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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Workingman's Tracker's JGMS and LOM Project

Update: thanks to the good folks at WT, the forum posts are now public. Thank you!

There is a Garcia/Saunders and Legion of Mary Project going on at Workingman's Tracker, organized by user SteveSw. He's posting great reviews of about one recording per day, using only the best sources from '71-'75. The project is scheduled to run until November 5th!

I don't think non-members of Workingman's Tracker can read the information. I wish there were a way they could make that conversation public (as the WELL with Deadsongs.Vue: Literature of the Grateful Dead, which basically includes all of David Dodd's amazing Annotated Lyrics!). I have this fear that really interesting information/analysis/insight will emerge there, but the fact that it's firewalled as a private discussion might keep that stuff out of reach. We have seen in the history of the whole GD List-Making Tradition, about which I'll eventually do a post or two, that things that were known can become unknown. Hate to see that happen any more than it should.

Anyway, there's good music spinning and SteveSw is writing beautiful reviews. They are up through Garcia and Saunders "5/23/73, Ash Grove" (a misdate, I argue), and there could be lots of good discussion and deep engagement with these shows. Great concept for a project. Thank you, SteveSw!

Monday, July 25, 2011

NRPS 19710121 Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, Davis, CA

My questions about whether the NRPS played the January 1971 out-of-town GD shows in Davis (1/21/71), Eugene (1/22/71) and Seattle (1/24/71) , and my conjecture that maybe they just stayed at Heider's, are at least partly answered and stand at least partly wrong.

California Aggie, January 25, 1971, p. 8; photos by Jim Quigley.
Here's a little pictorial from the campus newspaper, the California Aggie, regarding the show at Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, Davis, CA on January 21, 1971.

So the Marmaduke picture answers the NRPS question. Then I have a few other questions from this great little display. First, who are the guys besides Weir, Garcia and Kreutzmann in the bottom-right panel? The guy far-right could be Mickey, I guess, but to the right of Billy in the picture ... who is that? Second, there's the James and the Good Brothers reference. And, sure enough, a brief review in the same paper ("Dead, Riders, Brothers," California Aggie, January 27, 1971, p. 6) mentions that the show went James and the Good Brothers, NRPS, and two sets of GD.

Reviewer, Aggie. 1971. Dead, Riders, Brothers. California Aggie, January 27, 1971, p. 6.

So, yes Virginia, the New Riders did play Thursday 1/21/71  at Freeborn Hall, UC Davis. And it appears from Jim Quigley's photos to have been "fantastic".

Update 10/12/2014: there is now an audience tape of the GD set in circulation [shnid-131516, flac 2496 | shnid-131517, flac1644], which I hope to listen to and report on soon. In anticipation, here's the last visual I have for the show (a preview), and, below that, a link to LIA's post on this show.

LIA:, which reproduces the following: Abramson, Hilary. 1971. Grateful Dead Shake Freeborn Hall. Woodland Democrat, January 22 1971, p. unk.

GD 19670106

"Big Mama to aid in raising of the dead," California Aggie, January 6, 1967, p. 5.

Grateful Dead played at Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, Davis, CA on January 6, 1967. The above preview article is from that day's California Aggie, p. 5.

What intrigues me is the line that says that the last time they played Freeborn, the GD played to a full house. When did the GD play Freeborn Hall before 1/6/67?
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

OAITW 19730424 Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

Tuesday, April 24, 1973: Old And In the Way featuring David Diadem (Grisman), Jerry Garcia and Peter Rowan played the Inn of the Beginning at 8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA, 94931. George Edwards opened. This was billed as a "Special Show" (as 3/5/73 had been) and the $2.50 ticket price was just about the most expensive the Inn had ever offered.

April 1973 Inn of the Beginning Calendar, courtesy of Mark Braunstein.
OAITW had just come off their first weekend gigs, April 20-21, 1973 at the Lion's Share (60 Red Hill Avenue, San Anselmo, CA, 94960), and would do another Friday-Saturday in a few days, the 27th and 28th at Keystone (2119 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA, 94704). (See Corry's post at LLD on the 4/27/73 billing, with broader analysis.) This is what I call the second period of OAITW's too-brief existence, during which they are trying to integrate fiddle into the band, working specifically with Richard Greene during this period. But Greene was and remains a very busy musician, and my imprecise reckonings suggest that he was around or not pretty sporadically. Here's how I currently code Greene's presence/absence during this period, though none of this is very firm.

4/12/73 Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara: present (stuff | listening notes)
4/15/73 Boarding House: present ("Four Nights at the Boarding House")
4/16/73a Boarding House: present (listening notes | "Four Nights at the Boarding House")
4/16/73b Boarding House: absent ("Four Nights at the Boarding House")
4/19/73 Lion's Share: present
4/20/73 Lion's Share: present
4/21/73 Lion's Share: present (listening notes)
4/23/73 Orphanage: absent (see below)
4/24/73 IOTB: absent (see below)
4/27/73 Keystone: present
4/28/73 Keystone: absent (I think)
4/30/73 Orphanage: absent
5/8/73 Eugene: present
5/9/73 Portland: present
5/18/73 Homer's: present
5/25/73 Bimbo's: present

Then Vassar comes in, and as far as I know Richard is done. For more on April 1973, see "Twenty-Four Performances in Twenty-Four Days: April 6-30, 1973".

The 4/23/73 gig at the Orphanage (807 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA, 94133) was reviewed by Philip Elwood in the San Francisco Examiner (1). Scan below.
Elwood, Philip. 1973. A New Country Ear-Opener. San Francisco Examiner, April 24, p. 26.
Among other things, he notes that the band needs a fiddle and that Greene occasionally sits in to fill that need, implying that he was not there on the night in question. So much for Monday 4/23.

How do I reach the conclusion that Greene was not present for this Inn gig on Tuesday 4/24/73? Well, Richard Greene and Friends would play the Inn on August 2, 1973, and in that month's Inn of the Beginning Flyer, we are told that "Richard Greene played the fiddle with Seatrain the last time he was at the Inn." I think Mark Braunstein wrote that blurb, and I highly doubt the remark was an oversight. If Richard Greene had played the Inn with OAITW on 4/24/73, the blurb probably would have told us so, and certainly would not have told us anything to contradict that. Combined with the fact that such a gig was not in Richard Greene's own contemporary datebooks, I am about 99.9% sure he was not there on the date in question.

(1) Elwood, Philip. 1973. A New Country Ear-Opener. San Francisco Examiner, April 24, p. 26.

OAITW 19730305 Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

Sharp-eyed readers who checked out the March 1973 Inn of the Beginning flyer in my post about Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders 1/15/73 and Sarah Fulcher may have looked to the top-left, and seen this:

Here we have listings for two Monday, March 5, 1973 shows (9pm and 11 pm) by Old And In The Way (OAITW) at the Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931. The named players are David Diadem, Jerry Garcia and Peter Rowan. The Rowan Brothers are set to open. As a factual note, the March 1973 IOTB ledger page says the early show was at 8pm, and I think that’s the “correct” time for the early show.

Fascinating on so many levels.

First, some calendar context.

Garcia's performance calendar, March 2-7, 1973.
The early show would be the third OAITW gig before a live audience. If you continue the timeline forward, you have Pigpen’s death on March 8 and then the wake and funeral, an off-night gig with Merl (March 11), blow off some steam, and three off-night gigs with OAITW (Monday March 12 and Tuesday March 13 at Keystone, Wednesday at the Share). Then the GD are on tour all the way through early April, followed by what must have been a relatively long-booked weekend chez Freddie (Keystone) with Merl. By my reckoning, OAITW wouldn’t play a weekend until April 20-21, 1973, by which time they had Richard Greene. So it seems to me like they really needed a fiddle player, and that, among other of its complicated aspects, OAITW fell prey to the vicissitudes of Garcia’s schedule, and some odd circumstance. The man was just fundamentally a workaholic and had too many irons in the fire. What’s more, the fact that OAITW would have this “false start” of sorts in March, then have to begin anew in April, must have been frustrating to Rowan and Grisman. (I have recently written about the transition through what I might now call the "third phase" of OAITW, the Vassar Clements period.)

Anyway, it’s always neat to recover a date and put it into its calendar context, so there you have it.

Second observation, smaller: David Diadem. This was the nom-de-freak that David Grisman was using at this time, as far as I can tell for reasons known only to him. He was a highly spaced-out dude at this time, from what I can tell, but a mind-blowing player, composer and eventually band-leader who was just about ready to carve his own channel of genius through the world, and then walk it, strongly. We should all be blessed with such strengths and opportunities!

Third, aside on the Mark Braunstein collection. The March 1973 IOTB calendar was the front page of the Inn of the Beginning Flyer. I didn’t take careful notes on the evolution of the flyer itself, but roughly it began as a single calendar sheet and evolved into at least an 8-page Flyer, a newsletter of sorts that was mailed out to folks on the Inn’s list. And it is a rich, rich source of information. I was able only to scan the calendar pages and selected other pages, as well as the handwritten “ledger” of bands and arrangements compiled at the end of each month. So there are countless pages of amazing narratives on the bands, the scene, stuff going on in Cotati, Sonoma and beyond, etc. I hope someday some museum will take these materials and catalog them fully. They deserve it. And thanks, Mark, for letting me go through this amazing stuff!

Fourth, a business aspect or two. The IOTB had calendared this as a “Special Show” and run the blurb above right at the top left of the inside cover (p.1 of the Inn of the Beginning Flyer proper). As ever, Being Jerry Garcia involves not being able to escape on a Monday night to pick some banjo, but having to be part of a “Special Show”, with Your Name In Lights. An insider reminds me that there’s ego involved here, and Garcia was as subject to that kind of motivation as anyone else. So I don’t want to pluck the harp strings for him here. It might be “having to do this”, but it’s also “choosing to do this”. But it might also be just a little bit of a drag, dontcha think? Maybe a reflection of a constrained choice-set rather than some underlying preference to be on the marquee? Pigpen is laying in his bed and dying, Garcia has to help launch a new band, on top of being Jerry Garcia Of The Grateful Dead (“Let’s start a record company!”) and headlining with Merl. (Aside: no wonder he had John Kahn manage band decisions for him! With Sarah, and George Ticker, and Martin, and Tom Fogerty, and Vitt and Kreutzmann, and mystery rhythm guitar players (at least once, no, at least twice) and mystery harmonica players and mystery trumpet players and all that, Garcia/Saunders alone should have been a full-time job. Have John do it!)

I nearly left out the most interesting business aspect that these IOTB materials reveal. On the back of the February 1973 ledger there is a handwritten note, written and circled with palpable excitement, that says "Jerry Garcia | new group: "Old And In The Way" | Peter Rowan guitar, David Diadem mando, JG banjo" and maps out the contours of the night with the Rowan Bros opener, the percentages, a note to "turn house" (i.e., have separately ticketed/charged early and late shows), etc. It's great to see such rich contextual evidence for the fact that a band with Garcia was a relatively "big deal" and a sure money maker in Cotati. We "knew" this, but now I feel like I "know" it in a fuller way.

Anyway, I am sure everyone did well this night. Tickets are two bucks. The ledger shows the band’s guarantee as $500 or 80%. I am betting the place was packed to the damn rafters, because insofar as I understand it the capacity might have been 250 or so. So they might have sold $1,000 or more of tickets, depending on how crowded they let it get. So be it. Be Jerry Garcia. Grab your banjo, go out there and put one guy’s kid brothers on first, make some bread ($800 four ways, not bad!), pick some bluegrass, maybe start a band and cut a best-selling record.

Do y’thing, mang.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

JGMS 19730114-19730115 Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

We know of the Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders show at the Inn of the Beginning on Monday, January 15, 1973 from the circulating tapes (, which are Betty Boards rescued by Rob Eaton from the muck and filth of God-knows-what-or-where (listening notes). There are severe problems with the recording, especially with the start of the show, but once you get past them you get a great tape.

The Inn of the Beginning's January 1973 calendar does not advertise this show (nor anything for Monday, 1/15). The night before, Sunday, January 14, 1973 is listed as "to be announced".

What little experience I have with these tells me that from October 1970 through the end, "to be announced" shows often ended up having special guests or being otherwise notable.

As it turns out, the handwritten ledgers fill in the missing detail. For January 14-15, 1973, they list "Merle [sic] Saunders, Jerry Garcia, John Kahn, Tom Fogerty, Bill Vitt". As far as I know, January 14, 1973 is new to "The List".

No mention in the ledger of the most historically mystifying person on stage that night, Sarah Fulcher, who features on several lead vocals from the 1/15/73 tape. I am hoping to learn more about Sarah Fulcher and would gratefully receive any and all information that anyone might have. I know she was from San Antonio, spent some time in NYC, went back to San Antonio, and ended up in the Bay Area. I believe she was in the Bay Area ca. late 1972, and then the last trace I can find of her is in the credits of Wake of the Flood and then the October 2, 1973 Winterland Garcia/Saunders show. After that, basically nothing. Anyway, by my back of the napkin-reckoning I have her on the following shows:

A seemingly-odd batch of shows, on the one hand. Lots of other personnel fluidity, and that apparent six-month gap ... no idea what to make of it. On the other hand, maybe that's just how fluid things really were, which is nice to remember! There were people coming and going and jamming and all of that. Good stuff.

I learned a bit more about Sarah from the IOTB materials. I found "Sarah & Friends" listings for March 30-31, 1973 at the Inn. Here's a page from the March 1973 IOTB flyer:

March 1973 Inn of the Beginning Flyer, "Entertainment" Notes". Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.

For those of you who didn’t catch her name before. Sarah is the lady who sang with Merle [sic] Saunders and Jerry Garcia last January. She and Bill Vitt, who played drums on the same show, and a few friends will give you more of the same. 
For whatever reason, Ms. Fulcher seems to have had a taste for the anonymous by this time in her life. Note that they don't ever give her last name.

(As an aside, these notes from the IOTB flyers are incredibly precious. There is tons of information in there about who was playing with whom, etc. I have a few other nuggets that I'll post about that come from these amazing contemporary observations and analyses. Thanks to Mark Braunstein for documenting this scene so thoroughly back then, and for sharing the data now!)

I reproduce this both to reproduce it (these things are gorgeous!) and because it sheds small light on a few other things. First, it tells us that Vitt was drumming at the January JGMS show that had Sarah singing. Maybe we knew that, but it's nice to know. Second, this makes me think that Bill Vitt was how Sarah Fulcher came to sing in these Garcia-Saunders shows. I had always assumed that the Texas angle meant Martin or Dough Sahm. I can't remember if Vitt has any Texas connections, but anyway I am guessing Bill was closest to Sarah, effectively "sponsoring" her to sing with the band. Wild speculation, I know, but there it is. Finally, this blurb provides some nice crossing evidence that Jerry, Merl, Vitt and Sarah played the Inn in January 1973. We have this information from tape, but now we also have contemporary text. Nice.

The whole point of this post was to say that the Inn of the Beginning "ledgers" (handwritten lists, compiled monthly, of artists who played) show Jerry Garcia/Merl Saunders shows on both Sunday, January 14 and Monday, January 15, 1973 at the Inn. Personnel was Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia, John Kahn, Tom Fogerty and Bill Vitt, with Sarah Fulcher on vocals for at least 1/15/73.

JGMS 19710920 Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931, USA. What a fantastic spot, and a review of the calendars and other materials so presciently and conscientiously preserved and generously shared by former employee-then-proprietor Mark Braunstein highlights its importance in the whole thing, *that* whole thing, as well. (I didn't see any evidence of the alleged Neil Young and Crazy Horse gig in '75 mentioned at RnR Roadmaps, but there are a number of Van Morrison dates.)

Lots of neat things have come up from these materials. I have already posted two newly-discovered New Riders of the Purple Sage shows at the Inn, August 20-21, 1971 (the latter presumably in the evening after "Mickey Hart's Barn Jam" happened earlier in the day). Now I have another one, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders from 9/20/71.

September 1971 was an interesting time, and it has come up a bunch. There's the whole keyboard thing. I had posted about September 3-4, 1971 GD shows that were listed for the Harding Theater, but that LIA doubts happened. In that post I speculate that these very shows --Sept. 3 and 4-- were the "Howard Wales" tryouts for the keyboard slot. I think we also got into how weird it is that for this little two month period the Harding Theater becomes part of the GD/Garcia universe. Why? Given that we know they started rehearsing with Keith ca. September 27, is it possible they rented this great little room as a rehearsal hall? This gave rise to "More on the Keyboardist Change ca. 1971" from me, again with lots of great comments.

I had also once posted about a possible NRPS gig in NYC on September 15, 1971. Here's an ad:

Village Voice ad for New Riders of the Purple Sage (open John McLaughlin), Manhattan Center Ballroom, New York, NY, 9/15/71.
As I noted in my original post, Billboard blurbed this as "Columbia's New Riders of the Purple Sage", so this looks for all the world like an industry thing. Scofield says that New Riders of the Purple Sage was released August 1971, so that fits, too.

Anyway, I have uncovered what a believe to be a faint record of a Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders gig at the Inn of the Beginning (8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA, 94931) on Monday, September 20, 1971. On this date the September 1971 IOTB ledger --not really a ledger, just an end-of the-month list of acts and their guarantees/percentages-- reads "Merl Saunders … [illegible] …Jerry Garcia". My scan is not very clear, but I saw it in person and scanned it because of this listing, so I am about 95% sure it's Saunders/Garcia.

When we add this listing into our current understandings of Jerry's whereabouts at this time, here's what we get, in reduced form:

What a week-and-a-half! From NYC w/ NRPS to Keystone Korner (where, I allege, he was connected by Donna Jean with Keith Godchaux) with Merl, to what used to be The Family Dog at the Great Highway --not sure who was running it September 1971-- --NRPS again-- to this newly-discovered show at the Inn, another New Riders show, then two nights of JGMS at the Lion's Share. All of this before GD rehearsals with Keith start on ca. Monday, September 27, 1971. Hell, maybe this 9/20/71 was Merl's tryout ... small room, Monday night, no publicity (ledger entry only) ... why not? Or maybe he was just jonesing to play, since the GD had been relatively quiet while figuring out the keys, and he was just packing in every gig he could. Maybe both.

Man, this stuff is fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rock and Roll Road Map

I should obviously have been spending more time with Rock and Roll Roadmaps, I guess. Just stumbled across the listing their for Keystone Korner. Oooh, and here's one for the Cotati Cabaret. All right then, I will try to play around more with this.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NRPS 19710820-21: Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

Inn of the Beginning calendar of events, August 1971. Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.
The August 1971 calendar of events for the Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati, CA 94931, shows The New Riders of the Purple Sage playing there on Friday, August 20, 1971 and Saturday, August 21, 1971. These dates are not presently at the Jerry Site.

I am not in a position to blog extensively about this, but I think it's really interesting. Feel free to discuss in my absence of another 5 days or so.