Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

GSCBF6: Doc and Merle Watson, Sunday, April 28, 1974, ca. 17:00

Part of a series of back-of-the-napkin thoughts about the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival (GSCBF), held in San Rafael, CA from Friday, April 26th through Sunday, April 28, 1974.

Previous installments:
Good stuff. Merle Watson is a freaking unbelievable instrumentalist. Help with the unidentified song would be appreciated!

Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival
Marin County Veterans' Auditorium Building and Grounds
San Rafael, CA

<--Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys precedes-->

Doc and Merle Watson
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 17:00

Source: "Debbie reel 4/27/74, CD 2 of 4"
Provenance: unknown sbd recording (?maybe MSC > C?) > reel
Transfer: AKAI GX 636 playback > Apogee mini ME @ 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC (monitoring/mastering) > lynx one soundcard > wavelab 5.0 > CD, by Matt Smith.
Lossless encoding: EAC > CDWave > TLH (FLAC level 8).
Tagging: Foobar 2000.

(32 tracks, 61:57)

GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t01. talk [0:11]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t02. Salty Dog Blues [2:33] [0:16]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t03. talk [0:44]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t04. Doc Bog's Country Blues [2:59] [0:12]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t05. talk [1:25]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t06. Ramblin' Hobo [1:33] [0:11]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t07. talk [0:47]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t08. Movin' On [2:21] [0:11]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t09. talk [1:05]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t10. Peach Pickin' Time In Georgia [3:27] [0:16]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t11. talk [0:29]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t12. Poor Boy Blues [2:19] [0:19]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t13. talk [0:36]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t14. Wabash Cannonball [3:45] [0:13]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t15. talk % [0:23]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t16. //Tennessee Stud [2:45] [0:15]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t17. Maria Muldaur invite [1:08]

--w/ Maria Muldaur (vocals)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t18. Honey Babe Blues [3:11] [0:30]
--(Muldaur out)--

GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t19. talk & tuning [0:17]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t20. Streamlined Cannonball [2:34] 0:20]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t21. talk [0:26]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t22. Summertime [3:25] [0:20]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t23. Vassar Clements & Billy Roberts invites [1:06]

--w/ Vassar Clements (fiddle)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t24. Cotton Patch Rag [3:49] [0:17]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t25. talk [0:26]

--w/ Vassar Clements, Billy Roberts (harmonica)--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t26. unknown Watson 19740428-1 [3:15] [0:17] %
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t27. talk (Doc's history) [0:46]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t28. Treat Me Like A Fool [0:58] [0:07]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t29. Blue Suede Shoes [2:59]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t30. crowd (encore call) [0:56]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t31. talk [0:56]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t32. Mama Don't Allow [3:50] [0:32] %

! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t18: Doc, after "good lookin' man" verse by Maria: "'nuff to make a man cry." Then after next verse: "Oh, sing it, young'un, sing it." This is distinct from the Friday night version, on which Maria also sits in but the banter is different.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t22: This version of Summertime is breathtaking.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1700-Watson-t26: blues number "ain't got no mama now"

<--dinner break, then Skunk Cabbage follows-->

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reading Notes: Harris, David. 1970. Rock’s First Family: Grateful Dead. Circus 4, 4 (March): 32-35 .

Just figured I'd post my random scribbles about stuff as I read. 

Harris, David. 1970. Rock’s First Family: Grateful Dead. Circus 4, 4 (March): 32-35.

This article is based on discussions that appear to have happened in January 1970, since Tom Constanten is present.

Recall that there have been various discussions of this timeframe online:

Anyway, here are some tidbits.

p. 32: "songs for a fifth [GD] album [ed: Workingmans] are being taped this month" (i.e., March 1970).

p. 32: GD are making a movie called Zechariah ... never heard of this. Here's  some of the discussion:

Their upcoming movie is Zechariah, described as a kind of fantasy cowboy flick with a plot line closely resembling Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Costuming has been completed for the Dead; filming may begin in April, either in Mexico or in the old back lots of MGM. Zechariah was written by screen veteran Joe Massot ... and will be produced by George England, known for his productions of Shoes of the Fisherman and the Ugly American among others. 'If it's done as we originally heard about it,' MacIntire said, 'the movie really won't be a western, but will be an interesting piece of surrealism. ... The movie's star (Ginger Baker) is Zechariah--the Dead have their segment of the picture when Zechariah interacts with them, lusts after the kind of lives they live and wants to be a part of them. We're really looking forward to filming it.'

p. 32: The article focuses to some degree on the NRPS, listing Lesh as bassist. Says the NRPS "recently" cut a demo tape for Warner-Reprise.

p. 32: "the present schedule often finds the Dead playing on weekends, the 'New Riders' on weekdays. 'They're going all around to various beer houses and country and western, folk-oriented, collegiate type places,' MacIntire said. [NB: consistent with a 1/19/70 NRPS gig at UC Berkeley!] 'But the ideal is to book them into hard-core country redneck places where they can get the feedback they need from the people who really know country-western music.'"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

GSCBF5: Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys: Sunday, April 28, 1974, ca. 16:15

Part of a series of back-of-the-napkin thoughts about the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival (GSCBF), held in San Rafael, CA from Friday, April 26th through Sunday, April 28, 1974.

Previous installments:
Not much to say about this set by the King of Bluegrass, except that this music is absolutely awesome. No Garcia content here except a shared bill.
I am not sure of the players, nor of the song titles. Any and all help would be appreciated!

<--Greenbriar Boys precedes-->

Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 16:15

Source: "Debbie reel 4/27/74, CD 1 of 4"
Provenance: unknown sbd recording (?maybe MSC > C?) > reel
Transfer: AKAI GX 636 playback > Apogee mini ME @ 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC (monitoring/mastering) > lynx one soundcard > wavelab 5.0 > CD, by Matt Smith.
Lossless encoding: EAC > CDWave > TLH (FLAC level 8).
Tracking: Foobar 2000.

(20 tracks, 29:02)

GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t01. acknowledgement of Vassar (1) [0:09]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t02. introduction [0:29]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t03. My Walkin' Shoes Don't Fit Me Anymore [2:18] [0:15]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t04. I Cried Again [1:53] [0:10]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t05. unknown Martin 19740428-1 [1:21] [0:07]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t06. Jimmy Martin talk (2) [1:10]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t07. Little %Maggie, She's So Sweet (3, 4) [1:58] [0:09]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t08. talk [0:29]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t09. Tennessee (I Hear You Calling Me) [2:31] [0:08]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t10. talk [0:26]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t11. When The Savior Reached Down His Hands For Me [2:32] [0:11]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t12. talk [0:23]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t13. Stormy Waters [2:17] [0:04]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t14. talk (5) [0:48]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t15. The Brakeman's Blues [1:39] [0:03]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t16. talk (6) [0:45]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t17. Sunny Side of the Mountain [2:39] [0:05]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t18. encore calls [0:42]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t19. Just Plain Yellow [2:21]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t20. crowd, emcee (7)% [0:48]

Jimmy Martin - guitar, vocals;
???female???  (harmony vocals; lead on "Little Maggie");
Freddie xxx (harmony vocals on Stormy Waters),
??? (banjo)
??? Paul Williams (mandolin)
??? (bass)

! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t01. (1) t01 here is the same as GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t16, to help keep things seamless. It goes "How about Vassar Clements, the man this festival is dedicated to".
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t02. (2) it's good to be out here in the good state of California visitin' with you folks. I've always wanted to come out here. Thank you. I heard everybody was all right and it looks like you're havin' a lot of fun, I'll say [chuckles]. ... I tell you, it's good to see everybody so happy for one time. Enjoy yourselves."
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t03. (3) Little Maggie splice/tape gap @ 0:59-1:03
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t03. (4) I thought the lead vocalist on this was female, but Martin seems to say "Give him a nice hand, would ya?" after the song. The vocalist may be the "Freddie" mentioned before "Stormy Waters".
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t14. (5) talk mentions that JM was in "Lauden"? Florida last night with Bill Monroe. This could be used to pin down the date even further.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t16. (6) "they got us on again tonight with the Dirt Band"
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1615-Martin-t20. (7) "That was Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys ... first time they've played on this festival//". NB that the pre-published schedule doesn't list this act on any day other than Sunday. With all of the other voluminous evidence, this further confirms that this happened on Sunday afternoon.

<--Doc and Merle Watson follows-->

OAITW: Homer's Warehouse, July 24, 1973

**This is an update to a post originally made 9/19/2010, now updated as of 12/28/2014**

In a first draft of this post, I used the occasion of a listen to an Old And In The Way set from Homer's Warehouse in Palo Alto from Tuesday, July 24, 1973 to drop a few crumbs. I have revisited the material (shnid-11861), and will repackage, a little, add a little, update based on this listen and synchronic read through the promoter's account (Bernstein 2013, 149-152).

First, how was this show structured?

The fileset said this was a complete show. This is also all of the material which Bernstein (2013, 152) lists for the evening, but he shows a setbreak before Lonesome L.A. Cowboy. I think this must be mistaken, for several reasons.

Reason 1: this tape runs continuously, including across the putative set divide (t06-t07); Reason 2: The DJ (note 1) says there will be another go 'round the bases with Asleep At the Wheel and "Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way", and that stuff's not here; Reason 3: Vintage 1973 Garcia would never inhabit a set structure that would give him two cracks at 53 minutes – it would be a decade before he'd inflict that kind of "cabaret economics" on his own fans.[1] Reason 4: ear- and eye-witnesses. Corry, who listened to the show from home, says "I'm certain the broadcast was early in the evening. … I think part of the reason for the broadcast would have been to encourage people in the listening area (all near Homer's Warehouse) to come on over. I'm sure Asleep At The Wheel and OAITW played another set, as it was not a midnight broadcast." cryptdev: "I listened to and taped this show and Corry is absolutely correct. Two sets for each band, and KZSC only broadcast the first sets by AATW and OIITW, respectively". Attendee Anonymous: AATW was the 9pmish opener at one show. Then OAITW came on, played 'til the wee hours (1-2 am) … I know they took two breaks, as we gathered outside for warming ceremonies".[2]

I am prepared to call it on that basis. This appears to have been one continuous evening of music, running 1) Asleep At The Wheel, 2) Old And In The Way, 3) AATW, 4) OAITW, the first two of which were broadcast and the second of which is represented on shnid-11861. (Who has a copy of the AATW set, BTW?) What we have on the tape is piece #2 from the evening. Eyewitness Anonymous says things kicked off around 9 PM and stretched into the wee hours. If we assume that AATW played an hour, this set is starting at maybe 10:30 and going until midnight. And then it'd be AATW and OAITW another time 'round the bases. Nice.

It appears that this was only ticketed once, which would have been very much out of pattern for Homer's (or the Inn, or the Share) in this kind of situation. The first thought in the minds of these club proprietors is always that they can turn the house when Garcia's billed. Corry suggests it's soliciting traffic to the venue itself– a certain number of people within earshot may well have put on their sneakers and got on down to the club, later this same night or some other night. (The DJ does not make it sound very inviting in note 1 – sounds like it's already packed!) Whatever, it's a rather distinctive setup, for sure, with Asleep At The Wheel, Hell's Angels around, FM broadcast, and of course the legendary Vassar Clements, rightfully at the center of much of the interest and energy around these shows.[3] The promoter: "we had managed to choreograph a pretty sophisticated little production, bringing together a diverse group of people who spanned Tennessee [sic: Florida] (Vassar), West Virginia (Benson), and planets as yet undiscovered (the Dead family)" (Bernstein 2013, 149-150).

Second: "The Burden of Being Jerry" (Gans and Greenfield 1996)

No biggie, but it seems clear that Jerry would not have wanted the band called "Jerry Garcia and Old And In The Way". The DJs may not know much about this stuff (one of Corry's points in comments), but in any case I find it noteworthy that this is seen and discussed as a Jerry Garcia thing. Which it is, of course, but sort of shouldn't be, in a way. If you follow me. Better it should be a Vassar thing, or a Grisman or a Rowan thing.

Third: Jerry's Fans and Unamplified Music

After "Eating Out of Your Hand", at note 4, Grisman asks the crowd to refrain from clapping along, since it made it hard for the band members to hear themselves (unamplified instruments and all that). This is consistent with the view that the "Garcia" audience needed to be educated/acculturated into bluegrass. It probably didn't make things better that the clapping seemed to be dreadfully off-time, but in any case this is an interesting (if tiny) instance of the encounter between hippies and the bluegrass world, about which I'll have more to say at some point.

In comments, LIA draws our attention to Garcia's own discussion of the issue, in 1976: "We ran into a really weird problem in terms of dynamics which was that bluegrass music is like chamber music: it’s very quiet. And if the audience got at all enthusiastic during the tune and started clapping or something, it would drown out the band and we couldn’t hear each other" (Relix).

It's no big deal, but I thought it was worth noting a specific instance of the phenomenon.

Fourth: A Note on Asleep At the Wheel

Ray Benson had great respect for Jerry Garcia and wanted to play on a show with him before The Wheel left the Bay Area for good. Jerry's blue grass fans and the Wheel fans would love that, so we dropped the idea on Sam Cutler, who said he would get back to us. Sam also told us there would be a new musician with Old and in the Way. Vassar Clements, the most respected blue grass fiddler alive, had joined the band. In a few weeks, he would be making sawdust on our stage. The next morning, we got a call back from Sam that Jerry was okay with The Wheel opening the show. "Jerry's only request of them," he said, "is please don't blow the audience into center field with volume." When I called Benson to tell him the deal was on, he flipped. (Bernstein 2013, 149).

Fifth: The Performance

Meh. After listening to this again, I am underwhelmed. It's possible things are running slow, and/or that we're not picking up some of the instrumentation because of the technical challenges posed by sound (re-)production, which can be considerable. I had high hopes early on when Jerry takes a nice turn, but he doesn't knock me out this night overall, and rather the contrary. Things sound a little disjointed, almost fall apart a few times. This band needs more gigs! (I seem noncommittal about overall performance quality in my analysis of the 7/21/73 gig in Berkeley.)

More detail, references, etc. below the fold.

GSCBF update

I have updated a few GSCBF posts.

GSCBF3: I have reframed (and gained confidence in) my argument that the Debbie reels are basically a continuous record of Sunday afternoon.
GSCBF4:  I have new insight into the circulating "Frank Wakefield" set from this festival, which is actually the Greenbriar Boys  from Sunday ca. 15:00

Saturday, September 18, 2010

GSCBF4: Greenbriar Boys (a.k.a. "Frank Wakefield"): Sunday, April 28, 1974, ca. 15:00

updated 9/18/2010

Part of a series of back-of-the-napkin thoughts about the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival (GSCBF), held in San Rafael, CA from Friday, April 26th through Sunday, April 28, 1974.

Previous installments:

The last post discussed the Sunday afternoon schedule, doing a poor job of laying out an idea that I am about 99% sure about, which is that the "Debbie reels" run more or less continuously across that part of the festival, from a ca. 3:30 p.m. set by "Frank Wakefield" 3:00 p.m. set by the Greenbriar Boys all the way through to the OAITW set that closed the proceedings.

Here I will lay out my notes for the "Frank Wakefield" Greenbriar Boys set from the Debbie reels.

Let me first address the billing. This is not "Frank Wakefield", as the circulating recordings are labeled, but The Greenbriar Boys (with Frank Wakefield). So, contrary to what I might have said elsewhere and/or in earlier drafts, Wakefield didn't play unbilled. He was billed and played with his band at the time.

According to wikipedia's Greenbriar Boys entry, the players would have been the following at this time:

·       John Herald (guitar, vocals)
·       Bob Yellin (banjo)
·       Frank Wakefield (mandolin)
·       Jim Buchanan (fiddle)
·       ??? (bass)

There's a bass present, but that site doesn't say who it might have been. One of the players that is not Wakefield (update: John Herald, I think) does most of the talking. Feedback welcomed on these personnel issues.

By the way, the Greenbriar Boys were scheduled for 3 p.m., after Jim & Jesse and before Mac Wiseman. The recording makes it clear that the schedule went straight from GB to Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. I can only speculate as to whether Mac Wiseman played on Sunday (he was scheduled for all three days). Perhaps his set was moved or canceled, I just don't know.

Recording, setlist and such follow. More information would be appreciated! I am sure that someone knowledgeable could identify the two songs that I couldn’t.

The Greenbriar Boys
Sunday, April 28, 1974 ca. 15:00

Source: "Frank Wakefield; Debbie reel 4/27/74, CD 1 of 4"
Provenance: unknown sbd recording (?maybe MSC > C?) > reel
Transfer: AKAI GX 636 playback > Apogee mini ME @ 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC (monitoring/mastering) > lynx one soundcard > wavelab 5.0 > FLAC, by Matt Smith.

(16 tracks, 37:41)

GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t01. talk (1) & tuning [1:16]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t02. unknown Wakefield 19740428-1 [1:44]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t03. talk (2), Jack Elliott [4:37]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t04. song introduction [0:53]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t05. Jesus Loves His Mandolin Picker #16 [3:24]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t06. Chicken [2:47]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t07. talk (3)
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t08. Sleepy-Eyed John [2:55]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t09. song introduction [0:41]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t10. Passenger Pigeons [3:25]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t11. introduction of Jerry Garcia and Vassar Clements [1:10]
--w/ Jerry Garcia (banjo), Vassar Clements (fiddle), ??female backing vocalist, possibly Maria Muldaur or Donna???--
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t12. That's Alright, Mama [3:15] (4)
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t13. unknown Wakefield 19740428-2 (5), encore calls (6) [4:22]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t14. Heartbreak Hotel [2:20] ->
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t15. Orange Blossom Special [3:56]
GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t16: Acknowledgement of Vassar (7) [0:09]

! The second unknown tune and Heartbreak Hotel -> Orange Blossom Special also circulates from the WB reels and on the fileset circulated by Rob Berger from Jerry Moore's reels.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t01: (1) "We're gonna tease you for a few songs here before Jerry comes out"
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t03: (2) pre-song talk that Elliott is backstage confirms that this is same day as Elliott set. Since that's connected to continuous tape and can be definitely dated, so can this.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t07: (3) "we want to really thank Judy Lammers for putting this festival on"
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t12: (4) after song, from stage to sound guy: "We gotta hear Vassar"
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t13: (5) may be "Jesus Loves His Mandolin Player #6", since speaker says "Number 6" just as the number starts. But that could be a mic/monitor check as well.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t13: (6) the continuous tape is great here, showing that "Heartbreak Hotel" -> "Orange Blossom Special" is the encore of the Wakefield set.
! GSCBF-1974-04-28-1500-Greenbriar-t16: (7) "how about Vassar Clements, the man this festival is dedicated to"

<--Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys follow-->

Cryptical Developments

Just wanted to shout out a welcome to Cryptical Developments, which I know will be a wonderful addition to this neat little community that seems to be developing around GD-/ SF-related deep history/scholarship. Like the other blogs that I consider part of this group, this one is now in my links to the right.