|Phil, Central Park 5/4/68|
I was fortunate to hear the 9/21/68 recording of them jamming on the Clementine vamp, with guitarist Vic Briggs (of the Animals) sharing lead with Garcia while David Crosby comps the rhythm (an interesting story: see here). It’s very cool indeed, although too short to really make a deep impression -- and it's also telling that, almost a week after that 9/12 rehearsal session, they were grooving away just on the basic vamp without Lesh's challenging arrangement. For my money, the version to get lost in is the 8/13/68 studio jam that was released only on the Aoxomoxoa expanded cd (ergo not at archive.org, but it's on youtube for now). It’s still just that vamp, nearly 11 minutes of prime float time, and not as fiery or driven as the Dead’s usual ’68 fare, making it more akin (imho of course) to the jazz-rock driftings of Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield and very much in thrall to My Favorite Things-era Coltrane — delicious stuff for this late summer afternoon while I think pensively about the coming fall.