|Randy Tuten's poster for the Legal Aid benefit, 10/2/73|
I am sure Blair and McNally and all the other sources go into the obscure story of the Legal Aid Benefit. I just re-read the one source I have at hand, John Wasserman's very suspicious-sounding piece in the Chronicle a few days later (1). Sounds like some Angels, facilitated by Sam Cutler and certainly abetted by Garcia, made a lot of dough with this gig, but it's not clear who, nor is it clear that the whole thing was correctly represented to, inter alia, Bill Graham himself. It sounds like an interesting story to dig more deeply into.
Of key interest from the GOTS perspective is the large number of guests. I work with a concept of the Shared Stage, which suggests that within the social networks of musicians, playing together is a deeply important form of linkage. These are "strong ties", as opposed to the "weak ties" represented by linkages such as joint billings and joint album credits. From my Garciacentric vantage, Shared Stage events can be broken down into a few categories, the most important of which are JG-host (Jerry hosting a guest) and JG-guest (Jerry taking a guest shot with someone else). Here we have a number of linkages to Jerry through the former channel in this gig:
- Another mystery trumpeter (see also 12/28/72, 7/5/73, 8/15/74, 9/1/74). Wolfgang's Vault identifies this as Bill Atwood, but that's apparently based on a conjecture by Corry, itself based on a mistaken assumption.
- Martin Fierro guests, for the second known time after 7/19/73.
- Sarah Fulcher sings on a song.
- Roger "Jellyroll" Troy plays bass at the end, and sings a couple of blues numbers.
- Matthew Kelly on harmonica.
I want to love this show. Things are good and reasonably interesting, but it just doesn't move me as much as I thought it should.
Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders
corner of Post and Steiner
San Francisco, CA 94115
October 2, 1973 (Tuesday)
92 min Betty Cantor-Jackson sbd
--(8 tracks, 92:00, presumed complete)--
t01. [0:18] % /It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry [5:21] [1:39]
t02. Finders Keepers [9:35] [1:34]
t03. The Harder They Come [10:42] [1:37]
t04. My Funny Valentine [18:27] [1:09]
t05. That's Alright Mama [11:30] [1:00]
t06. I Second That Emotion [10:12] (1) [1:15]
t07. Sweet Little Angel [7:09] -> I've Got News For You [1:23] [0:16]
t08. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [8:56] (2) [0:13] %
! Band: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass (t07-t08);
! lineup: Bill Vitt - drums;
! guest: Martin Fierro - saxophone (t02-t06, t08);
! guest: ??Bill Atwood?? - trumpet (t01-t04, t06, t08);
! guest: Matthew Kelly - harmonica (t05, t07, t08);
! guest: Roger "Jellyroll" Troy - el-bass (t07-t08), vocals (t07);
! guest: Sara Fulcher - vocals (t05).
! 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: http://www.thejerrysite.com/shows/show/900
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/83809 (this fileset).
! map: http://goo.gl/maps/hLCHp
! historical: Legal Aid Benefit. This was some sort of Hell's Angels thing.
! R: Betty Cantor Jackson's master soundboard reel ("Third Betty Batch" reel #7, 10" @ 7.5 ips ½ trk, Nagra IV-S, uncertain tape stock); preserved by Rob Eaton early 1996: Otari 50/50 reel-to-reel > Apogee 500 A/D converter > Panasonic SV3700 DAT; lossless encoding "DAT4x" > Delta DIO 2496 > Soundforge > WAV > CD Wave Editor > FLAC, via Alligator. I have the "DAT4x" in quotes because I am not sure I believe it.
! R: came into general circulation in 2007, placed there by 'alligator' via Bit Torrent at Lossless Legs (shnflac.net) with a GEMS classification. This was among the "third batch" of Betty Cantor-Jackson's tapes, which came into some light in around late 1995-early 1996. These tapes contain a great many hours of otherwise-unheard players, songs, guests, etc., and very few of the Garcia tapes have ever come into circulation. It is very, very nice to be able to hear this recording. Without it, there is a four-month gap in recording coverage of Garcia/Saunders as a live act (between 9/6/73 and 1/17/74). That's an eternity given how much this configuration was playing and how fluid things were. [update 20130218: we now also have JGMS 11/3/73 in this frame!]
! personnel: the fileset credited Saunders with keyboards and vocals, but he doesn't sing here.
! R: t01 18 seconds of recording, then clips into Train to Cry. Trumpet player is audible right away. Garcia's vocals are nearly inaudible for most of the song as the mix settles in. The mix is way off, lots of hiss, for a good long while.
! personnel: The trumpet player is good and tasteful. Wolfgang's Vault identifies him as Bill Atwood, but Corry presumes this is derived, ultimately, from him, and that the listing is possibly spurious. So we really don't know who it is.
! P: t02 Finders Keepers: half the band tries to stop around 6:54, the other half keeps playing. They pull it back together quickly enough, I guess.
! personnel: t02 Martin Fierro starts making himself audible late in the song, for example stepping forward @ 8:46. He is pushing Jerry nicely and Garcia is rockin' out
! R: t03 HTC some monkeying around in the 3-min mark, then bad sound fluctuations in 4-min mark. More weirdness, mix fluctuations, anomalies, around 6:30ish. AFter song, around 11:45, an odd spinning sound.
! personnel: t05 I think this is the same harmonica player as 7/19/73. Gotta be Matt Kelly.
! t06 (1) JG: "We're gonna get a friend of ours named Jellyroll out here to play some bass, sing a few songs for ya, maybe."
! P: t07 Sweet Little Angel: hearing Merl play some deep, swampy blues like this is pretty phenomenal. The stuff he is doing @ 6:32 is straight Church of Jimmy Smith. It feels a lot like Sunday here. Mmm mmm mm. @ 7:10 the "Ive Got News For You" verse. @ 7:48 harmonica back in. Let's assume that's Matt Kelly. Saxophone, maybe also trumpet at end, as well.
! setlist: wk: "The 'Unknown Blues Song' starts out as B.B. King's 'Sweet Little Angel' goes into a jam then finishes as Ray Charles' 'I've Got News For You. The vocals are handled by Jelly Roll Troy."
! personnel: t08 HSIII honestly cannot tell if this is Jellyroll or John Kahn playing bass here. HSII harp @ 2:52. Horns audible @ 3:35.
! t08 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. Jack and Jorma are gonna come out and play for awhile."
! WV: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/jerry-garcia-and-merl-saunders/concerts/winterland-october-02-1973.html. "Following sets by Stoneground, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Mike Bloomfield & Friends, the Garcia-Saunders Band took the stage at Winterland. They invited several friends to sit in over the course of the show, making this one of the more unique performances by the group. The recording begins with an original Saunders instrumental called "Finders Keepers." Here, Merl's dynamic keyboard playing and the punchy rhythms created by Kahn and Vitt create a funkfest that brings out a side to Garcia's playing few had heard before. Martin Fierro joins in at this point, adding freeform sax improvisations to the mix. Reggae music was just beginning to penetrate the music world in 1973 and a lengthy exploration of Jimmy Cliff's classic "The Harder They Come" follows. Garcia was one of the first American musicians to fully embrace reggae and he would absorb its exotic rhythms like a sponge. He also handles the vocals here. The highlight of the entire set is next as the ensemble tackles the jazz standard, "My Funny Valentine." This is absolutely infectious from beginning to end. Over the course of nearly 20 minutes, the ensemble floats along in a dreamy exploratory style. John Kahn's bass playing brings out lyrical magic from Garcia's guitar and Fierro's sax, neither of whom is at a loss for ideas. An unknown musician also joins in on trumpet during this number. It's an exquisite performance and the sheer joy in Garcia's playing is palpable. He rarely sounded sweeter or more comfortable than he does right here. The set continues with a rollicking romp through "That's All Right Mama." Matt Kelly, future founder of the band Kingfish, blows harmonica on this number and Garcia, with the help of local singer Sara [sic] Fulcher, handles the vocals on this rockabilly classic. A delightful rendition of Smokey Robinson's "Second That Emotion" follows, which takes the three-minute Motown hit and cooks it up for well over ten minutes. At this point, John Kahn exits and is replaced by Roger Troy, bass player and vocalist from Mike Bloomfield's band, who had performed earlier on the show. Troy leads the group into blues territory with "Sweet Little Angel," a tune he and Garcia had previously performed together during a stint in Howard Wales' band two years prior. Troy handles the vocals here, and it's obvious that all concerned are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Finally, the Marvin Gaye classic "How Sweet It Is" closes the set on another joyous note. They say goodnight and inform the audience that Jorma and Jack (aka Hot Tuna) will be taking the stage next."
Wasserman, John L. 1973. ‘Mystery’ Benefit at Winterland. San Francisco Chronicle, October 5, 1973, p. 56.