Tag Archives: Grateful Dead

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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Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

September 8, 1945 – March 8, 1973

“Bring Me My Shotgun” @ Family Dog At The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA, April 18, 1970
Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Blues roots

The Grateful Dead with Pigpen were a different band than without. Of course, the Dead went through several personnel and style changes over its time. The Dead themselves were not always the instigators of those changes. The blues-based approach Pigpen brought to the band gave it much more a rock and roll feel than any  of the band’s other incarnations.

Unlike most other of the young musicians of the 1960s, Pigpen came to the blues mainly through his father. Phil a blues enthusiast himself and a DJ on station KDIA, a black radio station.

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Self taught

Rod taught himself piano, guitar and harmonica. When he moved with his family to Palo Alto, California he befriended  Jerry Garcia Rod also collected a huge number of blues 78 recordings which also led him to befriend John Fahey and future Canned Heat singer Bob “Bear” Hite.

Along the way Rod McKernan became Pigpen. How depends on who you ask, but answers are many offered lovingly. Pigpen entered Jerry Garcia’s musical orbit and became part of that orbits named permutations: the Zodiacs, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, the Warlock, and finally the Grateful Dead.

Perhaps a much an indictment of the other members’ weak vocals as a compliment of his, Pigpen became the Dead’s main vocalist. For fans like me, his renditions of Buddy Holly’s  “Not Fade Away” or his half-hour plus “Turn On Your Love Light” will always be his songs.

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Beverages not blotters

Unlike the other members of the group, Pigpen’s drug choice was alcohol. That choice also endeared him to Janis Joplin who preferred beverages to blotters.

As the Dead moved into more extended jams that relied less on keyboards, Pigpen’s place in the band diminished, though his reliance on alcohol did not.

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Health

Pigpen’s health declined and he had to leave the band to recover. His hiatus was between August and December 1971. For a band that seemed to be always on the road, he missed many shows.

Health issues again forced him to leave the band. His last show with them was on June 17, 1972, at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles.

On March 8, 1973, aged 27 he was found dead of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. A sad addition to the 27 Club.

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan

Next time you have 33 minutes and 41 seconds, give Pigpen a listen (again).

Grateful Dead Ron Pigpen McKernan
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Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Happy birthday
August 1, 1942

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, CA. His father was Jose “Joe” Garcia, his mother, “Bobbie” Garcia. Brother “Tiff.”

Joe Garcia loved music, especially jazz, and played woodwinds and clarinet.

In the spring of 1947 when Jerry was four, his brother Tiff accidentally chopped off a large part of Jerry’s middle right finger. Later that year, Joe Garcia drowned  while on a fishing trip.

Jerry and brother Tiff moved in with Bobbie’s parents, Tillie and William Clifford. While living with them the boys enjoyed great autonomy. It was also during this time that Jerry’s third grade teacher encouraged the artistic side of Jerry. Jerry started to play the banjo.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Bobbie remarries…

In the early 50s, like so many other young Americans, Jerry discovers early rock ‘n’ roll: Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, BB King,  and others.

In 1957 for his fifteenth birthday, his mother and step-father gave Jerry an accordion. Not what he wanted, he complained until they exchanged the accordion for an electric guitar.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Brief military career and 1961

He joined the Army  in April, 1960, but the Army and he realized they were incompatible. He left that December.

In 1961, Jerry met a couple of people who would have a big impact on his future: Robert Hunter and David Nelson.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

More people & Mother McCree’s

In early 1962 Jerry met Ron “Pigpen” McKernanBill KreutzmannPhil Lesh, and, in December, Bob Weir.

Jerry continued to play and by 1964 Jerry, Pigpen, and Weir form Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (with Dave Parker, Tom Stone, and Dave Garbett).

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Warlocks > Dead

In 1965, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann joined Jerry, Pigpen, and Bob to form The Warlocks. Their first show is at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, CA.

In December, The Warlocks changed their name to Grateful Dead and performed their first of many shows as the house band at a Ken Kesey Acid Test in San Jose, CA. . Garcia was 23; Lesh, 25; Pigpen, 20; Weir, 18; and Kreutzmann, 19.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Long strange trip

The Grateful Dead would play over 2300 shows until their last on July 9, 1995, at Chicago’s Soldier Field. A month later, on August 9, 1995 Jerry Garcia died.

Over his life, Jerry Garcia was addicted to several things. Luckily for us, one of those addictions was music. In addition to the 2300 Dead shows, Jerry seemingly played continuously with his own band (Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Jerry Garcia and Friends, Jerry Garcia Band, and many more) or sat in with other bands (Mickey and the Heartbeats, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and many more).

Happy birthday Jerry. We thank you for your eternal music.

And of course there are places to listen:

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