Jerry and Merl in San Anselmo, 1972

Merl Saunders nd Jerry Garcia

So what we have here is a vintage recording of Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders and friends (pre-Jerry Garcia Band). This is a soundboard recording zeroed right in on Jerry’s guitar. For those people who associate Garcia only with the Grateful Dead, they’re missing a whole lot of what made him the musician he was. Jerry was an amazing soloist in the Dead’s improv-jam milieu (damn, it’s been a while since I’ve pulled that word out – hello old friend). But with his work outside of the Dead, Jerry dove into bluegrass (his very first band was a jug band), R&B, Motown, early rock & roll, and others.

This is the first set from this night. The second set isn’t in circulation. But even these six songs take a trip through musical genres… Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh…”; Gamble & Huff’s “Expressway (To Your Heart)”- a hit by the Soul Survivors; the gorgeous instrumental version of “Imagine” (only two months after John Lennon’s album had been released); “Big Boy” Crudup’s “That’s Alright Mama”- Elvis Presley’s breakout single; a Merl Saunders original, “Save Mother Earth”; and Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her”.

All the while, Merl Saunders’ Hammond B3 churns away warmly in the background. Both “Imagine” and “Save Mother Earth” showed up on Saunders’ album ‘Heavy Turbulence’ later that year (an album that featured Garcia on guitar). John Kahn, the bass player in this show, also played on the album, and was the bass player in the Jerry Garcia Band from beginning (1975) until end (1995).

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Paul Butterfield, late master of the Chicago Blues harp, joins in on the last couple of songs.

But it’s Jerry’s guitar skills that take over this show. Prepare to be blown away…

Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, and Friends
Jannuary 19th, 1972
The Lion’s Share
San Anselmo, CA

It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry
Expressway To Your Heart
That’s Alright Mama
Save Mother Earth *
I Was Made To Love Her *

* with Paul Butterfield on harmonica

Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals
Merl Saunders – keyboards, vocals
John Kahn – bass
Bill Vitt – drums
Sarah Fulcher – vocals
Paul Butterfield – harmonica (Guest on tracks 5 & 6)

BUY Rhino’s The Very Best of Jerry Garcia or preview it Rhino’s Listening Party.


Dead at the Cow Palace Contest

Dead at Cow Palace

If you didn’t win this in Hidden Track’s recent contest (they took the best post title, “A Dead Giveaway”), here’s a chance to pick up Rhino’s recent release of the Grateful Dead’s New Year’s Eve 1976 show at the Cow Palace. It’s a triple CD set, it’s 180 minutes of Dead in their prime goodness, and I think you should have it. There’s a listening party right here, and you can also check out and buy the CD here.

Leaving a comment below enters you in the contest, and I’ll pick a winner early in the coming week. Because it’s late Saturday morning, and I’m high on 2 cups of coffee and cold medicine, let’s get creative. Whoever comes up with the best Grateful Dead / Jerry Garcia related haiku wins the set.

About Haiku: “Haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adapted from the Japanese: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete & pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words.”

so good luck people
this is a lot of music
eat asparagus

February 2nd Update: We gotta winner: Boyhowdy! See here for details.

Flip, Pinto, and the Dead

Time to promote!

Here are a few goodies sent my way, completely and utterly unrelated to eachother.

Lil Flip

Lil Flip’s New Video: Yes, this man looks like he would very much like to eat your children. But that’s just Lil’ Flip. I won’t pretend to know a thing about Lil Flip. I only know him as one the many “Lil”s in the hip-hop world. And after reading about him on Wikipedia, I now know that he’s had running feuds with Paul Wall, Hump, T.I., and Slim Thug. He’s Houston bred and he was discovered by DJ Screw. You got that? ‘Cause there’s gonna be a quiz.

Lyf Jennings joins Lil’ Flip here for this new video from Flip’s forthcoming album. Oh cool, I can say this now… it drops in March. See? I still got it. Anyway, I still like to catch up with what’s going on in hip-hop these days. Of course I’m one of those mid to late thirty somethings that spent their formative years listening to the pioneers: Run DMC, Eric B. & Rakim, Whodini, Public Enemy, etc. etc., and no hip-hop will ever top that stuff for me. But yeah, it’s good to check in every now and then. And this isn’t bad. I like the message and the flow.

But I do like Paul Wall better. Sorry Flip (I’ll check more of your stuff out, I can’t judge you on one song).

Lil Flip Feat. Lyf Jennings: Ghetto Mindstate (YouTube)


PINTO! Andreas is the man. He’s in a Swedish band called Pinto, and he emails me from time to time with his latest stuff. In fact, I’m motivated to post their latest tune simply based on the subject line of his latest email: “Oh Lord Jesus Christ it is that guy from Pinto again!” And to describe Pinto’s latest, he puts it this way….

Let me put this simple. We has either made an awesome hit song or a really annoying two minute track that reminds you of Hooters (and sadly I’m talking about the band). Hopefully it is the first. I really hate Hooters (the band that is).


Pinto: Talk to Me Now (mp3)



You can download a thousand Swedish meatballs worth of tunes over at their web site. Go Pinto go!

Grateful Dead’s Live at The Cow Palace, New Year’s Eve, 1976 On January 23rd, Rhino will be releasing a classic Dead show from New Year’s Eve 1976. I’ve got a copy on the way for a sweet upcoming giveaway, so stay tuned.

While we’re waiting for the 23rd, check out this cool e-Card to listen to some tunes. You can follow links there to order the CD.