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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fishing Journal: 20110822 Cache la Poudre River

Had a great day fishing the Poudre on Monday. The water was nice, the holes were attractive, weather was spectacular, natch.

Can't say the fishing was easy, however. Probably caught 5-6 fish, a couple of browns and a few wild rainbows. Morning found us down low, not far from the entrance to the canyon, nymphing. I have never really done this much. Three wet flies, basically getting smaller as you get to the end of the line, where there was a caddis nymph that was exactly like the nymphs clinging to the bottom of the rocks. Tense-line casting was new to me as a concept. I was casting OK. Caught one brown in this area while buddy caught three fish in a nice little channel opposite bank from the access. (The wading was do-able, but it wasn't trivial to get across.) My first guided trip. Guide said the fish were hammering these same flies the day before (don't they always go crazy the day before you're out there?) So patience was a virtue. I would have switched flies a lot more frequently, and I also would have tried some dries, but the guide had the flies and the putative knowledge and who am I to raise questions?

We drove up maybe 10-15 miles to a nice stretch by some picnic tables. We switched to hopper-dropper with some ugly-ass hopper up top and the same caddis nymph down low. I think I caught one or two up top and one or two below here. First one was a nice 10" brown, just beautiful.

Third spot was really, really promising water, but boy the fishing was a lot like work. This was maybe another 20 miles up the canyon, ca. 36-40 miles from Fort Collins. Caught a little 'bow on my first cast, the kiss of death for future catching. Went to a nice fat 90-degree bend in the river which should have bringing lots of food into some nice deep pools. I missed a strike on my dry fly, though it looked like fishy changed his/her mind at the last minute. That's consistent with the refusals that I proceeded to get. Fish in a nice deep pool, right in the edge where they should be, lazily inspecting my junk and deciding they didn't like what I was offering (less likely: how I was offering it). So we switched the bottom fly to a little PMD emerger, I think it was. Worked hard a hundred yards or so, tried to reach a nice looking pool opposite bank that I just couldn't hit. Working hard, working hard. Caught my last fish of the day, another brown, just before 3 pm, which was my pre-designated finishing time. As ever, I was tempted by another few casts on another few pools that were better than the 5,000 I had just fished, surely with hungrier and fatter fish just waiting for a nice bug to float by. Temptation. But I packed up and got on the road.

The entire ca. 40-mile stretch of the Poudre to where I got, probably around 9,000 foot elevation, looks like fisherman's paradise. It's a beautiful river and I hope to spend more time there, though I'd ask for just a bit more enthusiasm from my piscine friends!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Legion of Mary: earliest mention?

**update: March 1, 1975 was probably the formal Bay Area debut of the name. In addition to the materials here, Todd Tolces had a piece in the 3/1/75 Melody Maker talking about the new name. It is now my estimation that the name Legion of Mary, with Ron Tutt drumming, dates to December 6, 1974.
In my post on the Merl Saunders and Friends gig at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati on May 31 - June 1, 1974, it came up that the Heider's session dated 5/31/74 may be the first known face-to-face meeting between Garcia and the great Ron Tutt, who would hold the beat for Garcia basically from sometime late 1974 / early 1975 until August 1977. In comments, Corry confirmed Tutt's availability based on known Elvis chronologies, and asked when was the "next first-known" Garcia-Tutt meeting. I cited the 12/15/74 show at EMU Ballroom, University of Oregon, Eugene, an attendee of which confirms that Tutt was drumming.

A few quickies. First, there's a review of the 12/15/74 in the campus newspaper, the Daily Emerald, and it sheds no light on Tutt while referring to the band as "Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders and Friends". Doggy no barky.

Second, the blurb above, from the Oakland Tribune on 1/12/75, represents the earliest reference of which I know to the change of the Garcia/Saunders band (JGMS) into Legion of Mary (LOM), referencing upcoming shows on March 1-2, 1975. The same person who attended the Oregon show remembers these shows as the first to use the LOM name, though I can't remember if I contaminated the informant by putting the data above in front of him/her.

Anyway, I'd love to find an earlier reference to Legion of Mary (outside its catholic church context, of course), but I'd be surprised if there was one. The little blurb above has all the hallmarks of a fresh announcement of a new band, name and all.

Aunt Monk: June 1, 1975, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA

May 1975 Inn of the Beginning calendar, courtesy Mark Braunstein

What a great piece of art, first of all. I am afraid I neglected to note the name of the artist/artists on the IOTB fliers. Mea culpa!

Anyway, bottom right tells me that on Sunday, June 1, 1975, Jerry Garcia played with Aunt Monk (comprising inter alia Merl Saunders on keyboards and Martin Fierro on saxophone/flute) at the Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA 94931. This is the May 1975 IOTB calendar, and the names are handwritten in, with the standard Sunday evening free folk crossed out. The provenance makes it pretty certain that Garcia was there.

This is the last of the new-to-me Garcia dates to come out of these IOTB materials. To rehash, here’s the list:

  1. NRPS 8/20/71: new-to-me
  2. NRPS 8/21/71: new-to-me
  3. JGMS 9/20/71: new-to-me
  4. JGMS 1/14/73: new-to-me
  5. OAITW 3/5/73 8 pm: new-to-me
  6. OAITW 3/5/73 11 pm: new-to-me
  7. OAITW 4/24/73: new-to-me
  8. OAITW 7/18/73: confirmation
  9. Merl Saunders and Friends 5/31/74: new-to-me
  10. Merl Saunders and Friends 6/1/74: new to me
  11. Aunt Monk 6/1/75: new-to-me [this post]
Basically ten “new-to-me”, new to The List shows. That’s pretty awesome. I have a few more Garcia-related tidbits from these materials, but they are generally more speculative and/or less consequential than these. Thanks again to Mark Braunstein for sharing this wonderful trove of information.

So, who knows the ca. 1971-1975 proprietors of the Orphanage, the Boarding House, the Record Plant or the Longbranch Saloon? :)

Anyway, I won’t elaborate much on Aunt Monk’s 6/1/75 show, since I have already talked around many of the same issues on my post on the Merl Saunders andFriends shows on May 31-June 1, 1974. Just a few points.

First, I expect this’d be Tony Saunders on bass. He was pretty regularly listed in Merl’s bands from 1974 forward.

Second, I suspect the material we are able to hear from the Generosity on 2/14/75 and 5/9/75, thanks to amazing taper Robert Castelli and the crew at Mouth of the Beast who helped preserve and document his tapes, probably closely resembles the material that might have been played in Cotati on the night in question. Lots of jazz, funk, soul, R&B and Saunders originals, maybe even all instrumentals, though by this time Merl might have started singing a song or two, as he had in Legion of Mary and as he would eventually do in most all of his bands.

Third, Jerry and Merl would take a 3-plus year hiatus within six weeks of this sit-in. While Legion of Mary would sputter on through July 6th before ending mysteriously, the little one-offs seem to end. The next time Garcia would sit-in with Merl would be October 2-3, 1978 at the Shady Grove in San Francisco, according to TJS. (The older McNally-Arnold JG List only lists October 3, 1978, from which there is tape [shnid 20027 | shnid 97200]. TJS says these were benefits to keep Shady Grove open, but I don’t know the basis for either the Oct. 2 listing or that characterization. I don’t doubt it, but I just don’t know.) That little sit-in would seem to relate to their shared involvement in John Kahn’s 1979 band Reconstruction, which would be the last sustained live Jerry-Merl collaboration.

In a way, this sort of completes the skimming of the cream from these beautiful Inn of the Beginning documents. Ross has kindly entered lots of dates and (eventually) images from this IOTB research over at the Chicken, so that it’s preserved for posterity. Thanks again to Mark Braunstein for sharing thoughts, memories and filing cabinets!

another Natalie Merchant: "River"

From the great, great album Tigerlily:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wales/Hooteroll influence on GD?

All Hooteroll All The Time (AHATT) is an interesting idea that could be elevable to a core principle, i.e., to the effect that Hooteroll is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Revelations 22:13, King James Bible version). :) I won't go into that here.

I will just reproduce what I just came across in a late 1972 discussion of the Grateful Dead, probably by a college undergraduate music major, who had seen all of two Dead shows. I post it on AHATT principles.

Perhaps the best recorded example of what may yet be another turn in style, and one which was embryonically apparent in at least two of the Dead's latest concerts (Philedelphia [9/21/72] and Washington [9/20/72]) can be found in a largely undiscovered album Garcia recorded with Howard Wales called Hooteroll?. Without a doubt, Garcia's collaboration with the superb blues/jazz organist, Wales, will continue to produce dramatically important results.

To a large extent, the Dead's recent dream-like style of playing, characterized by slowly evolving, minutely subtle melodies which at times are intentionally shattered ... by powerfully syncopated chords and notes, by Lesh's imitation and by a general accelerando, can be attributed to Garcia's experiences with Wales on Hooteroll? It seems likely, too that the increased influence and often outright performance of jazz preeiminently displayed throughout much of their latter concerts can be developmentally traced to Hooteroll? as well.

Now, this guy could just happen to have listened to Hooteroll? in writing up his review (or preparing for the show, or whatever) and could be following the law of the hammer. He might not know what he is talking about. Maybe Jerry had an underlying interest in jazz which led him to play it with the GD and Howard (spurious correlation, plausible). Maybe Jerry's jazzy work with the Dead influenced his style with Howard (reverse causation, highly doubtful). I don't endorse Rob Pritchard's sentiment. Because I find GD-GOTS crossovers to be really useful to parameterize, I merely note it with interest and pass it along.


Pritchard, Rob. 1972. Grateful Dead Resurrect Country, Blues, Jazz. Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia), October 6, 1972, p. 2. Accessed via Google New, though I can no longer find it there. The Cavalier Daily appears to be archived on line, if incompletely. A google search turns up this issue, but I can't seem to access the content.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where I Go

Fishing Journal: 20110728: Arkansas River above Buena Vista

Man oh man, what a great day of fishing. I have never done well on the Arkansas. I had assumed that the flows would be too high to do well this time. Boy was I wrong.

The river was totally manageable. My sense, and this is as likely wrong as right, is that the river is maybe two weeks "behind" this year in terms of flow levels. So July 28th has flows more like a normal July 14th, or something like that.

Anyway, ArkAnglers in BV had said that yellow and green foam-body caddis were doing well. We went to the first decent-sized pullout north of town. Not sure how far. Anyway, the water right below the pullout is really attractive, but my sense is that those fish see a lot of odd patterns with clumsy presentations, because they don't play there. A few hundred yards upriver, though, is a really nice stretch. And I started doing really well (for me, on the Arkansas) with a yellow-bodied caddis (though not foam). Was able to wade into the middle of the river and get a beautiful brown off the edge of the main channel. Moving up and casting maybe 15 feet in from the banks, I started hitting a sweet spot where I caught another 8-9 fish, including on four casts in a row.

These were mostly really nice browns. I just took out the tape measure to check against my hands, and I agree with the claim that fisherman grossly overestimate the size of their fish. I know I have been doing so. The biggest fish I caught this day was a solid 13". That seemed really sizeable to me, and indeed may be the biggest one I have caught. I would have guessed 16" if you had asked me. Anyway, just a gorgeous, gorgeous bunch of fish on a gorgeous, gorgeous day on the Arkansas.

Next day I went up to Brown's Canyon for about two hours. For the first time, I went upstream from Hecla Junction.

There's lots of deep, slow, beautiful water right by the campground (and with corresponding pressure and wary fish), but 100 yards up from there things develop nicely. This is steep canyon wall, more so than downstream, and with reasonably high water there was a lot of ascending and descending of scrambly rocks to make way upstream. I only caught three smallish fish (two rainbows and a brown) in about 2 hours fishing. I also spent another 30 minutes hunkered down over the perfectly overhanging wall to keep me dry during a torrential thunderstorm. Not sure how the rafters are safe still being on the water, but this was one hell of a Rocky Mountain storm. I can't believe I had such a perfect spot, but I was able to eat, drink, relax, play with my line and my flies, wave to the rafters, and most importantly stay dry.

I want to keep going upstream. I wonder if the best way isn't to ascend right away and try to make river-distance by walking along the top ridge? It's terrifyingly steep in places and neither going down nor coming up is much fun. But there sure does look to be some pretty water up there. Chances are, next time I go there I'll go downstream and see if the new understanding between the Arkansas and me, whereby I do well, applies to that part of the river which has so thoroughly shut me down.

Anyway, the 28th north of BV was phenomenal. Thank you, fishing god.

Merl Saunders and Friends: May 31 – June 1, 1974, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati

Here is one of the tantalizing little performances that you come across and really, really want to know more about, while understanding how miraculous it is that you are able to know anything about it at all.

The Inn of theBeginning in Cotati hosted Merl Saunders and Friends, including Jerry Garcia, with Paul Pena opening, on Friday, May 31, 1974 and Saturday, June 1, 1974.

The May 1974 IOTB calendar had listed Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1 as TBA, supported by local folk artist Cris Williamson. The May ledger leaves the top of the bill a bit unclear, but the June calendar and ledger fill in the blanks. First, the calendar. It lists “Merl Saunders and Friends” for the weekend, with Paul Pena opening the evenings’ proceedings.

Inn of the Beginning calendar, June 1974. Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.

Paul Pena

Pena’s story seems an interesting one, just entering the GOTS narrative enough to warrant attention, but obscure enough to motivate some digging. I have talked about him a little in my 2/16/74 post.

A Boston native, blind from birth, the first trace of Paul Pena I can find in the Garcia nexus is as opener for the Grateful Dead at the Electric Factory in Philly on February 14-15, 1969. I’d guess he settles into the Bay Area around July 1973, since that’s when he starts showing up as the opener for Garcia/Saunders. He may even have been the single most frequent opener for these guys from 1973-1975, most often at the Keystone. On this evidence, we’d conclude that Keystone proprietor Freddie Herrera, Jerry and/or Merl liked him and/or his music enough to make him the “regular” opener where the three of them interfaced. Merl and Jerry also laid down some tracks for Pena’s New Train on October 4, 1973, though the album was not released, on CD, until 2000. It is most relevant here for Garcia’s pedal steel credits on “Venutian Lady” and “New Train”, tracks on which Merl is also credited. More broadly it’s just a pretty nice album (I like “Gotta Move”) and is noteworthy for Pena’s version of his “Jet Airliner”, later famously covered by a certain non-playin' motherfucker.

The IOTB materials, as rich as they have proven, again have interest, though I am not sure if this answers the question of how Pena came to be connected to these guys. On the back of the April 1974 ledger there’s a note to reach Pena through Annette [presumably Annette Flowers] at the GD offices. So, somehow, Paul Pena seems to have been in the GD orbit. Yet he was either also, or eventually became, close to Merl, for whom he’d continue to open shows at least into January 1976 (i.e., during the Merl-Jerry live performance interregnum beginning in ca. July 1975).

Anyway, the June 1974 calendar gives us a listing of Merl Saunders and Friends with Paul Pena opening for this weekend. The Inn of the Beginning Flyer gives its usual nice, informative, locally-contextualized blurb, which I reproduce with its surrounding nice, informative, locally-contextualized materials from the Flyer.

June 1974 Inn of the Beginning Flyer, first page. Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.

Jerry Garcia in the IOTB Ledger

As has been the case so often with these Inn of the Beginning materials, the ledger sheds new light, in this case about a heretofore unknown GOTS performance:

Excerpt of Inn of the Beginning June 1974 ledger. Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.

As I have elaborated over and over, I find these ledgers to be incredibly robust forms of evidence. The man who kept them kept (and retains) extremely accurate records, on my impression. So, to my satisfaction, this establishes that Jerry played on these nights.

So, eventually, The Jerry Site and anyone’s respective Garcia lists should be updated to reflect these dates:
  • Merl Saunders and Friends (with Jerry Garcia), Friday, May 31, 1974, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA
  • Merl Saunders and Friends (with Jerry Garcia), Saturday, June 1, 1974, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati, CA
update: now at Jerrybase: May 31, 1974 | June 1, 1974

Some speculative and overdone reconstruction of these newly-discovered dates

How do I imagine this coming about? Clearly going too deeply into something that’s probably really simple, let me say a few things.

In my mind’s eye, this is Merl calling for a gig (or Mark Braunstein checking in with him), “I’ve got a bunch of guys together and am free that weekend”, kind of thing. The May-June gigs were booked late, since they didn’t make the May calendar, but the “TBA” listing suggests to me that the Inn was holding that weekend for something special. They usually had things fully calendared in time to go to print. My hunch is that Merl was trying to get Jerry to come up to Cotati on this free weekend and that this accounts both for the delay and for the slightly more tantalizing “and Friends’ formulation. Merl: “Hey Jerry, wanna come up to Cotati and jam this particular weekend?” Garcia: “Yeah, man. I gotta check.” Merl, next phone call: “Hey Mark, can you hold that weekend for me? I might be able to get Jerry.” Mark: “Hell yeah.”

It probably takes a while to get Garcia to (be able to) commit, what with Jerry being Jerry (overcommitted somewhere, on something). Indeed, the record shows that Garcia was at Heider’s on May 31st. Shenk and Silberman (1) report that the “The Vault” (as of the mid-1990s, so presumably containing GD and JG material) holds some Garcia studio work such as “Some Enchanted Evening” (yes, the Rodgers and Hammerstein showtune from South Pacific) and “Cardiac Arrest”. This latter, a little jam really, was released as an outtake to Compliments on the All Good Things box set, and I presume that the released version is from this date. It may also shed some light. According to deaddisc, the players are Garcia, Michael Omartian on the piano, Merl Saunders on organ, John Kahn on bass, and Ronnie Tutt on drums. (I thought I heard some rhythm guitar, but what do I know?). So maybe Merl and Jer drove up to Cotati together, after playing around at Heider’s?

Win-win-win. The Inn is guaranteed a sellout at its standard mid-1974, strong-act-on-a-weekend-night rate of $2. Stuffing 250 people in, they gross $500 in tickets and pay out $400 to the talent (70% of the door for the band, blowing through the $150 guarantee, and $50 for Paul Pena), clear a C-note and then have a nice haul on beer and soda. Merl gets to keep playing with Jerry, which he obviously loves and which, crassly, is always in his pocketbook interest to keep doing. (Man was a cash cow, I tell ya.) Jerry, Being the May-June 1974 Vintage Jerry, The Youngish, Healthy-ish, I-Gotta-Jam-Somewhere-With-Someone Jerry, gets to play. Oh, and he leaves with $80 bucks in his pocket, which oughta keep him in smokes for a few days. Multiply all of this by two for the whole weekend, and we get these gigs.

What “Band” Played?

What should we call this collectivity that performed in Cotati? The listing itself –Merl Saunders and Friends—is interesting, insofar as I care about the formalities of band names, billings, and so on. And I care deeply about those things. When Merl played the Inn on Friday-Saturday April 5-6, 1974, he as just billed as Merl Saunders (note that Paul Pena opened). The “and Friends” formulation in May-June is probably not just an elaborated version of the same thing: it signals something that might interest the cognoscenti, i.e., that Jerry might be there. Just the name and the "and Friends" formulations suggest something looser and more ad hoc than a “band”. Merl Saunders and Friends is probably the best we can do. I would not call it a “band” at this point, just a picked-up group (though possibly with ideas about institutionalization, moving forward, at least on Merl’s part).

To get a sense of how fluid the billings were around Merl’s non-Garcia-related “bands”, I have just poked through some of my notes and listings for Merl’s bands without Jerry in the 1971-1975 period. Here are just some of the “bands” that I have seen mentioned or listed:
  • Heavy Turbulence. A six-piece band which  released the single “Little Bit of Righteousness”, with “Iron Horse” on the B-side in ca. late November 1970 (2). I don’t know who the players were. Not Garcia. But maybe Kahn, Vitt, Fogerty. Matt Scofield’s Merl Saunders discography lists the band as Merl Saunders and Heavy Turbulence, with a catalog number Galaxy 776 (1970), but no players are listed. (As an aside, Heavy Turbulence was also the name of a Saunders record, probably released around mid-March 1972 (3). That album, of course, featured Garcia, Tom Fogerty, John Kahn and Bill Vitt.
  • Merl Saunders Quartet. This was the listing at the Inn on December 14-15, 1973 at the Inn, with John Kahn apparently on bass.
  • Merl Saunders Band. The Oakland Tribune published a piece on Martin in July 1974 using this name (4; see also my posts on July ’74 shows at Keystone and the Sand Dunes). In late August 1974 (5), the Trib reported that “The Merl Saunders Band, which featured Jerry Garcia on guitar and Martin Fierro on sax on alternating weeks at the Sand Dunes in San Francisco, has changed its name to” …
  • Aunt Monk. So we should date this from around late August 1974. The next usage of this name, which is seems to refer to a bona fide “band” (a name, a relatively fixed membership, a perceived “going concern”, an album) enters my data in September 1974 and continues sporadically for several years.
  • Merl Saunders and Martin Fierro. What interests me about the previous little hints of institutionalization (for a “band” to change its “name” it had to be a band with a name in the first place, if you follow me) is that on the same date as the Fierro article (5) the Trib referred to the folks playing at the Sand Dunes as Merl Saunders and Martin Fierro, not Merl Saunders Band (6). No biggie, but just weird. Maybe they needed the extra letters for the type to set properly right-justified, who knows.
  • plus lots of ad hoc listings of names, lots of interchange of nouns (band, group, aggregation), and every possible permutation of Merl/Merle [sic]/Mel [sic] Saunders/Sanders [sic]’s name.
It doesn’t really matter, of course. But I like that, in parallel with the Garcia/Saunders group itself, which didn’t have a name –about which I’ll have too much to say, at some point—things were just really, really fluid around all of this. Jerry and Merl would settle in with Legion of Mary for the first-half of 1975, and then, for Garcia, comes the crucial, fateful fall 1975 choice to put his name (and himself) out front in the Jerry Garcia Band, which would be the name of his “main” side band until his death twenty years later (except January-September 1979, with Reconstruction). It’s a terribly important inflection point. Putting his name on it, commodifying his name, professionalizing the band, institutionalizing it, all hearken to the end of a kind of dream of being able to jam anonymously, to play music without all the bullshit that attached to being Jerry Garcia Of The Grateful Dead. I suspect that Jerry would lament, in later years, his increasing inability (or unwillingness, or whatever) to just sit in anonymously in some small club with a band with no name, play some funk.

Who was in the What?

Who played? Well, we know Merl and Jerry played. Let’s assume there’s also bass, drums, and another instrument. We just really, really don’t know.

update 20210713: we pretty much do know. Tony Saunders has posted a pic of what he has said was one of his first gigs with Merl and Jer, from the Inn. Jerry is beardless and may even be wearing that black turtleneck he favored at this time. Tony identifies the players as Jerry, Merl, himself, Tom Donlinger on drums, Martin Fierro on sax, and Peter Welker on trumpet. And I am about 99% sure that the pic relates to these gigs.

What I had written is now greyed out some - I want the words to still be there, but they of course give way to the more solid information that has since arisen. Thanks to David Kramer-Smyth for the tip in comments.

Regarding bass, the December 1973 IOTB Flyer tells us that the Merl Saunders Quartet of December 14-15, 1973 featured John Kahn. By 1974 Merl’s son Tony Saunders, who would turn 18 in that year and who is a monster funky bassist, appeared more and more frequently and effectively supplanted John (insofar as John was ever implanted at all). But since John would appear to have been at Heider’s with these guys earlier in the day on May 31st, Occam’s Razor probably points to him, at least for that date. The truth is we just can’t know.

I would also suppose that Martin Fierro was there. He had been playing with Merl and Jerry pretty steadily for something like ten months by this time. We know from the band discussion above that he was playing in the Merl Saunders Band at the Sand Dunes in ca. the first half of 1974, apparently alternating Monday nights with Garcia. Of course, that’s right in this time period.  We don’t know he was there, but there are all kinds of reasons to think that he probably was.

There was also presumably a drummer. Bill Vitt thinks he was out of the Saunders/Garcia scene by mid-1974, so we should probably rule him out. Bill Kreutzmann is possible, but we just can’t know. It seems unlikely to me, since Merl’s “friends” could easily have included some other drummer. My bet, based on a thin scrap of evidence (his credited presence on the 5/31/74 “Cardiac Arrest” jam) would be Ronnie Tutt. This is presently the earliest direct Garcia-Tutt connection known to me, and given that he’d be around from 1975-1977, a live gig this early would be of particular historical note. But, as with all of this, I am speculating. It could just as well have been that guy from Cotati. You know—that guy. Whatshisname.

What did the Who/What Play?

In terms of the repertoire (i.e., the what that the What and Whom played), again, no specific idea. I imagine that these kinds of gigs, where it’s really Jerry sitting in with Merl, are the ones that turned out to be all-instrumental, such as the “7/21/74” or "7/22/74" Keystone stuff, which is actually 1/21/75 and 1/22/75 (for analysis, see nick, or me, or me again), or the 2/14/75 and 5/9/75 (May 9th) gigs from The Generosity in San Francisco. (As an aside, Merl Jr.’s first reaction to the 2/14/75 Generosity gig is that it would have been Aunt Monk, with Tony Saunders on bass.) I thus imagine “When I Die”, “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)”, “Little Bit Of Righteousness”, “Valdez In The Country”, etc. Maybe a Stevie Wonder number. I doubt they even had a vocal mic set up. Anyway, that’s all speculation. We just don’t know.


So, my initial goal was just to establish the evidentiary basis for adding these two gigs to our Garcia lists (i.e., The Garcia List). But the post turned into a little discussion of Paul Pena and some broader historical context, including Merl’s (Jerryless) bands around this time and some possible players and songs. Lots of wild speculation, once I left the fact of the gigs themselves, but fun stuff to think about. May-June in Sonoma, jamming with friends (or strangers). Not too bad.

(1)  Shenk, David, and Steve Silberman. 1994. Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads, s.v. “The Vault”, p. 301. New York: Doubleday.
(2)  Gene Robertson, “On the Beam,” Sun Reporter (San Francisco), November 28, 1970, p. 29.
(3)  Dennis Hunt, “Playing Small Rock Clubs is a ‘Release From the Dead’.” San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, April 9, 1972, p. 8, notes that HT was “released a few weeks ago”.
(4)  R.B. Ragg, “Life Out on the Side,” Oakland Tribune, July 21, 1974, p. 3-RAP.
(5)  "Rap-Up's Wrap Up," Oakland Tribune, August 25, 1974, p. 2-RAP. 
(6)  "Rap-Up's Wrap Up," Oakland Tribune, July 21, 1974, p. 2-RAP.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

OAITW: July 18, 1973, Inn of the Beginning, Cotati

The McNally-Arnold JG List had listed an Old and in the Way show at the Inn of the Beginning, 8201 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, CA, 94931, on Wednesday, July 18, 1973. This carried through to Deadbase (Corry Arnold having given a copy of the list to Stu Nixon) and through to The Jerry Site (Ryan having used Deadbase IX for the Jerry Site's foundational list). I have no idea how Dennis originally tracked this date down, because as far as I have known there's no tape, no ad, no nothing.

I don't have a copy of the IOTB calendar from July 1973, for some reason, though somehow I have the "July Notes" from the Flyer, which usually had the calendar on the front. Maybe July 1973, exceptionally, had no single calendar, but was laid our only through the narration of the Flyer. I can't remember. Anyway, here's the page where it discusses July 18th:
Inn of the Beginning Flyer, July 1973, 2nd page. Courtesy of Mark Braunstein.

At the bottom-right we see blurb for "Wed. & Thurs. July 18 and 19 SPECIAL SHOW" has a listing that will probably be of interest of anyone who cares about It's A Beautiful Day: "Many of you who follow rock and roll scuttlebutt know that the name IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY was awarded to the man who thought it up, so technically that group is no more. The music, however, belongs to the people making it. We are happy to to Sonoma County MOON featuring four out of five former members of It's a Beautiful Day."

There's also a little tidbit on Joy of Cooking, if any one cares: "On Wednesday [July 18, 1973], joining them will be David Anne and Friends. David, the original bass player from Joy of Cooking, will be introducing his new band." I think "Anne" is supposed to be "Annie", based on other materials, BTW.

Anyway, there's no mention of OAITW at the Inn this night in any of the pre-published materials (e.g., monthly calendar, Flyer, posters, advertisements).

But the ledger has MOON crossed out on these nights, and above Wednesday is written "Old + In The Way 80%". These ledgers were cross-checked at the end of every month and they strike me as extremely accurate as to who actually played (as compared with the pre-published calendars). So here we have this particle of a show floating in the air, and now we have a piece of information that confirms it perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I wonder if at some point McNally didn't see these notebooks? Mere speculation, but it'd be cool  if that were the case.

Oh yeah, and the show is historically very, very interesting. As I noted in my post on the 7/21/73b gig, Clarence White died on July 15, 1973. It seemed to hit all of these guys (Grisman, Garcia, Rowan, Greene) really, really hard, because by all accounts the guy was both a genius guitarist and a real Mensch. Beyond the emotional, there was also the professional reality for Rowan, Grisman and Greene that the Muleskinner Band would end. (Though one wonders, with the last known [to me] Muleskinner gigs being in March, whether that conclusion hadn't already been reached?) As I narrated it,

A few days later, we have a show listed as OAITW, a Wednesday (7/18/73) in Cotati, which I find perfectly plausible. This would be Vassar Clements's first Bay Area OAITW show. Gotta get warmed up together, run through some numbers? Do it midweek in Cotati.

This was in support of a post the main thesis of which was that Vassar Clements's membership in OAITW nearly merely qualifies as "membership", because he was basically a hired gun. I have much, much more to say about that at some point. Suffice it to say, for purposes of this post, that anything to do with Vassar's first Bay Area gig with OAITW qualifies as reasonably important. Even if it's "just" an entry in a notebook ledger. Given the overall verisimilitude of a gig this Wednesday night in Cotati, I feel pretty near 100% about this regrettably obscure evening.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

LN jg1973-10-xx.oaitw.partial.sbd.14216.shnf

Old And In The Way "October 1973" ( turns out to be a degraded copy of Boarding House, October 8, 1973. Grisman officially released the whole show in 2008, though all links to download it seem to be dead. Some notes.

Old And In The Way
"Unknown Location, October xx, 1973"
Boarding House
October 8, 1973 (DOW)
shnid 14216: degraded 81 minute sbd

(19 tracks, 81:15)
t01 - Home Is Where The Heart Is [2:01] [0:08]
t02 - Love Please Come Home [3:12] [0:13]
t03 - [0:26] Down Where The River Bends [4:26] [0:14]
t04 - [0:52] Kissimmee Kid [4:23] [0:23] (1)
t05 - (2) tuning [1:07], Pig In A Pen/% [2:37#], dead air [0:06]
t06 - dead air [0:03], //Uncle Pen [#2:12] [0:30]
t07 - Panama Red [2:40] [0:15]
t08 - talk (3) and tuning [1:25], Midnight Moonlight [5:59] [0:20]
t09 - talk (4) and tuning [1:00], White Dove [4:32] [0:09] % dead air [0:06] %
t10 - //Wild Horses [#4:21] [0:07]
t11 - talk and tuning [0:19] % [0:17] Orange Blossom Special [2:38] [0:15] % [0:24]
t12 - (5) [0:28] Old And In The Way [2:55] [0:12]
t13 - Lonesome Fiddle Blues [3:14] [0:18]
t14 - % [0:11] On And On [3:17] [0:06]
t15 - Land Of The Navajo [6:54] [0:20]
t16 - tuning [0:38], Catfish John [3:56] [0:31]
t17 - (6) [0:05] Til The End Of The World Rolls 'Round [2:09] [0:02] % [0:08]
t18 - % /Jerry's Breakdown [#4:23] [0:16]
t19 - tuning and talk (7) [0:53], The Great Pretender [3:26] [0:09] %

Peter Rowan - acoustic guitar, vocals;
David Grisman - mandolin, vocals;
Jerry Garcia - banjo, vocals;
Vassar Clements - fiddle;
John Kahn - acoustic bass.

! this fileset is deprecated by lots of better sources for the same material, including the official release Old & In The Way: Live at the Boarding House, October 8, 1973 - The Complete Show - Sets 1 & 2 (Acoustic Disc/Acoustic Oasis, ACD-AO-50005, 2008) (
! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! TJS:
! db: shnid 14216 (this fileset -- deprecated); is the best-sounding non-official copy of material from this date (though it travels as unknown 1973).
! R: given lineage: "MSR > R > R > D > CD".
! R: shnid 14216 (non-seekable shns) renamed, flac encoded and tagged by JGMF, 8/2011.
! R: Seeder Note: "not sure why the discs are split like this. It was provided to me in this manner ..."
! (1) ?DG?: "Vassar Clements!"
! there's a recording break, but it sounds very short. I don't think there's much or anything missing here.
! R: Badly muffled and running fast. This is a pretty painful listen, though it either gets better or we get used to it. It's plausible to think this is a degraded sbd.
! P: Nice stretched out harmony vocals by JG at the end of DWTRB
! This sounds like an early version of Kissimee Kid. You can hear them saying something like "You wanna try it?" and then a minute of tuning. This might help triangulate to date.
! (2) chick calls for Foggy Mountain Breakdown before Pig In A Pen
! R: PIAP cuts out
! R: Uncle Pen cuts in
! (3) crowd yell "play it Vassar!" leads to some chatter, DG noting that Vassar's fans are demanding. PR asks "What would you like to hear him play?" Crowd shouts a bunch of stuff. "Peking Fling", etc. "Muleskinner Blues". Crowd is hooting and hollering and having a good old time.
! Midnight Moonlight is fully developed. This definitely makes October dating more plausible. These guys really got it together around this time. This is probably October 1 or October 8. Some A-B comparisons will be necessary [edit: confirmed that this is October 8, 1973].
! P: this may be the hottest Midnight Moonlight ever played. They are well-gelled and cooking.
! (4) @ 0:42 DG: "We're gonna slow things down a little bit, get into a little reflective portion of our show. Everybody can sort of ease down, and reflect upon ..."
! Wild Horses cuts in before first verse.
! (5) Audience member calls for something. ?Vassar? says "We got the man here who produced that, too. The McEuen Brothers."
! song name Old And In The Way Breakdown is not a Breakdown. I think this is just called OAITW.
! R: LOTN speaker-endangering digi-snit @ 5:41
! (6) DG: "Here's one of Lester and Earl's numbers."
! @ 0:37 (7) DG: "These antiques are like pretty women, Pete. Have to fool with 'em to get 'em right."
! setlist: Great Pretender was listed as an encore, but there's continuous tape to it from the end of Jerry's Breakdown. And it doesn't necessarily sounds like the show ends after this point, either. So I don't know what to make of the 'encore' designation for this except to think it's incorrect [confirmed].

The New National Anthem of Bluegrass: OAITW, Stinson Beach Community Center, September 30, 1973

 LN jg1973-09-30.oaitw.all.aud.11862.shnf

Old And In The Way
Community Center
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
September 30, 1973 (Sunday)

This old fileset (shnid 11862, probably created around September 2002) has always interested me. The format of the info files was very distinctive around a whole big batch of the iffily-lineaged OAITW shows. The material was obscure and remains, I am persuaded, almost wholly unlistened-to (though widely collected). The tapes tend to be a little rough around the edges. Information is sketchy. But whichever grizzled old OAITW fan(s) preserved and digitized these tapes, I thank you. Because they capture some fantastic music.

Case in point: Sunday, September 30, 1973, at the Stinson Beach Community Center. Stinson Beach is very evocative for all kinds of reasons. First, if you’ve ever been there, well, you understand it’s appealing. Second, of course, the principals in Old And In The Way (Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia) all lived in this little town. Garcia’s place, Sans Souci (“No Worry”), has its own deep importance. It’s the house that Mountain Girl wanted that led to Jerry’s first solo album, Garcia. It’s where the Signpost to a New Space interviews were conducted (see reading notes and dates). It, and especially through about 1973, seems to embody a very brief moment of relative domesticity for Jerry. I don’t know when he’d move out, but my notes say that by end of 1975 he and MG had basically split up. Anyway, this is a brief moment when life is good at home and at work. Garcia’s playing around like crazy and living life to the fullest. Nice.

update-20150103-It gets even nicer feeling: this was a benefit for the Bolinas-Stinson School District's music programs - 2 p.m. start. Way to give back to the community, young men!

So this hometown gig, from an unknown (to me) audience recordist, is just a whole lot of fun. The tape isn’t perfect, and neither is the gig. But it’s one I find myself listening to with fair regularity. In a circumstance in which listening time is the dearest commodity, that really says something. It feels good to listen to this. I don’t have the energy to do a full-blown analysis on this, so let me just go shotgun style.

1.     Vassar Clements is a genius. Check out “Lonesome Fiddle Blues” or “Kissimee Kid”. (By the way, I have no idea why it’s spelled with only one ‘m’, when the town in North Florida which is being referred to –Vassar’s hometown, or close to it—is properly spelled Kissimmee. I see it spelled “incorrectly” in the liner notes to Breakdown. I wonder if this is a stoned Deadhead thing that has just lived on forever? Sheesh.) And it’s not just the fiddle tunes that he tears up. He tears everything up. Right on, man.
2.     David Grisman introduces “High Lonesome Sound” [Allan | Scofield] as “The new national anthem of bluegrass music.” I am surely reading too much into this, but we know that David Grisman was a very ambitious young man. I wonder if this was, indeed, his ambition? We have often heard that Old And In The Way was the best-selling bluegrass record of all time, for a time. We don’t really know if that’s true, at least I don’t. But it’s not hard to imagine David seeing the band as fixing to conquer the world. And if that’s the case on 9/30/73, and if they play some incredible shows through October 8th (which they do) and things are going really well, then why did OAITW end so suddenly? There’s the makeup gig at Sonoma State and a 20-minute reunion on April 28, 1974. That’s it. (I show a Nov. 8th date with no other information. I have no idea where it comes from, but I doubt it’s anything other than a phantom.) I am just trying to reconcile in my mind the sense of ambition and possibility that I hear with the knowledge that it would end very, very quickly from this point.
3.     The performance is just lovely. “That High Lonesome Sound” is a fantastic song (a Peter Rowan original). “Land of the Navajo” is beautifully done. Hell, all of the Rowan songs are really, really good. As are all of the bluegrass songs. Etc. You get the idea.
4.     The little bits and pieces of things we know about OAITW said that they played some really local gigs such as this one. It’s nice to have one tape of neighbors getting together for an evening of music like this, Jerry just Jerry and not Jerreeeee. Indeed, the fans seem more crazed for Vassar than for the bearded freak playing the banjo.

Listening Notes, not real elaborate, follow.

Old And In The Way
Community Center
32 Belvedere Avenue
Stinson Beach, CA 94970
September 30, 1973 (Sunday)
93 minute audience recording, shnid 11862

Disc 1 (11 tracks, 47:00)
d1t01 - [0:04] /Going To The Races [2:12] [0:10]
d1t02 - [0:13] On And On [3:42] [0:06]
d1t03 - [0:30] (1) Lonesome Fiddle Blues [2:45] [0:06]
d1t04 - [0:17] Land Of The Navajo [8:43] [0:21]
d1t05 - Eating Out Of Your Hand [2:28] [0:06]
d1t06 - [0:33] Panama Red [2:47] [0:37]
d1t07 - Pig In A Pen [3:02] [0:09]
d1t08 - [0:10] Hobo Song 5:18] [0:20]
d1t09 - [0:12] Lonesome L.A. Cowboy 4:26] [0:10]
d1t10 - [0:42] (2) White Dove [4:36] [0:05]
d1t11 - [0:12] Workin' On A Building// [1:57#] [0:02]

Disc 2 (10 tracks, 46:23)
d2t01 - [0:02] //Swing Low Sweet Chariot [#3:29] [0:15]
d2t02 - [0:35] Kissimee Kid [3:17] [0:16]
d2t03 - dead air [0:08] [1:26] Wild Horses [5:24] ->
d2t04 - Midnight Moonlight [5:12] [0:38]
d2t05 - [0:35] Drifting Too Far From Shore [4:39] [0:03]
d2t06 - [0:13] I Ain't Broke But I'm Badly Bent [3:12] [0:17]
d2t07 - [0:12] Wicked Path Of Sin [2:23] [0:13]
d2t08 - [0:10] Lost [3:34] [0:40]
d2t09 - [0:30] (3) High Lonesome Sound [3:28] [1:01]
d2t10 - [0:08] Blue Mule [4:39] [0:38]

! ACT1: Old And In The Way
! lineup: David Grisman - mandolin, vocals;
! lineup: Peter Rowan - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - banjo, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: Vassar Clements - fiddle.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.

! R: Definitely an audience recording. L channel is out for the first several minutes, until about 2:16 of LOTN.

! R: Given lineage: "AUD (DAT: MAR > D > CD)"

! R: Given Comments: "This sometimes is listed as a SBD, but I believe there is just one source for this, a really nice FOB audience recording."

! d1t01 Going To The Races clips in

! d1t03 (1) Vassar Clements ("from Nashville, TN") introduced by David Grisman.

! d1t04 Land of the Navajo is very nice

! d1t10 (2) DG: "What would you like to hear? ... Sunday ... hymns ... hers"

! d1t11 WOAB cuts out

! d2t01 SLSC cuts in

! d2t09 (3) DG: "The new national anthem of bluegrass music, better known as 'The High Lonesome Sound'."

! preview: "Bluegrass Group To Play Benefit," Independent-Journal [San Rafael, CA], September 29, 1973, p. 4.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

OAITW: June 11, 1973, Temple University-Ambler, Ambler, PA

This show (OAITW: June 11, 1973, Temple Festival Theater, Ambler, PA) will end up being important to me, I think, as I write more about OAITW and the summer of 1973. Can't wait.

For now, I just want to address venue confusion.

**update: it was definitely in an amphitheater, not an enclosed theater - thanks to attendee/commenter Gr8fulD for further confirmation**

The Jerry Site's data are presently a mess. Here are the two "changes" that have been noted at the Jerry Site's entry for the show:

  • Mar 8, 2010 - [] Changed venue based on info from Hank Edenborn, "The venue for the show below was definitely the outdoor concert venue of the Temple University - Ambler Campus. The "Ambler Theater" is an indoor venue where other Dead spin-off bands may perhaps have played, but there is no way that this show was played there. I was finishing up a year at Temple University main campus at the time and it was undoubtedly how I saw the announcement for the show." 
  • Sep 10, 2008 - [] Changed venue from the Temple Festival Theater to The Ambler Theatre based on info from Harry Angus. 
 And yet the listing is still traditionally given as Temple Festival Theater.

I have one datum to ad to the mix.

Unfortunately, I don't have the reference for this. But I do have a copy of the "ad [actually a calendar listing] in June 5th edition of Philadelphia newspaper Drummer" mentioned at TJS, which I believe came from Joey Newlander. And it also says Temple Festival Theater.

Anyway, the ad contradicts the participant/Jerry Site informant's memory, and I am just not sure how to reconcile. On the one hand, you have an ad for a show which seems to be promoted by professionals ("Electric Factory Concerts presents at Temple Festival Theater"). It seems to have nothing to do with Temple University-Ambler. Yet, Hank Edenborn tells TJS that "The venue for the show below was definitely the outdoor concert venue of the Temple University - Ambler Campus", he having attended it.

In general, ex ante advertisements, especially drawn ads rather than calendar listings, probably lose out in an evidentiary test to credible eyewitness testimony. I guess I am just wondering what the hell happened between whenever the ad was submitted and June 11th. And where are we talking about? The Ambler Theater, which looks really nice on a street view, seems not to be the place under discussion (i.e., the same as the "Temple Festival Theater" named in the ad)? The only google results on "Temple Festival Theater" that are relevant go back to The Jerry Site and here. So whatever the hell this advertisement is referring to as the venue, it seems to have been lost to memory. WTF?

Here's a blurb I found from the college's web site, which  might be relevant:
For 13 years, the music played on. In 1968, the Temple University Music Festival and Institute was born at the Ambler Campus with two important goals — to serve as a school for young professional musicians and to provide several summers of world-class music. In its heyday, the Music Festival stage was graced by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington. The amphitheater placed the spotlight on rising stars such as Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, and Temple’s own Bill Cosby. Area residents, and many well beyond, fondly remember the “42 Evenings of Musical Excellence” that summers at Ambler would bring.Though the location of the well-remembered Music Festival now plays host to Temple’s Owls baseball and softball teams ... 

Anyway, I guess we have to go with the eyewitness and list the venue as the "outdoor concert venue of the Temple University - Ambler Campus". Maybe, based on the text above, we could just call it "Ampitheater"? Thoughts?

Two final notes.First, I had always thought this was a bluegrass festival. Guess not. Heh heh. Second, if there were hassles with this it'd be really interesting for the narrative that is revealing itself around OAITW and the 1973 bluegrass festival season.

**update2: per commenter Gr8fulD, Doug Sahm opened**

Friday, August 05, 2011

Four Nights at the Boarding House: April 13-16, 1973

"Scenedrome," Berkeley Barb, April 13-19, 1973, p. 18
Check out Jerry for these four nights:
  • Friday, 4/13/73: JGMS @ Boarding House. We know from tapes that George Tickner is on rhythm guitar. Update: there is now a show review. See "Friday Night at the Boarding House".
  • Saturday, 4/14/73: JGMS @ Boarding House. We know from tapes that George Tickner is on rhythm guitar. Based on the setlist, we should probably expect that Sarah Fulcher is there as well?
  • Sunday, 4/15/73: OAITW @ Boarding House. Probably one of the first shows with Richard Greene on fiddle.
  • Monday, 4/16/73: OAITW @ Boarding House. Probably one of the first shows with Richard Greene on fiddle. See my minimal listening notes from one of the sets.
I sure wish I could have spent these four nights at the Boarding House. Thank goodness Betty was there!

Just sayin'.

Oh yeah, the Berkeley Barb's calendars are masterpieces.

JGMS: July 19, 1973, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA

Heitman, Dianne. 1973. Merle [sic] & Jerry soar at Music Hall – so does audience. San Francisco Phoenix v.1 n.24 (August 10), p. 8. Positive review of Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, July 19, 1973, Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA.

The Great American Music Hall, at 859 O'Farrell Street in San Francisco, CA, 94109, looks to be a gilded freaking palace. I didn't see a post on it at any of Corry's blogs. If there is one, please point it out!

As far as I can tell the first time Garcia played it was Thursday, July 19, 1973. Somewhere there's an interview from Merl where he talks about how special this room was to them. By my back of the napkin count, they played this venue at least 30 times. I have touched on several, and with at least some focus in at least three:

·       7/14/74
·       8/24/74

The band on 7/19/73 was Jerry Garcia (electric guitar, vocals), Merl Saunders (keyboards, synthesizers), John Kahn (electric bass) and Bill Vitt (drums). Three "guests"/sort-of-members/eventual members appear as well: unknown harmonica player in the "guest", slot, Sarah Fulcher (vocals) in the "sort-of-members" category, and Martin Fierro (saxophone flute) as the "eventual" member. While Sarah would join the group (or, as it was known at the time, inter alia, The Group) a little off and on through most of 1973, Martin would keep appearing pretty steadily from this point forward, forming the third key instrumental voice in what would become, by 1975, Legion of Mary. His basically two-year stint is pretty good by GOTS first-half-of-1970s standards. He was practically a mainstay for those fluid days.

Anyway, this show has come up in the Workingman's Tracker's Garcia / Saunders and Legion of Mary Project, which I think will have nice curatorial value at least for SteveSw's reviews (what I would call "listening notes"). I wish more people would join in the conversation Here, There and Everywhere … we need to crowd-source more data and analysis! The WT forums are now publicly visible – thanks to the admins there. I am posting here because what I really wanted to do was post an image of the show review above, but I couldn’t figure out how. So I’ll post it here and invite you all to read it. It’s fantastic!

Here is the reference and a few select quotes and themes.

Heitman, Dianne. 1973. Merle [sic] & Jerry soar at Music Hall – so does audience. San Francisco Phoenix v.1 n.24 (August 10), p. 8.

Here’s the opening:

The good-time, low-down, high-energy sounds of Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia and their group took off and soared under the high, gilded, electric-chandeliered ceiling of the Great American Music Hall one night called July 19.

The Music Hall was packed.

After identifying the personnel, Heitman mentions that “Sarah, during the second set, came out and sang a few numbers with the band, as she is wont to do from time to time.” Yet another example of “Sarah” only being referred to by her first name, as I have observed once before. Indeed, I wonder if the only way we know her name is by the information written onto Betty’s tape boxes and transcribed by Rob Eaton. Maybe not, but if someone can find me any pre-1995 information that mentions Sarah’s last name, I’d love to see it. And I wonder if this is intentional on Sarah’s part, or just reflects oversights?

As the quote below suggests, Sarah’s patronymic anonymity is not due to journalistic sloth. Continuing in the guests-who-shall-not-be named category, Ms. Heitman mentions “some fellow playing sax and flute. (Someone of unascertained reliability said he thought this musician’s name was Elspeth, but no-one else seemed to know him. Nor, unfortunately, could I discover Sarah’s last name – but they know who they are." Now this really cracks me up. Elspeth? Heh heh

“Elspeth” comes up again at the end of the review, when fan and reviewer interpret how Jerry relates to him based on the show-ending “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”:

“Hear that! Wow, did you hear that? The way Garcia just shot that flute player down? Man, he just told him to shut up. You could just hear how Garcia was telling him with his music: ‘Shut up now. You had your turn already.’” (That may have been so, though the way I heard it, Garcia was just telling the flute player to wait for him backstage afterwards.)

I have always found that Martin was divisive among those who pay attention to these things, just as Sarah has always been. Some love them, some really dislike them. Seems like the “Wow!” guy wasn’t a big Martin … err … Elspeth fan. S’all good.

Heitman also picks up a nice piece of color that reflects the Dilemma (maybe not yet The Burden that it would be come) Of Being Jerry:

A fellow at the next table observed that the audience at this concert was made up largely of the same people who go to all the Grateful Dead concerts, ‘Their enthusiasm for the Dead and all things connected with the Dead borders on idolatry’, he remarked, and the others at his table nodded.

Guy sounds like a stick-in-the-mud, but he probably has a point. I would love to gather more systematic evidence as to when this sentiment first started popping up around GOTS. It was clearly happening by 1973. I suspect that fan idolatry, and/or complaints of it, are as old as Garcia On The Side itself.

Anyway, there’s also a real positive review of the show, and some nice, if small, bookended photos of Jerry and Merl. They don’t look like stock photos I have seen, so maybe they show them from the actual day of the show. I dunno. Anyway, happy reading. It’s good stuff.

Matrix Tapes

I was just reminded that I had posted a long list of one source of "Matrix Tapes" in comments on the "High Country 2/19/69" show at Lost Live Dead in 2009. I reproduce it here. I'd love to concatenate the various lists and fill in as much sourcing information as I can. Perhaps I'll give it a go.

Anyway, here's that list. I am open to what we should call this, i.e., the nomenclature we should use for the various lists/batches. I think this is the batch held by Joe Buchwald.

Jefferson Airplane-1/3/1966
Grateful Dead-1/7/1966
Big Brother & The Holding Company-1/10/1966
Great Society-1/16/1966
Big Brother & The Holding Company-3/8/1966
Lightning Hopkins-4/20/1966
Great Society-6/4/1966
Great Society-6/7/1966
Sopwith Camel-6/11/1966
Great Society-6/28/1966
Final Solution-7/2/1966
Country Joe & The Fish-7/13/1966
Tom Northcutt Trio-7/26/1966
Sopwith Camel-8/3/1966
Great Society-8/6/1966
Blues Project-9/1/1966
Blues Project-9/5/1966
Andrew Staples-9/30/1966
Jefferson Airplane-9/30/1966
Jefferson Airplane-10/14/1966
Jefferson Airplane-10/15/1966
The Only Alternative w/ Mimi Farina-10/22/1966
Jefferson Airplane-10/25/1966
Jefferson Airplane-10/26/1966
Jefferson Airplane-10/27/1966
Jerry Pond-11/17/1966
Grateful Dead-11/19/1966
Grateful Dead-11/29/1966
Grateful Dead-12/1/1966
Steve Miller Band-1/27/1967
Butterfield Blues Band-1/29/1967
Big Brother & The Holding Company-1/31/1967
Blues Project-Jefferson Airplane Jam-2/14/1967
Blues Project-2/15/1967
Blues Project-2/16/1967
Quicksilver Messenger Service-3/19/1967
Chambers Brothers-3/23/1967
Yellow Brick Road-3/23/1967
Anonymous Artists of America-3/26/1967
Howlin' Wolf-4/18/1967
Howlin' Wolf-4/19/1967
Howlin' Wolf-4/20/1967
Blue Cheer-7/13/1967
Steve Miller Band-7/27/1967
South Side Sound System-8/30/1967
Quicksilver Messenger Service-9/16/1967
Big Brother & The Holding Company-10/3/1967
Mike Bloomfield-11/18/1967
Jefferson Airplane-1/30/1968
Jefferson Airplane-1/31/1968
Jefferson Airplane-2/1/1968
J.C. Burris-3/14/1968
Mandel Band Jam-4/27/1968
Big Brother & The Holding Company-6/16/1968
Sandy Bull-6/16/1968
Butterfield-Steve Miller Jam-6/16/1968
Steve Miller Band-6/16/1968
Ten Years After-6/28/1968
Ten Years After-6/29/1968
A.B. Skhy-10/3/1968
Harvey Mandel Band-10/5/1968
Dead Jam-10/8/1968
Elvin Bishop Jam-10/9/1968
Dead Jam-10/10/1968
Harvey Mandel Band-10/16/1968
Steve Miller Band-10/28/1968
Dead Jam-10/30/1968
Dan Hicks-11/1/1968
Cold Blood-11/2/1968
Dan Hicks-11/2/1968
Sea Train-11/10/1968
Santana Blues Band-11/13/1968
Santana Blues Band-11/14/1968
Mother Earth-11/21/1968
Mother Earth-11/23/1968
Elvin Bishop-Harvey Mandel Jam-11/28/1968
Dead Jam-11/30/1968
John Winter-12/3/1968
Sandy Bull-12/4/1968
John Winter-12/4/1968
Lightning Hopkins-12/5/1968
John Winter-12/5/1968
Casady, Garcia, Hart & Dryden Jam-12/6/1968
Dan Hicks-12/7/1968
Winter, Casady, Garcia & Bishop Jam-12/16/1968
Casady, Garcia et al. Jam-12/18/1968
Garcia, Bishop & Santana Jam-12/23/1968
Garcia, Mandel, Chambers et al Jam-12/24/1968
Mandel-Bishop Jam-12/30/1968
Jorma Kaukonen-1/2/1969
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady-1/3/1969
Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady-1/4/1969
Elvin Bishop Band-1/8/1969
Beautiful Day-1/15/1969
Kooper, Casady, Garcia & Chambers Jam-1/20/1969
Ramblin' Jack Elliott-ND
Jesse Fuller-ND