Friday, November 25, 2011

The April 1975 Legion of Mary Tour

LN jg1975-04-10.lom.early.aud-moore.117250.flac2496

In April 1975, Legion of Mary (Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Martin Fierro, John Kahn and Ronnie Tutt) went on its only tour, performing, by my count, twenty-five shows in the seventeen days between April 4th and April 20th (inclusive). They started in Brooklyn, spent a bunch of time in the core Northeast (New York, Boston, Philly), down a bit further south (Washington, Atlanta) and up to the upper Midwest (Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison), mostly playing mid-size clubs and theaters.

There is a great deal to say about this tour, and I’ll only be able to scratch the surface here. My overarching point would be to remark on the degree of institutionalization represented by this tour by this band. Not only is there a set tour (which the innominate Garcia-Saunders aggregation had test-flown in November 1974), but it’s with a band with a name and fixed membership. It’s not really that surprising – the GD was on hiatus, and there was space for a formalized alternative Garcia outlet—but it is noteworthy. Remember that Garcia had only toured outside the Grateful Dead three times prior to this: January 1972 behind Hooteroll?, briefly (and I think abortively) with Old and In the Way in June 1973, and the November 1974 Garcia-Saunders tour. Looking through the other end of the telescope, this would be the final time Garcia would tour behind a non-GD band that wasn’t eponymous --$5 word … “bearing his name”. When next he returned to the Northeast, he’d be in front of the newly-christened Jerry Garcia Band, which, with tiny variations (e.g., Jerry Garcia and John Kahn) is the name under which he’d cross time zones for the rest of his too-short life when not playing with the Grateful Dead.

The core of the tour, to my reckoning, was a three-night, six-show run (April 8-10) spent at the Bottom Line, 15 West Fourth Street, New York, NY, 10012. I should certainly say more about this venue, but Corry has said more than I could, anyway. [see also Jerry's Brokendown Palaces entry for the Bottom Line.] The shows were promoted by Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky, as indicated by this ticket for the Thursday (April 10) late show, which I believe has been shared at the Merl Saunders Facebook page.

Jerry and Merl had played the Bottom Line twice before, with the July 1-3, 1974 standalone shows (i.e., not part of a tour), and the full November 1974 tour, which had featured the great Paul Humphrey on drums. Somewhere I came across something that said the July shows were envisaged as a dry run for the November tour, but now I can’t find the source. I have more to say about the November tour as well, which features some naming and billing variations that interest me (to say nothing of some pretty decent music). I have already discussed it once in terms of when it ended, but there’s lots, lots more to say.

What fascinates me about the April Bottom Line shows, for whatever reason, is that, as far as I can tell, they went totally unadvertised. If the Grateful Dead have come to be seen as pioneers for what we would now call viral marketing, it’s worth noting that the first extensions beyond that group may have been to Garcia’s side projects. The Bottom Line’s standing ads in the Village Voice just sort of skipped over these three nights (see the issues of March 31, 1975, p. 114, and April 7, 1975, p. 106). Yet the shows quickly sold out (can’t find a cite for that, but I think there is one) and one of them, the Tuesday (April 8) late show, was even reviewed in the New York Times (John Rockwell, “Legion of Mary Fans Cheer Band’s Winning Music,” New York Times, April 10, 1975, p. 47). Again, it’s no big deal, but it just fascinates me as a slight deviation from the otherwise pretty straight institutionalization of the whole affair.

My own judgment has long been that these April 1975 shows are not that great, and revisiting this April 10th early show as taped by the late, great Jerry Moore does little to dissuade me from that view. Stevie Wonder’s “Creepin’” [Allan] is an interesting novelty, and this version shows some promise, but it never really takes off. Two of the Garcia selections on this night, “It Ain’t No Use” and Jesse Winchester’s “Every Word You Say” [Allan | Schofield], are among my least favorite tunes from the period and just don’t do much for me. The Merl Saunders vocals, “My Problems Got Problems” [Allan | Schofield] (credited on Fire Up+ to Saunders and Carrier) and another great Stevie song, “Boogie On Reggae Woman” [Allan | Schofield] are both a little off, especially the former. It starts off with all kinds of whacked out tempos, way too fast for Merl to keep up with lyrically, and it never really settles in. It ends with kind of a thud after Merl tries, unsuccessfully, to improvise some lyrics to fit the unfamiliar tempo. They pull BORW together a little bit better, albeit after a rough start.

(Aside: I love how Merl got Jerry to play Stevie Wonder tunes. Both “Creepin’” and “Boogie On Reggae Woman” appeared on Fulfillingness’ First Finale [1974]. A propos of nothing, that album also has a track titled “It Ain’t No Use”, but it’s not the same as the Jerry Williams / Gary U.S. Bonds / Don Hollinger track played by Garcia and figuring in the present show’s setlist.)

The only real standout, to my ears – and it is a standout—is Dylan’s “The Wicked Messenger” [Allan | Schofield]. I have no idea where Garcia got the idea to turn this song into a raunchy, grinding, wailing electric guitar dysphony … had someone else covered it this way before? If Dylan’s album version featured a country lilt to contrast the grim lyrics, Garcia’s version met darkness with darkness. It’s a biting, metallic display of anger and virtuosity, not quite the equal of the version from the Great American Music Hall on May 15, 1975 (featured on the bonus disc Absolute Mary), but still a show-stealer and well worth ten minutes of anybody’s time.

All right, listening notes follow. Thanks again to Jerry Moore (RIP, STW), Rob Berger and David Minches for getting this great recording into the ears of the masses.

Legion of Mary
Bottom Line
15 West Fourth Street
New York, NY, 10012
April 10, 1975 (Thursday) Early Show
Moore Minches shnid-117250

(7 tracks, 85:29)
t01. ambience [1:08]
t02. It Ain't No Use [12:20] [1:38]
t03. Creepin' [13:36] [1:07] % [0:33]
t04. My Problems Got Problems [14:42] [2:06]
t05. Every Word You Say [7:24] [0:11] % [2:37]
t06. The Wicked Messenger [10:10] [1:44]
t07. Boogie On Reggae Woman [15:45] [0:24]

! ACT1: Legion of Mary
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals;
! lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Ron Tutt - drums.


! 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.

! db: (earlier transfer of same tape).

! R: field recordist: Jerry Moore

! R: field recording gear: 2x AKG D1000E > Sony TC-152

! R: Transfer and FLAC encoding by David Minches: Master played back on Nakamichi Dragon > Korg MR-1000 (DSF [1-bit 5.6448 MHz Stereo]) Korg AudioGate > WAV [24/96] > Adobe Audition 3.0 > FLAC encoding. Speed/pitch Correction by Joe B. Jones. Thanks to Rob Berger for supplying the master cassettes.

! R: this is the only known recording of this show as of 11/2011. It's a characteristically excellent Jerry Moore tape.

! t03 Creepin' they find a nice little groove from 4:53 around Garcia's solo. This has real promise. It's better than the 2/14/75version I just listened to. It even swings a little bit.

! t04 PGP they have the tempo way too fast for Merl, and generally. Around the 12-minute mark they are completely lost, Merl trying to improvise through a tempo that he just doesn't have a handle on, not that successfully.

! P: t06 WM I love the raunchy tone Jerry gets on this during his first solo, late 1-min to early 2-min mark. And he is still shredding in the early 3-min mark. Wow, this is very heavy stuff.

! P: t07 BORW starts off a little rough again, things just out of sync.

! R: t07 some bumping of the microphone early in BORW.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Merl's Birthday Generosity: Aunt Monk, February 14, 1975

LN jg1975-02-14.aunt-monk.142mins.aud-castelli-motb-0149.108896.flac1644

Thought I'd throw in my 2/14/75 notes too, having just done 5/9/75.

MOTB Release: 0149 16/44.1
Release Date: 2010-07-10
Band: Legion of Mary
Date: 1975-02-14  (Friday)
Venue: The Generosity
Location: San Francisco, CA
Analog Audience Source: FOB Master Cassettes (MAC)
Medium Stock Brands: MAC = 2 x Maxell UD C120's
Analog Lineage: Sony ECM 270 >> Sony TC 110(mono) >> MAC  
Analog Sound Preservation: MAC >> Nakamichi CR7a => Korg MR-1000 >> DSF [1-bit 5.6448 MHz Stereo] >> Korg MR-1000 => Korg AudioGate >> WAV [24/96] [>> FLAC1644]
Taped By: Robert Castelli
Transfer By: Bob Menke
Mastering By: David Minches

--Disc One (5 tracks, 70:41)--
d1t01: tuning [0:35]
d1t02: Little Bit Of Righteousness [17:50] [0:10] % [0:28] %
d1t03: Favela [16:15] [0:08] %
d1t04: Pennies // From Heaven [18:#14] [0:07] %
d1t05: When I Die [16:44] [0:08] %

--Disc Two (4 tracks, 71:05)--
d2t01: Valdez In The Country [16:51] ->
d2t02: People Make The World Go Round [21:55] [0:04] %
d2t03: Boogie On Reggae Woman [14:55] [0:11]
d2t04: Creepin' [17:00] [0:09] %

! ACT1: Aunt Monk
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone;
! lineup: Tony Saunders - el-bass;
! lineup: Bob Stellar - drums;
! guest: Jerry Garcia - el-g.


! 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.

! Jerrybases:

! db: (older, generated copy of same source tape[s]); (this fileset).

! R: MOTB Notes: "This is a compilation of 2 different sources.  Both sources may emanate from the same master but I would guess 2 masters were made.  Tracks 1 through 6 and the first 5:25 of track 7 are from source 1.  The cross fade in track 7 begins at 5:22.  Source 2 provides the remainder of the show. Speed correction by Joe B. Jones."

! Notes from shnid 17371 fileset (jjoops): "Amazing material!!! Essence of Legion of Mary [ed-- not really] -- nothing but pure, unadulterated instrumentals.  Among many, many highlights, I will simply note that this version of People Make the World Go 'Round is about five times longer than any of the many other versions in circulation.  It really takes the tune places you always thought it should have gone, but never seemed to.  I felt similarly at many points during this material."

! personnel: The MOTB info file lists this as Legion of Mary with Garcia, Saunders, Kahn, Fierro and Tutt. But the Generosity was Merl's gig, the band is probably Aunt Monk, and the personnel is probably different. [edit: Tony Saunders has confirmed that this is him playing bass and Bob Stellar playing drums and that the band is Aunt Monk.]

! personnel: d1t02 the descending bass line around 5:00 of LBOR doesn't sound like John Kahn to me. I am guessing it's Tony Saunders. [confirmed]

! d1t02 @ 9:27 JG hits his "Dancin' in the Streets" lick from the Dead's disco version of that song, ca. 1976-1979.

! R: d1t04 PFH splice @ 11:00, not much missing

! R: d1t05 noticeable warbling about a minute and a half in

! P: d2t01 this is not the best version of VITC. It's a little disjointed, laconic.

! personnel: d2t03 BORW: again, this bass sounds to me like Tony Saunders rather than John Kahn [confirmed].

! R: d2t03 end of BORW the hiss really comes up

! This probably isn't the complete show, since they are tuning up when the tape ends after Creepin'.

Odes to Joy: Aunt Monk at the Generosity, May 9, 1975

LN jg1975-05-09.aunt-monk.84mins.aud-castelli-motb-0144.107829.flac1644

For a couple of years, the good people at Mouth of the Beast (MOTB) were dropping some ridiculously great and important listening material on the masses. Most important, from the perspective of Garcia on the Side (GOTS) were the Robert Castelli tapes, a handful of recordings made by the gentleman of that name who seemed to find his way into, and record, especially rare and special shows. The most important of these, for me, were a couple of recordings from The Generosity, traveling with dates of February 14, 1975 and May 9, 1975.

The Generosity

My notes tell me that The Generosity was located at 1981 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (street view). I frankly do not know much about it beyond that. It is not discussed in Selvin's San Francisco: The Musical History Tour (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996). I don't recall ever having seen ads or calendar listings for it, nor posters nor anything else, quite frankly, except these tapes. Maybe we can get the maestro behind Jerry's Brokendown Palaces to dig up more information!

Aunt Monk

Though the tapes travel with the band name Legion of Mary, I believe it was probably actually Aunt Monk. This is almost certainly true of the Generosity gig dated 2/14/75, since that predates what I reckon to have been the first local usage of the Legion of Mary moniker on March 1-2, 1975. When that tape first emerged, Merl Jr. indicated that Aunt Monk (i.e., Merl Sr.) had a standing gig at the Generosity around that time. The 2/14/75 and 5/9/75 tapes are most definitely of a piece – all instrumental, less oriented toward songs (especially Jerry-centric ones) and more oriented toward long workouts of funk, soul and R&B numbers than even LOM would typically be. As I note below, there are some bass slides that sound utterly unlike John Kahn to my ears, and I have to think that’s Aunt Monk bassist Tony Saunders funking things up.

I have discussed Aunt Monk a few different times. To reiterate, the written record ("Rap-Up's Wrap Up," Oakland Tribune, August 25, 1974, p. 2-RAP) suggests that this band name emerged around August 1974, as I discussed in a post about the Garcia/Saunders/Fierro material that circulates dated “July 21, 1974” and “July 22, 1974” from the Keystone in Berkeley. The first billings I presently show are from the Tuckett Inn in September 1974, continuing well (if sporadically) into 1977.  As indicated in the Trib and my post, it seems that the band (name) replaced The Merl Saunders Band, which had been featured at least in ca. summer 1974 at the Sand Dunes down in the Sunset District, and with which Jerry apparently played with some regularity. I have also recently discovered a June 1, 1975 Aunt Monk w/ Jerry Garcia gig at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, which nicely brackets the May 9th date I am contemplating.

GOTS Context

In a recent interview on the Jake Feinberg Show (promoting his new album, "Romancing the Bass"), Tony Saunders has discussed this time period a little bit. The relevant bit starts around 34:35 of the hourlong interview. I transcribe some of it here.

[Garcia] would show up at my Dad and my gigs with Aunt Monk. He was playing little places. He played on Union Street in San Francisco at this place called The Generosity. It was tiny. And he would just show up with his amp in his car, show up, come in and play. He never wanted any money. He just wanted to play. And when you talk about him learning … we played a Stanley Clarke song one night … but the song just went all over the place. And he came up to me and he shook my hand and he said ‘Tony, that was a good one, because I couldn’t just do what I thought that I could do. I couldn’t just play along and every time I went to go, when I felt comfortable, I really liked that. That was a great song.’ And a lot of the songs that they played in Legion of Mary, we played them at first with the Aunt Monk group. And Jerry … he would play them first there, and then he would transpose them over to the groups with my Dad.

When Feinberg asks (@ 35:35) who was in the group, Tony says “At first it was E.W. Wainwright, myself, my Dad and … most of the times Jerry would come sit in and be the guitar player. Another young guitar player, Chris Hayes, who went on to play with Huey Lewis and the News for twenty years.” (As an aside, Tony had earlier said that his first gig with his Dad and Jerry, when he was 18 (ca. 1974) was at the Inn of the Beginning, about which I have written a fair bit [see also the IOTB handbill collection at Chicken on a Unicycle]. I have a speculation about that, but it’ll have to wait for another post.)

Anyway, I love Tony’s description of Garcia’s involvement. “He just wanted to play”, indeed. And what we have on this tape, if not the precise Stanley Clarke song Tony was talking about, is Garcia waaaaayyyyy out on the edge of what he knew and could play. This ain’t “My Funny Valentine”, friends. The final two songs here, are one-offs of the Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream" and Stevie Wonder’s “Love Having You Around”. Wow! These stealth gigs with Merl would be among the last Jerry would ever do. I wouldn’t say this is Jerry’s best playing, but I would say it’s among his most interesting, and certainly among the last times he’d perform publicly utterly without a net.

Well worth a listen. Thank you Robert Castelli, Bob Menke and MOTB crew for getting this stuff out for everyone to hear. Pretty amazing documents of a fleeting phenomenon.

Listening notes ...

MOTB Release: 0144 16/44.1
Release Date: 2010-05-19
Band: Legion Of Mary
Date: 1975-05-09 (Friday)
Venue: The Generosity
Location: San Francisco, CA
Analog Audience Source: Aud Master Cassettes (MAC)
Medium Stock Brands: MAC = 2 x Maxell UD C90'S
Analog Lineage: Sony ECM 270's => Sony TC 152 >> MAC
Analog Sound Preservation: MAC >> Nakamichi CR7a => Korg MR-1000 >> DSF [1-bit 5.6448 MHz Stereo] >> Korg MR-1000 => Korg AudioGate >> WAV [24/96]
Taped By: Robert Castelli
Transfer By: Bob Menke
Mastering By: Derek McCabe

(6 tracks, 83:51)
t01: ... When I Die [11:59] [0:18] %
t02: noodling [0:34], Little Bit Of Righteousness [15:07] %
t03: Little Sunflower ... [18:53] %
t04: ... Wondering Why [2:29] [0:10] %
t05: noodling [0:38], Nica's Dream [18:38] [0:16] %
t06: Love Having You Around/ [14:45]

! Band: Aunt Monk
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone, flute;
! lineup: Tony Saunders - el-bass [confirmed];
! lineup: Bob Stellar - drums;
! guest: Jerry Garcia - el-g;


! 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.

! Jerrybase:

! db: (this source).

! This show is completely unknown except for this tape, which came into the light via the efforts of Bob Menke and the MOTB crew in the first half of 2010. Thanks to Rob Castelli for recording and sharing this, to Menke for his tireless work on behalf of the recordings, and the MOTB recordings for making it sing and getting it out to us, the masses. It is historically fascinating. I suspect that the band is actually "Aunt Monk", which was Merl's band of the time, with a regular gig at the Generosity [confirmed]. See also 2/14/75 for another instance of what I believe to be this band at the same venue. The material is more oriented toward long instrumental workouts of soul-funk-R&B numbers than the Garcia/Saunders aggregation, which featured more (i.e., more than no) Garcia vocals. This is not Jerry's band ... he is just a player. Who knows if they even have vocal mics? The performances are loose and out there, the setlists are fascinating (this one includes Garcia's only known engagements with the songs "Nica's Dream" and "Love Having You Around"), and the whole vibe of this is really special. It would not be long before Garcia could no longer play a stealth club gig (or, in any case, would no longer do so). Indeed, it's hard to think of any at all after about this point in time.

! personnel: Tony Saunders has confirmed that he is playing bass and Bob Stellar is on drums.

! R: t01 When I Die enters in progress

! R: t01 fade down/return @ 0:56

! P: t01 @ 8:30 ish Jerry sounds like he's doing a little Dancing in the Streets thing. Still/again @ 9:20ish.

! personnel: based on the bass work being done t01 @ 3:50-4:42, I am concluding that this is not John Kahn. I have never heard Kahn do those little funk slides in there. This is probably Tony Saunders playing bass.

! R: t02 fade to splice @ 0:49, undetermined amount missing, possibly substantial; fade down splice/return @ 6:07;

! P: t02 LBOR Garcia is raunching and tearing it up, e.g., in the 6-min mark. Indeed, this is some of the free-est Garcia playing of 1975, I think. Vigorous, hot, engaged, creative. Very, very nice.

! R: t02 fade down splice/return @ 9:36

! P: t03 Martin plays an Eleanor Rigby quote @ 4:35

! R: t03 Little Sunflower fades out

! R: t04 Wondering Why is fragmentary

! R: t05 splice @ 1:34

! song: Nica's Dream (t05). This is the Horace Silver composition, done by all kinds of people. Here's a nice clean (and hot-as-shit) take from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, The Jazz Messengers (1956): This track is not obscure, but there are a lot of possibilities from within the jazz canon, and there's always more to hear and learn! It was first labeled simply "untitled 19750509a". Then etree user diethylether proposed on 8/27/2011 "I'm fairly convinced that untitled 19750509a is 'Bahia' by Ary Barroso. Compare it to the the version that Aunt Monk/Merl recorded on their 1976 album You Can Leave Your Hat On (Fantasy 9503, June 1976) ...  the arrangement is similar, though on this LoM recording Fierro is playing the melody where Merl plays it on the album. The break between the original groove leading into a more swinging section at the chorus is another point of similarity." At some point I listened closely, did some A-B comparison, to check this thesis, and came away saying "I have confirmed that this is Ary Barroso's 'Bahia, sometimes also written 'Baia'." Yet now (2/18/2013), a knowledgeable anonymous commenter has indicated that it's "Nica's Dream", and I agree. Diethylether agrees. We all want to get it right, and it's wonderful when more knowledgeable folks chime in. Thank you! So, for those keeping score at home, this is the third and hopefully final appellation for this track, which is a singleton performance of the song.

! setlist: t06 was originally labeled "untitled 19750509b", but DNC user Santos L. Halper proposed, and A-B comparison confirms, that this is an instrumental of "Love Having You Around", the first track on Stevie Wonder's 1972 album "Music of My Mind" (DNC Garcia Folder, Aug 8, 2011 10:55 am (#39795 ***39796)).

! R: t06 Love Having You Around fade/return @ 9:45; fades out as ending.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NRPS were best when Marmaduke was focused and sober (LN

The New Riders of the Purple Sage opened for the Grateful Dead for most or all of its October-December 1971 touring. Happily, a lot of the shows were broadcast and there are pretty good tapes.

This one, from the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse, NY on October 27, 1971 is an above-average tape of a well-above-average performance. I can't say I've listened forensically to tons of late 1971 New Riders, but the band represented here is really, really hot. The vocals are tight and correct, with no drunken Marmaduke silliness on, e.g., Honky Tonk Women. He sounds sober and focused. David Torbert sings lead on "Hello Mary Lou" [Allan | Scofield], made famous by Ricky Nelson, and "Willie and the Hand Jive" [Allan | Scofield], which had been a top-ten single for its author, Johhny Otis, in the summer of 1958 [wikipedia]. Nelson is great, as usual, and Garcia is good and tasteful, with the awesome, rusty buzz-sawing steel in "Dirty Business" that I really love.

Anyway, good clean fun, and a very favorable review in the next day's Syracuse Post-Standard (see reference in notes, below).

New Riders of the Purple Sage
Onondaga County War Memorial
800 South State Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
October 27, 1971 (Wednesday)
FM shnid-18357 shn2flac

--complete set (12 tracks, 62:20)--
t01. {03:40} //Six Days On The Road [#2:09] [1:21]
t02. {04:34} I Don't Know You [3:32] [1:02]
t03. {03:30} Down In The Boondocks [3:04] [0:26]
t04. {13:58} Dirty Business [11:03] [2:55]
t05. {04:04} Rainbow [3:11] [0:53]
t06. {07:34} Garden Of Eden [6:41] [0:53]
t07. {03:27} Hello Mary Lou [2:59] [0:28]
t08. {03:58} Henry [3:39] [0:19]
t09. {03:10} S//ailin' [#1:59] (1) [1:11]
t10. {03:57} Sweet Lovin' One [3:10] [0:47]
t11. {06:00} Willie And The Hand Jive [5:55] [0:05]
t12. {04:28} Louisiana Lady [4:00] (2) [0:28]

! ACT1: New Riders of the Purple Sage
! lineup: John Dawson - rhythm guitar, vocals;
! lineup: David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals;
! lineup: David Torbert - bass, vocals;
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar;
! lineup: Spencer Dryden - drums.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [m:ss] = 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 [m:ss] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording. Fancy brackets {} represent track times.

! Jerrybase:

! db: (FM broadcast, this fileset)

! review: John Wisniewski, "6,500 Rock to ‘Dead’ Sounds; Riders Superb in Warmup," Syracuse Post-Standard, October 28, 1971, p. 8.

! R: "FMMR(C?) > ? > R > DAT > WAV > SHN"

! R: "A > D transfer by Noah Weiner - June, 2003 from Jimmy Warburton's 7" Reel."

! R: "The recording is mono, and the left channel had a great deal more hiss and noise than the right. Thus, the right channel was copied over the left in Sound Forge to produce a more clean and strong signal for the final digital project.  Also, throughout the reel there are occasional static pops, fuzz, and crackles."

! R: "Reel playback on Pioneer RT-701 > Teac AN-180 Dolby decoder > Fostex D5 DAT (A>D only) > Turtle Beach Montego II Digital I/O > Soundforge (wav edits and track IDs) > SHNTOOL (SBE fix) > MKW (shn)."

! R: this has a gen or two on it, and as Noah notes it has some warts, but overall it is quite good, a fine listen.

! historical context: NRPS opened for the Grateful Dead for all of the out-of-town gigs in October-December 1971, with a great many of the sets broadcast on FM radio. The FM broadcasts are nice because I think Marmaduke and the rest are just a little more careful when they think they are being broadcast: things are nice and tight, everything is pretty good. If you wanted to hear what NRPS sounded like at this stage, this set is totally representative. This would be one of Garcia's last gigs with the New Riders, with the last known one being four nights later in Stony Brook, NY. There were apparently no NRPS sets at the Harding on November 6-7, and by Atlanta on 11/11 Buddy Cage had taken over the pedal steel chair.

! NB Torbert lead vocals on Hello Mary Lou (t07) and Hand Jive (t11).

! R: t09 Sailin' has a splice a few seconds in, not sure if there's a verse missing. Cuts in on "//My lady is lovely and she carries no comb".

! t09 (1) station ID: "WAER, Syracuse".

! t12 (2) ?McIntire?: "Yeah, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Thank you, New Riders. OK, this is what we're gonna be doing for the next twenty minutes. We're gonna have a quick change-around, so we can get the Grateful Dead//"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What else, today?

I love the Archive's This Day in History feature. And on November 10, it's '67 that comes up first. This here is the fire-breathing psychedlic 12-armed beast version of the Grateful Dead. Play it loud!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

An Echo at Reconstruction's Ending

JG19790929: Reconstruction: Saturday, September 29, 1979, Keystone Palo Alto (UNCERTAIN)

Listing for Reconstruction at Keystone Palo Alto, 9/29/79, from BAM no. 63 (September 1, 1979), p. 14.

Like lots of us, I have been really busy. I'll resist temptation to say a whole lot about this, but will try hard to just put it out there.

I have said before that BAM would be a treasure trove of information for Bay Area music prosopographers whose interests run to the late 1970s and beyond. I just got a stack of many dozen copies from late '78 into the mid-1980s (thanks, friend!) and have been pawing through them a little bit. Sure enough, there's really just a treasure trove of information. Anyone writing about New Wave or lots of other things definitely needs to soak some of this in.

So, just flipping through these, making some notes, and find a listing for Reconstruction at Keystone Palo Alto, 260 South California Avenue, Palo Alto, CA, 94306 for Saturday, September 29, 1979. See the scan above. A few points about this.

First, the current last-known Reconstruction date is 9/22/79 from the Keystone Berkeley. This would extend the band's known (too short!) history another week.

Second, a week is just a week, but it would also truncate the time between the end of Reconstruction and the start of the next iteration of the Jerry Garcia Band, featuring Ozzie Ahlers on keyboards and John D'Fonseca on drums, which is conventionally dated to October 7, 1979 (Keystone, Berkeley).

Third, I'll just say none of us has ever really dug into the end of Reconstruction. WTF happened? Obviously I could do a long post on that, and will unless someone scoops me, but for now I'll just raise the question (and happily invite the scoopage).

Fourth, of course Garcia might not have been present at all. It is said that some Reconstruction shows featured ex-Moby Grape Jerry Miller, but very little is known about this. I can say I didn't find many listings going through these BAMs. update 20150509 - I have added some more dates from various sources, and I now list the following non-Garcia, or Garcia-questionable, Reconstruction shows.
  • Friday, August 3, 1979, Keystone Berkeley [Gar could have been there, though I'd bet his GD bandmates would not have been thrilled at the thought]
  • Saturday, August 4, 1979, Keystone Palo Alto [GD play Oakland Auditorium] 
  • Sunday, August 5, 1979, Keystone Palo Alto [GD play Oakland Auditorium]  
  • Monday, September 3, 1979, Frenchy's, 29097 Mission Blvd., Hayward, CA, 94544 [GD play Madison Square Garden]
    • NB: subtitled "Merle [sic] Saunders and Friends" ... I thought this was John's band?
    • NB: venue contrast with and without Garcia.
  • Tuesday, September 4, 1979, Sleeping Lady Cafe, 58 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, CA, 94930 [GD play Madison Square Garden]
    • NB: off-night, tiny room
  • Saturday, September 29, 1979, Keystone Palo Alto [this post]
  • Thursday, November 29, 1979, Rancho Nicasio [GD play Cleveland Public Hall]

Fifth, and in connection with my fetish for formal institutions, we know very little about Garcia's "true" status in Reconstruction. Was he a band member (insofar as that concept applies), or just a “special guest” (as he was sometimes billed)?