Category Archives: Today in history

1969 Mississippi River Festival

1969 Mississippi River Festival

June – July 1969
Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville, IL

1969 festival #7

Nearly all the 1969 festivals I’ve written about were two- or three-day events with several performers each day. I did have a piece on the 1969 Forest Hills Music Festival in Queens, NYC, even though it was a summer-long event because so many festival-type rock groups were part of it.

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Southern Illinois University

In 1969, Southern Illinois University initiated the Mississippi River Festival. Though primarily designed as a summer residence for the St Louis Symphony Orchestra (with Walter Susskind the conductor), [a la Tanglewood in Massachusetts featuring the Boston Pop Orchestra] the Mississippi River Festival regularly featured other types of music over its typical two-month (30 dates) run. Not quite the kind of weekend festival featuring several performers each day that typified the most other 1969 festivals, the MRF nonetheless featured many of the same performers who were at those festivals.

1969 Mississippi River Festival

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Circus tent

Organizers located the venue inside a custom-made circus tent with seating for approximately 1,900 guests.  The tent had one open wall to allow for lawn spectators.

Here is a 14-minute video which mostly covers the early organization of the inaugural season. It features mainly the orchestra.

A Carmina Burana soundtrack backs the video!

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Not Woodstock Ventures

Viewers might find it interesting and amusing to watch how formalized the MRF organizers were compared to those of Woodstock Ventures.  These organizers sit a table, coffee cups in front of them, men in jackets and ties, women dressed for “church.

Because it was a two-month season, attendees could purchase a season pass for every show available.

The St Louis Dispatch has a slide show entitled, “Glory Days of the Mississippi River Festival.

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Grateful Dead
1969 Mississippi River Festival

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Great guests

Over the 11-year run of its existence, many other great bands played the Mississippi River Festival, such as, Grateful Dead, the Who, Jimmy Buffett, Yes, Janis Joplin, the Flying Burrito Brothers (in 1970 with Gram Parsons), Joni Mitchell.

Below is a chart with the various rock- or folk-related groups that played in 1969. It is a great selection.

1969 Mississippi River Festival

Dylan out of circulation?

Of special note is July 14. The Band played.  It is “common knowledge” that Bob Dylan did not perform at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. And that is true. It is also common knowledge that Bob Dylan’s first public performance following his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident was at the Isle of Wright event the end of August 1969. Common knowledge? Yes. Accurate? No.

Who came out to play with The Band on their 4-song encore? You guessed it: Bob Dylan. I think that qualifies as a public appearance, don’t you?

1969 Mississippi River Festival

1969 Mississippi River Festival

June 23 – July 27, 1969

Date Performer Notes Paid attendance
6/23 Buffy Sainte-Marie 2268
6/24 Modern Jazz Quartet The Galactic Vision projected a light show on a screen behind MJQ 1542
6/26 Paul Butterfield Blues Band High winds forced lawn guests to seek shelter 3449
7/1 Janis Joplin na
Aorta
7/7 Arlo Guthrie  

The National Educational Television Network recorded the concert.

3753
Joni Mitchell
7/10 Iron Butterfly 12,735
Blues Image
7/14 The Band Bob Dylan came out for the Band’s encore and played four songs with them. This was his first public performance since his July 29,1966 motorcycle accident 4082
7/17 Ian and Sylvia They called their band the Great Speckled Bird 2487
7/21 New Christy Minstrels 5711
7/22 Richie Havens 2753
Eddie Fisher Trio The EFT was an East St Louis jazz band
7/23 Joan Baez 11,052

In their 2006 book , The Mississippi River Festival, Amanda Bahr-Evola and Stephen Kerber wrote: To host the symphony, the university created an outdoor concert venue within a natural amphitheater by installing a large circus tent, a stage and acoustic shell, and a sophisticated sound system. To appeal to the widest possible audience, the university included contemporary popular musicians in the series. The audacity of the undertaking, the charm of the venue, the popularity of the artists, the excellence of the performances, and the nostalgic memory of warm summer evenings have combined to endow the festival with legendary status among those who attended. [Edwardsville Intelligencer article about book]

1969 Mississippi River Festival

r Festival

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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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KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

Charles Eddie Moore & Henry Hezekiah Dee 
KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore
Charles Eddie Moore & Henry Hezekiah Dee

May 2, 1964:  Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore (both 19) were hitchhiking on a highway near Meadville, Mississippi. James Ford Seale, believing that they were black activists, kidnapped them  and took them to the Homochitto National Forest where he, with the assistance of other KKK friends he’d contacted, tied them to a tree and beat them.

After the beating, the group put Dee and MooreHe two into a car trunk drove to them to the Ole River in Tallulah, LA. The men put  Dee and Moore into a row boat, wrapped them in plastic, tied an engine block and RR track to them, and dumped them, still alive, into the river where they died.

July 12, 1964: while looking for the bodies of  the three missing civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, searchers discover the disarticulated lower torso of Charles Moore in the river south of Tallulah, Louisiana. Moore’s body was identified by the draft card he had in his possession at the time of his death.

July 13, 1964: the disarticulated lower torso of Henry Dee was found in the river in the same area as Moore the day before.

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore
Seale & Edwards

November 6, 1964: after an extensive FBI investigation, state authorities arrested James Ford Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards for the kidnapping and murder of Dee and Moore.

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

State charges dismissed

January 11, 1965: State officials dismissed the criminal charges against James Seale and Charles Edwards on the recommendation of the State District Attorney.  The motion had stated “… that in the interest of justice and in order to fully develop the facts in this case, the affidavits against James Seale and Charles Edwards should be dismissed by this Court without prejudice to the Defendants or to the State of Mississippi at this time in order that the investigation may be continued and completed for presentation to a Grand Jury at some later date.”

After the dismissal , the FBI actively continued to investigate the murders to no avail.

January 14, 1966,  the subcommittee of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which was investigating Klan activities, called Seale and nine other alleged Klansmen from the violent White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Those called included Seale’s father, Clyde Seale, and Charles Marcus Edwards, his alleged accomplice in the Dee-Moore murders.

The Klansmen repeatedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment, while the chief investigator Donald T. Appell and House members placed into the record what they believed the men had done, including kidnapping and murdering Dee and Moore. (NYT abstract)

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

A brother’s persistance

In 1998 Thomas Moore, the older brother of Charles, began to work on the case. Then living in Colorado, he wrote to District Attorney Ronnie Harper  asking him to look into his brother’s murder. Harper agreed.

investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell 
Jerry Mitchell at his desk at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Various media journalists began to look at the story again, including Newsday20-20 and investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell of The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi). On January 14, 2000.

Mitchell reported that the murders occurred on federal land. This spurred the FBI to take another look, as the location gave them jurisdiction.

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore
David Ridgen & Thomas Moore

Filmmaker David Ridgen of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contacted Moore. Together they went to Mississippi and on July 7, 2005, Ridgen began shooting the documentary Mississippi Cold Case, about the events of Moore’s brother’s murder. 

Part of the challenge was that they were operating under the impression that Seale had died, but locals revealed that he was still alive.

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

The federal trial

July 25, 2006: a federal court granted Charles Edwards immunity from prosecution. In his testimony,  In his testimony, Edwards will say that he aimed a shotgun at the victims while Klan members beat them, that he saw the victims stuffed alive into a trunk and driven away, and that Seale later reported he and others drowned the two men in a bayou of the Mississippi river. (Northeastern article)

January 24, 2007: a federal grand jury indicted James Ford Seale. 

June 14, 2007: James Seale convicted by a federal jury on one count of conspiracy to kidnap two persons, and two counts of kidnapping where the victims were not released unharmed.

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore
James Ford Seale

August 24, 2007: James Ford Seale was sentenced to three life terms. (NYT article)

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

Conviction overturned/upheld

September 9, 2008: a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the kidnapping conviction of James Seale.

June 5, 2009: an en banc panel of the Court of Appeals upheld James Seales’s original conviction. The defense counsel appealed to the US Supreme Court.

November 2, 2009, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, letting the lower rulings stand. (Fox News article)

August 4, 2011: Seale died in prison. Thomas Moore, Charles’s brother, who had helped renew the case, said in a statement regarding Seale’s death, ““Rejoicing? That’s not in my nature…. All of that is behind me. I lived through the process. I hope he found peace with his God.” (NYT article)

  • 2007 Jackson Free Press article entitled,   “James Ford Seale: A Trail of Documents Tells the Story.”
  • NPR timeline.
  • coldcases.org article

Aftermath

KKK kills Henry Hezekiah Dee Charles Eddie Moore

 

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