"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

But I Know It Comes Out Right

Today is the anniversary of the longest "Playin' in the Band" ever played by the Grateful Dead. At 46+ minutes it is the longest song the Grateful Dead ever played, just 3 minutes longer than the Rotterdam "Dark Star." The show is also known as the final appearance of "Money Money," not really but true nonetheless. Download the Aud of the show HERE, and I'm gonna try a writing exercise by turning on the "Playin'" and writing for the next forty-six minutes.
Bobby comes out flying. Sing what has usurped the second song he brought to the band with a furry and gusto. Leading the band into the Main Ten march as Donna roar is a on key. Keith harmonizes with Jerry as Bobby starts to lead them off the abyss that Keith is no stranger to. Phil checks in, taking bits and pieces and apart and Jerry mask the guitar with the wah-wah. A little bit of happiness. A little part of danger. Crash it down Billy. More symbols with the steady beat. The marathon is set at a rapid pace. It can't slow down now, because things are just getting started. Is there an electric piano that has started to stir. The music has started to take all directions. It ascends, it sets and still the sun burns bright, Billy is ready the key. Holding it together in this Herculaneum afford to the melting point. Jerry is still meandering while Phil is working with and against him. Bobby does know which way the race is going quick. Lead by following. There is muddling and need to build and peak. I want it louder if it turns into a shuffle. The birds whale. The clouds sigh and there is Bobby shaking of the craziness. There is still a rhythm that has to be challenged. We see what you've done and now we have exhausted it. There is room to stretch out. Someone catch your breath. The air seems heavy like there is some mystery to it. Phil beats his way up. Jerry's whole goal is to try and loss them all in his off beat chords. No one is fooled by his bluff. They stay steady ahead. One group under a crushing wall of sound. The echoes can carry the weight of troubles and the weight of gold is the same. Some distance cry and sinking bridge to reality. Who needs it anyway? We are free there's no course. No path. Reckoned it merged a long time ago. Silky smooth. Is there any meaning to this at all? We are about to find that building we can make do with the directional mishaps that may have occurred. There is still a great pace. We are still soldiering on. There might be a time that we look. Across the horizon. The plane is still the mountain behind. Can this be the moment of China or Comes a Time. Or will the smoldering calderon be mix by the witches brew. Is there more mean to the electric keys? There might need to be a sort of reconciliation because these guys are good. Not so neat. Practically clean. Can we keep going and see. Jerry shooting venom from his lips. There's no poison to slow him down. If we ever come back here again. If there is ever the need. We have to brace ourselves for the things we will see and the ex pieces we have fault. In time. Jerry gets his revolution. Where everything is alright. And moments are sparing. And the night is not as young as you'd think. There is a light. Some might see it glow. It might not be full Philed. There is a beautiful moment. Might want to revisit that with some of my friends. Phil stumbled onto it. It's a way back. Out of this dense forest. There is music is the quite spaces. There is always movement out. This is a brilliant phrase. It's ringing on. Like it's trying to tell us something of a long forgotten prayer. I know that there is meaning to it. Because it spoke to me before. Like a dirty shaman who knows the way to the church but not the way to salvation. There needs to be convictions. Keith. Speaks it first. But the rest were just waiting to see who could call Donna to knock it dead with a shout from the heavens. Some where glass houses are tumbling. Some where we are seeing the path. Found the light. Some where we are boogieing in our socks. Some where there is a two step close. Some where we found an end. 
I: Uncle, BE Woman, BIODTL, Deal, Mexicali, Roses, Race is On, Scarlet, El Paso, Row Jimmy, Money Money, Ship, WRS, Let It Grow, China Doll
II: Playin', US Blues, Big River, Stella, Around, Eyes, Wharf Rat, Sugar Mags E: JBG

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Other Cornell Show

Today is the showiversary of the third and final show at Cornell's Barton Hall. By this time the leaked Betty Board of Cornell '77 was already making the rounds around DeadHead circles. Although the 5/8 anniversary wasn't quite the hippie holiday that it is now, DeadHeads had great respect for this fabled gig.
The Dead first returned to the scene of the crime almost exactly three years to the day on 5/7/80. They played a spirited show, one that was tapped to be used as part of Road Trips vol 3 no 4, but this show is fantastic representative of the bands tight jams in 1981. Download the SBD of the other Cornell show HERE and HERE.
"Your eyes tell more than you mean them too," Bobby sing and so does this first set. A long long crazy first set is set up by this "Stranger." The "Friend" that comes next features a extensive and enjoyable from Brent Mydland like the "Stranger." By now Brent had really found his niche in the band and was give encouragement to play those keys to his heart's desire. The "Althea" starts off slowly but gets up to speed thanks to Bobby's slide playing on the tune, which he segues into the blues number "CC Rider." The band grooves before the next two songs, like they are warming up their Bug before throwing it into gear. And it's a goo thing because they burn rubber through "Brown-Eyed Woman" and "Passenger." A beautiful "High Time" eases the mood before the double set closer of "Let It Grow" into "Don't Ease" closes out the set. I'm a big fan of 1976 "Let It Grow," with the drum solo in thee middle but this one is up there as one the best. Just a beautiful played version, real driving like it is coming down from the voice of god. 
Now I am willing to say that this is a better version of "Shakedown Street," then the "best one" that ended up on the "So Many Roads" box set. I'm not trying to take anything away from the Halloween '84 version but there is a lot of funk and wonderful entwining vocals on this "Shakedown." The reason it probably wasn't tapped because it segues into "Bertha." This is the first "Shakedown/Bertha" since 5/7/80, which was the last time at Barton Hall. An excellent "Sailor/Saint" provides the slipper slope as the band plays the first of two jams in the set, "Spanish Jam." This is the second "Spanish jam" since 1976. "Truckin'" bounces out of "Space," and leads the band to the second "Nobody's Fault jam" since 1979. Slowly and smoothly they moved into a moving "Stella Blue." Jerry gives it his all but then steps up a notch as he shreds the solo at the end of the song. Twinkling the notes and the band moves the tempo and it briefly sounds like it might go into "Sugar Mags," but instead rocks into "Going Down the Road." Jerry is on fire as he kicks his guitar into overdrive for "Going where the climate suits my cloths." The instrumental code turns into the set closer of "One More Saturday Night." With the "Uncle John's" encore, Barton Hall has done it again. Three spectacular shows played inside its walls "built of cannonballs."
I: Stranger, FOTD, Uncle, Big River, Althea, CC Rider, BE Woman, Passenger, High Time, Let It Grow, Don't Ease
II: Shakedown, Bertha, Lost Sailor, Saint, Spanish Jam, Drums, Space, Truckin', Nobody Jam, Stella Blue, GDTRFB, OMSN E: Uncle John's

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Rock Your Baby To And Fro

Today in Grateful Dead history there are many shows that I could if I want choose from. There is the famous Low Library Plaza gig from Columbia, where the band snuck on to the campus to play a protest rally only to realize that they didn't really care about it. A great Winterland show from 1969 was played on this date with a fantastic "Dark Star." They also played a mammoth "Other One" in Paris in '72, a show which is part of the Europe '72 box set. They played gigs in 1970, 1979 (the day before the recent Record Day release), 1986, 1987 and 1991 on this date, but today I'm gonna focus on the show from 1977. Why? Because this is my birth show. Not my birthday show but my actual birth show. I was born in Port Chester in the middle of this show. I like to think it was around the "Row Jimmy," since my name is James, but it was most like around "The Music Never Stopped." Apropo for me who always has to have something in the stereo, according to my wife. 
Tie-dye American Beauty Grateful Dead birthday cake, thank you. You know me too well!
I remember when I got my first copy of Deadbase, Number IX. The first thing that I did was riffle through the pages to find out if they played on the day I was born. I got to the show, I put a big star next to the show in red pen. It was always one of the shows that I would inquire about when in a tape trade. Never did I find it. Everyone seemed to have 5/4/77, which is a very fine show, but I always came up empty on my show. One night at a friend apartment in Tribeca, my friend mentioned that he could get me any show I wanted. This was the first date that I threw out at him, and he said come back tomorrow. The next day at work I got a call, "Hey you wanted 5/4/77 right?" NOOO. He found the right show and burned it to disc for me. The second set never came out of the car for the next year.
This isn't the longest "Sugaree" of 1977 but it might be the most intense. Jerry plays these spinning high pitch notes on a continuos repetition, which makes it extreme gratifying. Then there are three Jerry songs in a row, "Friend," "Eyes," and then "Wharf Rat." The "Eyes of the World" is on my charts as one of my favorite versions of the song. Then "Wharf Rat" that precedes it, like on Dick's Picks 3, has that long intro where Jerry goes off playing scales as that band watches on. Until the band drops into "Wharf Rat" as the audience goes nuts. It was mesmerizing for me. Then the "Not Fade" simply crushes it.
One of the great tragedies of my life is the fact that there is no complete Soundboard of this show in circulation. Only the "Promised" to "Ship of Fools" is in circulation. So download the best Aud HERE.
I once told someone at a festival that my parents were at this show. I fancied myself a writer, so I would sometimes practice by making up the occasional story. I told them that I was named James because my mom's water broke during "Row Jimmy." Since my dad didn't like the name Jimmy, I always went by James. Then I told him if it was a song earlier than I would have been named "Jack" for the first "Jack Straw" since 10/20/74. I also included that it would have been much more embarrassing if I was name "Bertha," "Peggy," or "Sugaree." 
I: Promised Land, Bertha, Uncle, Peggy-O, Jack Straw, Row Jimmy, Lazy Lightning, Supplication, Deal, Good Lovin', Ship of Fools, Music
II: Might as Well, Estimated, Sugaree, Samson, Friend, Eyes, Wharf Rat, Drums, NFA, Around 
E: Uncle John's