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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Phil Lesh pre-GD dates

Corry once posted about Mickey Hart's pre-GD days. And while this stuff isn't of particular interest to me, I have gathered a bit so I thought I might as well spill, too. Perhaps someone will be interested. I am sure it'll format badly, but, anyway, here's a list of pre-GD Phil Lesh gigs I have come up with. This has more information than Philbase.

Sorry this is so tiny, but if you had tried to paste this from Excel directly into Blogger, you'd throw out a tiny image, too.

NRPS: Bear's Lair, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, August 1, 1969

update: LIA has posted text from the various goings-on at the Family Dog On The Great Highway this night.

Corry at Lost Live Dead has just posted a GD/JG performance list from July-August 1969.

I don't have much to add, but since he mentions the New Riders of the Purple Sage gig(s) from August 1, 1969 at the Bear's Lair, UC Berkeley, I thought I'd post some scans that I have.

I especially like the one above ... "Jerry Garcia with Marmaduke", but the picture shows Jerry and Mickey Hart.


A few notes from all of this.

1) there seem to have been two shows, at 8:30 and 10:30

2) Mickey Hart was on drums (no surprise there), but as Corry notes we don't know who played bass. I'd have to guess Phil, but it's just a guess. update: Bob Matthews, I guess!

3) they appear not yet to be called the New Riders of the Purple Sage, though that's how I'll refer to this. As Corry notes, Ralph Gleason's "Ad Lib" column from August 6th first publicized that name.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reconstruction: August 10, 1979, Temple Beautiful, San Francisco, CA

I don't think I have blogged much about Reconstruction, the jazz-R&B-soul-funk-rock-disco outfit formed by John Kahn that performed in 1979 and that regularly "featured" Jerry Garcia on guitar. This is one of Garcia's most unusual side trips. It features lots of tunes that he had never done before and would never do again, with my favorites being instrumental numbers such as "Welcome to the Basement" (Saunders/Moore), "The Mohican and the Great Spirit" (Horace Silver), "Fast Tone" (Tony Saunders/Ed Neumeister), "Nessa" (?composer?), "Linda Chicana" (Mark Levine), "Sama Layuca" (McCoy Tyner) and "Another Star" (Stevie Wonder). It is also unusual in that this was Jerry's only relatively regular post-1975 excursion that didn't have his name on it. I have a lot to say on that general issue, but I'll save it for another time.

This particular show, on August 10, 1979 at the Temple Beautiful in San Francisco is one of my favorites.  Lost Live Dead has reported in characteristically informative fashion on the venue itself. It's a fascinating story. This show holds a special place in my heart, though, both because my friends Julie and John Anzaldo hooked up for good on this occasion and, especially, because the band ends the show with one of my favorite half-hours of Garcia music ever. Starting with McCoy Tyner's "Sama Layuca", they drift into a very spare space for a couple of minutes before Garcia starts picking some beautiful melodic stuff that morphs into one of the early Jerry versions of Dear Prudence. I used to say that the melodic passage contained Jerry's most beautiful stuff since the 2/18/71 "beautiful jam" between Dark Star and Wharf Rat, but I eschew such hyperbole here.

Bob Menke's tape is the best of the two circulating, though as I understand it a new transfer of the Phil Jaret tape may be in the offing, which is good news.

But I digress. My real purpose for posting was to seek identification of the unknown song that appears toward the end of the song.  I confess that I can't recall whether it's Ron Stallings or Gaylord Birch singing, but whoever it is it's the same guy who handles Reconstruction vocals besides Jerry. Anyway, it sounds kind of like an R&B standard, so I am hoping it'll be easy to identify.

Here's a link to a 25-second mp3 from the start of the song:  Unknown song link.

I have just been compiling a list of tunes that are represented among circulating Garcia on the Side recordings but that remain unidentified. So I expect that this will be a series of sorts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

GD/NRPS: May 28, 1971, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA (CANCELED)

In an earlier post I discussed the infamous May 29, 1971 Grateful Dead show at Winterland at which a large number of people reacted adversely to being dosed.

As Corry noted in comments, the Grateful Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage show scheduled for the night before (May 28, 1971) was canceled due to Jerry Garcia being ill. It was apparently rescheduled for May 30, 1971.

The amazing Gary L. Jackson is having his massive personal archive of SF-related music stuff scanned and shared by "Strength N. Numbers" at Facebook. This includes his personal diaries, which are really quite wonderful.  Anyway, here's the entry for May 28, 1971:

I only post this because, well, I like it. And also because it seems like things just weren't going fantastically well right around that time in the Bill Graham enterprise. So much so that the Winterland dosing incident is discussed in contemporary news pieces (some of which were pasted into, and are thus now reproduced in, Gary's diary) as a contributing factor to Graham's seemingly abrupt decision to close the Fillmore West.

Lots of people presumably know lots about this, of course, but I just thought it was worth dropping this part of the picture onto the canvas.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Garcia on Stephen Stills albums

Matt Scofield's discography, at, is one of those incredible community resources that I have vowed never to take for granted. It's amazing, obviously a labor of love, and it contains a wealth of information about the GD, Garcia, and lots of the related and contemporaneous acts, venues, albums and individuals of interest.

Here I'll just mention a few things that have not traditionally been represented there regarding Garcia's work with Stephen Stills. This information comes from an interview with Jerry conducted, I think, in March of 1981 and published in the amazing British 'zine Swing '51 (1). Both quotes are from page 26.

Regarding Stephen Stills 2, deaddisc has traditionally said that "Garcia possibly plays pedal steel on one track." Matt has now included what follows on the site, but unless Jerry is talking out his ass it doesn't sound like there's much doubt about what's what. Here's what Jerry told Ken Hunt of Swing 51: "that's me playing pedal steel [on 'Change Partners'] and there's an uptempo tune on that LP that I played on." Steve Silberman has told me that Change Partners is a well-known Garcia appearance despite being uncredited, though I don't know where things stand in terms of the "uptempo tune" that Jerry mentions (nor which tune it is - I don't own the album yet).

Regarding Manassas, deaddisc has recently included this Garcia quote from the Swing 51 article, though indicating that things are still uncertain: "There are a couple of tunes on there where I play pedal steel and maybe even guitar on one, but there's at least two that I'm not credited on. But I did the sessions and it's me playing." Silberman is much more enthusiastic about this possibility, suggesting that has been previously unknown. He also reports that while Al Perkins probably did most of the (and arguably the finest) steel work on Manassas, the style suggests that Jerry might well be playing on "Jesus Gave Away Love For Free."

We may never know. Garcia describes working with Stills in the studio in this way:

Sometimes they were very weird experiences. Like, for [Stephen Stills 2 and Manassas] I didn't know what records they were for or anything. The way Stills worked at the time was he just accumulated endless tracks. He worked on dozens of tunes. He actually flew me into Florida for a week, me and Ramrod, my equipment guy, with my pedal steel and guitars. I went down there and did sessions at the weirdest hours! Stills had two teams of engineers, two shifts. The way he worked in the studio was totally crazy. At the time he was really happenin', really doing well, could afford it easily. They were not only studies in over-indulgence, but there was some pretty OK music too!

Anyone know the dates that Jerry was down in Florida for this? :)

Anyway, as is the typical MO here, I am mostly just putting this down so I don't forget it. Best thing about a blog, far and away.

Hunt, Ken. 1983. Jerry Garcia: Folk, Bluegrass and Beyond [part II]. Swing 51 no. 7: pp. 22-28.

The other Warlocks

So the story I have preserved in my memory about the Warlocks' change of name in 1965 says that it was proximately caused by Phil Lesh's discovery of another local band using the name. I also have it in my head that the existence of these other Warlocks remains mysterious. I would put money on the fact that I am wrong on the latter count, especially.

Just in case, I thought I'd just note that the "chit chat" column of the Oakland Tribune, October 23, 1965, p. 7B makes mention of a local battle of the bands in which one of the competitors is The Warlocks, from Encinal High. (The column also has information on a tiddly winks contest, I shit you not ... no wonder that world was turned upside down by psychedelics. But I digress.)

Anyway, again, I am sure this is well-known, but I didn't know it, so I post it here for my own reference.

The New Peanut Butter Sandwich: October 16, 1966, Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

Having just posted about Garcia's October 1966 sit-in with Big Brother and the Holding Company, I'll follow on with what is even more interesting-sounding (though it apparently didn't come off that well).

Mojo Navigator R&R News no. 9 (October 17, 1966) gives a brief account of the evening, which apparently included a configuration ("One Night Only!", I assume) called The New Peanut Butter Sandwich, composed of the following (instruments are mostly presumed):

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (GD): ?organ?
Jerry Garcia (GD): guitar;
David Getz (BBHC): drums;
David Freiberg (QMS): bass;
?? (Sir Douglas Quintet): rhythm guitar;
Gary Duncan (QMS): guitar;
John Cipollina (QMS): guitar;
?? ("negro blues singer"): ??.

The only other detail is that "They did a very long and boring pseudo-Butterfield blues instrumental." Not clear what the blues singer was doing sitting in on an instrumental, but anyway ... sounds interesting!

Jerry sitting in with Big Brother, October 1966: which date?

Lost Live Dead posted about a Garcia sit-in with Big Brother and the Holding Company on October 15, 1966. Based on the context of an account in Mojo Navigator no. 9 (October 17, 1966), I am going to argue that this is incorrect. According to MN, this all happened on a Sunday, while 10/15 was a Saturday.

The actual date is probably October 16th, though October 9th deserves some consideration.

Here's the operative part of the MN account:

On the 6th of October there was a rally in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle with the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Co., and the Wildflower, followed last Sunday by another Panhandle festival, the Artists [sic?] Liberation Front's Free Fair. Bands appearing were the Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish. ... After the Fair the Family Dog held its first anniversary dance at Avalon, with Big Brother & the Holding Company, sounding great, the Sir Douglas Quintet, sounding terrible, the Oxford Circle, the 13th Floor Elevators, and a couple of jam groups. Jerry Garcia played one song with the Holding Company, which came off extremely well ...

My first thought was that this was October 9th, not October 16th. Here's why.

In American English (unlike, say, French), we usually reserve a phrase like "last Sunday" for something that was more than a day ago. If Sunday was the day prior, we'd just say "yesterday", with "last Sunday" being 8 days prior. Even out 2-3 days I would refer to "this past Sunday" rather than "last Sunday", though this may be my own idiosyncracy.

Sorry to be pedantic (but I'll continue, anyway). Th context of the quote above could be taken to imply October 9th, for two reasons. First, the linkage of the ALFFF event to the October 6th event with the "followed" formulation implies to me that they were closer in time than ten days. Second is the "last Sunday" formulation. This MN was published on Monday, October 17, 1966, and therefore probably written on 10/16. Even if it was written during the day on 10/17, I find the "last Sunday" formulation unlikely to refer to the previous day.

I was originally leaning toward October 9th, but two things militate strongly against (and/or in favor of 10/16).

First, there is the GD date at the Fillmore Auditorium on October 9th. I don't know what evidence there is for this, but I assume it's strong given how impressively things tend to be nailed down for the main ballroom gigs. The logistics also seem to militate against all of these things having happened on the same day. Hard to imagine they could do the Golden Gate Park thing, the Fillmore thing, and the Avalon thing in the same day, unless this was a morning-afternoon-night arrangement. The context given in MN makes this less likely ... in the quote's ellipsis is reference to the fact that it was a warm afternoon. I take all of this as pretty strong against 10/9.

Second, Chicken on a Unicycle shows Big Brother at the Avalon on 10/15-16, but not on 10/9. Having recently spent a lot of time with Ross and Corry's careful research, I have great faith that all of this is correct.

In short, despite the fact that I find the construction of the account to be strange, I think I have to go with 10/16.  I'll post shortly about the next Jerry-on-the-side (JOTS, interchangeable with GOTS when I am in a last-name mood) thing from this same night.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

JGMS: July 11, 1973, Keystone, Berkeley, CA

A while back I did a little miniseries linking the July 1973 Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders shows at Keystone Berkeley to the official releases. I did it from the show perspective and from the album perspective. I.e.,

July 10, 1973: what goes on which albums;
Live at Keystone, vol. 1 (CD): which songs come from which dates;
Live at Keystone, vol. 2 (CD): which songs come from which dates;
Live at Keystone, Encores (CD): which songs come from which dates

Looks like I forgot to turn it around for July 11th, so I'll do that here. Here is where 7/11 songs ended up on the CD releases, based on the most complete circulating copy of the show.

--Set I--
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (1)
Finders Keepers (1)
One Kind Favor (3)
That's Alright Mama (2*)
Harder They Come (4)
My Funny Valentine (2)
(MISSING Money Honey)

--Set II--
(MISSING Someday Baby)
Merl's Tune (1**)
Like a Road (2)
How Sweet It Is (3)

 - The parenthesized numbers refer to officially released (CD) material:
(1) appears on Live at the Keystone, vol. 1 (Fantasy FCD 7701-2)
(2) appears on Live at the Keystone, vol. 2 (Fantasy FCD 7702-2)
(3) appears on Keystone Encores (Fantasy FCD 7703-2)
(4) not on any of the releases
- * TAM on the album comes in at 5:19 of this version.
- ** Merl's Tune from 6:27-10:11 on this version supplies the "Space" track on volume 1 of the official releases.

JGMS: January 15, 1972, Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA

I have been needing to revisit recordings of the very early Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders stuff, and with a bit of time I thought I'd give this show, from a Saturday in mid-January 1972 at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco, some attention on its birthday. I am not sure who's drumming ... could have been Bill Vitt or could have been Kreutzmann .. anyone know? Anyway, it's a quartet, with Jerry, Merl, John and the percussionist.

The existing recording is actually mostly quite nice despite the lineage of MAR > 2 cassettes > digitalia, except for early in set II ("I Was Made to Love Her", "That's The Touch I Like", and "Who's Loving You Tonight?") when there is some awful warbling and such. Also, listener SP at DNC says that there are speed problems, which doesn't surprise me at all. I'd sure love to see this particular master (and any of its contemporaries!) come into the light. It's historically very important, as is every bit, piece and fragment of this early Jerry-on-the-side stuff.

"How Sweet It Is" starts things off and is a pretty complete trainwreck. This is the earliest version (of 449 as of this writing) listed at Jerrybase, and even if there are earlier ones I doubt there are many ... it certainly sounds like this is a rough draft of what would become a Garcia-on-the-Side (maybe I'll just coin GOTS right now) staple.

After that rough start things do about a 180, both in terms of the possibilities being explored and their success -- "Save Mother Earth," a Saunders composition, is a freaking monster. It starts off within the structure of the song and pretty thoroughly maps that terrain for awhile before dropping off into *deep* space for a couple of minutes from 7:45. This is not unlike contemporary Grateful Dead deep space, and even has some proto-Tigering going on. I have to check the timings on this, but at one point Garcia starts strumming a sad, slow thing that I think might be "Imagine" ... you can hear him say something to the rest of the band (couldn't quite make it out), and then he changes tack and returns to the SME theme to end. Here's a great little piece of context (the revelation of which is one of the reasons I love audience recordings): after the song, a little kid, maybe 4 or 5 by the sound of it, exclaims "I don't know about that!" A woman (presumably mom) repeats the exclamation as a query and chuckles. It's awesome. The kid's mind has been blown, he's not sure what to make of it (and in any case he occupies that deeply psychedelic realm known as the child's mind), and he can't contain himself. The fact that he's there at all, one of the relatively few (less than about 300, which IIRC was about the capacity of the KK), is pretty neat all by itself.

"One Kind Favor" follows this up with the slinkiest, swampiest, spookiest country blues you have ever heard. I absolutely love this song, and I love the GOTS versions much more than the few (ca. 1966) GD versions in circ ... much slower and darker. "Expressway" is a wonderfully compact little barn-burner (not the lonnnggg trip it would become in a few years), and "Mystery Train" ends set I with some terrific rockabilly, done much more Elvis style (and complete with the repeated "sixteen sixteen coaches long" bit) than it sound later on.

"Train to Cry" bores me (blasphemy alert) and I can't really judge the next three songs because of the tape problems. Thank God whomever is taping changed batteries or whatever for what comes next, because it is a truly monumental "Man-Child," the Merl Saunders composition. If you don't know this number, go check it out. This song puts me in mind of a Sioux warrior in South Dakota, maybe only his ghost blowing through a high plains butte, but with a heroin-tinged urban twist. . Anyway, this is some very deep, dark and contemplative stuff. Jerry again flirts with the Tiger around the 15-minute mark. (I have it on good authority, from Peter Lavezzoli over on DNC, that the Tiger nearly appears in late '71 GD and makes a certain appearance on 3/23/72, so this is right in that window ...) There's a couple of minutes of deep space, the theme returns and is worked out, and then from 22 minutes in or so there's a beautiful engagement with "Summertime". That theme is crystal clear right before the 25 minute mark, and remains the basic thematic driving force for the rest of the tune, which clocks in around 32 minutes. Whew! Definitely two snaps up -- check it out.

The Jerry Lee Lewis number "She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye" follows, with its somewhat more melancholy feel than I might expect from that author, for what little I know. It reminds me a lot of "Long Black Limousine." "Hi-Heel Sneakers" is a lot of fun and definitely works well in the context of a small club gig. Not sure anyone needed to bring their boxing gloves, but you never know.

A very rare (on tape) reading of "Tupelo Honey" follows ... it gets a wow from me for rarity, but not being a big Van fan I can say it doesn't knock me out. It reminds me a lot of "Crazy Love", which is fine, but I am just as glad that "And It Stoned Me" became the latter-day GOTS stape, rather than either of the other two. This song, though, is a reminder to me of how substantially overlapping the Van and Jerry circles were at this time. I know that Ozzie Ahlers and Daoud Shaw, both of whom would materialize in JGBs of the early 80s, both played with Van around this time. The Lion's Share was everyone's favorite haunt. I wonder why the never played together (if, indeed, they didn't)?

"That's Alright Mama" closes without much of a bang for this listener, though Jerry does go on a few pretty good tears.

All in all, very enjoyable. Check it out for the rarities, but keep it and return to it for the playing in the Saunders compositions "Save Mother Earth" and "Man-Child." Very deep, exploratory stuff going on there that would stand up well to some of the deepest explorations of the 1972 vintage GD (though not for as long, to be sure).

Listening to this also reminds me not to take the tapes we have for granted. As much as I try to hunt down new-to-me stuff, it's useful to remember that we are already blessed with a non-trivial amount of stuff to hear, even from this early in the game. Thanks to AJL for supplying this recording. And, recordist ... please ... come out, come out, wherever you are! Oh yeah, and don't forget to thank a taper while you're at it.

Mid-1975 album mixing at Heider's

Can you tell I am going through some fragments?

Anyway, this little tidbit, from August 1975, has me a bit puzzled. Which album is this? I just don't recall any Jerry-related work at Heider's at this time.

The Grateful Dead might have been referred to in this way at this time (they had played the SNACK Benefit in March and the Bob Fried Memorial in June billed this way, IIRC), and the timeline just about works for Blues for Allah, which was released in September. But I don't recall any Heider's connection (though I see from deaddisc that Stephen Barncard is thanked in the liner notes). It says that the album was mastered at Artisan Sound Recorders, an outfit with which I am not familiar. This seems like the likeliest candidate, to me.

Reflections seems unlikely, both because this is too early for mixing and because according to Matt Scofield's amazing resource (see link on album title) it was mixed at His Master's Wheels.

Just not sure.

Garcia first solo album, tidbit

Not sure whatever became of this ... am I missing something? The only Douglas Records release with Jerry that I know of is Hooteroll? I don't recall any direct Commander Cody involvement with Jerry, on-stage or in-studio. File under "maybe was" or something like that, I guess.

Wally Heider's, July 1971

Of course, we already knew that Jerry was recording Garcia in July of 1971 (though I have never been able to find any precise dates, and Bob Mathews won't answer my queries). We also already knew that Heider's was absolutely happening. I keep hoping that someday Steve Silberman will write a book about the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (PERRO) scene, because while we have a lot of the fragments it really hasn't been put together comprehensively, either in terms of the empirics or in terms of an analysis, e.g., in terms of San Francisco music.

Anyway, this little mention from Billboard just reminds me. Presumably the Airplane album referenced is Sunfighter, the GD album is Skullfuck, and of course Jerry's is Garcia (1972), with all of which Jerry would have been involved.

The rest don't involve Jerry playing directly, but of course there are a million connections. Pretty remarkable that Jerry and Van never seem to have played together, given how intense the overlap is between their scenes (in terms of venues and players -- there's a long post to be done about that). (Playing as I type, serendipitously: "Tupelo Honey" by Garcia & Saunders, 1/15/72.) Mike Finnegan would later play with Maria Muldaur, perhaps at the same time as John Kahn. Brewer & Shipley of course had hosted Jerry for Tarkio and all the rest.

Again, nothing we didn't already know, but just a small snapshot into a seemingly healthy, relatively happy, and certainly productive time in Garcia's life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hartbeats: October "1969" misidentification

I just briefly posted some time back with an image of the Matrix poster that I bought myself. I have now had it framed and I have to say that it looks wonderful. The nice thing about having obscure taste is that some of the stuff that really interests me (e.g., New Riders) has less of a premium on it than more mainstream items (e.g., related to the Grateful Dead).

Sort of in conjunction, I picked up Grushkin's Art of Rock. "My" poster is in there at plate 2.118, but it is misidentified as 1969. I think this might account for the October 1969 listings that show up on lists based on Gary Jackson's Matrix Concerts data (e.g., at I had suspected that these were a duplication of the October '68 dates, and now am about 99% sure. Not sure the direction of causality (i.e., Grushkin -> Jackson or Jackson > Grushkin), but it's immaterial. As of now, I am no longer listing Garcia and Friends at the Matrix in October of 1969.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GD: May 16, 1969, Campolindo High School, Moraga, CA

(From the 1969 Campolindo yearbook -- thanks to Marcus Buick for the scan!)

--Caveat Lector: the really colorful account that follows seems to be somewhere between partly and wholly fictionalized. It's still a good read. Please read it as a story of what might have been.--

Campolindo High School (Moraga, CA) is my alma mater. Below are the recollections of the gentlemen --Evan Hunt-- who [claims to have] organized the Grateful Dead concert there on May 16, 1969. If you have ever been to Moraga, CA, and can imagine what it must have been like in 1969, this scene is absolutely hilarious (but for some mildly offensive language -- not mine!). In any case, if you love this kind of history and the English language, I have to think that this bit will knock you out (so good I'll reproduce it twice)!

-->There were hundreds of longhaired, dope-smoking zonked-out young kids writhing around in the dirt between parking strips. The cops consisting of four off duty sheriffs reserves were hopelessly beleaguered by  banshee-cheering maniacal Deadheads, and flanked by frantic bouffant coiffured housewives pleading with anyone who could still stand for decorum and decency. Marijuana smoke rollicked out of the ceiling fans. Cans of dayglo paint were slathered against school walls. Terror ruled the hearts of most. There was virtual pandemonium. People of all sorts of dress and persuasion were staggering about mumbling into the vinegar sky. They'd all been dosed with Owsley LSD unsuspectingly lying wait in ladles of pink lemonade punch.
Anyway, the whole account follows. Happy reading.
Here's the story of the Grateful Dead at Campolindo—hope you’re not easily bored.

It was early 1969, maybe January, I was attending Diablo Valley College and involved in student activities such as concerts and dances. Some of my friends were in rock bands and asked me to get them gigs at DVC. I became more and more involved in booking and auditioning local talent and often went around to the high schools and frats to drum up business. As a result, I got to meet lots of people and listen to a lot of music.  Since early 1966 I went to the city and/or Berkeley at least once a week to hear the latest acts that came to the bay area and that played the most popular venues at the time-- Fillmore (& Fillmore west), Avalon Ballroom, The Family Dog, and The Matrix.

Some friends of friends (I don't recall their names) were students at Campolindo High in Moraga. They wanted to hire the Grateful Dead to play at their spring concert, but all of their efforts fell flat because the Dead’s management didn't want to play at some suburban, teenybop high school. The Campo crowd had planned the date for May 16th and it was locked into the school's calendar. Here they'd spent all this time telling everybody in school that they were going to get the Dead, and they had no Dead. In the meantime, they signed Frumious Bandersnatch--a local band from Lafayette that had a considerable following, and they also signed school faves The Velvet Hammer to be on the concert bill.

One of the students on the concert committee found my name and number in the "Band Folder" and called me at DVC to ask me if I knew anyway to get in contact with the Dead. So, I went early to where the Dead were playing in S.F. and hung around outside until I spotted the Dead’s manager. I had seen him before at Dead shows and I knew his name--Danny Rifkin--and I walked up to him and explained the situation. He gave me his phone number and a week later I went to the Dead’s office in the Haight. Rifkin was very nice to me, but told me that the Dead were already booked May 16. I asked if there was any possibility that they had a cancellation for that date to call me. I also asked him how much the dead would charge to play a high school dance--the figure was a whopping $3,000.00, which was an extremely high price for those days--but Campolindo had to make it worth the Dead’s while, and, to their credit, they did.

A month went by. February became March. Out of the blue, Rifkin called and told me that the Dead’s tour itinerary had changed and they were free for May 16. I contacted the concert committee, arranged the contracts, and did the legwork.

The committee was supposed to give me $60.00 as a finder's fee, four free tickets, and a backstage pass for me and my girlfriend (who was a senior at Acalanes--my alma mater, too!). I never did get the 60 bucks, and when I tried to use the backstage pass the Dead’s roadies wouldn't let me in. so, we went out front to join the masses. The bleachers were pulled out, but it was festival seating on the floor.

In the gym the acoustics were dreadful. Velvet Hammer opened and were okay (more on them later). Frumious Bandersnatch was next and they were as good as any band could sound under those circumstances. The bass player was another Acalanes class of '67 grad you've probably heard of--Ross Valory--of Journey fame. Later that year, they released a record in the bay area that actually sold a few thousand copies, but they never went anywhere with their act.

Sadly I cannot supply much info about the Dead’s performance other than it was pretty awful. I think they were enroute to Seattle on their tour and really mucked-up on acid. I don't even remember one song except "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" off their first album. Me and my girlfriend left before the show ended. What we observed outside before the last Garcia solo will forever be etched in the grainy netherlands of my cerebral cortex. But there were the Dead’s people grabbing little teenaged girls who were barely in bleeding stage, and throwing them into the back of the 'quipment van and were helping themselves carnally. The girls did not seem afraid so we moved on about our business.

Though Campolindo made a lot of money from ticket sales the gym floor was thrashed by cigarette butts and Thunderbird wine bottles. There were hundreds of longhaired, dope-smoking zonked-out young kids writhing around in the dirt between parking strips. The cops consisting of four off duty sheriffs reserves were hopelessly beleaguered by  banshee-cheering maniacal Deadheads, and flanked by frantic bouffant coiffured housewives pleading with anyone who could still stand for decorum and decency. Marijuana smoke rollicked out of the ceiling fans. Cans of dayglo paint were slathered against school walls. Terror ruled the hearts of most. There was virtual pandemonium. People of all sorts of dress and persuasion were staggering about mumbling into the vinegar sky. They'd all been dosed with Owsley LSD unsuspectingly lying wait in ladles of pink lemonade punch.

What did I get out of it? Funny. The lead guitarist for Velvet Hammer caught my eye that night--he a skinny little 15 year old punk laying down these bodacious jazz licks. Nine years later I auditioned him in a group called "Climate" whom I managed into obscurity. Nonetheless the skinny lead guitarist from Velvet Hammer became a close friend and to this very day we write music together. My girlfriend married an Arab oil sheik. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OAITW: September 7, 1973, First Annual Harpers Ferry West Virginia Indian Summer Bluegrass Folk Music Festival, Harpers Ferry, WV (UNCERTAIN)

Man, what a mouthful some of these bluegrass festival names are. And what's with the "Indian Summer" thing? Scanning through Muleskinner News, it comes up a lot.

An ad in Muleskinner News v4 n8 (August 1973), p. 37, announces the titular festival and lists, among the acts for Friday, September 7 (12 noon to midnight) one Jerry Garcia. Vassar Clements is listed for the next day but not the 7th, and there are no other references that shed any light. Let's assume this would have been Old and in the Way.

We know that Jerry was in Passaic, NJ for a Garcia/Saunders gig at the Capitol Theatre on September 6th, and that the Grateful Dead were at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY on September 7th. The trajectory from Passaic (A) to Harpers Ferry, WV (B) to Uniondale (C) looks like this:

View Larger Map

Definitely not the most intuitive itinerary in the world. I don't know off hand when the GD came on on 9/7, nor what the airport situation might have been around Harpers Ferry, WV and Uniondale, NY.

Seems unlikely to me that old Spudboy would have been able to pull this one off, so I'll file this one under uncertain/unlikely.

OAITW: September 1-2, 1973, Blue Grass Park, Camp Springs (?), North Carolina

This is why I pick up old copies of Muleskinner News and such whenever I can.

It appears based on the image below that Old and in the Way played the "9th Labor Day Weekend Original Blue Grass Music Festival" in Camp Springs (?), North Carolina on September 1-2, 1973.

The only thing standing in the way of this possibility as things currently stand is the Garcia/Saunders outing dated September 2, 1973. I have long held that this date is erroneous. If you look at the liner notes to Merl Saunder's Keepers, it dates "Georgia on My Mind" and "Keepers (Finders)" as from The Record Plant on this date. Yet those tracks are identical to what circulates as a KSAN Broadcast (from ... you guess it ... the Record Plant in Sausalito) dated July 8, 1973. Now, I have no idea if the material was broadcast on September 2, re-broadcast on that date, or if there's just some error that led to this dating in the Keepers liner notes. But either way, I always had pre-existing doubts about this date.

Now comes some evidence that OAITW played a bluegrass festival in North Carolina over Labor Day weeked. It makes sense from a money perspective (I assume that as the "special guest" OAITW got well-paid,  relatively speaking). It makes sense from a logistical perspective: barring the 9/2/73 Record Plant thing, I have Garcia/Saunders at the Keystone on 8/31 and then in New York City Harbor for the Hell's Angels gig on September 5th. Heading east anyway for the GD tour, we know that Jerry did the SS. Bay Belle and the Capitol Theater on September 6th ... why not start a bit farther south, do a gig on Labor Day, have a good time, and then go up to the city?

Makes sense to me.

Any thoughts on the town name?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

GD: August 17, 1970, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA

I am sure this has been gone over many, many times over the years. I imagine that in the days before ubiquitous tapes and information the Playboy article "Grateful Dead I Have Known" by Ed McClanahan (1) was probably scrutinized very closely, like some Rosetta Stone capable of unlocking the 1970-era GD. That it was published in the national and widely available and read (or, "read" -- tee hee) magazine makes it even more likely that people would have analyzed it. But I think we can get more out of it than what I have found, so at the risk of reinventing the wheel I am going to plough ahead.

As Deadlists notes, this is definitely written in Beat style and plays fast and loose with things like chronology (as befits the Prankster author, I guess). Yet it's reasonably clear from the context of the article that the specific show that is discussed throughout the article is August 17, 1970 at the Fillmore West. I argue that we should be confident enough in this that we should use information from the article to fill out the Grateful Dead setlist from this show along the lines laid out below.

I'll proceed in three parts. First, I'll discuss why we should think of the show detailed by McClanahan as 8/17/70. Second, I'll consider the countervailing evidence. Third, I'll lay out a more complete setlist than is presently available, based on McClanahan 1972.

1) Arguments for 8/17/70: four observations and an upshot.

First, the show was at the Fillmore West.

Second, it was billed as "An Evening With the Grateful Dead" and followed the three-set structure of that format: acoustic Dead, New Riders, electric Dead. Deadlists places the beginning of this format (among circulating tapes) as May 1970.

Third, McClanahan notes that the show he discusses will be followed by two more: "reworking my notes on last night's three sets at the Fillmore ... Jerry played all three sets ... and will do the same tonight and again tomorrow night." I don't think he explicitly says this is only a three-show run, but that's what I am inferring.

Fourth, partly based on this, the evidence points in favor of this being the August 1970 run at Fillmore West. Recall that the Grateful Dead played four stands at the Fillmore West in 1970: February 5-6-7-8; April 9-10-11-12; June 4-5-6-7; August 17-18-19.

We can rule out the February and April runs because they didn't follow the "Evening With ..." format.

The June shows can't be ruled out with 100% confidence, but I see three reasons that cut against this run: 1) setlists McLanahan describes don't match setlists from the June '70 shows; 2) McLanahan (per point #3 above) seems to be referring to a three-night stand, while the June run is four nights; 3) he references songs from Workingman's Dead, which wouldn't be released until later in the month. (True, he could be looking back from the perspective of what he knew when writing the article, but from the context he seems to be speaking from the perspective of his contemporary notebook.) #1 is probably most important, and it's where I am at greatest risk of being infected by material outside the article (e.g., Deadlists).

The upshot is this: in order to think that we are in the realm of a specific, coherent show, we have to trust a Prankster. On this score, I don't doubt the utility of McClanahan's account as much as Deadlists seems to. Here's what Deadlists says:

He doesn't get all the details right (or necessarily mean to -- he doesn't aim to publish a setlist) and it's definitely self-indulgent writing in the manner of Hunter Thompson & Tom Wolfe, but he does catch a hint of the flavor of the venue and the event, if from a tourist's point of view.

I think it's actually much more precise than that *on the particular issue of the setlist for a specific show*. McClanahan makes a point of saying that he is carefully noting the shows in his "Official Accuracy Reporter's Notebooks". He is very precise in describing the components of the "Evening With ..." format and in enumerating the songs that go with each part.

Finally, what he describes makes *perfect* sense based on what we know about setlist structures from the era.

Putting all that together, I believe that the show in question is the first show of the August 1970 "Evening with the Grateful Dead" run at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, i.e., August 17, 1970.

2) Counterarguments/evidence

First, McClanahan says "tonight's the first time the Dead have tried a strictly acoustic set on the Fillmore Audience." I don't believe this is true, for I believe that they did this during the June 1970 run. So this line would point in the direction of the June shows. But, again, we have reasonably complete setlists of the June 1970 GD sets, and what McClanahan describes isn't one of them.

Second, there is the issue of the tape that Deadlists (and thereby the LMA) associates with this date:

It is an 11-minute audience-recorded fragment that includes "Let Me In (83968's My Dad)," "Attics of My Life," and "Friend of the Devil". Deadlists points out that Teddy Goodbear and Dave Tamarkin both feel this is from an east coast show, and leaves this an open question. I have no view on this. If the material is from this show, it does not support the 8/17/70-as-described-by-McClanahan thesis, since none of these songs are from Workingman's Dead. (Though it is possible that McClanahan is trustworthy as far as he goes, but just incomplete, thus making room for these songs in the acoustic GD set he describes.)

Third is the issue of the Michael Lydon piece in Rolling Stone # 66 (2), which Deadlists ascribes to this show. The Lydon account is less complete than the McClanahan one, but they correlate nearly perfectly. There are two discrepancies, only one of which is particularly troubling. The first, minor one is that Lydon notes that David Nelson joins the acoustic Dead on mandolin about halfway through that set. McClanahan says nothing: let's just assume that he didn't notice. The second, more important, is that Lydon is quite specific in saying that the acoustic GD set begins with "Juggin'", i.e., Truckin', while McClanahan is quite specific in saying that it begins with Cumberland Blues and places Truckin' in the electric set. I can't reconcile this. I would be more inclined to buy that the show began with Truckin', or anyway that Truckin' was played acoustic rather than electric, but I honestly don't know. At this point it's just evidence contrary to my hypothesis.

Upshot: there is some evidence pointing away from my hypothesis, but on balance I'd say it is supported.

3) setlist as reconstructed from McClanahan 1972.

Anyway, I have gone too long already, so here's what I have come up with:

Acoustic Dead (Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Pigpen, Kreutzmann)
Cumberland Blues (opener)
New Speedway Boogie
Dire Wolf
"two or three others, mostly from the Workingman's Dead album"
Swing Low Sweet Chariot (last song)

New Riders of the Purple Sage (Garcia, Torbert, Nelson, Hart, Marmaduke)
Six Days on the Road (opener)
Dirty Business
Last Lonely Eagle
a Marmaduke "yodeler"
Honkey Tonk Women (last song)

Electric GD (as GD acoustic, plus Hart)
Dancing in the Streets
Mama Tried
It's a Man's World
Not Fade Away
Uncle John's Band
Casey Jones ->
Turn on Your Lovelight

(1) McClanahan, Ed. 1972. Grateful Dead I Have Known. Playboy 19, 3 (March): 84-86, 108, 218-228.
(2) Lydon, Michael. 1970. An Evening with the Grateful Dead. Rolling Stone no. 66 (September 17, 1970), pp. 22-23.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

June 1969 Community in Musical Efforts (COME) program, Oakland, CA

I have found two 1969 articles related to Community and (some say "in") Musical Efforts (COME), a two week series of seminars and workshops in "now" music to be held at Mills College, Oakland, CA, in June of 1969. Teachers were set to include Jerry Garcia, John Handy, Mickey Hart, Roland Kirk, the Tape Music Center, Big Black and Mike Bloomfield. Bill Freeman, said to be an old hand from Carousel Ballroom during its ownership by the JA, the GD and QMS. The other two founders and directors of COME were Leonard Sheftman (half-owner of the Both/And jazz club) and Clancy Carlile, a musician, songwriter and record producer (1). A later article (2) also lists Elvin Bishop, Harvey Mandel, and Phil Lesh as possible teachers.

Dates were initially listed as June 16-27, 1969 (1), though the later article gives a starting date of June 8 (2).

It looks to me like the program never materialized, as I can find no further mention of it (there is an Oakland Trib article in March that basically reproduces #1, below).

There are also some interesting details in the articles about plans to form a San Francisco College of Contemporary Music that might interest those readers specializing in Bay Area music stuff more generally.

(1) "Modern Music Project is Planned in Oakland," Hayward Daily Review, February 25, 1969, p. 22.
(2) "SF Community Group Backs Pop Seminars," Billboard, April 19, 1969, p. 82. Available through Google Books.

OAITW: June 6, 1973, Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ

Old and in the Way did a small east coast swing in June of 1973, the band's only shows outside of California except for the May 8 show in Eugene and the May 9th show in Portland about which I know nothing. The eastern swing looked like this:

June 5: Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA
June 6: Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ
June 7: Palace Theatre, Waterbury, CT
June 8: Lake Whippoorwill, Warrenton, VA (festival)
June 11: Temple Festival Theater, Ambler, PA

There are some interesting things to say about the other shows, too, but here let me just add two songs to the known setlist from the June 6th show: Lonesome L.A. Cowboy in the 2nd set (probably late); Blue Mule to end the show. These come from a review by John Swenson in the "Riffs" colum of the Village Voice, June 14, 1973, p. 60 (available from Google News). I am happy about this because I had noted on my latest copy of the recording of the show as follows: "Unless someone knows otherwise, it would seem that the show continued after Wild Horses.  This tape contains a full two minutes of tuning at the end, before cutting out on Grisman saying something ("I'd like to call on the Old and in the W//")." These two songs should be added to the end of the setlist at the Jerry Site.

As noted on the setlists and such, Tex Logan sits in on fiddle at the end of set I. Bonus Question: does anyone know this man's birthdate? I am quite desperate to know it (including year) for reasons that I'll make clear if I ever discover it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

GD: November 11, 1970, 46th Street Rock Palace, Brooklyn, NY

From a website on forgotten NY places, which links over to, I found this really neat recollection of the GD's November 11, 1970 show at the 46th Street Rock Palace in Brooklyn, NY.

This was possibly one of the weirdest shows I ever saw (but enjoyable nevertheless). It took place on a Weds about 2:30 in the aft (if memory serves). I'd heard it promoted on wnew-fm the day before, so I rounded up at least 10 of my regular deadhead friends and we went to what turned out to be a giant, ornate, old movie palace behind the el in Brooklyn. The theater was basically deserted. We sat in the third row. (I think the band just wanted to rehearse in a big theater(?) because Phil would put down his bass and run around the auditorium, apparently doing sound checks.) Anyway, we were literally half of the audience until a few songs in when a whole group of senior citizens (at least 20) filed in and sat a few rows behind us (not your usual dead crowd!). The 10+ of us noticed them, but didn't know what to make of their presence, so we just carried on as usual (if you know what I mean). Bur for years I wondered what drew them to see the dead? A few years ago, still wondering, I told this story to a dead head who grew up in Brooklyn and he knew the answer. They were from a local senior citizen home and they were on an outing. They had no idea what they were walking into, but the theater had a package deal with the home to get them out and about, and that must have been one of the days they were scheduled to go to that theater to see a movie. They didn't come to see the dead, (but I wonder what they made of them). By the way, the show was pretty good. It must have been because the old folks stayed for the whole thing (or else, weird as it must have been to them, it was better than going back to the home). -Reg the Veg
**update 20150815 to cross reference LIA's post, posting text of a Variety review (see reference below) and LIA's usual amazing commentary.

Jeff. 1970c. Concert Reviews: Grateful Dead. Variety 261 (November 25, 1970): 43. Text and commentary at, consulted 8/15/2015. [xxx] re: gd 1970-11-11