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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gonna Be Slow For Awhile

Not sure how long. Very hard to predict. There may be periods (e.g., Thanksgiving, the New Year) during which I can post. But my strong suspicion is that posting is going to be exceedingly sparing until, perhaps, spring of 2013. Certainly nothing elaborate.

I expect second half of 2013, by contrast, to yield quite a bounty. But, again, we'll see.

In the meantime, go read some articles on, read around the other blogs linked to your right, and take in some of the bounty!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Garcia's Penultimate Sonoma County Gig, and a Great 'Don't Let Go'

LN jg1988-02-05.jgb.all.aud-CC.121594.flac2448

My favorite year of the canonical Jerry Garcia Band, i.e., what I mean when I say The Jerry Garcia Band, i.e., Garcia-Kahn-Seals-Kemper-Jones-LaBranch.

Jerry's penultimate show in Sonoma County.

Top-three version of "Don't Let Go", along with the next night (2/6/88) and 5/19/89 in Irvine. some of my favorite Garcia music of all time.

Anyone know who has the master tape, or who taped it?

Jerry Garcia Band
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
1351 Maple Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

February 5, 1988 (Friday)
123 min Closet Call aud (complete) (flac2448) shnid-121594

--set I (9 tracks, 57:07)--
s1t01. ambience [0:30]
s1t02. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [6:43] [0:04]
s1t03. They Love Each Other [7:55] [0:20]
s1t04. Forever Young [8:13] [0:22]
s1t05. Get Out Of My Life Woman [8:00] [0:23]
s1t06. /Like A Road Leading Home [7:20]
s1t07. Evangeline [3:32] [0:01]
s1t08. //My Sisters And Brothers [5:12] ->
s1t09. Deal [8:22] [0:07]

--set II (8 tracks, 66:26)--
s2t01. //Harder They Come [8:48] [0:15]
s2t02. Stop That Train [7:07]
s2t03. //Don't Let Go [12:22]
s2t04. //Think [6:12]
s2t05. //Mississippi Moon [8:37]
s2t06. //Run For The Roses [4:52]
s2t07. //That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) [8:32]
s2t08. //Tangled Up In Blue [9:36] [0:02]

! Band: Jerry Garcia Band
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! Lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! Lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! Lineup: David Kemper - drums;
! Lineup: Gloria Jones - vocals;
! Lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - vocals.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [x:xx] = 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: none as of 9/6/2009. (this fileset); (remaster of this fileset).

! map:,+Santa+Rosa,+CA&ie=UTF8&om=1&ll=38.435203,-122.699862&spn=0.014052,0.029182&t=h&z=15&iwloc=addr

! venue: Its official site gives venue as Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall.  Handbill from TJS bills gives "Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Auditorium". The Auditorium is a room in the Hall, holds 1200 for assembly and 1000 seated. Since the TJS ticket shows General Admission, I'll use the "assembly" number to estimate capacity in 1988 at 1,200, and I'll use "Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Auditorium" as my canonical venue name. The GD had played here in the 1960s (6/17-18/66, 6/27-28/69). This would be the fifth and last time Garcia would play the hall.

! band: Handbill from TJS bills "Jerry Garcia Band Electric".

! R: specs: xx gen audience cassette (Maxell XLII90 no Dolby) > Nakamichi BX-300 playback (no Dolby) > Pyle Pro cables >WaveTerminal 2496 > Samplitude 10.1 Download Version (record @ 24 bits/48kHz) > CDWave 1.9.8 (tracking) > Wavelab 5.0.1a (cross-fades, etc.) > shntool (stripped non-canonical headers) > Traders Little Helper 2.4.1 (FLAC encoding, level 8) > Foobar (tagging), September 6, 2009, by JGMF.

! R: This recording is not going to win any field recording prizes, but it's totally decent and unterrible. The only real problem is that every song in set II clips or cuts in. But who am I to criticize? The overall SQ of set II is inferior to set I. Things are probably running fast, perhaps considerably so. Mississippi Moon would be one to check.

! historical: I consider 1988 to be the very best year of the canonical Jerry Garcia Band of Garcia-Kahn-Seals-Kemper-Jones-LaBranch. The next night (2/6/88) is one of my all-time favorite Jerry Band shows, and this one, while perhaps not quite its equal, had provided a really high-level warmup. I also have big love for the July '88 shows (e.g., 7/10), and this period really holds up well to repeated auditions. While the Halloween (10/31/88) and Tahoe shows (11/4-5/88) disappoint me, the Wiltern (11/25-27/88) and Orpheum shows (12/2-3/88) are top-shelf (update: actually, 12/3 is pretty weak, 12/2 only marginally better), as is everything through May of 1989.

! historical: The geography of this show is fascinating. In earlier times, even into the early 1980s, Jerry would start off a new year, as he'd start off a new band, a little bit off the beaten path. In the 70s, this would have meant playing the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati or the River Theater in Gurneville (both Sonoma County), the Lion's Share in San Anselmo (Marin), etc. From the early 80s it seems like he mostly warmed up in Santa Cruz (The Catalyst) or Keystone Palo Alto in the South Bay. Garcia's previous Sonoma gig had been 1/21/83 at the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma. This would be his penultimate appearance in Sonoma County, in which he spent a lot of his childhood, before the 7/7/88 JGAB gigs at the Cabaret in Cotati.

! P: I haven't spent enough time with the rest of the show to have a strong opinion, but my sense is that it is an appropriate start to  The real stuff is deep without dragging (see s1t06 Like A Road, s2t05 Miss Moon, s2t07 Lucky Old Sun). The latter, especially, is a song that I don't usually dig, but it's just really nice here, as are the others. I always love Like A Road, always, in every period. Period. The peppy/bouncy stuff is peppy and bouncy (s1t02 How Sweet, s1t03 TLEO, s1t08 My Sisters And Brothers, s2t02 Stop That Train, s2t06 Run For The Roses). The songs that are supposed to rock rock. Good stuff all around, but you'll remember it for the "Don't Let Go" -- see below.

! R: s1t06 Like a Road clips in

! R: s1t08 Sisters and Brothers cuts in

! R: s2t01-02 mic adjustments at end of HTC and start of STT

! P: s2t04 Think is also outstanding. Jerry's first solo is blistering hot. He was higher and feedbackier in the first go-round, then as he turns the second minute he drops down lower. Later in 2-min mark he's right in the middle range, drops some fanning @ 2:54, twist in some edge and feedback, drop to Melvin @ 3:20 or so. Late 4, he's fanning again, shredding pretty well. This is not early 1981 shredding, or mid-1983, but it's good. Enthusiastic on the vocals, rocking and swaying in whatever nondescript comfyshoes he's wearing.

! P: s2t05 Miss Moon Jerry starts with a little vocal flub, and I think he is too high up in the vocal register, though he seems to pulling it off.

! P: s2t03 Don't Let Go: I have been waiting years for this show, ever since the next night knocked my socks off. I was especially waiting for the Don't Let Go, which represents the return of the song after a 3.5 year absence (12/7/84). And it doesn't disappoint me. Listen to Jerry belt in the four-minute mark and tell me he isn't psyched. Like the next night and the other '88 versions, this one is very upbeat, but doesn't feel truncated. Jerry is already screaming and growling his singing in the 3:30ff mark and tearing ragged edges with his guitar, then drops down into some plucky lower-register stuff. Up high. Jerry explores lots of cool spaces with it. At the same time, it's punchy enough not to wander. From 10:30 ish Garcia is playing some super fast chords that remind me of the summer 1974 GD jams into U.S. Blues. The return to the song around the 11-min mark is super fast-paced, almost double-time ... yeah!! It may even be just a little too fast, but I gotta say everyone is locked in. It's structured just about perfectly, IMO. FANTASTIC @@ This is in my top three versions of "Don't Let Go", along with the next night (2/6/88) and the 5/19/89 monster.

! P: I haven't spent enough time with the rest of the show to have a strong opinion, but my sense is that it doesn't quite equal the next night in overall strength. Still, sixteen songs is a solid indicator that Our Man felt like playing on this night.

! R: s2t07-08 L channel very out from 2:09-3:24 of LOS, out again LOS 5:28- then low until 1:35 of TUIB.

! R: s2t08 TUIB some discontinuities (skips) at start, sound analog.

! Disclaimer: This is part of a "Closet Call" project aimed at getting missing Garcia dates into the digital realm. These are "warts and all" ... straight transfers of the source cassettes with editing only of the most offensive tape transitions and such. If you don't like hiss, possible speed problems, etc., etc., then move along. And, to anticipate a FAQ: no, I don't plan on doing 16/44s of these.Thanks to wk for supplying these tapes!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Grandma said, 'Boy, go and follow your heart': JGMS at Keystone Berkeley, November 27, 1974

LN jg1974-11-27.jgms.106mins.sbd-GEMS.91343.flac1644

Just a few quick notes.

1) Paul Humphrey drumming. The drummer is fast and great. He is noted in Rex's handwriting on the box for reel #3.

2) Some of this material is just amazing. "Valdez In The Country" and "Freedom Jazz Dance" should make us very Grateful that Merl was there to challenge Garcia with some serious jazz instrumentals. "Going, Going, Gone" is also just such a wonderful tune. If I had more time, I'd write up song notes on these three tunes.
  • One subpoint. There are those who suggest that the demise of the Garcia-Saunders relationship (and of the band LOM) in 1975) primarily reflected musical issues. Hypothesis 1: Garcia just couldn't hang with the deep jazz and funk that Merl and, e.g., Aunt Monk (could play); Hypothesis 2: "musical differences", in the sense that Jerry wanted to move to more white standards (boogie-woogie stuff with Nicky, southern white gospel stuff [really black, of course] with Keith, Donna and Tutt). Either way, what the jazz instrumental here recall for me is the extent to which Garcia really was challenged to play out with some of the this JGMS (and, to a lesser extent, LOM) material.
Grandma said, “Boy, go and follow your heart
And you’ll be fine at the end of the line
All that’s gold isn’t meant to shine
Don’t you and your one true love ever part”
3) The performance is top-shelf. I can see why these guys thought this was a band with a future (as they head toward the apparently greater intended permanence of Legion of Mary, a band with a name). Everybody is great here. Merl is great. Martin is great. Garcia is great. John Kahn is great. Humphrey is great. I don't know why things started getting so sluggish in 1975 --well, I have some ideas-- but this tape reveals a band full of pros who are drinking deeply from the well of American music.

4) I have corrected my understanding of the Betty tapes. There are three bunches. This is from "Bunch 1".

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
2119 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

November 27, 1974 (Wednesday)
106 min "Bunch One" Betty Cantor-Jackson soundboard

--set I (4 tracks, 52:52, probably incomplete)
s1t01. //Valdez In The Country [#15:05] [0:24] %
s1t02. //You Can Leave Your Hat On [#13:35] [0:18] %
s1t03. //Going, Going, Gone// [#12:56#] %
s1t04. //Mystery Train [#10:18] (1) [0:16]

--Set II (4 tracks, 53:23)--
s2t01. [0:04] He Ain't Give You None [12:56] [0:09] % [0:33]
s2t02. Freedom Jazz Dance [14:05] % [1:10]
s2t03. Someday // Baby [9:#24] [1:09]
s2t04. I Second That Emotion [13:41] [0:12] (2)

! Band: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! Lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! Lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals;
! Lineup: Martin Fierro - saxophone, flute;
! Lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! Lineup: Paul Humphrey - 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.

! Jerrybase:

! db: shnid 89216 (less complete, deprecated); shnid 91343 (more complete, this fileset).

! ACT2: Paul Pena

! setlist: There may have been a song before Valdez In The Country (which would have been a strange opener).

! personnel: this is right on the cusp of the transition between Paul Humphrey and Ronnie Tutt. Paul is really active, light on the kick pedal but snappy on the snare.

! R: I will take the liberty of reconstructing the GEMS notes for my own purposes. So this is a compilation of two CD sources which had some common ancestors but diverged somewhere along the way. The primary source came to GEMS via Zack Tucker, with lineage MSR > P > D > CD. Source 1 provides all except first 1:30 of Valdez and last two songs, and was previously circulated as shnid 89216. Source 2 has precisely the same lineage, but came to GEMS via jjoops and the Tupperware of Treasures. Both sets of CDs were extracted and processed by Jamie Waddell on the **GEMS** Edit Station (primary software Wavelab 6.0) and circulated as a **GEMS** Production at Lossless Legs, ca. April 11, 2008.

! R: Genealogy: The common ancestry of the source CDs here is MSR > P > D > CD. These are "Bunch One" Betty Boards. For background, here's WBOTB co-conspirator Blake Gilpin's post to DNC on 7/28/98: "As far as I know, there were three bunches of "Betty Boards" that left The auction. Bunch One was the largest, purchased by a guy named Don, who knew the Sale was about to happen because his wife worked in the mortgage industry and saw the paperwork. Bunch One was the largest, purchased by a guy named Don, who knew the Sale was about to happen because his wife worked in the mortgage industry and saw the paperwork. This is the most commonly known and cataloged set of which the *reels only* were spun to PCM / Beta and most were circulated. The cassettes were not spun to digital. Some of the PCM-0 betas, specifically the Garcia Saunders material and others have not been circulated beyond Menke or possibly Dougal. ... The list of uncirculated material from Bunch One is below. (I fell into Don's and apparently Dougal's disfavor by letting a neighbor, who was an employee of the band, know what tapes we had. I had not been asked to keep these secret and I still maintain that it was the proper thing to do, if only as a courtesy. Probably just bad timing.)" These Bunch One Betties were later merged with Bunch Two (mostly comprised of Fall 1977 GD tapes, apparently), and I have traditionally (and perhaps mistakenly, or at least misleadingly) referred to these as "Second Batch" Betty tapes. I'll try to go back to original and standard usage, and to be more careful. (In my defense, Rob Eaton himself initially called these "the fourth box" until he concluded that these, which he restored in ca. 1995-1996, a.k.a. the water-damaged tapes, were one and the same.)

! setlist: seeder notes "The compilation of these two sources completes this show, minus a few missing moments in Bossa Martin [sic: Valdez In The Country], which started in late, and Someday Baby, which had a reel flip, and no patch source exists yet." I am not so sure. I think there's probably a song or two before VITC.

! R: s1t01 Valdez In The Country cuts in on a Martin solo. Things are cookin'! Unknown amount missing.

! P: s1t01 VITC is incredible. Martin is on fire, working with some great weird reverb. Merl's long electric-piano feature in the 6-7 minute mark is light and groovy and hot. @ 7:49 Garcia starts doing some syncopated off-key chordings, and then early in the 8-minute he alights with flowing fingers, so measured and controlled and so many things to say as we approach the 9-minute mark. Late in the 11-minute mark they start spacing out, really fantastic lunar-orbiter sounds from Merl, Jerry moaning around behind, the drums just gorgeous, and Martin maybe playing a little percussion, but very tastefully (cf. 11/2/74). Merl is having one of his finest performances here, as he and Jerry collaboratively pour some honey down the ol' rabbit hole. It's keeping a real nice beat, keeping the Brazilian rhythms, Martin, satisfied, picks up his horn early in the 14-minute mark, Jerry starts lettin' it roll down that same ol' rabbit hole (he's decided to follow it down, naturally), Martin takes the cue

! R: s1t01 VITC zipper @ 1:22

! R: s1t02 YCLYHO cuts in on "//take off your dress."

! P: s1t02 YCLYHO JG is doing some nice long pulling in the 6-7 minute mark, then quickens the pace with a solo that has some of the feel of what the GD would do in those long, pre-"Fire On The Mountain" versions of "Scarlet Begonias", ca. 1976. In late 8 and into 9-minute mark, Kahn starts really asserting himself with some beautiful, hefty descending blues bass lines. Descending from already down in the bottom, that is. Merl plays more electric piano over the 10-minute mark, while John is still really playing beefy, Jerry comping behind, Merl groaning as he floats over the keys, just a righty for awhile, drops some heavier and double-time left-hand around 11:00. The drop really, really cleanly into the melody again just at the 12-minute mark. Fixing up the tempo a little bit, readjusting the ass in the drummer's chair, and Merl returns to his lament about suspicious minds a' talkin' round the neighborhood.

! R: this is clearly a Betty Board. Listen to that drum tone! She has got it locked in.

! P: s1t03 GGG this is some of the straight-churchiest organ playing you will ever hear from Merl Saunders. The B-3's lament to God, and while silent prayers seem sometimes to fall on deaf ears, how could He not hear this call? Martin's flute is real gentle behind. "Grandma said 'Boy, go and follow your heart'," what a gorgeous line. Dylan. Man oh man.

! R: s1t03 Merl's organ comes into R-speaker around 0:22.

! P: s1t04 Mystery Train is not one that usually moves me, but this is just good, hot music. The drummer is locked right the fuck in, the rhythm is in a Brink's truck. Jerry's vocals are energetic. Kahn strands bass lines together like a pretzel maker right across the 9-minute mark, feels like he must have had both hands (and the bass, of course) up under his chin, wiggling his fingers across those thick strings. Nice.

! s1t04 (1) JG: "Thanks. We're gonna take a break for a little while. We'll be back a little bit later."

! P: s2t01 HAGYN listen to how distinctive the drummer sounds as he comes in!  Jerry blowing some glass 4:30ish, goes 'round again over the 5-min mark.

! personnel: again, when I listen to the start of Freedom Jazz Dance, Humphrey sounds totally distinctive, and is hot as hell, by the way.

! R: s2t03 SB reel splice @ 6:25

! R: there's a high-pitched whine in the "source 2" material, beginning @ end s2t02 and continuing.

! R: s2t04 drops @ 0:14-0:26, 0:40-0:44, 1:22, 1:33, 1:44, 6:44, 8:35-8:36.

! s2t04 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. Looks like they're tryin' to close the bar. See you all later on."

Friday, August 03, 2012

New Releases

Not surprisingly, we saw a flurry of Garcia-related releases on August 1, 2012, which would have been Jerry's 70th birthday.

Garcia Grisman - Orignal Hi-Def Master 
Garcia Grisman Alternate - Orignal Hi-Def Master

Acoustic Oasis has released a "high def master" cut of the original Garcia Grisman album, and a new Garcia Grisman Alternate, comprised of second takes from the same sessions.

This is great news. Acoustic Oasis is doing it right here. There are mp3, flac1644, and flac2496 download options. I couldn't get the dowload manager to work (they may be asking too much of some poor old machines and operating systems), but doing it manually was quick and relatively painless. Things sound great.

My only nudge: do it like jazz and give us the session details. Who, what, when, where, how recorded, etc. etc. etc. The whole enchilada. Why not make more information available? It's getting time for some serious scholarship on Grisman and lots of other, so, please, make future researchers' and biographers' lives easier, and give us data! Be the jazz.

Oh yeah, one more point: all filesets require checksum files that can be verified upon completion of the download in order to confirm file intregrity. Essential.

Garcia Live Volume 1: Live at the Capitol Theatre

Another fuck yeah! The Jerry Garcia Band (Garcia, Kahn, Ozzie Ahlers on keys, and John D'Fonseca on drums) in some filthy fonky stuff at John Scher's (and east coast JGB's) home hall on March 1, 1980. Looks like it won't be out until November. Looks like whatever this new ©2012 Jerry Garcia Family, LLC is, they have also done it right. We have mp3, flac1644 and flac2496 download options. Nice!

These, in addition to the Fantasy release of the Complete July 10-11, 1973 Keystone shows!

Whatever legal logjams were in the way seem to have been busted through. Happy listening!