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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Friday, April 26, 2019

Poynette

Let me just remind you on the show's 49th birthday that
three years after the fact, a program called "Studio None" on cable channel 4 in Madison apparently broadcast footage of the Dead and Baby Huey from the [4/26/70] gig. The listing refers to "the 1969 Poynette Rock Festival", but I think this must be 4/26/70. Mmmm ... wonder where that tape might be? (! listing: Wisconsin State Journal, November 26, 1973, sec. 3, p. 3.)
Anyone know anyone in Madison who might be able to make inquiries? Nothing but photographs and memories circulates from this gig.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

"I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes": JGB at the Warfield, March 4, 1995

LN jg1995-03-04.jgb.all.aud-sonics.141470.flac1648

I don't feel like I have time or energy to do a full write-up, so let me try to sketch a few thoughts around a recent listen to taper Wilson66's very enjoyable Sonic Studios DSM-6 drink rail tape of the Jerry Band on home turf, March 4, 1995.

Tone and Technique > Lyrical Precision and Power

This formulation provides my key to appreciating very late vintage Jerry Band. On the down side, the man can mumble through entire songs such as Daniel Lanois's beautiful "The Maker", or repeat himself, well, repeatedly, as with Dylan's it-has-to-be-meaningful-for-old-Jerry line from "Positively 4th Street" about what shuffling a mile in famous moccasins feels like. He sometimes loses himself, as in the mountain stream waters of Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me". Both his singing and his guitar playing lack power.

But he generally makes up for all of this by upping the intentionality of his vocal and guitar phrasings. He changes things up, syncopates, rolling with the sometimes gurgling, sometimes more turbulent flow of his own uncertainty. He makes up in more deliberate and careful choice what he lacks in oomph and volume, taking his time to work with the subtler possibilities that an earlier him would have just blasted right through. "Stoned Me" offers some extremely fragile and sweet passages that the younger slinger just couldn't credibly generate, his considerable pain, while real, just not overflowing the cup the way it does here. Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" exemplifies the varied technical approaches (I won't say attacks) engaged by late Jerry  He doesn't melt your face off the way he regularly did with this tune between 1990 and 1993, by turns, anyway. But he bobs, weaves, ascends, doubles up, descends, plucks and innovates in ways that wouldn't win over an eager newbie so much as they can reward the patient fan.

Interesting Song Selection

! song: "Let It Rock" (s1t02): John Kahn had selected this Chuck Berry rock and roller for Garcia's second solo album, Compliments (Round RX102, 1974), and it formed a staple of Jerry's non-Dead diet, with fallow periods in 1978, 1985, 1988, then came out with declining frequency in the 1990s. Prior to this final version, it had last been played 5/15/94 in Irvine, which gives you a sense of the elongated late rhythms of its appearances. When they first started playing it, John opened with big fat bass lines, and Jerry could make it WAIL. Here, at the end, John is even less audible than he is creative (not very), and while Jerry's ideas and attack remain interesting --he still knows *how* to play rock guitar-- he just lacks power. I do love the tone he gets very late 8 over 9, with some great high-sustain followed by plucks, then scratches. The man was still full of sound, no doubt about that.

! song: "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" (s1t05): The band soundchecked ITALTL, ITATTC, and then played it here for the last time, and the first time electric since 2/22/80. (The GD did it six times in 1991-1992.) What a bustout - a one-time revival after 15 years, never to be played again in the short time remaining.

! song: "Positively 4th Street" (s2t10):  After landing on the shelf in early 1980 (the day after "Train To Cry"), JGB brought the Dylan classic back for six appearances in the 1990s: 3/1/91, 4/18/93, 4/24/93, 1/13/95 (see and see), 3/4/95 (this version), 4/15/95. I have a little theory, which I haven't thought about how to test, that interesting song selections arose more early in the year, and I have a causal mechanism in mind, namely, that the Dead took time off in January and Jerry and the band maybe thought about, and sometimes also worked up, some different material. I have no evidence for that. This version moves pretty briskly, and Jerry mostly has the lyrics together. It doesn't sneer the way it needs to, but it's interesting to contrast how focused he sounds for it after muddling his way through "The Maker". He says "I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes" no fewer than four times - so he does the "I could be you" and "what a drag it is to see you" responses twice. Not lyrically correct, I don't think, but could be (over-) interpreted as really feeling true ...

The End Is Nigh

Random/blinded selection and listening would be the best practice to reduce bias, but I just can't do it. We know in listening to this that it's late in the game. January and February had both provided evidence of decline. First, on January 18, 1995 (ten years to the day after The Bust in GGP), Jerry spun out in a brand new gold BMW 525i on loan from Sonnen BMW --"a cherry", according to CHP officer Jerry Monge, valued at over $30,000-- while his own was in the shop. He was northbound between Mill Valley and Corte Madera, and the car "bounced off the guardrail on the right side of the roadway several times, spun around, and came to a stop facing oncoming traffic." Conditions were dry, and "Garcia was unable to explain how he lost control" (! ref: "Jerry Garcia OK after crash," San Francisco Examiner, January 19, 1995, p. A-2.)  According to unknown source, "The section of road this happened on (Corte Madera, literally 100 yards from a major CHP office) has guardrails well off the road. Jerry didn't take his eye of the wheel for no 1/10 of a second. 1/10 of a minute, maybe." Second, the February 10-11-12 shows were canceled (including an envisaged 2/13 makeup for the first night) after Garcia was stung on the hand by a jellyfish while diving in Hawaii and couldn't play.

Bob Barsotti, who ran the Warfield for BGP, puts this stuff in context:
We had to cut back on Jerry Garcia Band shows because he wasn't capable of doing it anymore. We had to keep canceling shows and stopping tours because physically he wasn't able to do it. That was why he used to play twenty times a year at the Warfield. The only place he could get it together physically to play with the Jerry Garcia Band was by getting in his car and driving for a half an hour to the Warfield. If he could do that, then he could play (Greenfield1996, 300).
On this night, the next, and five more in April, he managed, and I am glad he did.

Jerry Garcia Band
The Warfield
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
March 4, 1995 (Saturday)
Wilson66 Sonic Studios DSM-6 drink rail shnid-141470

--set I (6 tracks, 62:56)--
s1t01. [1:30] How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [7:43] [0:39]
s1t02. Let It Rock [11:39] [1:19]
s1t03. And It Stoned Me [12:08] [0:38]
s1t04. (1) Lay Down Sally [11:12] [0:23]
s1t05. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry [6:51] [0:07]
s1t06. Deal [8:23] [0:22]

--set II (7 tracks, 69:33)--
s2t07. [2:14] The Harder They Come [8:25] [2:09]
s2t08. [0:19] Simple Twist of Fate [11:44] [0:30]
s2t09. Tore Up Over You [9:35] [0:14]
s2t10. The Maker [9:48] (2) [0:21]
s2t11. Positively 4th Street [7:25] ->
s2t12. Lucky Old Sun [10:01] [0:05]
s2t13. Midnight Moonlight [6:14] (3) [0:27]

! ACT1: JGB #23
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, v;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Donny Baldwin - drums;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - backing vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - backing vocals.

JGMF:

! 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: https://jerrybase.com/events/19950304-01

! JGC: http://jerrygarcia.com/show/1995-03-04

! JGBP: http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2013/02/warfield-982-market-street-san.html

! map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZW52vfHTbjs

! db: https://etreedb.org/shn/16443 (Vasseur shnf); https://etreedb.org/shn/78007 (set 2, unlineaged); https://etreedb.org/shn/79635 (Russ B. MAD); https://etreedb.org/shn/141470 (this fileset).

! band: URL http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html

! seealso: JGMF, "Old Garcia Running to the Rock for Rescue" [LN jg1995-03-05.jgb.all.aud-michaelB-goodbear.79634.flac1644], URL http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2017/05/old-garcia-running-to-rock-for-rescue.html.

! historical: Garcia was scheduled to play the Warfield in January (13-14-15), February (10-11-12), March (4-5), and two weekends in April (14-15 and 21-22-23). This was the first show after two events that might have concerned the fans. First, on 1/18/95, Jerry spins out in a brand new gold BMW 525i on loan from Sonnen BMW while his own was in the shop. He was northbound between Mill Valley and Corte Madera, and the car "bounced off the guardrail on the right side of the roadway several times, spun around, and came to a stop facing oncoming traffic." The car was "a cherry", according to CHP officer Jerry Monge, valued at over $30,000.  Conditions were dry, and "Garcia was unable to explain how he lost control." According to unknown source, "The section of road this happened on (Corte Madera, literally 100 yards from a major CHP office) has guardrails well off the road. Jerry didn't take his eye of the wheel for no 1/10 of a second. 1/10 of a minute, maybe." (! ref: "Jerry Garcia OK after crash," San Francisco Examiner, January 19, 1995, p. A-2.) Second, the February shows were canceled (including an envisaged 2/13 makeup for the first night) after Garcia was stung on the hand by a jellyfish while diving in Hawaii and couldn't play.

! R: field recordist: Wilson66

! R: field recording gear: 2x Sonic-Studios DSM-6 > Sony TCD-D7 (48k)

! R: field recording location: first tier drink rail

! R: lineage: DAT Master > Tascam us144-mkII > PC > Audition > CD Wave > TLH FLAC 16/48. Brought to you by Shark420, fresh transfer from DAT master, Dec 2017.

! P: One has to ask how this would hit me if I didn't know the date and the dénouement of the whole story. The vocals are certainly low, probably some correlated combination of weakness and being turned down in the mix.

! song: "Let It Rock" (s1t02): John Kahn had selected this Chuck Berry rock and roller for Garcia's second solo album, Compliments (1974), and it formed a staple of Jerry's non-Dead diet, with fallow periods in 1978, 1985, 1988, and declining frequency in the 1990s. Prior to this final version, it had last been played 5/15/94 in Irvine, which gives you a sense of the late rhythms. When they first started playing it, John opened it with big fat bass lines, and Jerry could make it WAIL. Here, at the end, John is even less audible than he is creative (not very), and while Jerry's ideas and attack remain interesting --he still knows *how* to play rock guitar-- he just lacks power. I do love the tone he gets very late 8 over 9, with some great high-sustain followed by plucks, then scratches. The man was still full of sound, no doubt about that.

! P: s1t03 AISM JG takes an interesting vocal approach, a little off-the-1, seemingly intentionally. He forgets the third verse, so he takes a sweet little guitar turn instead. Three minutes later, we still haven't had another verse. It's pretty compelling to hear how he manages around not remembering the lyrics. @ 5:24 we get the "rain let up" verse. @ 6:38 after that verse JG is lost again, and he takes another turn - when in doubt, play. And, again, after the last verse they used to just end the tune, but here we get another turn, and then @ 10:51 JG returns to "oh the water", which he gets himself from a mountain stream. Pretty damn sweet. Flawed, and sweet. Finally at 12 he drops a big chord to signal the end. Fragile, flawed, lovely.

! s1t04 (1) woman near taper calls LDS just before it starts. Good call, woman near taper!

! P: s1t04 LDS Jer is really playing around with the timing of his little runs out of the gate, seemingly intentionally, and Donny does a good job holding down the 1. Interesting little piece right over 1 min, a neat intro to the tune (which might be because he can't remember the words, but I dunno). Lyrics kick off 1:40ish. 8:20 ish interesting set of doublets. I really like how Donny plays this tune. Garcia plays so patiently. Now some interesting ascending pieces very late 8. Very inventive stuff. 9:16 more innovation - I don't listen to late era very much, but this is very interesting. Jerry and everyone but John hit the ending just right. That was really, really good.

! P: s1t05 ITALTL, ITATTC he blows the first lyric. John doesn't appear to remember the song, but the ladies are doing some nice backing vocals. Nice to hear, even if imperfect.

! song: "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" (s1t05): The band soundchecked ITALTL, ITATTC, and then played it here for the last time, and the first time electric since 2/22/80. (The GD did it six times in 1991-1992.) What a bustout!

! P: s1t06 Deal you can really hear the impotence of his guitar playing on this number, which wants to burn barns, but here just casts a warmish glow.

! P: s2t07 HTC goes nowhere. Shortest version I recall ever hearing.

! P: s2t10 Maker he doesn't remember any of the words, at least as far as anything audible - his vocals are very low. @ 3:41 he misses his chance to take a guitar lead, which he gets into ten seconds later. He has sounded really lost so far on this tune.

! s2t10 (2) @ 10:01 guy in crowd yells out "Positively!" Might he have heard the soundcheck? I didn't hear the lick, maybe he did.

! P: s2t10 P4S is done at a pretty quick tempo. Jerry seems to have the lyrics together. This version doesn't sneer the way it needs to, but it's interesting to contrast how focused he sounds for it after muddling his way through "The Maker". He says "I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes" no fewer than four times - so he does the "I could be you" and "what a drag it is to see you" responses twice. Not lyrically correct, I don't think, but could be (over-) interpreted as really feeling true ...

! song: "Positively 4th Street" (s2t10):  After landing on the shelf in early 1980, it came back for six appearances in the 1990s: 3/1/91, 4/18/93, 4/24/93, 1/13/95, 3/4/95 (this version), 4/15/95.

! s2t13 (3) JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later."