBDs available; I'm sure Anonymous can name many more.
    This is one good guide (though it doesn't particularly name the best-sounding shows) -

  16. I'll just add that, though '71 is my own favorite year for Zeppelin, I also like the young fast-paced shows of '69 (there are some good SBDs like 4/27, 8/31, 10/10).
    A number of the band's SBD tapes from '73 and '75 have come out (mostly partial, and of varying quality), but there are a lot of excellent-sounding tapes from those years - sometimes revealing Plant with severe vocal problems, especially in the winter shows when he had the flu or something!
    But I'll say that Zep's sound crew did not take the same care over the tape mix that the Dead's crew did for theirs.

  17. My take on "An Evening With" is that the concept was a showbiz convention, but Zeppelin and the Dead--apparently in that order--applied it to rock. I think it wouldn't be hard to find numerous theatrical presentations in the 60s and before that advertised "An Evening With..." a famous act.

    The significance in the rock market was that up until 1969, all 'major' concerts had multiple acts. A lot of rock shows went on all night, as the proverbial saying goes, but several acts participated. I think if Zeppelin started using "An Evening With" to indicate a long show with no opening acts, promoters, radio djs and fans in different cities recognized the formulation when it was applied by the Dead.

    I'm inclined to believe that both Zeppelin and the Dead were adopting conventional showbiz formulations, but its no less significant to the rock market that two of the major rock acts of the 70s were the first to use 'An Evening With' to advertise a long show without an opener.

  18. How the West Was Won is an official release an has great sound - Disc one has a great sequence of songs. The Southhamption show from 1/22/73 is good.

    More history here:

  19. I just listened to 4/9/77 and can't add anything re the rhythm guitarist's identity, but I did want to add this: he(?) plays on every song (usually barely noticeable; you can hear him best when Garcia is soloing), but he also gets a short solo in "Tore Up" which to my ear sounds, um, frankly pretty "amateur" -- a lot of stock blues licks and a lot of clams and missed notes. I'd be surprised if it was a seasoned pro... which almost deepens the mystery, in a way.

  20. I'm Bill Atwood, and I recorded "Wake of the Flood" with the Dead in 1973 (I think) but I never toured or played live with them. The trumpet player live with Jerry & Co. is most surely Joe Ellis, who did work gigs with them.

    1. (Bill again) Also for what it's worth, it was me that gave the Janis gig to Luis. Her manager was WIlliam Morris in NY and they called me in 1969 and wanted me on a plane to NY the next day for Janis to do Ed Sullivan, and afterward, Woodstock. I was working steady in SFO and didn't want it because the $$ was less than I was making right at home.

  21. Bill, thank you so much for your contribution. I would love to read any recollections you have of working on Wake of the Flood - any chance you have old calendars from those days, and could provide specific dates/times/studios/songs? You can reach me by email at if you'd prefer. In the meantime, thank you again!

  22. Good to hear from Bill Atwood! And to hear that Joe Ellis was most likely the trumpet player with the Dead in Sep '73.

    Martin Fierro had a few words about the tour & recording Wake of the Flood in a radio interview years ago:
    "Of course when I did the tour with the Dead, I was actually touring with Sir Douglas Quintet, and [in] Sir Douglas we had a trumpet and a tenor sax, me playing saxophone. And we were opening for the Grateful Dead on the road. And so Jerry comes up to me and says, "hey man, you wanna start playing with us?" I says, "sure." "Okay, so you gotta start rehearsing with us." And we had some grueling rehearsals, we rehearsed like 6-7 hours everyday, because the Dead were very much rehearsal-prone, they would always be rehearsing, they would always be sharpening their knife, y'know, honing their skills and all that kind of stuff.
    As a matter of fact, I think the thing that is funny is that when we did Wake of the Flood, Jerry calls me up one day and he says, "hey, what are you doing?" I says, "nothing." "You think you could be in the studio in about 45 minutes?" "Why, what's going on?" He said, "Well, we're doing an album and I want you to play on it. And bring a trumpet player, too." I said, "all right," so the trumpet player lived underneath my apartment, in an apartment below me. So I brought Candy [???] with me and we did this recording session with the Dead at the Record Plant in Sausalito. And we put the whole thing together in like two hours, which is the way they just knocked it out -- I learned a song, then just we did it."

    Not sure who "Candy" might be; the transcriber may have mis-heard it.

  23. I thought I had posted this somewhere, but perhaps not... re Joe Ellis, here's another crumb that indicates that he actually was the Sept 73 trumpeter, from this Steve Parish interview:

    Caller: When I was 15 over in Marin County, I remember listening to local gigs of the Grateful Dead and there was horn section with them. Do you remember anything about that?
    Parish: I'm not trying to date your age or anything, but what year are you talking about?
    Caller: I'm talking about between '74 and '76.
    Parish: Okay. And the horn -- you're talking about --
    Caller: Hadi el-Sadoon and Steve Schuster would --
    Parish: Those guys would sit in occasionally. They were friends of ours, both of them, and local Marin County players. They did some recording with us too, around '74, Schuster did, and Hadi -- There were some other horn players around. There were always horn players around.
    Caller: The Furay Brothers. John Furay and some other guys, they all went to high school with me --
    Parish: They might have played or sat in with Jerry or something. I don't remember them too well, but there was a couple of interesting horn players that came in and out of our scene through Doug Sahm's band when we went on tour with him around that time. Joe [Ellis] was one of them. Martin Fierro, of course, would be a sax player that sat in with us.

    Parish could just be repeating the Deadbase info, but at least it's a confirmation of Joe Ellis that's coming from someone who was there. The bit about Hadi Al-Saddoon may be referring to the Keith & Donna band in 1975 (with Steve Schuster), but the mention of the "Furay brothers" adds another layer of mystery, however.

    Also, the "Candy" mystery (LIA's post above) is probably from my transcription of that interview. I don't know, it sounds like Fierro says "Candy" -- I was assuming it was a term of affection for someone, but it's definitely not much help.

    1. At Syracuse 1973-09-17 after Let Me Sing Your Blues Away Phil introduces "On tenor saxophone,soprano saxophone and various other wind instruments Martin Fierro, on trumpet and flugelhorn Joe Ellis."

      On the first night at Williamsburg after WRS he only introduces Fierro.

    2. Interesting ... is there only one horn in Williamsburg?

    3. Joe is audible the second night but I don't hear him on the 11th. It's easier to pick out the instrumentation on the AUD than the SBD.

    4. good catch on the 9/17/73 detail, runonguinness! I am also pretty sure that Martin is the only horn on 9/11/73.

  24. re: 7/12/74 -- This is too minor to post anywhere else, but too good to pass up: in Garcia's backstage interview on 10/2/77, Locomotiv GT actually comes up in conversation (at around 29:30 on the recording): “They’re not too good, they’re really loud. They played at the Keystone right on the same bill as my band. [everyone laughs] Kinda funny. Yeah, me and Merl. It was pretty funny.”

    So, if there was any lingering question whatsoever, it seems safe to say that no, the Locomotiv GT guitarist is not the mystery man on the 7/12/74 G/S show ;)

  25. I think there is a second sax player on the second set of GAMH 1974-02-05. He's particularly noticeable in the last two minutes of Funny Valentine.

    1. I haven't listened to that show in years. I will check it out - thanks!

  26. I updated this post, though admittedly I didn't go back into comments, which I will have to do.

  27. re: RD's comment above about the mystery trumpet player on 12/28/74 Freedom Jazz Dance -- there is definitely no guest trumpeter on the circulating tape labeled 12/28/74, which does have Freedom Jazz Dance on it. The 12/28 filset is one set, not sure if it's the early/late show -- so maybe it was the other show that evening (not likely, imho), or the tape is mislabeled, or the drunken guest trumpeter came up the night before (not the night after; 12/29/74 circulates in full and there's no FJD there at all).

  28. aaaand, [selfpromotion] I just posted a lengthy expose on 2/5/74 with the far-fetched theory that the 'guest' is actually Martin Fierro playing two saxophones at once, Roland Kirk style [/selfpromotion]

    1. I commented at nick's place that I think it's two separate saxes, per ROG's comment. Thanks for the tip, ROG! Fascinating that I had never picked up on this before. I am certainly prepared to be debunked, BTW - I provide some specific time stamps that led me to conclude that there are two separate players.

    2. I did some close relistening and, as farfetched as it may sound, I still think it's Martin playing 2 saxes at once on 2/5/74. I offer more evidence in the comments to the above blogpost.

  29. The Stuart Little Band was the house band for GAMH from 72-74. They have a harmonica player and a flutist. Could the harmonica player from that band be the guest on 7-19-73?

    1. Do you know any of the players in the Stuart Little, who might be tracked down and asked? I am sure some Google-fu might yield something, but I need to turn to other things. Corry probably knows the band and its permutations off the top of his head.


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