Saturday, December 16, 2017

Magic at the Edge of the Western World


  1. For what its worth, the most legendary band on this poster is actually The Deviants. Mick Farren had probably been fired by this time.

  2. Hey, this was the era of the Common, and the people spoke: more square dances!
    There had been a hoe-down with the Riders and the Ramblers back in August - as the Berkeley Tribe put it, "the Common put on a good ol’ hoedown. The dance hall was transformed into a psychedelic barn with bales of hay [and] charcoal-roasted corn at ten cents a hit" - that had also featured a square dance, hayride, and apple bob! Must've been a success for the Family Dog to repeat the formula.
    Even more enticing than the dance itself is the prospect of Garcia & LaFlamme playing for the dancers....not a typical Garcia event!
    The Family Dog had quite an appealing scene going....who could pass up the "film orgy" or "puppet bash?"

  3. Yeah, the "Family Dog and the Common the Great Highway", at the bottom-right, is what sold me on this piece.

  4. I'm really hoping that Bob Weir sat in as the square dance caller. But that may be hoping for way too much. I will assume that the apple bobbing tank was probably dosed, though.

  5. I found this comment on cryptdev's blog from someone who attended the Family Dog country dance!
    "One [standout show] that I don't believe I have ever seen mention of since, is the "Barn Dance" that was held at the Family Dog at Playland. It was a country hoe-down theme, and if I remember correctly, it was all acoustic. There were bales of hay strewn about, "folksy" things like bobbing for apples, and a band composed of Garcia on banjo and David LaFlamme on fiddle, amongst others. (There were also several plastic trash barrels filled with Kool Aid that was pretty heavily laced with psychedelics. Needless to say, things got a little strange in there, as the night wore on.)"

    At the time we thought he was referring to the August '69 hoe-down, however the presence of David LaFlamme in the band makes me think he attended the Nov 18 show.
    You're right, Nick, the apple-bobbing tank was dosed! Sounds like it was quite a square dance...

  6. I have to add John Cohen's account of the square dance the New Lost City Ramblers played at the Family Dog in August '69:

    A young man approached Cohen before the set. "He asked me if I want some apple cider, and I said, 'Sure.'
    I drank it, and he said, 'Have you ever tripped?'
    I said, 'No.'
    He laughed and said, 'Well, you're going to now!'
    So I told Mike and Tracy [the other Ramblers] because I didn't know what would happen. They were terrified that it might have happened to them...
    I didn't know if I would fall down or writhe on the ground or what. And as the music went on and the dancing went on, I would focus on this and that. But the music was interesting, because I was reducing what I was doing on the banjo to fewer and fewer notes, but they were so amplified with this sound system that they sounded gigantic!...
    Eventually, I obsessed on this girl's bright red shoes, like from the Wizard of Oz, and I'm just kind of 'Whooo!'... I was hanging on, I wasn't falling behind, and the music certainly had interesting qualities... Then afterwards the colors and everything happened, and they took me upstairs. There was another bluegrass band playing in the dressing room, and I was astounded by their precision. It was overwhelming."
    (from Ray Allen, "Gone to the Country," p.193)

    This was apparently the night Garcia and friends played with the Ramblers, so it's not surprising that Cohen got dosed! It was never safe to hang around Garcia in '69. Wasn't even safe to be Garcia.


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