Another quickie: I like this show a lot and come back it to fairly regularly, if not all that often. Again, trying to avoid a big project (I caught myself about to make a Paul Humphrey Top 10, for goodness sake), so just a few things:
- Paul Humphrey on the drums. Good gracious me. I am a big fan of Paul Humphrey. The JGMF/Lost Live Dead axis has pinned down the specifics of his tenure with Garcia (I still contend that he is absolutely not on Pure Jerry 9/1/74 despite being credited), but my guess is that most deadheads unfortunately still associated him only with Lawrence Welk. He did do some time on the Lawrence Welk show (everyone's gotta make a living), but he was also a session man par excellence and is one of the great funk drummers of his era: Exhibit A. Dunno the circumstances of how exactly he was hired for Garcia/Saunders -- I believe it was Saunders who brought him in, and I presume it was for the sake of their east coast tour -- but he laid it down real funky for about seven weeks and then went on his way. There is a lot of really, really great music in those seven weeks.
- The sbd tape is decent, but not outstanding quality. The drums seems to be mixed a bit loud, and I believe that the very fizzy/phasey sound of the cymbals indicates too much noise reduction? At any rate, it's still Paul Humphrey on drums.
- John Kahn also sounds like he is in particularly good form tonight. Go John!
- Interesting to see Osiris as one of the opening bands (good luck googling for info about a band called "Promised Land" in any way connected with Garcia). Thanks to Corry, we know that Osiris happened to feature Pigpen's little brother Kevin McKernan on vocals, and that Garcia had taken a paternal interest in helping them with gear and exposure. Lots of info here (and much more in the comments).
- The music! Oh, the music. Humphrey only had a couple of gigs under his belt at this point, and, while he never overplays, he was definitely a busy drummer. To be honest, it didn't always work 100% of the time, but it sure works to everyone's advantage tonight: The Harder They Come, to my ears, didn't really find it's groove until later in Garcia's solo career, and the tempo here is a little sluggish at first, but jeez, Humphrey is killing it under those solos. Expressway also feels a little leaden to me, but then watch out: everything after that is plenty fired up. The groove in You Can Leave Your Hat On is borderline obscene; some serious voodoo soul stew happening in here. Freedom Jazz Dance is outrageous. Humphrey does get a little slap-happy towards the end of the set (the tape sound and the mix, to be fair, is doing him no favors), but the energy is way up there and it sounds like everyone is having a ball. Tight and loose in all the right ways.