Tag Archives: Music et al

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Getting the Dead

While this blog typically orbits around the Sun of the 60s, obviously there is much noteworthy beyond that famous decade centuries before and decades after.

Full disclosure:  in the beginning, I liked the Dead, but didn’t get the Dead. I bought  Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty.  All the songs seemed accessible.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Woodstock

My first opportunity to see the Dead was in 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. If Barton Hall 1977 is considered an apogee of live Dead, then many think of Woodstock as a nadir.

I could not tell you as I fell asleep for the Woodstock Dead. My excuse is that I’d gotten up around 6 AM Friday, went to my summer construction job, got home, drove to Monticello, slept a few hours in my friend’s car, hiked 8 miles, found no food, and simply fell asleep.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

East Rutherford

In 1991 the Dead were playing at Giant Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Our 15-year-old son wanted to go. So his 41-year-old parents went to their first Dead concert. Interesting and good, but no conversions.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Internet Archives

Around 2004, George, my brother-in-law and early-60s Deadhead aficionado, told me about the Internet Archive site: free legal downloads of live music. He’d gotten a lot of Dead from there.

By the way, as of May 2018, the Grateful Dead live recordings at the IA site have been viewed nearly 131 million times!

Anyway, free has always been an attractive word and I started to listen.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Epiphany

I finally got it. The Dead did albums contractually. The Dead did shows enthusiastically. The show was the thing. The whole show. And while there may be great songs within any one show, the way the Dead played with each song (not just played each song) was where the anticipation and wonder emanated from.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

In for a penny...

At first I selected shows based on comments and ratings by listeners. I learned the differences between AUD, SBD, BBD, and Matrix. I learned that certain audience tapers like Jerry Moore and Charlie Miller were considered gold and that the goddess Betty Cantor’s soundboard recordings were the best.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

1977

I gradually discovered the esteem that many Deadheads held 1977 and that within that revered year, May was held high and within that sacrosanct month, May 8 was held highest.

Jay Mabrey, Cornell class of ’77,
designed this poster
for the show.
Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Sauseach their own

I do love 1977 and May 8 certainly is a great show. The greatest? I’m not sure how to make that decision.

Having said that, in 2011 the  National Recording Preservation Board included the concert in its National Recording Registry as part of its mission to  demonstrate the range and diversity of American recorded sound heritage in order to increase preservation awareness.”

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Jerry Moore

It was a cassette recording by Jerry Moore that first circulated. Keep in mind, this was well before the internet era when word of mouth and who you knew meant so much in discovery.  Copied and recopied, the show began its journey to the top.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Betty Cantor

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Betty Cantor was one of the Dead’s recorders and held many of her reel-to-reel tapes until the mid-1980s when they were sold at an auction.  May 8, 1977 was among them.  Eureka!

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Millions

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

How many different recordings of Barton Hall are available? Deadlists shows the following:

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

How many times has the show been downloaded? Blair Jackson’s Golden Road blog states, “ I added up the numbers beside each version: 928,006 as of May 23 ! I’m guessing that adding in all the copies that were made (tape and digital) in the years when the Grateful Dead was actually around, and when collecting was at its apex, the number could easily reach 2 million. Incredible for a so-called bootleg recording!

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

664,000 downloads

Fans have downloaded Rob Eaton’s creation nearly 664,000 times. I write creation because I’ve copied and pasted his notes below:

Freshly remastered Betty Board with AUD splices, by Rob Eaton;

Betty Board Portion — Master 7″ Nagra reels 1/2 track @ 7.5ips>Sony PCM 501. Playback on Sony PCM 701>DAT (Digital Transfer) — Rob Eaton DBX Decoding (Spring ’99) Playback on Panasonic 4100 DAT>DB 924 D/A>Dolby 361’s w/dbx K9-22 Cards>DB 124 A/D>Neve Capricorn (Digital mixing console)>DB 300S>Panasonic 4100 DAT>DAT>Digi Coax Cable>Tascam CD-RW 700>CDR (x1)>SHN (Rob Eaton remaster)

Audience Portion — Steve Maizner’s Sony ECM-990>Sony TC-152 aud master>First Gen Reel>played directly to hard drive. The excellent aud splices were normalized and patched using ProTools by Karen Hicks

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

Now it’s your turn

See what I mean.

I suggest you open this Pandora’s box of golden eggs and enhance your life.

Rob Eaton’s recording.

Grateful Dead Barton Hall Cornell 1977

 

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Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

The Irony of Woodstock

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, many find themselves reflecting about that iconic event and its impact.

Thank you to Charlie Maloney, Woodstock alum, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts volunteer, Museum docent, and a guy who “gets it” when it comes to the spirit of the 60s that Woodstock has come to epitomize. It was he, who while surfing the internet one recent night, found an article written by Robert Hilburn for the Los Angeles Times. It kept him up later than he’d planned, but it was worth the sleep loss.

1989 was the 20th anniversary of Woodstock. Like 50,  20 is also an number that summons reflection as well.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Robert Hilburn

Hilburn’s point was that if Woodstock had been held in 1989 it would have been a very different event. By 1989 the commercialization of rock music had gone from the 1950s fear of rock to a late-20th century commercial takeover with branded events.

The article’s first  example is Janis Joplin’s bringing a bottle of Southern Comfort on stage with her in 1969. In 1989, such “product placement” would have cost the liquor-maker. For the article, famous concert promoter Bill Graham suggested that, “…Southern Comfort would pay her a million dollars for just holding that bottle….”

Hilburn wrote that Graham’s viewed Woodstock, “...not principally as a great musical moment, but as the day corporate America saw the big money to be made in rock. Indeed, Woodstock itself was a grand attempt to escalate the scale of rock.”

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Woodstock legitimized Rock

The article quotes Joe Smith, a Capital-EMI exec, “Woodstock legitimized rock ‘n’ roll, and it sent out the message that there was a lot of money to be made in it.”

Lou Adler, one of the organizers of rock’s “first” festival, the Monterey International Pop Festival, said, “If Monterey made rock ‘n’ roll an art form, Woodstock made it a business.”

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Really?

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Woodstock Ventures didn’t just lose its shirt that weekend, it lost its pants, shoes, had, and underwear. None of the four organizers, Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts, or Joel Rosenman, ever got rich from it. They did continue to get plenty of grief and a mailbox full of law suits. Within days, Ventures sold the movie and music rights to to just begin to get out of the financial hole it found itself in. It was more than a decade later before that hole was filled. Not what I would call an acceptable rate of return.

If anything, it might be more accurate to say that corporate America saw the potential for “big money” in Woodstock’s muddy aftermath and its may brethren festivals that summer.

It’s many brethren? Until I began training as a docent at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ Museum, I had, as most recollect and the article implies, that Woodstock was one of the two memorable festivals that year. The other, the sad counterpoint, being Altamont and its association with Hell’s Angels violence and failed security.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Where were…?

That was not the case.

My research led me to dozens of other festivals that summer. None had the huge attendance that Woodstock had, but many had the same names. In fact, the lack of black artists and bands at Woodstock (given the number available), stands in contrast to those other festivals.

For example, none of the following were at Woodstock, but appeared throughout that summer at other festivals: The Chambers Brothers, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Taj Majal, Elvin Bishop, Sun Ra, Bukka White,  Carla and Rufus Thomas, Ike and Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye,  Albert King, Albert Collins, Edwin Starr, Slim Harpo, Big Mama Thorton,  Champion Jack Dupree, John Lee Hooker, Edwin Hawkins Singers, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Charles Lloyd, BB King, Little Richard, James Cotton Blues Band, Sam and Dave, Fred McDowell, Deacon John and the Electric Soul Train,  or Junior Walker and the All Stars.

I am not suggesting that Woodstock’s invited line-up was a biased or poor one. It was great (others were, too). And I am certainly not suggesting that all of those listed above should have been there, otherwise the true musical coexistence that the spirit of Woodstock implies would ring hollow. But why not any?

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Personal view

 

As a Woodstock alum, myself, it is a thrill to hear “my” festival so celebrated and given such importance, yet when Lou Adler states that, ““My feeling has always been that if it hadn’t rained, we may not have heard that much about Woodstock, or at least heard about it in a different way…..More than the music, it was the story of people pulling together against all these adverse elements. That’s what made it such a dramatic and universal story” I cringe a bit.

The rain did happen, but the weekend was not a wash-out by any means. Sunburned backs attest to that.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Sense of Solidarity

That those of us who attended did return home with a sense of solidarity seems to be accurate. The most common theme I note after conversations with returning Woodstock alum at the Museum was the sense of “Us” that we had there and afterwards. Always remember that on that misty Monday morning when Hendrix finally closed the (actually) 4-day event, there were “only” 30- to 40-thousand people left. Most of us had gone home. We were tired. We were hungry. We were wet. We were muddy. We wondered whether our car was still there. And we had to get back to our jobs–whether that was a full-time one or a summer job before college began.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Love for Sale

Old Man Woodstock Reflections
Locals along 17B on Saturday 16 August selling hot dogs and soda. $1 each.

Woodstock’s mythic story intensified what had already begun. FM rock stations and college stations (always underrated in terms of their influence) became a bigger influences. Hillburn writes that, “Woodstock changed the progressive rock format from an experiment to a boom.”

The record industry did continue to increase its profits, but not, until the mid-70 did sales skyrocket: “$2.37 billion in 1975 . . . $2.73 billion in 1976 . . . $3.50 billion in 1977 . . . and $4.13 billion in 1978.” And those profits are credited to Woodstock’s fame.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Mainstream

The end result, by 1989, is that the counter-cultural music scene had gone mainstream. Stadium shows with commercial sponsors and ticket prices that make Woodstock ticket-buyer wax nostalgic.  The idealism of the 60s could still be found, but now part of a subset, not the primary aim.

A disillusioned Bill Graham quit the promotion business. Temporarily. He  returned to help create hundreds of stadium shows and help oversee a merchandising-related company. Ironically, he died in a helicopter accident after a successful meeting with Huey Lewis about doing a benefit concert.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Today’s economics

By 2017, even a not-for-profit venue like Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has to charge what seem to many to be exorbitant prices for tickets to make ends meet. Ends, actually, that don’t meet and depend on the generosity of others to close the gap and finally end in the black.

Apparently the intersection of Hurd and West Shore Roads will always be a beautiful, iconic, and historic site, but not a profit-making one.

Old Man Woodstock Reflections
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April 24 Music et al

April 24 Music et al

Doug Clifford

April 24, 1945: Doug Clifford of Creedance Clearwater Revival born.

April 24 Music et al

Bob Dylan

April 24, 1961: Harry Belafonte recorded “Midnight Special”. Bob Dylan played harmonica on the recording. It was Dylan’s first official recording and he received a $50 session fee. (see July 29)


April 24 Music et al

Runaway

April 24 Music et al

April 24 – May 21, 1961: “Runaway” by Del Shannon #1 Billboard Hot 100. Shannon and keyboardist Max Crook wrote the song.


April 24 Music et al

Game of Love

April 24 – 30, 1965: “Game of Love” by Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.


April 24 Music et al

Penultimate John and Paul

April 24, 1976: Paul and Linda McCartney spent the evening with John Lennon at his New York Dakota apartment and watched Saturday Night Live. Producer of the show Lorne Michaels made an offer on air asking The Beatles to turn up and play three songs live. Lennon and McCartney thought about taking a cab to the studio, but decided they were too tired. The next day was the last time John and Paul met. (see July 27)


April 24 Music et al

William “Billy” Zantzinger

April 24, 1991: William “Billy” Zantzinger–made infamous by Bob Dylan’s song, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,”  became front page news again. The Maryland Independent ran a story by reporter Kristi Hempel revealing that Zantzinger had been collecting rent for five years from several poor black families even though he no longer owned the houses where they lived. The county had foreclosed on the properties in 1986 because Zantzinger had failed to pay taxes on them. The houses, located in a place called Patuxent Woods, were battered wooden shacks, with no running water or toilets or even outhouses. The tenants had to dump their wastes in the woods, which polluted the water in their shallow hand-pumped wells. Not only had Zantzinger collected rent after losing the properties, he’d actually raised the rent, and he’d even taken some tenants to court for nonpayment. And won. (Guardian article on Zantzinger) (see June 5)

April 24 Music et al
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