Once Upon A Stream
Today marks the 21st anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. 21 years. Kids born on this day are of legal drinking age. Can’t believe I was 15 years young or that the majority of the music he produced in his life was before my time. On the evening of what would have been his 74th birthday, August 1st, the nostalgia that has become customary for this time of year began to set in. The studio version of ‘Cats Under the Stars’ playing on the radio led to searching for more of his solo work on a streaming service and the resentments usually following the search about why there isn’t more ‘Jerry band’ on these services. This year I had pleasant surprise. As the Days Between (aka the days between Garcia’s birthday and the anniversary of his death) were set to begin his entire solo catalog was added to the Spotify/Apple music families. It does not get any more ‘music to my ears’ than this addition! Over the past nine days I’ve been listening to Jerry band pretty much nonstop with nothing less than a smile on my face. Below I’m listing my favorite new additions and I encourage any music-lovers out there to give one of these great shows a spin.
*one quick note…along with the official Jerry Garcia solo studio releases the Garcia/Saunders Keystone Compilations and the Garcia-Grisman recordings were already offered
Aug. 1st—-Jerry Garcia Band and Bob Weir/ Rob Wasserman: Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound
This is a one-two punch and going into the 1st of the month was the first release I gravitated to. Anything that had the words Fall 1989 and Jerry Garcia in it gets immediate recognition. It’s features the Melvin Seals and the Girls lineup (as I like to call it). Below I’m listing a popular Jerry solo song that made its way into the Dead catalog along with a Weir/Wasserman cut whose addition to this set should not even be overlooked…it may be the actual highlight. It’s sentimental nonetheless as Rob Wasserman succumbed to cancer a month ago and it’s nice to be able to celebrate one of the most underrated bass players of all-time.
Aug. 2—Jerry Garcia Collection vol.1: Legion of Mary
Didn’t really know what to do with this one here. The whole thing smokes. I’m actually linking a great show from this tour that I found via youtube but trust me…any Legion of Mary recording you find gets the job done. This is Jerry and his original partner in crime Merl Saunders at their finest.
Aug. 3—Garcia Plays Dylan
Nobody covers Bob Dylan like Jerry Garcia. This compilation opens with an early Garcia-Saunders collaboration. I drove around for about an hour the other day listening to this version of the Dylan classic: ‘It Takes A lot to Laught, It Takes A Train To Cry.’ Something about Garcia guitar and Merle’s keys hit me every damn time on this one.
Aug. 4—GarciaLive vol.6
The most recent Jerry release, another Merle Saunders collaboration, and another absolute must-hear. What more can I say.
Aug. 5—Shining Star
One of my favorite Jerry Garcia covers getting the recognition it deserves. This is later era Garcia band and the vocals of Gloria and Jackie really shine on this title track. Another track, albeit a more mellow one, I could listen to a hundred times in a row and never get tired of listening to it.
Aug. 6—Let It Rock: The Jerry Garcia Band
A mid era (post Merle/pre Melvin) JGB release. Two drummers played with Jerry primarily through the years. Ron Tutt (who was Elvis’s drummer) up to the Melvin years…David Kemper during the later Melvin years. In those bridge years Nicky Hopkins (who also played the Stones) was on keys. Of course…John Kahn was on bass all these years. I’ll get to him in a minute. My only comment about this wonderful release is: why the hell haven’t I ever heard this beauty.
Aug. 7—Pure Jerry: Coliseum Hampton 11-9-91
This show has the late era Jerry lineup with frequent Dead collaborator Bruce Hornsby accompanying them. Lot of great rare covers in this one: You Never Can Tell (C’Est La Vie), Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox, and Bright Side of the Road. They’re all great however this encore below takes the cake!
Aug. 8—How Sweet It Is
When I saw this on stream, my heart jumped for joy. I remember buying this the day it was released in ’97 and along with ‘Don’t Let Go’ which was released several years later I’ve been spinning this one for years. Another example of Garcia covering Dylan but this time with his late era backing band.
August 9th—Pure Jerry 2.28.86 Jerry Garcia/John Kahn
Jerry in his purest form: on an acoustic guitar along with lifelong bass player John Kahn. I can find nothing more suitable on this day to honor his music. Here’s a video from that a show later in that year. As an added bonus I’m also linking the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band set from Halloween ’87. All 3 will be playing on my stereo at some point today!