Monday, June 1, 2020

5/15/75: the soles of my feet / I swear they're burning

Rick Griffin's proposed but unused LOM logo; courtesy WorthPoint

JGMF recently revisited the 5/21-22/75 Keystone tapes, which I had earmarked as some of the best Legion of Mary shows.  But, like him, a cursory relisten left me a little underwhelmed, in spite of the fantastic quality of the recordings.  So I dug into another old favorite, 5/15/75 at the Great American Music Hall, and was happy to hear that it still held up as a contender for some of the best of LOM.  The aud tape isn't as special as those Keystone recordings, but it's still a very solid pull by Bob Menke and Louis Falanga, "upfront but not onstage."  The sound is muddier, but also features the full band in a more natural balance, with Kahn's bass cutting through quite nicely in particular.

Garcia seems a little more fired up than usual.  I have had the sense while listening to 74-75 era Garcia/Saunders/LOM that Garcia occasionally sounds like he was -- well, I don't want to say along for the ride, but perhaps not quite as committed as Fierro or Saunders.  But that is not the case tonight.  When I Die and Every Word You Say are strong but unremarkable warm-up numbers, and the first song that really finds a groove is I Feel Like Dynamite.  Even though Garcia seems to fudge the bridge more often than not, and there's a bit of trainwreck at the end, the energy during his solo (nice climax!) is sizzlin' and the groove is undeniable.  This Wicked Messenger is a rightfully well-known version and is off the charts: this sounds like it was a beast to sing, but the slowed-down arrangement with that monstrous never-ending riff lets Garcia get really down 'n dirty, and his relentless playing here is as nasty as it gets.  Day By Day, from the musical/movie Godspell (and a charting single in 1972) is quite a change in mood; this must be from the Aunt Monk songbook, and Garcia doesn't sound super confident on it (this is the first of three known LOM performances).  It's got a vibe, but to be honest, I am not sorry they didn't develop this one much further.  But it's back to the bakery for a killer Mystery Train, with Tutt effortlessly nailing down the groove and everyone else in fine style -- they bring the dynamics way down for Garcia's last solo chorus, which is a nice touch.

The second set delivers the goods from top to bottom.  I'll Take a Melody is as good as any of these early versions, and You Can Leave Your Hat On cooks up a voodoo soul stew of the highest order; Saunders and Kahn are stirring up something outrageous under Garcia's solo.  I love this one!  Freddie Hubbard's Little Sunflower gets its first of six known LOM airings (it's also on the Aunt Monk w/Garcia 5/9/75 show as well) and Garcia soars on this one, sounding way more on top of things, and gobbles up his two solos.  Neighbor Neighbor is pumping, and Boogie on Reggae Woman ends the set with Saunders and Fierro showing some signs of a long night's work -- but not Garcia, who still sounds rarin' to go.

So: a top-notch Legion of Mary show.  Melody and Wicked Messenger were released on the patchwork Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 1: Legion of Mary set, but the whole show (or 5 reels of it anyway) were part of the "third batch" of Bettyboards returned to the vaults, and I would humbly submit this one to the powers-that-be as a good candidate for a full release.

Interesting side note: after this show (a Thursday) the band spent an unusual out-of-town weekend in St. Louis, MO (Friday) and Austin, TX (Saturday-Sunday)... of which no tapes are known to exist.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

11/23/86: I know all the words

photographer unknown; I got these from thejerrysite (RIP)

I am doing some spring e-cleaning and found old listening notes for 11/23/86, the "Log Cabin Boys" show that beget the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band -- it's more just a transcription of whatever conversation I could make out.  Calling it a "show" is a stretch: David Nelson and Sandy Rothman had been playing some music with Garcia as he was in recovery from his coma, and they wound up playing together at the Dead organization's Thanksgiving party (the Sunday before Thanksgiving, actually).  The Dead hadn't played publicly yet, but Garcia had a couple of JGB and Garcia/Kahn gigs under his belt at this point (including a big Halloween show at the Kaiser) and had played a few songs with Weir and Hart at a benefit the night before this (video here).  In 2012, Rothman and Nelson talked about it:
DN: By November, Jerry was getting out and doing stuff again. When it came time for the annual Grateful Dead Thanksgiving party, it was decided to have it at the Log Cabin in San Anselmo, CA. It’s an American Legion hall kind of place, but really nice – designed like a log cabin. And the three of us were the “Log Cabin Boys” for the night.

SR: We were all just sitting around a table with all the other families and people milling around in typical party fashion. Everybody was doing what they were doing and occasionally listening to us. I guess we were providing ambient music in the room, but it wasn’t like a performance – just a lot of fun.

DN: Before the party, Sandy and I were saying to each other, “Jeez – Jerry’s just been to the ends of the universe and back; what’s he going to remember about those old tunes?” So the two of us tried to put our heads together: “Let’s try that song,” and, “I think I remember how that one goes.” By the end of the evening, we realized that Jerry remembered more of the words than we did! But that was the way Jerry always was: listen once; play it.
I pull this recording out maybe once a year and always get sucked into it: if you've never given it a close listen, it's about as fly-on-the-wall as you can possibly get, listening to Garcia sitting in a corner at a party, picking tunes, and shooting the shit.  The performances are all fine, but assessing them is missing the point: they're not really even performances, anyway.  It's amazing that someone even taped it (big thanks to Steve Marcus), but unlike the Garcia/Grisman/Tony Rice "Pizza Tapes" session, there's no audible sense of occasion here, and if Nelson or Rothman had any bigger ideas about the event, they keep it cool.  One big question I do have is about the note in the text file that Dan Healy adds guitar and vocals but "does not play on the last 4 or 5 songs" -- I wonder if it's the other way around (that he shows up for the last 4-5 songs).  He's right there in one of the pictures with a guitar in hand, but I don't hear a trace of him playing at all, and only a snatch of his voice (in conversation, not music) near the end.

Otherwise, I have no comments on the music itself, other than to say that this is a delightful and priceless document of a pivotal moment in Garcia's latter day history.  There are some key pull quotes here, too, if that's your thing (I've put the really good stuff in bold).  Anyway:

d1t01.  The first thing you can hear is Jerry warming up and crowing:
JG: Fuck! So rusty, man!  My fingers, they don't know each other any more.
DN: Let's try a few and then we get in tune as we go.  That's the best way to get in tune, right?
JG: Good idea.  Let's start with something simple, Dave, and then we'll move onto something a little more difficult.
DN: OK, how about
Freight Train Boogie?
And off they go.  Nelson sings lead.

They tune and chat for about 5 1/2 min - joking around about tuning up
@5:18-5:25: a really little kid is calling "Garcia!"
DN is taking a while to get in tune, prompting some wisecracks.
JG: Nelson, you're all fucked up!  
DN: Not yet, not yet.  Wait a sec, then I'll be all fucked up.
More joking around about tuning.  DN tells a story that Don Reno told him about one of Bill Monroe's bass players who would never tune.  Nelson tells a lot of stories over the course of this musical hang.

DN plays Rosalie McFall melody @9:27
JG: Ahh, great song, man. 
SR(?): Me too, that's one of my all time favorites. 
DN: Anybody know the words? 
JG: Sure I know all the words.
SR: You still know 'em? 
JG: I know all the words.  Play that sucker.


d1t02. Rosalie McFall
SR: [asks Jerry something inaudible]
Jerry: No, uh, that's "Little Glass of Wine."  That's also E or D.


d1t03. Little Glass of Wine - they just dive right in!  sweet.
JG: I love that song, I love that friggin' song. 
DN: yeah. 
JG: It's one of the world's greatest tunes. 
DN: It really is, one of the world's greatest tunes.

[they talk about some additional verses, tune some more, inaudible chatter.]
JG: --sing some more tunes if I can remember the words.  I love to sing bluegrass music.  Seems like the only chance to do it (?).  Oh, do "Drifting Too Far from the Shore"?

d1t04. Drifting Too Far From the Shore
They start, then stop to futz with the harmony arrangement, then do it for real.
JG: It's too bad one of us isn't a real tenor.
Someone hollers for "Wild Horses."
JG: I don't know if anybody here knows it.  I don't know the verses.  Pete Rowan knows them.  That's a great song, though.

dt05. Devil in Disguise - DN sings lead.
JG: Who's tune is that? 
DN: Graham Parsons.  I always liked that tune, one of the Burritos' first tunes from when the Burrito Bros first came out.

[inaudible talk about Parsons]
JG: --that motherfucker, boy, hearts would stop in the audience. It was beautiful.
[more talk about Parsons].

d1t06. Two Little Boys
JG: Yeah, that's a great little song. 
DN: Yeah.  Civil War song.
JG: [sings] "Can't you see, Jack, I'm all a-tremble."  That's a great verse.
party-goer: Ah, you guys, give it up! 
JG: Hey, dice(?) buddy! Who asked you?

DN calls Cold Jordan.  They pick a key and work out the harmonies. 

d1t07. Cold Jordan
JG: I love that, that's my favorite.  We need a quartet, not a trio.  We need a bass singer.  That's for Willie Legate.  [inaudible, laughing]
The same party-goer who heckled them before (is that Willie Legate?) comes and talks about the lyrics with them > long semi-audible conversation about Catholicism, Latin mass, other stuff.  Jerry mentions reading in the National Enquirer that Canadians are the dullest white people in the world?  I have no idea.

d1t08. On and On
JG: Boy, it's fun to sing bluegrass.   
DN: Bill Monroe.  Nothing like a good ol' Monroe song.
@3:32 JG: I'm gonna get me a drink, you guys want something to drink?  Just something wet? 

Jerry tells someone they're taking a break and will play more.  In the text file for the circulating fileset, this is noted as a "setbreak," but it's no longer than a lot of the other breaks between songs. 
Jerry comes back. 
JG: What do you wanna bet we could burn out everybody in this place?  No, they're gonna throw us out! 
Chatting about their beers seems to inspire the next tune.  They pick a key.

d1t09. Drink Up and Go Home
JG: I just love that song.  One of my favorite bar songs.  [they joke around about the "blind man" line].
SR suggests Mystery Train.  They talk about it - inaudible, but they're talking about some particular version.  tuning.

d1t10.
JG: It's like Six White Horses.  -> they ease into Mystery Train
JG sings the verses, DN sings a verse from Six White Horses, JG ends with Mystery Train
JG: That's got a lot of good verses, but I don't remember 'em.
DN: Funny thing about that one is that the bluegrass verses are the same, they're pretty much the same. 
JG: It's all part of that same one song.  That blues song.
DG: Who was it, Clyde Moody? 
SR: I get the verses mixed up with Folsom Prison Blues.
JG: It's the same trip. [...]
DG: Elvis got it from-
JG: He got it from Big Boy Crudup. 
DG: Yeah, and the same words, the very same words come from the bluegrass guy who sang with Bill Monroe, Clyde Moody.  And it's the same thing: the train I ride, sixteen coaches long... 

-> semi-inaudible story that DN tells about a dream he had about Bill Monroe.  JG talks about seeing Bill Monroe on television.
More chatter and tuning for Life's Railway to Heaven: JG is talking about someone and how much he likes his singing and new album(?), they crack some jokes about Marlon Brando, then Jerry talks about what a good singer Robert Duvall is.
DN: I don't really know all the words to Life's Railway to Heaven.
JG: We'll blunder it.


d1t11. Life's Railway to Heaven
JG: I don't know the melody of that, really.DN tells the story of how he learned Diamond Joe - hard to make out

d1t12. Diamond Joe
JG: Great song.
DN: Yeah, great song.  I love that song.
SR: It just comes out.

Jerry mentions that the New Lost City Ramblers played it.
DN: Let's do, uh--
JG: Remember that, oh jeez, I don't remember that at all.
SR: What were you going to say?
JG: I was thinking of, um, oops.


d1t13. banter
SR suggests a "A Little at a Time" and sings a bit of it.
JG: I remember that, it's cool ... Remember that Buzz Busby tune "Gone, Gone, Gone?" [sings] ...it's just an amazing tune.
SR: Not "Lost"?
JG: Yeah, "Lost."
SR: Oof, that's like as far into it as you can get. 
JG: [sings] "Lost in a world without you."  It's a great fucking song.  Great record, amazing record.  The solo on that is so soulful, it's so great.  Really, one-of-a-kinder. They don't get no better than that. 
SR: Or deeper.  
JG: Yeah, or deeper.

[more talk about Buzz Busby and then someone else]
JG: They're so many great songs, I wish I knew some of 'em. 
They chat about "A Voice From On High."  Jerry's trying to remember another song.
JG: We used to do it, too, as a quartet, you, me, and Weir, and Marmaduke. 
DN: Yeah, Voice From on High and, uh, let's see.
JG: The other ones we did, besides Jordan. 
DN: Yeah, it wasn't "Find Me Lifted Up."
JG: "Find Me Lifted Up" is a nice one, but it's that other one -- Swing Low Sweet Chariot.


d2t01.  Swing Low Sweet Chariot
They talk about other verses and keys. 
David tunes more.  Then not much chatter here.
DN: How about that one, that Willie(?) song.

d2t02.  Drifting with the Tide - DN sings lead. 
JG: That's a really good song.
DN: I love that song.
SR: This one?  You can do it. 
JG: Real high but we can do it. 
SR: Low and loathsome. 
JG: (laughs) Low and loathsome.  That's a great name for a band.  (they all crack up). 
DN: The low loathsome sound.

JG: Well shit, we oughta get together and play some bluegrass sometime. 
DN: I'd love to do that.
SR: Me too. 
DN: I'd find some other guys to--
JG: --sure, that'd be fun.
DN: Yes. I've finally gotten down to learning the words and everything to a bunch of songs.
JG: [sarcastic] I can do that too, Nelson (laughs). 
DN: I used to avoid it like the plague, y'know. 
JG: It's really easy to learn words, shit, I've been learning like pages and reams of words for years, I'm not real good at it.  Bluegrass tunes only have 3 or 4 verses. 

DN: Yeah.  I'm starting to think of pneumonic devices.
JG: I mean, I've just started to understand singing too.  It's like one of those things, if it gets to you late, y'know what I mean.  Singing's one of those things that'll really flash on you [inaudible]

[lots more chatter about learning songs and singing - hard to make out and transcribe]
It's one of those things, you flash on it and all of a sudden it's like Oh Man ... hearing your voice in that context where it sounds good, the room sounds good, the accompaniment sounds good ... it's really a special thing, I mean, the power of the voice... 
[Healy?]  The rooms where voices work make it really easy to do that.
[Nelson starts talking about playing here before?]
JG: We've got to get together and work some bluegrass out ... I would love it.  I love the music, and I hate being rusty.  And it don't take too long, y'know, just one of those things that a couple of times a week [?] and you just have it.  We'd get it, we have enough experience and shit.  ... The whole thing is working up a book, that's the cool thing about bluegrass is-
DN: There's always some version way back there in your head. 
JG: It's amazing, when you get back there, it's like [inaudible] like Little Glass of Wine,  hey it's been like 12 years since I've even thought of that song ... and a lot of them are like that, like imprints.

[inaudible].

Healy (I thinnk?) starts telling a story about a room he plays in, but then it sounds like a woman physically bumps into Jerry and offers him something.
JG: Aw no, you're gonna make me smoke it?
woman: You don't have to.
JG: Yeah, I'd just as soon save it, okay?  You can set my nose on fire.
woman: No, I--
JG: Thanks, actually not.  All right, this is enough.  (laughs)

//tape cuts here.


Hmm.  At the risk of editorializing, this seems like there's a lot you can read into this little exchange.  The burden of being Jerry and all that.



d2t03.  Angel Band - Rothman lead vocals
JG: Yes boys.  That's a great song.
SR: (singing) "oh the cry from the cross"  [sounds of approval]  Nobody knows that.
JG: I know, that's another great song [sings some of it]
SR: Do you know any words to that?
JG: I think I might.
SR: Really? I can follow, I don't know 'em.


d2t04.  The Cry from the Cross
They give the words a shot, then pick a key. Jerry sings lead, they stop and change keys and try again.
JG: That's a great song!  What's that other song, that Stanley Brothers gospel song... 
DN: Yeah, same record, [inaudible]
SR: That's a great song, too.  
DN: It's got Orange Blossom Special on it, and it's got Voice From On High.
  [the record he's talking about, fwiw, is Country Pickin' and Singin' from 1958]
JG: Voice From On High.

d2t05.  A Voice From On High
Nelson sings lead
JG: That's a great freakin' song!  Those inversions are a bitch.  Oh shit!  How did they do it all those years?  [sings some of it again].
SR starts playing a mandolin run,
DN: Yeah, play that one.

d2t06.  Shady Grove/In Despair
This is the fast bluegrass version, not the same as Garcia/Grisman's.
Nelson & Garcia swap verses, then forget the words.  SR sings "In Despair" lyrics instead. 
and they segue right into

d2t07.  Love Please Come Home
JG sings first verse, SR sings second, it's too high for DN.
applause after this (for this first time). 
DN: Why thank you everybody. [all laugh]
[DN & SR talk about some tune that Jerry can't remember.]

JG: Hey, I gotta take the gang home ... 
girl: Jerry, I was telling them you were gonna teach me how to play right now.
JG: [laughs] Oh sure, you got five minutes? I'll teach you everything I know.


And the tape ends a few seconds after that.  Time to go sleep off those post-turkey blues!


Sunday, April 12, 2020

10/29/73: contrasting modes and keys

10/27/73, dead.net

I had a fine time revisiting 10/29/73 at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, MO this past week.  An investigation into what exactly was going on in a particularly thrilling passage in the Other One exhausted my limited resources, and I had to call in reinforcements.

"Energetic" is always relative when it comes to certain eras of the Dead, but this first set feels a little more energetic than was typical for this period.  A Cold Rain & Snow opener is always a plus, and the whole initial run of songs feels to me like it has that extra something.  Don't Ease Me In, of all things, feels like the moment when the sparks catch.  Garcia is crackling on Mexicali, and Keith Godchaux sounds divine on Rhodes in Black-Throated Wind and on Steinway in The Race Is On.  The corker is a unusually placed Eyes of the World in the end-of-first-set-jam spot where Weather Report Suite or Playin' usually sat.  It's taken at a brisker tempo than most, and they hit it with a full tank of gas, taking every tight turn with precision.

The second set begins with a less remarkable stretch of music, though heads up for a white-hot Greatest Story and a spot-on Brokedown Palace before the main event.  Truckin' glides along with hints of the Other One, but they turn a corner around 8:30 and lands in a spacious "here comes Dark Star" kind of zone.  But then both Garcia and Weir take a break, leaving the rhythm section to explore for a bit.  Rather than one of those noodly Phil solos, however, the bass, piano, and drums explore a musically jazzy space for a few minutes, and when the guitarists return, the vibe is strong enough that they keep going in this direction for a little while longer.  I find this to be totally divine, psychedelic in the gentlest kind of way.  Kreutzmann solos, and then the Other One itself sticks pretty close to its usual path at first and drops immediately into a long atonal Space after the verse that takes it time building up to the Tiger-ish peak. 

Then the second really interesting thing happens.  At around 15 minutes, Garcia seems to push everyone back into the Other One a little forcefully, but Godchaux decides to assert himself as well.  [Warning: music theory as described by an untrained musician ahead].  Garcia pulls them back into the Other One theme, zipping around (as he typically does) in the Dorian mode.  More or less, of course.  What's unusual here is that Godchaux decides to do something else: rather than follow and complement what Garcia is doing (i.e. playing pretty typical Other One stuff), Godchaux pushes in a different direction, playing in a very different mode.  What does that mean if you're not a musicologist?  It means that Godchaux is playing quite a bit that is further away from the usual Other One stuff that Garcia is playing, sounding a lot more "major," and although what they're doing is different enough to sound unusual, it's not so different that it sounds "wrong."  There certainly are other jams where Godchaux is at forefront, but I cannot think of another one where he is asserting his own contrasting harmonic ideas as strongly as he is here.  And it's not a fleeting moment: they keep this tension going for almost six minutes, until they finally get back in the same lane for the second verse. 

If you're an actual musician and are slapping your forehead at me, here's how my pal John explained it to me [Warning: music theory as described by an actual trained musician ahead]:
me: Talk to me about what Keith is playing relative to the key/mode Jerry is in.
JT: Major, then Phyrgian.  But Jerry’s in dorian.  It’s bi-modal at least, sometimes bi-tonal, but mainly in E.  At times Jerry was in E dorian, and Keith (et al.) were in E Ionian (major).
me: They’re playing in separate modes, but mainly in the same key?
JT: I’d say that’s fairly common that they did the bi-modal thing (combining both thirds and/or sevenths, for example, happened all the time and gives you Mixolydian and Dorian) ...but that this is an extremely outlier example; I can’t recall them playing in such widely contrasting modes before, and/or duking it out between them for so long.

And then John was nice enough to expand further:
For me, the most interesting harmonic stuff is in the first minute. At around 15:00, we emerge from the atonal space into an implied E Dorian (Jerry, playing TOO theme), but this conflicts with the E Ionian/Mixolydian and then Phrygian that Keith layers in. Jerry sounds like he jumps into Phrygian pretty quickly (15:20), and he remains there ca. 15:37 while Keith has shifted to A Ionian/Mixolydian. Phil goes there too, so for a while the band is in A while Jerry’s crunching along in a contrasting mode and key. At ca. 16:04, Keith begins planning (basically moving step-wise up or down; Debussy does this a lot in his piano music, and the technique was adopted by later pianists (I’m thinking of like My Favorite Things-era Tyner [hey now]) who wrote in fourths and who obscured conventional key centers). This recalls Phrygian and leads us by 16:10 to (what sounds like) Keith playing mostly in G and Jerry in E Aeolian/natural minor. By 16:30, everyone has recoalesced around E dorian and we have some “standard” TOO-type playing for a minute+.

By 18:02, Jerry’s playing a pedal point high E while Keith et al. seem to be in A below him. It’s just pretty.

One take away I had hearing this again: Jerry really remains locked into E Dorian then Phrygian then Dorian; even while the others are altering the modes and key centers around/under him, he doesn’t venture too far harmonically from where we end up landing on when the more conventional TOO-type jamming resumes

Or, if now you're just scratching your head, just take Dick Latvala's word for it:
On 10/29/73, there is a pretty long jam that is concerned with The Other One... the playing is spectacular.  The jam from the 10/29 show has simply outstanding jamming around the songs and the songs themselves are examples of the 'best versions' category, especially The Other One..."

Monday, March 30, 2020

2/14/75: as sweet as a love note

Aunt Monk, 1975, courtesy bay-area-bands.com

No deep dive here, but I wanted to see how this next show compared with the previous ones: this is one of two circulating Aunt Monk gigs with Garcia sitting in.  Even though it's fully Merl's gig, Garcia is as prominent as he is on Garcia/Saunders shows, right down to the same typical order of solos (Fierro, Garcia, Saunders, and usually Garcia again).  JGMF has some context re: Aunt Monk in his post on the other circulating Generosity show.

In the interest of relative brevity:
  • This is a lovely quality aud by Robert Castelli.  I am eternally grateful for his work here.  It's a little muffled, comparatively speaker, but with no crowd interference and excellent clarity, and I quite like the feel of it.  There's a nice moment of color when, just as the music is beginning, a female right next to him says, "just keep it low!" (the mics? the bowl?) and laughs.
  • The Generosity was... a bar?  I am not finding any info.  But it was probably tiny.  There are no vocals, so maybe there wasn't even a PA system, and Merl only plays electric piano here, taking up far less space than a full Hammond B3 + Leslie.
  • This show is on par with the Jan 75 Keystone shows in terms of quality, though I personally prefer what Gaylord Birch brought to the mix at those shows.  But ye gods, they just bite down hard on just about everything here.  Merl's rarely played (as far as we know) original A Little Bit of Righteousness gets a high spirited run-through with the rhythm section lifting them all a few feet off the ground.
  • Pennies From Heaven again!  The drummer, Bob Stellar, gives this more a straight-down-the-middle beat like a 6/8 R&B ballad.  Garcia is all over it and sounds more comfortable here than on 1/21/75, imho.  Incredible.
  • When I Die also has a different feel than the Jan 75 versions, again largely due to Stellar at first.  But both Garcia and Saunders sound noticeably edgier in their attack here, and they're really both going off by the end of this.  Wow!  
  • The most magical moment of the set, to my ears, is the verrry extended treatment of People Make the World Go Round, which Garcia/Saunders played only as a shorter instrumental without any solos, more like a kind of coda to another instrumental.  This one goes for 21 1/2 minutes, and the playing is the most interactive and "jammy" of the night.  There are still solos, but they seem to blend into each other more freely and there's a lot more interplay between Garcia, Fierro, and Saunders than in most other songs.  You'll have to hear it to believe it.
  • Stevie Wonder's Creepin' sounds like it might be a new number for them (it's not an easy tune!), but Garcia does not sound like the weakest link.  He eats it up, and iirc this is better than any of the few later Legion of Mary versions.
  • This show was Merl's 41st birthday.  Garcia was 32 and Fierro had just turned 33.

Simply amazing that this happened, that it sounds so goddamn good, and that we have a tape of it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Jan 21-22, 1975 - or, the case of "7/21-22/74"

Some years ago I came to the conclusion that the Garcia/Saunders tapes (er, filesets) labeled as 7/21/74 and 7/22/74 were mixed up and mislabeled -- it was pretty obvious that what circulates as 7/21/74 couldn't be from one show.  I did some close listening to where the tape cuts were and came up with a convincing reassembly of these fragments that made more sense.  I can't think of another way to reassemble these fragments that would work, so I just went ahead and reordered/retagged them and have been listening to my own modified version for a while, so I figured I would expand my usual listening notes with the full argument.  JGMF has covered the unlikeliness of the tapes really being from 7/21 & 7/22/74, and it seems far more likely that the real dates are 1/21 & 1/22/75 at the Keystone in Berkeley.  JGMF has also confirmed that the lineup on these nights was unusual: Tony Saunders on bass (all of 19 years old, I believe) and Gaylord Birch on drums, in addition to Martin Fierro, Merl Saunders, and Jerry Garcia. 

Tony Saunders, from the back cover collage on Merl's s/t 1974 album

The music on these tapes is phenomenal and, in a few instances, utterly unique, and I believe that the confused presentation of these filesets has caused this music to be overlooked by all but the most fervent Garcia fan (no knock on anyone who was part of the distribution chain of these tapes, of course).  Maybe you are someone who hasn't given them close attention for this very reason.  If that describes you, dear reader, then read on and listen anew and be wowed.

In the interest of saving the fine print until the end, I will dive into the music first and assume you're willing to buy my reasoning re: the dating and organizing of this music as closer to what was actually played. 

On a contextual note: it is established that,
  • Ron Tutt joined the band in December 1974, prompting the formal name change to Legion of Mary several months later.  Even after LOM was formalized as a band, there were still occasional local listings for "Garcia & Saunders" gigs.  This meant that Tutt was not present for whatever reason (more info; there was no Elvis conflict in Jan 1975, fwiw).
  • In 1974-75, Merl Saunders was performing concurrently with his own band, Aunt Monk, including Tony on bass and Martin Fierro on sax.  Garcia would occasionally show up at these shows as well, playing material both familiar and unfamiliar to him from the Garcia/Saunders repertoire (more info).
  • Despite being two separate bands, there was the occasional overlapping of personnel between Garcia/Saunders and Saunders' own gigs.  One such overlap were three remarkable shows in June 1974 where Tony replaced John Kahn on bass, which I have covered here.  
  • The musicians and repertoire on these tapes in question seem to live right in the middle of the venn diagram of Garcia/Saunders and Aunt Monk.


 courtesy JGMF (surprise!)

 1/21/75


The Harder They Come - very fine, with an excellent groove and feel, especially compared with many 1974-75 performances that I often find more plodding.  Interestingly, it sounds like Fierro is playing his usual tenor with lots of wahwah during the song itself, but soloing on a higher-pitched horn (a soprano maybe?  I am sure it's him and not a guest, and you can hear him fiddling with his tenor again shortly after his solo is over).  After a high energy finish, Jerry announces the set break.

When I Die - the reel cuts in at the beginning.  This is funky!  and arguably one of the best of the versions that we have (at least until the next night!).  Merl & Tony play a cool little rhythmic figure that they keep up throughout most of the solos, and Birch absolutely nails this.  There's a snafu near the end when Merl finishes his solo and Garcia jumps back in, not hearing that Merl has transitioned back into the bridge of the song.  No harm done.  Afterwards, someone (either Tony or Birch?) laughs, "whoo! yeah, Jerry! what's up!"  Garcia noodles around a bit and someone asks,"wanna do it? you gonna do it?" which prompts:

Pennies From Heaven
- They shift gears into classic organ combo mode for Garcia to serenade this standard from the 30's that is probably associated with Louis Armstrong as much as anyone else, although Garcia's idol Django Reinhardt is among the many who also recorded it.  There are plenty of examples of Garcia hanging with Saunders on jazz material that was not his typical forte, but it's amazing to hear him taking the lead here in digging into a standard like this!  He's clearly having a blast, even if he's chewing the scenery just a bit.  Fierro solos next, then another quick chorus from Garcia, then Merl.  Just as his solo is ending, the reel cuts off and cuts back in as they go into the head of the song, with very little missing.  It sounds like folks are patting Garcia on the back when they're done: Merl says, "that's good!", someone else adds, "that's all right!"   Then Garcia suggests, "we could do Reggae Woman."

Boogie On Reggae Woman - Excellent again.  At this point, there were only a small number of performances of this on tape (it became a staple for LOM in 1975), but they are all on top of it tonight.  Check out after the last verse how they keep it going a little longer, verrry quietly.  Nice touch!

Some inaudible off-mic talk follows.  After Midnight and Mystery Train are mentioned.  Merl and Tony play with the beginning of Creepin' (Stevie Wonder), until Merl suggests, "why don't we just - you wanna do Wonderin'?  Wonderin' Why?"

Wonderin' Why - sounds wonderful, if not all that different from many other wonderful versions.  Then Garcia counts right into a stompin' How Sweet It Is.  This one is interrupted by another reel flip, missing a bigger chunk of music this time.  He says good night, and the crowd sounds particularly appreciative and vocal with their thanks.

Well then.  This was amazing.  Top drawer Garcia/Saunders, in outstanding Bettyboard sound.  What could be better?


1/22/75

After Midnight - this cuts in at the peak of Fierro's solo, so watch your eardrums.  But it's really hot!  High temperature stuff.  Afterwards - Jerry: "You wouldn't happen to have any matches, do you? ... but don't even worry, don't worry about it."   Then, a guy in the crowd: "Jerry, wanna hit man?"  Jerry: "Do I want a hit man?  No thank you, I just had one."  Merl calls the next tune.

When I Die - Betty's mix is a little hot, but so is the playing.  As hot the last version was, this one is even better and also a few minutes longer.  My goodness.  This time, rather than jump right into the bridge out of Merl's final solo, they opt to keep jamming loosely for a little bit before wrapping things up.  What a version!  C'mon, deadheads, you all need to hear this.

You Can Leave Your Hat On - this takes things down a notch, perhaps inevitably given how high energy the first two songs were.  But it ain't bad at all!  There's another small reel flip in this one.  Notice how during Merl's solo (after the flip), Garcia is messing around a bit with playing octaves a la Wes Montgomery, something that he did occasionally in early 75 and another clue as to the dating of this tape.  Afterwards, someone says "we can only do one more" and Garcia counts off

That's What Love Will Make You Do - Birch's beat here is distinctive from other 74-75 versions and this feels a little stiff at first, but they loosen up as the solos gain momentum.  Garcia's guitar volume drops @4:23, and I wonder if he blew a tube or something else, but he plays on without a hiccup.  Nice near miss @11:02 when he catches them by surprise by repeating the "when you speak of beauty" break, but whoa, they all nail it anyway!  Amazing.  "We're gonna take a break, we'll be back pretty soon."

Cucumber Slumber - the first of two tunes unique to this show.  The oft-repeated story behind Weather Report's Cucumber Slumber is that bassist Alphonso Johnson came up with its classic bassline in the studio and the tune was a spontaneous jam (although the album track is actually a second take made after some evident arrangement, including a melody played in unison by the sax and keyboards; lots of info here) .  The song moves back and forth between two distinct sections, one in Db7 (the band is playing this section as the album track fades in) and one in E7 (with Johnson's famous bassline), with a transition between the two.  Weather Report spends more time jamming in the Db7 section, although the E7 section is probably what everyone remembers about the song.  If you want a more technical explication, see Mark Frandsen's analysis in his dissertation on Weather Report's bass players (which helped me in clarifying this info).

Tony commented at etree, "that was a song we played with Aunt Monk and Jerry liked it so we played it together."  Their arrangement is looser and emphasizes the E7 section almost entirely, with Tony holding on to that bassline for all its worth.  Like Weather Report, they begin playing in Db7 briefly (it sounds maybe like Fierro is alluding to Weather Report's melody, though they never play it), but once they get into the E7 section, they stay there for a long time: both Fierro and Garcia solo, and when Merl's turn comes, he leads everyone into the Db7 section briefly (this is around 9:15) and then back into E7 for his extended solo, and then another turn for Garcia.  During Garcia's second solo, things get looser and the playing becomes more interactive and "jammy" (Tony abandons the bassline for a little while as well).  They shift back to the Db7 section in the final few minutes, and wrap it up by playing the transition figure at the end.  Wow!  Given that they're mostly jamming out on one chord, everyone has plenty of room to flex and they all sound comfortable digging in. 

The Harder They Come - a little looser in spots, but this is still great and like When I Die from this show, it sounds like they're pushing a bit further than the prior version.  Check out how they get real quiet at 12:16 for the end of Garcia's solo -- he's playing the melody and Martin creates a guitar-like effect by tapping the keys of his horn while working the wahwah, which leads right back into the vocals.  Very cool, and something I don't recalls ever hearing in THTC before.

What's Going On
- the second unique song.  I'm sure plenty of folks with gigs like Merl's were playing this tune in the early 70's; one way to approach it was to have everyone solo over the form of the entire song, like this version by organist Johnny Hammond Smith.  But Merl also must have heard Donny Hathaway's incredible live version which features both vocals and a keyboard solo over just the instrumental bridge of the song.  Notably, Hathaway also made a minor but pretty hip adjustment to this part by adding some additional changes (hear it in his solo).  Merl opts to have it both ways: Fierro plays the tune on flute, and then he, Garcia, and Merl take a turn soloing over the entire song form, which imho makes for some unavoidably long-winded solos.  Everything glides along well enough but a bit sloppily, with the tempo wavering and speeding up as it goes.  But after Merl's solo ends (at 16:20 into the song) he shifts gears and solos again, this time just over the instrumental bridge, like in Hathaway's version.  Everyone goes for another round of solos, but now it sounds like they're finally taking flight, since no one has to follow the contours of the actual song and can just dig in and blow.  The cut at the end is negligible, just a fraction of a second.  Wow!  Overall it's a little shaky, but is redeemed by the funkier second half.  And given what a unique performance this is, it's hard to be too critical. 

How Sweet It Is - another high-energy set closer, with no cut this time.  The last 50 seconds of dead air as they break down is a nice touch: "awright, Jerry, cut that shit out!"

I am out of superlatives.   Much like the June 74 shows with Tony, these performances are both unique and, despite a few looser-than-usual moments, feature some incredibly high caliber playing.  Mid 70's solo Jerry doesn't get much better than this, and if you haven't spent time getting up close and personal with these tapes, you really should.


THE RATIONALE

If you've made it this far, I am sure you cannot wait to hear how I came up with this order for the songs.  These are the digital filesets for these tapes as they circulate:

"7/21/74" = jg1974-07-21.jgms.93mins.sbd-Betty.117653.flac1644
"7/22/74" = jg1974-07-22.jgms.146mins.sbd-GMB.86198.flac1644

And if you split the filesets into reels, based on the tape breaks (the tape runs continuously between songs unless noted), you get this:

7/21/74 d1t01 [18:24] Harder They Come > "we're gonna take a break"
7/21/74 d1t02 [13:01] /When I Die
7/21/74 d1t03 [15:56] Pennies From Heaven//

7/21/74 d2t01 [12:32] /After Midnight
7/21/74 d2t02 [18:40] When I Die
7/21/74 d2t03 [11:32] You Can Leave Your Hat On//

7/21/74 d2t04 [3:18] //How Sweet It is > "see y'all later"

7/22/74 d1t01 [3:30] //"instrumental" (actually the ending of Pennies From Heaven)
7/22/74 d1t02 [22:34] Boogie On Reggae Woman
7/22/74 d1t03 [17:21] Wondering Why
7/22/74 d1t04 [5:06] How Sweet It Is//

7/22/74 d1t05 [6:16] //You Can Leave Your Hat On
7/22/74 t1t06 [13:07] That's What Love Will Make You Do > "we're gonna take a break"

7/22/74 d2t01 [21:27] /Cucumber Slumber
7/22/74 d2t02 [19:43] Harder They Come
7/22/74 d2t03 [26:26] What's Going On (tape cuts the last second)

7/22/74 d2t04 [10:32] How Sweet It Is > "thank you, we'll see you all later on."

Then rearrange the reels like this to make the pieces fit together.  I can't think of any other way to arrange the music that makes sense:

"reel #1"
7/21/74 d1t01 [18:24] Harder They Come > "we're gonna take a break"
7/21/74 d1t02 [13:01] /When I Die
7/21/74 d1t03 [15:56] Pennies From Heaven//

"reel #2"
7/22/74 d1t01 [3:30] //"instrumental" (actually the ending of Pennies From Heaven)
7/22/74 d1t02 [22:34] Boogie On Reggae Woman
7/22/74 d1t03 [17:21] Wondering Why
7/22/74 d1t04 [5:06] How Sweet It Is//

"reel #3"
7/21/74 d2t04 [3:18] //How Sweet It is > "see y'all later"

"reel #4"
1st set:
7/21/74 d2t01 [12:32] /After Midnight
7/21/74 d2t02 [18:40] When I Die
7/21/74 d2t03 [11:32] You Can Leave Your Hat On//

"reel #5"
7/22/74 d1t05 [6:16] //You Can Leave Your Hat On > "do one more" 
7/22/74 t1t06 [13:07] That's What Love Will Make You Do > "we're gonna take a break"

"reel #6"
7/22/74 d2t01 [21:27] /Cucumber Slumber
7/22/74 d2t02 [19:43] Harder They Come
7/22/74 d2t03 [26:26] What's Going On (tape cuts the last second)

"reel #7"
7/22/74 d2t04 [10:32] How Sweet It Is > "thank you, we'll see you all later on."


This means that the actual shows would look like this:

one show:
end of 1st set:Harder They Come (7/21) [18:24]
complete 2nd set:When I Die (7/21 d1t02) [13:01]
Pennies From Heaven (7/21 + 7/22) [15:56+3:30]
Boogie On Reggae Woman (7/22) [22:34]
Wondering Why (7/22) [17:21]
How Sweet It Is (7/22 + 7/21) [5:06 + ? + 3:18]


the other show (nearly complete?):
1st set:After Midnight (7/21) [12:32]
When I Die (7/21 d2t02) [18:40]
You Can Leave Your Hat On (7/21+7/22) [11:32+6:16]
That's What Love Will Make You Do (7/22) [13:07]
2nd set:Cucumber Slumber (7/22) [21:27]
Harder They Come (7/22) [19:43]
What's Going On (7/22) [26:26]
How Sweet It Is (7/22) [10:32]


I believe that the two sets from the latter show are from 1/22/75, because these versions of When I Die and The Harder They Come are better than the ones from the other show: both are played longer and with more apparent ease.  They are all more careful when ending When I Die, and THTC has some unusual interplay that seems more likely to have happened when they were more comfortable with the tune and each other.  I know that doesn't prove anything, but that's how I am choosing to label each show. 

Why 1/21 & 1/22/75?  It can't be 7/21-7/22/74, but the provenance of the tapes is pretty good and those dates had to come from somewhere.  I know that when I write 1's, they usually look like 7's [edit: JGMF sent a pic of the tape reel boxes and yup, Rex Jackson wrote 1/22/74].  And I am usually still writing last year's date when it's only three weeks into a new year.   The existence of G/S gigs on those dates plus some stylistic details all point in the same direction. 

edit: Just to make sure I am giving credit where it is due, the understanding that these tapes couldn't be from July 1974 is all JGMF's work and research.  I came to the Jan 75 theory on my own, although I know others have arrived at that same conclusion, likely all stemming from JGMF's blog.  The reel re-ordering was from my own listening.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

McCoy Tyner's Sound

courtesy Joe Alper

Before it gets too far away from me, I want to give a belated tip of the hat to the late McCoy Tyner, one of the architects of a sound that was key in the development of both jazz and improv-focused rock.  That would be John Coltrane's sound, of course, but what went frequently unremarked over the decades was just how much John Coltrane's sound was also really McCoy Tyner's sound: as Ben Ratliff puts it, "when you are thinking of Coltrane playing 'My Favorite Things' or 'A Love Supreme,' you may be thinking of the sound of Mr. Tyner almost as much as that of Coltrane’s saxophone."  If you are inclined to dig deeper, see David Graham in The Atlantic or pianist/blogger Ethan Iverson.

That means, then, that Tyner unintentionally laid the groundwork for all rock bands who took their cue to "rock out on two chords, Coltrane style" in Phil Lesh's words.  Early 60's Coltrane was a key source of that information for the Dead -- Light Into Ashes' post on this is a must read.  Bob Weir was explicit about the influence of Tyner on his own approach.  I am no musicologist, but the very general jist of what made Tyner's style so influential is that his approach to playing chords ("voicing" in musical terms) was done in a way that was ambiguous and "open" enough to sustain creativity (and attention) over long periods of repetition (i.e., the "two chords" of modal jazz, as opposed to the cycling chord progressions of jazz based on blues or pop music forms).  Part of what makes Weir such a non-traditional rhythm guitarist was his distinct voicings; not all of that came directly from Tyner, although Tyner was certainly who planted that seed.  But every other improvising rock band also owes a serious debt to McCoy Tyner.

On a smaller note, Tyner also wrote the mighty Sama Layuca, which was featured on his album of the same name in 1974, and was performed a handful of times by Garcia with Reconstruction.  3/31/79 or 4/17/79 or 8/10/79 are all fine versions that are worthy of your time and attention.  But you should go listen to some McCoy Tyner first.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

2/5/74: Martin and Martin?

A casual listen to Garcia & Saunders at the Great American Music Hall on 2/5/74, to double-check a comment about a mystery guest saxophonist, yielded (of course) a scad of observations that are not quite as coherently unified as I would like.  But such is the practice of observation, I guess.

2/5/74, courtesy gdsets

The recording of this show:

This show (and its neighbor, 2/9/74 at the Rheem Theatre in Moraga, CA) are unusual for being recorded a by taper, Ed Perlstein, who was able to connect his deck to a feed from the soundboard.  He got unplugged at the Rheem, but taped the full show on 2/5.  One drawback of a straight sbd feed is that it's not meant to be heard in isolation, i.e. at home (which is no fault of Mr. Perlstein's, of course): it's a mix for the room that is supplementing the sound coming from the band's gear onstage, so we get very prominent vocals, kickdrum, and saxophone, a little bit of everything else, and less electric guitar, since Garcia's amps tended to be really loud.  At times, his guitar is almost inaudible on this tape, which is not a point in its favor.  The 2/9/74 tape doesn't suffer from this as badly, but it was also a bigger venue (it held 1000; the GAMH held less than half that, see below).

The show itself:

is enjoyable, but not one for the ages.  To my ears, 1/17/74 at the Keystone is the one great performance from the first half of the year (which got better as it progressed: see the 6/4-6/6 shows, much of August, and Paul Humphrey's run in October-November).  2/5/74 sounds like it was a fun old night at the office for the band, who play nothing wildly inspired, but are in a nice, loose, happy groove.  I am pretty sure that Billy Kreutzmann is on drums, and he gives everything an ideal swing and pop -- it's always worth highlighting what a great drummer he is, even if he rarely stands out like Paul Humphrey or even Ron Tutt would have.  But check his work on Someday Baby, Roadrunner, It's Too Late: all meat 'n potatoes rhythm & blues, but Billy K puts 'em all right where they should be.  In terms of highlights from Garcia, though, there's not a lot that stands out to my ear.  Tunes that blossomed into more extended vehicles elsewhere are relatively restrained here: La-La, My Problems Got Problems, Wondering Why, Are You Lonely For Me, and so on.  My favorite "jam" here is My Funny Valentine, stretching past 20 minutes and worth every second.

Martin Fierro and the mystery saxophone:

Maybe it's my imagination, but Fierro seems to be given more of the spotlight early in the night: he gets the first solo on the first song, Someday Baby (nice touch to hear Garcia call out "Martin!"), and follows it with La-La, his own composition.  One big mystery of this show -- the reason, actually, that I revisited it -- is that a second saxophone is audible for almost the entire second set, starting at the end of The Harder They Come.  A few mystery trumpet players notwithstanding, I think there is only one other recording of a guest saxophonist from this period: 9/2/74, a baritone sax which might be Snookie Flowers.  What stands out about 2/5 is that this second saxophone doesn't take a single solo, as far as I can tell.  Nearly everything he(?) plays are simple unison lines with Fierro, with pretty close harmonies.  At no point does this second saxophone seem to do anything other than mirror what Fierro is doing: there are some very brief moments in My Funny Valentine and Are You Lonely For Me where the two horns are playing lines that are independent, but otherwise they are in lock-step with each other.  The only times that the second sax disappears is during Wondering Why -- where Fierro plays flute -- or when Fierro is taking a proper sax solo of his own (e.g. Think).

So, I wonder, is this actually a second horn player, or is it all Fierro?  It's not an electronic harmony effect (those exist now, but I don't know if they did in 1974, and Fierro doesn't seem to have used any electronic attachments until later that summer, anyway).  Could he have been playing two horns at once, a la Rahsaan Roland Kirk?  In jazz, that technique is associated almost exclusively with Kirk (who could do it with three), and although many surely dismissed it as a gimmick, it was nevertheless done.  To my knowledge, George Braith was Kirk's only contemporary who regularly used the technique on his recordings, but search Youtube for "two saxophones at once" to see more contemporary examples.  Here is Jeff Coffin (of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and the Dave Matthews Band) demonstrating how it's done (start at 4:30).

Granted, if this is the case, this would be the only Garcia/Saunders recording where he does this, which would also be pretty strange.  But is it as strange as a second saxophonist playing nearly perfect unison parts with Fierro all night -- but never taking a single solo break -- for just this one performance?  Nothing that both horns plays is in any way complex, mostly just little accompaniment riffs, but it seems far too tight to be just an off-the-cuff guest appearance, and I can't imagine that Fierro and another player would have rehearsed for this.  I can far more easily imagine Fierro playing two horns, then never doing it again after a single raised eyebrow from Garcia, or simply because it was a pain in the ass.

Any thoughts?

[edit: I posted more evidence in the comments.  I'm not going to re-edit this post, though, so see below if you're still not buying it]

Garcia at the Great American Music Hall:

courtesy gdsets; not much rock & roll!
The Keystone in Berkeley is rightfully considered Garcia's homebase in the 70's until the mid-80's, but he also played the Great American Music Hall a lot in 1974.  2/5/74 marks the beginning of a long stretch.  The economic implications of this are more in the JGMF/Lost Live Dead wheelhouse, but it nevertheless strikes me as interesting.  Do we know who was promoting these shows?  I am sure they were happy to fill all those weeknights (see below) with a money maker like Garcia.  The venue was only slightly larger -- 470 vs. 435 at the Keystone -- but the GAMH appears to have been a much classier joint: it also served food, and the decor was a considerable step up from the Keystone, not to mention that it also sported a pretty colorful history.  The club seemed to book the typically eclectic range of local Bay Area and national acts, but not much in the way of rock & roll.  A few major jazz artists recorded live albums there: Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Carla Bley, Betty Carter, and Carmen McRae, plus acoustic artists like Doc Watson and David Bromberg.  I am surprised that Old & In the Way never played there.

7/19/73 (Thurs) - the first circulating recording of G/S with Martin Fierro; Fierro said that he first played with Garcia at the Matrix with Howard Wales, but afaik no other evidence exists of that. [partial sbd tape]
2/5/74 (Tues) [sbd tape]
2/12/74 (Tues) [uncirculating Bettyboard, partial?]
3/2/74 (Sat)
3/10/74 (Sun) - David Grisman, Richard Greene & Vassar Clements, with Garcia as guest (no tape); see jgmf
5/2/74 (Thurs)
5/20/74 (Thurs) [uncirculating Bettyboard]
6/8/74 (Sat) [this one is in the setlist databases, but per jgmf: "I highly doubt a 6/8/74 gig with Merl. Dan Hicks and Mark Naftalin were billed at the GAMH."]
7/14/74 (Sun) - with Stephen Stills and Jack Cassady as guests - see jgmf
7/23/74 (Tues)
8/7/74 (Weds)
8/15/74 (Thurs) [aud tape]
8/24/74 (Sat) [sbd tape]
8/28/74 (Weds) [8 tunes released on the "9/1/74" Pure Jerry set; see jgmf]
10/6/74 (Sun) - with Jim Nelson, drums [partial sbd tape]
10/30/74 (Weds)
11/28/74 (Thurs) [sbd tape]
12/16/74 (Mon)
2/27,28/75 (Thurs, Fri) - the first time billed as the Legion of Mary? [2/28 partial sbd tape]
5/15/75 (Thurs) [aud tape]
6/18/75 (Fri) - billed as Garcia/Saunders, not Legion of Mary.  fwiw, I am confident that the tape circulating with this date is actually an aud of 7/4/75.
7/4,5/75 (Fri, Sat) [7/4 sbd tape] (ahem)
7/30/75 (Weds) - maybe? as per jgmf
8/13/75 (Weds) - aka the GD's One From the Vault; see Lost Live Dead
8/20,21/75 (Weds, Thurs) - advertised as the Jerry Garcia Band, actually Keith & Donna Band with Jerry as guest [8/20 partial sbd & aud tape]

unknown (blues?) band, courtesy GAMH via 7x7