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Friday, December 30, 2016

Reading Notes: Browne 2015

Browne, David. 2015. So Many Roads: The Life And Times Of The Grateful Dead. Boston, MA: Da Capo Press [a member of the Perseus Books Group].

I stand by my initial assessment - this book is the real deal, chock full of great tidbits, fluently written. This is a great addition to the canon, standing alongside Jackson, McNally and the rest.

Browne's method involved lots of interviews and access to materials with and from just about all of the key survivors at the very center of the Grateful Dead world. As a scholar, I lament that the move to improve the transparency of work done using qualitative methods underway in various scientific fields, which is a very good thing, could never work for this kind of writing. I will treat specific facts given by Browne as correct, unless I can find something to raise doubts. I rarely do.

The usual reading notes methodology. I know the endnotes don't format properly on blogger - one gets that for which one has paid, and I need to do it this way for my own purposes. Notes below the fold.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

NGC: Van Morrison and Toulouse Ta Truck

Via the Facebook page of the amazing Jake Feinberg, which is a treasure trove of text snippets from Jake's radio show, which you should listen to and support.
Too Loose to Truck, By Steve Mitchell
I was playing with a piano player 4 nights a week at a club called "Shipwreck Pete's." It was John Allair and myself, we were playing duo gigs. John sang and played piano and a B-3 organ at the same time.
We're playing one night and this fella comes in with his saxophone and he's dressed all in black and he's got a black hat on and nobody knows who he is and he's standing there in the middle of the dance floor getting knocked around and he could play pretty good - it turned out to be Van Morrison.
Van liked what we were doing so he played with us. He came to our gigs and played with us cause he enjoyed playing and he wanted to develop his saxophone chops.
I had run into Phil Lesh at one of Mickey Hart's gatherings and we talked and he said he wanted to be able to play when the Dead weren't on the road.
It was all the Marin County guys, John Allair, Terry Haggerty from the Sons of Champlin and Van and Phil Lesh. There was a revolving door of people who were in and out of the band. Most of the time it was Phil, Allair, Haggerty and myself.
I don't think I ever knew of a Van Morrison connection in Toulouse Ta Truck (aka Too Loose To Truck, etc.). Did you?

Monday, December 19, 2016

If These Halls Could Talk

If These Halls Could Talk: A Historical Tour through San Francisco Recording Studios – by Heather Johnson (2006).

Has anyone ever seen a copy of this? I would like one, but it's $170+ at Amazon and not really available at my usual on-line used book haunts.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Garciaverse Musics

I'll just throw this out there for comment, spitballing, and eventual dismantlement as a putative mapping (for Garciaverse purposes) of Musics that Garcia directly and quasi-publicly performed.

Here are a few design principles (such as they are).

1) minimize the sum of the squared errors of the distances between where it's mapped and where it belongs on every dimension.

2) the core 2x2 is the same as above, the distribution is pretty similar, and I have added a crossover category.

3) not intended to be precise or rigorous - just impressionistic. The "musics" are musics that Garcia played, in the different font. Where a musical idiom came to him derivatively (e.g., Native American music through Bill Monroe, Hawaiian music through white country music (though he might have heard it directly on the radio with his grandmother?), African idioms via the banjo, etc. There's a story to tell about all of those that I hope to get too. Read it like a Humbead's Map, and don't expect linearity, monotonicity, etc. etc.

4) the core of the table are what can properly be called "American musics", though I am a little queasy about having Hawaiian and Native American on the outside. See my point about mediation in note #3 - I intend this to portray musics that Garcia directly and demonstrably engaged. So Indian and Latin musics get the special font, because he played in these traditions.

Have at it.

Older Versions below the fold.

v01 12/17/2016

v03 5/13/2017 19:07

Reading Notes: McNally 2015

McNally, Dennis, ed. 2015. Jerry on Jerry: The Unpublished Jerry Garcia Interviews. New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers.

I didn't quite know what to expect. On a read, it felt like this was all material that I already knew. From a strictly informational perspective I didn't feel like I got anything I didn't know out of Jerry's mouth. But when I went back to transcribe some key things, so engaged the book a second time, I felt like it really painted an intimate picture of Jerry by Jerry. McNally did a great job in using his own creative talent to let Jerry --a Jerry, a version of Jerry-- paint a lovely little posthumous self-portrait.

This is sort of like my "in praise of editorial judgment" thing --no reader here could possibly disagree-- Dennis McNally obviously knew Garcia well, was blessed to have spent a lot of time talking about everything under the sun with him, and he creatively arranges a lot of the material that I know (of), but hadn't really understood. It's nicely paced, a nice easy afternoon conversation, plenty of room to breathe, unlike so many of the Garcia interviews we get to hear. It's a nice piece of work, and it'll be on my shelf (or wherever I put it) for the long haul. (It's so nice that I won't even lament that absence of spatiotemporal identifiers for the quotes.)

A note on "reading notes": this is just my selective culling of quotes of particular interest to me. There's nothing representative about this stuff, I don't imagine. I pick up different stuff from LIA (who can remember it all without the contrivance of "reading notes"). The method is to sort these quotes into their respective topic buckets  (with little tags like #why and such), then put the book aside and move on to the next thing.

Raw notes below the fold. I lost steam with bolding the names at some point ...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bobby Ace

I was doing some thinking about Bob Weir's musical journey, and what I view to be the pivotal "Bobby Ace" period, running most obviously from about mid-1969 through 1970. And, since we were just talking about Family Dog shows, I got to thinking about the April 1970 acoustic gigs. Long story short, I just did some sniffing around some of the more obscure (in the Garciaverse) numbers they did. Here's a back-of-the-napkin breakdown.

Note that, as far as I can tell, this is entirely roots-derived white contemporary stuff - is there a black songwriter in the whole repertoire? Anyway, FWIW.

! song: Slewfoot
! song: Wabash Cannonball

Everly Brothers Originals
! song: All I Have To Do Is Dream (not their composition, but I think they did it first)
! song: Cathy's Clown
! song: So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)
! song: Wake Up Little Susie

! song: Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
! song: I've Got A Tiger By The Tail – Buck Owens

George Jones
! song: The Race Is On
! song: Old Old House
! song: Seasons Of My Heart

Contemporary Country – all of these were written in the 1960s
! song: Let It Be Me – also done by Everly Brothers
! song: Let Me In – Porter Wagoner
! song: Long Black Limousine – first available via Glen Campbell in 1962, eventually Merle Haggard and Elvis, too.
! song: Me And My Uncle – John Philips
! song: Silver Threads And Golden Needles – also by Everly Brothers
! song: Dire Wolf – Garcia/Hunter (sung by Weir 7/4/69)
! song: Green Green Grass Of Home – Curly Putnam, but done by Porter Wagoner and on Merle Haggard's Mama Tried.
! song: Games People Play – Joe South – also by Everly Brothers

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Lenny Hart's term of employment

I had never quite seen this much specificity on the dates around Lenny Hart, but in combination with some other factors (Gar talking about the situation with Rakow at the Family Dog, which the GD were playing through 3/1/70), this really seems pretty precise.

Hart was arrested July 26 in San Diego on a Marin County warrant charging he embezzled more than $77,000 between May 22, 1969 , and March 2, 1970, while he was employed as business manager of the group.

And specifics on Lenny's Perfidy: 

During the time he served as business manager, Hart wrote six checks, totaling $35,200, on the Dead’s account made out to the “Sunshine Company.” An investigation revealed that the Sunshine Company maintained an account at the same bank and the account was in the name of Leonard B. Hart, according to Thomas. The affidavit also said that Jerry Garcia, a member of the Grateful Dead, told San Rafael police that MGM Studios wrote $11,000 worth of checks for music composed by Garcia. The checks were made out to Hart, as trustee of the group, but neither Garcia nor the group ever saw the money".
! ref: "Rock Group Embezzling Case is Set," Independent-Journal, August 10, 1971, p. 5.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Old And In The Way at the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara

Several years ago, Richard Greene was kind enough to work through some of his old datebooks with me over the phone. He showed himself at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara on Thursday, April 12, 1973, a date for which no Old And In The Way (OAITW) gig has been listed. I thought it was possible that he was playing with someone else this night --the man has always been highly sought after-- but I listed it as OAITW and vowed to check for clarification the next time I found myself in S.B. In the meantime, I even surmised that one of the undated OAITW live sets in circulation could be the very show, given the provenance of the tape, the room feel, other details. update: yes, I think that is correct! Among other things, the expost I identify below confirms that Orange Blossom Special closed the show, just one more piece of evidence.

I did turn up more confirmation for the gig

! ad: Daily Nexus, April 12, 1973, p. 5.

Nice to see Doc Watson opening the show, a year before he and Jer would share billings at the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival in Marin. The preview hints that Doc might join OAITW, but it appears not to have happened. Note two shows. Note further that Richard doesn't make the billing, though he was there. Note finally that this was Doc and Merle.

update: the UCSB Daily Nexus is now available online through, and I have found the following.

! preview: Haight 19730412

! review: [positive] Haight 19730419

Anyway, this is now pinned down just a little bit more. And here's the Granada in the present time:
Last note: the ad here says "Theatre", and in comments JGBP points out that the current website also has it that way. Just note that Cinema Treasures and a 1975 LOM ad both say 'er', apparently incorrectly.

UCLA Acid Test (CXL)

! ad: Daily Bruin, March 16, 1966, p. 2.

Suggested audio accompaniment for this post:, especially 30 minutes in when Ken Babbs is just raving, and things are just WILD.

The UCLA Daily Bruin has been digitized, and is accessible via the Daily Bruin Print Archive at The access is rather cumbersome, basically at the volume level, and this runs from spring to spring. I recommend 1) targeting a date and searching on it, 2) verifying the resulting date range, 3) clicking on "Back to Item Details" toward the top-left, 4) right-click-and-saving-file-as... (or whatever you Macs do), using either the PDF (quite large files) or, for a first sweep, text (much smaller). The text can be searched for your key terms. But I will say, just looking at the text, the OCR'ing appears highly imperfect. So you might need to try many different searching strategies to find anything. I had a pretty low yield rate on the things I was interested in.


Since I didn't have a canceled UCLA Acid Test in my cxl spreadsheet field, it didn't exist for me, even though I guess your average w00k might know of it. So I got inordinately excited when I found stuff around it, until reality came around and burst my bubble.

Anyway, still fun.


I found the preview first, and it is just about the most distilled piece of Babbsiana you'll ever encounter.
Barring the apocalypse, GSA ASUCLA, will allow the Merry Pranksters of Intrepid Trips, Inc. to let loose their version of interpersonal nuclear fission. The Acid Test, from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. March 19 in The Student Union Grand Ballroom. What is The Acid Test? Well, it is a sort of a happening, a very total happening. There is no audience, no group of performers; everyone comes and the thing happens. There is music — The Grateful Dead will play genuine rock-'n-roll for dancing. But anyone can play music — there will be mikes and amplifiers available — and any person or group is urged to bring their equipment. There will be movies, three or four at a time, of the Pranksters and others doing whatever they do. But anyone can bring their own films and/or equipment. There will be people in strange clothes; come as you will. There will be strange lights, strobes and color wheels; bring more if need be. There will be Neal Cassady of On The Road doing battle with the fabled Thunder Machine, Roy's Audioptics, the Electric Man, the Psychedelic Symphonette, assorted miracles and marvels, more noise and yet more music. Tickets ($1.50 for students) are on sale at the Kerckhoff Hall Ticket Office or can be purchased at the door.
! preview: “Acid Test to Happen Here,” Daily Bruin, March 11, 1966, p. 14

In my recent post on the 1/17/69 UCSB show I posted about the winky-winky LSD references. Three years earlier, before acid was illegalized, there is no winking, there is just straight-up "come drink some acid punch with us and trip your _____ off right here on campus", presumably decodeable by enough Initiates to make it a happening.

I love the thought of Cassady ("of On The Road") doing battle with Babbs's Thunder Machine, the soundimage of whatever Roy's Audioptics was capable of laying down, "mindless chaos" as Garcia says in the late 33 minute of the audio accompaniment - the whole scene, naturally enough. Is "the Electric Man" anyone special? I'll leave this mostly to the commentariate to have at. Links to existing work will be gratefully received.


The ad mentions Tiny Tim and Paul Butterfield, whom we were just discussing in a comment thread, coincidentally enough, and drops the canonical name for the liquid medium of choice. Uncle Sam is in the house. Good stuff.


Universities document themselves religiously, full of their own senses of historical importance, and so I imagine that there might be materials in the University Archives about this. I didn't know of this cancellation, and even a closer scan of the Daily Bruin and probably the LA Free Press would reveal more. Perhaps Ross has already gone through it all and already knows everything I am saying! I thought it was fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dropping in Robertson Gym (gd1969-01-17)

The Grateful Dead and Santa Barbara are two great things that go great together. One little mystery has always centered on the location of the January 17, 1969 gig. The gig was absent from Deadbase, is listed as Unknown Venue chez Deadlists, and circulates from Vault -> Latvala -> world tape as “Civic Auditorium, Santa Barbara, CA”, which Corry has noted does not exist. He’s right about that (as far as I know), but his alternative explanation, that the gig was at the Santa Monica Civic, is incorrect.

The gig was in Santa Barbara. Like another one a mere four months later (5/29/69), it took place in Robertson Gymnasium (“Rob Gym” for those who pick up games there), on the stunning campus of U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB). [update: I see that already knew this.] Must have been a ‘head or two on the Program Council that year, though, as I'll note, looks like only the latter was fully campus-sponsored.

Background: Grateful Dead in Santa Barbara

4/29/67 Earl Warren Showgrounds Santa Barbara CA
1/17/69 Unknown Venue Santa Barbara CA
5/29/69 Robertson Gym - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
5/20/73 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
5/25/74 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
2/27/77 Robertson Gym - University Of California Santa Barbara CA
1/13/78 Arlington Theatre Santa Barbara CA
6/4/78 Campus Stadium - University Of California Santa Barbara CA

There are some interesting Jerry engagements in lovely old Santa Barbara, too, but I will break form and ignore them for now.

Ads and Such

With a little slaving over a hot microfilm reader, I found the following:

! ad: El Gaucho, January 16, 1969, p. 3;
! caption: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 1;
! ad: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 3;
! listing: El Gaucho, January 17, 1969, p. 5.

Here’s the day-of-show ad:

"Kappa Sigma presents In Concert Santana Blues Band / Grateful Dead / Travel Agency, lights by Dry Paint, January 17 [1969], 8:30 PM, Robertson Gym (Bring Your Own Pillow)"
Brief Analysis

Thank you, El Gaucho!

The ad reinforces the lost-from-memory feel of the gig, a bit of an in-your-face guerilla exercise with Kappa Sigma. The Santana Blues Band and its successors are well documented, and this show is not listed at the canonical Santanamigos site. If I were an objective observer, I would say SBB headlines over the Dead as a matter of presentation, which is pretty amazing given how early in Santana's run this occurred. It's useful to remember just how Spanish Santa Barbara is, perhaps - maybe Santana would bring the vaqueros' kids in from the high school.

El Gaucho advertises what's going to go down in technicolor glory, even through bad microfilm in black and white. In the sweet spot, top-left of the front page, soak in the picture of a bunch of crazed Deadfolk in various degrees of sprawling on the steps of 710 Ashbury, over caption beginning “DROPPING IN ROBERTSON GYM”, (caps original), and a–wink-wink and a-nudge-nudge.
Bring Your own Pillow

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the show seems to have fallen somewhat out of memory – many may not have imprinted for very long in situ, more the decaying trails of an up-close camera flash.

Listening to the Dead tape now and it's pretty bad. Pigpen is lost in Lovelight, even Dark Star > Steven > Eleven leave me totally flat. Death Don't is good, TIFTOO is fine but uneventful, and a *very* tentative Cosmic Charlie closes things out. The show is way below average for the period, for sure. It sounds like a good crowd which cheers a lot for the Lovelight (maybe the sound was bad), but eventually The Man drops in and shut things down, and young Mr. Weir puts a point on things:
They say that's all there is, so I guess that's all there is.
And goodnight to you, too.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Grateful Dead Co-Billings

Based on a discussion at Lossless Legs, I generated my own list of openers for the GD. This isn't really openers, so much as acts that were co-billed. In many cases, GD was opening for someone else. But given my Garciacentrism, and various technical limitations, this was the easiest way for me to generate a rough-and-ready list.

Additions, corrections, etc. welcomed!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Red Rocks

Saw something in some ca. '84 GD band meeting minutes where Weir says they should move heaven and earth to play Red Rocks. Spent some time with one of the '83 gigs, and now running 9/7/85, and boy oh boy are they good. I hadn't recalled 9/7/85 being this good. Jerry sounds very together, his voice much better than I recall from just a few days before on the last Cryptical attempt (9/3/85).

And this, my friends, is a stellar recording:

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Garcia's Early '82 Tax Tour (Counterfactual)

More counterfactual history from a document in the GD Archives (ms332, ser2, box5), though I have seen it through another means as well.

This is a central piece of evidence, along with the Return of Ronnie Tutt tour in late '81 and a few other things, showing that this period marks a real effort to take care of old business. This especially involved disentangling Jerry/JGB and Grateful Dead finances. Though Marin County documents didn't yield any tax liens and such in this period that I could find (unlike 1978), Jerry was definitely having tax and more general money issues around this time, and this tour-that-wasn't, forecast from ca. February 1982, figured centrally in the various planning. (The fact that it didn't happen this way only speaks to the difficulties of taking care of business!)

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Altamont Dreams

I have so little time for this hobby these days. I have fallen way behind on my reading, but I really look forward to reading Joel Selvin's Altamont, among other things.

With that in mind, I did want to put down this little tidbit I found in the Grateful Dead Archive at UCSC concerning the December 4-7, 1969 Dead shows at Fillmore West (1). I can't remember if there are additional pages of this in the folder, but there's a handwritten page which looks basically to be a handwritten (not sure by whom - Lenny? Rock?) contract addendum, probably drafted early December sometime.

Condition. In the event of a free concert, it is agreed that the members of the Grateful Dead and the members of Fillmore West families will participate in said concert and hereby forego the Saturday evening [12/6] performance at the Fillmore West. The Grateful Dead will forego $2,000 - and no comps for Saturday nite.

Condition. Because of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this coming weekend and the presence of the Rolling Stones, Terry Reid parties -- also the homecoming of the Jeff Plane -- it is hereby requested that the promoter provide the Grateful Dead 75 more comps.

Request. That in the event of a free concert, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones hereby request permission to use the premises of Fillmore West Saturday nite for a private, by invite only party -- the most memorable evening in San Francisco ballroom history!!

Ahhhh, what might have been!

(1) Grateful Dead Archive, Special Collections, UC Santa Cruz, ms 332 Series 2: Business, Box 2, Folder "Contracts - Fillmore West, December 4-7, 1969 - Production".

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Things You Learn ...

... while pawing through stuff at the GD Archives. Case in point: the original Mars Hotel artwork was run over by a UPS truck.

Now you know.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

nothing wrong with this 8/21/83 tape

Source (FOB) Sony ECM-220T -> Cassette Master (Sony TC-D5M/FujiMetal Tape/Dolby B)
Lineage Cassette Master (Nakamichi DR-1/Dolby B) -> Sound Devices 744T (24bit/96k) -> Samplitude Professional v10.1 -> FLAC/24
Taped by Michael Kirschner
Transferred by Charlie Miller

There is not a freaking thing wrong with this tape. If you ever saw a show at the Frost, you know the sound and feel of it. It's the sam mics Rango used in October '82, I see.

Band is hot as shit and sloppy as hell. Two thumbs up for an August day.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In Praise of Editorial Judgment

So, every year around August 9th I bust out the original So Many Roads boxset and listen to some of my ol' favorites, such as "Whiskey In The Jar" and, of course, the final-show "So Many Roads". I am reminded how pleased I am with the curation that Gans, Jackson and Silberman did on the whole set, but especially the tasteful editing-out of the Garcia's first, flubby guitar pass. I *love* watching it on the video, because the man signals to the rest of the band that he wants another stab at it, always reaching for the gold ring. But I don't need to hear it, and the edited version is so achingly evocative of perfection that I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh yeah, right where the tape rolls in on the "Beautiful Jam" in the 2/18/71 Port Chester "Dark Star" just absolutely takes my breath away, over and over and over again. A minute or two of heart-rending magic, with Mickey on board but going away, Ned, man oh man.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Dating the Legion’s Demise: A Revisionist Account

The demise of the Legion of Mary, Garcia’s principal side band from Ronnie Tutt’s arrival on December 6, 1974 until mid-1975, remains one of the enduring mysteries of the Garciaverse.

The “why” is the biggest mystery of all. After almost five years of steady gigging and recording Garcia is said to have walked away. I don’t have time to go to Sources, but there is verbiage from Martin Fierro about a “star trip” and a sense of hurt from Merl Saunders, implying that shadowy forces were at work to short-circuit the magical Jerry-and-Merl trip in favor of the Grateful Dead. A big part of the conventional psychology of Garcia, ascribing to him personal cowardice in saying hard things to loved ones, derives from the Saunders account of what went down with the Legion in 1975 and Reconstruction in 1979.

In this post, I want to say less about the “why” and more about the “when”, though I think a revised understanding of the temporal piece may raise new questions about the causal one. I will conclude that we should extend the known Legion timeline to the end, rather than the beginning, of July 1975. My best guess is that there were additional gigs at least on July 23-24, 1975 at the Lion’s Share and July 30, 1975 at the Great American Music Hall. Sometime between late July and early August, Jerry and Merl went their separate ways.

Conventional Datings

The canonical List is clear: according to Dennis McNally’s research, preserved and extended by Corry Arnold, Independence Day 1975 tolled the bell for the Legion of Mary. It’s all pretty symbolic, of course. The Great American Music Hall, site of Jerry and Merl’s final 4th of July engagement, was a favorite of Garcia’s since they had first played it July 19, 1973. That gig, in turn, was not only with Merl, but was something of a Fantasy party to celebrate the canning of the July ’73 Keystone tapes, which would become the GSKV Live at Keystone, the fullest commercial expression of the Garcia-Saunders collaboration. Garcia suggested the Music Hall for the Dead’s highest-stakes gig of 1975, for FM radio executives on 8/13/75, in collaboration with new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss (since 6/11/75) United Artists (Selvin 197508xx). Oh yeah, one more thing – 7/19/73 was also Martin’s first known gig with these guys, and when Legion ended in the same room he’d wait 13 years to play again with Garcia (with Zero, 7/16/88 in Golden Gate Park). It all makes for a great story.

However poetic, the notion of a sudden rupture after the Fourth of July is incorrect. We now know of both a July 5th Saturday night at the Music Hall (listed in the Oakland Tribune and the Marin Independent-Journal) and an anticlimactic Sunday night show at Jerry and Merl’s chasse gardée, the Keystone Berkeley, now documented by the house calendar, listings in the Chronicle and the Datebook, and, even better, tape by the ever-timely Robert Castelli (shnid-108018). The show has always struck me as a little lethargic, and I imagined in my mind not a sudden rupture but a cartoonish putt-putt-putt and plonk, out-of-gas kind of finish for the band.

So, as of now, I have considered that Legion of Mary ran from December 6, 1974, through July 6, 1975. But I want to suggest the addition of at least three new dates to the end of the band’s run.

Closing of the Lion’s Share: July 24-25, 1975

With the release of the Garcia-Saunders 7/5/73 Lion’s Share show as GarciaLive 6, the venue looms large in our immediate imaginations. And why not? It was a legendary little Marin room. But lost to history has been an apparent Saunders-Garcia gig (or two) two years later, as the Share was ending its run on the Miracle Mile in San Anselmo. In comments to a post which I’ll mention more below, JGBP quotes a public posting by ‘cabdriver’ at Deadnetcentral recounting such gigs:

This Lion's Share gig (their closing week) was the first week of July, 1975 [sic: incorrect – see below]. The Garcia-Saunders Band played two consecutive nights during closing week … There were not very many people there, that's the funny part. And I can't find any reference to them doing those gigs anywhere. But it did really happen!

Cabdriver expressed uncertainty about the week the Share went dark. The Lion’s Share’s closing week was July 23-29, 1975, and the schedule ran as follows:

  • Wednesday 7/23 Commander Cody
  • Thursday 7/24 Merl Saunders and Friends / Aunt Monk / Sweetmeat
  • Friday 7/25 Merl Saunders and Friends / Sweetmeat
  • Saturday 7/26 ???
  • Sunday 7/27 Kathi McDonald
  • Monday 7/28 Michael Bloomfield, Mark Naftalin, Roger “Jellyroll” Troy, Nick Gravenites / Allair and Mitchell
  • Tuesday 7/29 Sons of Champlin / Michael Hunt

(Sources: Selvin 19750720 has the whole schedule. Listing in SFC19750723p47 supplies 7/23 and 7/24. Listing in Fremont Argus, July 25, 1975, p. 38 and “Lion’s Share Out With Flair,” Independent-Journal (San Rafael, CA), July 25, 1975, p. 20, both provide 7/25 and following.)

Those Thursday and Friday “Merl Saunders and Friends” gigs, which I took in my own notes to be Merl playing out quickly post-Jerry, certainly fit cabdriver’s description of back to back gigs during closing week at the Share. Somehow the fact that 7/24 bills Aunt Monk separately seems to make it more likely that Jerry was one of Merl’s Friends in a different configuration.

Summing here, we seem to have an eyewitness account of Jerry and Merl playing during the closing week at the Share, and this lines up with independent evidence from newspaper listings. I think those gigs happened and would propose adding them to the List.

July 30, 1975 at the GAMH

Remember when I found the “Latest Legion Listing”, for July 30, 1975 at the Great American Music Hall? I treated it as spurious because it didn’t fit my preconceived narrative. I even found a way to suggest that the very real professionalism of the GAMH made it more likely to find such a spurious listing. But beyond the idea that gigs to shut down the Share might extend the known timeline, I have found an additional piece of information that leads me to revise my earlier view. My first encounter with this possible gig came through the July 25 I-J, and I surmised that a lot could have changed in five days. But I have found a second listing for the gig, and this one is in the July 30th Chronicle.

This makes the first-discovered listing feel less spurious, because the Datebook listings would be very up-to-date, I think, based on information not more than a few days old. The fact that the GAMH was professionally run only reinforces the idea that there really was, as of approximately the day before, a planned Legion of Mary gig at the Music Hall on Wednesday, July 30, 1975.

Did it really happen? I don’t know. It’s less certain than the Share shows. But this last piece makes it feel a bit more likely …

August 5, 1975?

The McNally-Arnold list historically gave this as the Jerry Garcia Band’s first show. This is almost certainly incorrect, as gigs only got going with Nicky Hopkins and JGB #1 from September 18, to the best of our current reckoning. Corry now considers this a Keith and Donna show with Jerry, which is how I currently list it. But, check out this series:
Keystone Berkeley ad from the pink section, 7/27/75, billing Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders 8/5/75

Keystone Berkeley August 1975 calendar, scan courtesy of Ed Perlstein

See that big blank spot over Merl’s name in the 8/5/75 box? “Jerry Garcia and” would fit perfectly in that spot. I raise this for two reasons. First, *this* looks to be where the rupture between Jerry and Merl could have happened, insofar as that’s the right conception of things. Gigs were advertised, nothing unusual about that, but then something changes. I think Corry’s reasoning that this was Keith and Donna is pretty sound, but that would mean Merl would have been bumped for it, potentially part of the story of Merl having the rug pulled out from under him. Second, whatever the deal with 8/5, the fact that there had been a JGMS billing this late in the game lends more credence to the idea of late-July gigs.

So, in summing up on this one, I am not prepared to say there was a JGMS/Legion gig on August 5, 1975. I am prepared to say that it was planned as JGMS, and then morphed into something else (either Merl without Jerry, or Keith and Donna). In that sense, it arguably sets the new outer limit to our understanding of the tenure of the Legion of Mary.


Putting this all together might merely push the end of Legion back to the end of July, rather than to the beginning. In that sense, it’s a purely quantitative addition to our understanding. But, I don’t know, somehow the boys jamming together at the Share (as they did so well on 7/5/73, GarciaLive 6), casts a whole new light on the demise of the Legion, making it feel less like an opiated Sunday-night anticlimax and more like a couple of good gigs to wrap things up. It may still be the case that Jerry ducked out after 7/30 with just as much cowardice as we have always thought, but this is softened in my mental palette just a little bit if there was good, joyful gigging for a little longer than has previously been recognized.