Tag Archives: Jerry Garcia

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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Dead at Woodstock

Dead at Woodstock

The oft' told tale of the Dead's performance at Woodstock was that it was plagued with various difficulties and was generally lackluster. That it wasn't a typical '69 performance.  It was only about 70 minutes of music with a more than 10 minute technical break after only two songs totaling five minutes. Plus, there was, as Phil Lesh retold, walkie-talkie interference with their PA during some parts. 
Dead at Woodstock
Dead at Woodstock…Jerry and Bob

Dead at Woodstock

Dead at Woodstock
Dead at Woodstock
               Well, let's take a look at the set list: 
  • 1. Saint Stephen (2:04)
  • 2. Mama Tried (2:42)
  • 3. a High Time tease (30 seconds)
  • the 10 minute technical issues break
  • 4. Dark Star (19:10)
  • 5. High Time (6:20),
  • 6. Turn On Your Lovelight (38:42)
               How atypical was the Dead at Woodstock? The concert immediately before at Family Dog at the Great Highway in San Francisco on  August 3  was about 90 minutes. Their first concert afterward was on August 20 at the Aqua Theater in Seattle.  How long was it? About 90 minutes.
               If not for the technical issues, faced by most of the Woodstock performers, the Dead at Woodstock was not too different.
               Perhaps it'd be best to give the Dead at Woodstock an actual listen and decide for yourself. As for me, I enjoy it. Of course the spice of it being at Woodstock is an enticing enhancement, but even without that, it's still good. After all, there's only one Barton Hall and that was eight years in the future.
               I dare you to click and open  ↓ It's really a nice listen for any day and a slice of history. You'll hear the actual radio feedback the Phil Lesh talks about during a quieter part of their set.
Internet Archive of Dead's performance @ Woodstock

 

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Bob Weir

Bob Weir

Happy birthday to you…

October 16, 1947

Jimmy come lately
I quickly admit that I was not much of a Dead fan until my brother-in-law George directed me to the Internet Archives site [Internet Archive Grateful Dead] with its hundreds, no, thousands of Dead recordings. I learned the letters SBD (soundboard), AUD (audience), Matrix (someone's incredible mixing of both a SBD and and AUD), and BB (a Betty Board as in Betty Cantor-Jackson, onetime soundboard tech for the Dead).

I also learned that, and this was the tipping point for this penurious person, I could download any file I wanted for free. That generosity did not last. Today, only the audience recordings are still available for free download. Many of those are simply outstanding recordings. The soundboards are available to listen to, but not to download.

Get to the point

I didn't get the Dead because I was familiar only with the Dead's studio work, which didn't do much for me. Yes their two 1970 masterpieces, Workingman Dead and American Beauty, both made my 8-track collection, but by 1971 I was married, by 1973 a father, and working two or three jobs. Concerts were rarely part of the budget.

Bob Weir

When the Dead began to play in 1965, Bob Weir was just 17. Even by the counterculture's egalitarian standards, Weir was still a kid. 

The kid had not been a good student. His behavior defined the then American education's definition of the poorly performing student: a lazy misfit. Fortunately, while in the system he met John Perry Barlow. Fortunately, Weir knew enough to get kicked out of the system and back to his hometown of San Francisco. 

And fortunately, he met Jerry Garcia, too. Hand in instrument, they morphed from Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions into the electric Warlocks, and quickly tripped from there into the Grateful Dead.

Faced with the daunting task of playing beside the genius guitar playing of Garcia, he became one of rock's best rhythm guitarists. He became the co-lead-vocalist with Garcia, and with old school friend Barlow wrote many of the Dead's best songs such as...
  • Black-Throated Wind
  • Cassidy
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Lost Sailor
  • Mexicali blues
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Saint of Circumstance
Keeps on truckin’
Following the demise of the original Dead after Garcia's death in 1995, Weir continued to play music: sometimes with other Dead band mates, sometimes with others. 

In 2016, Weir released Blue Mountain. The Pitchfork site had this to say about it: As Weir’s sixth studio full-length outside the Grateful Dead, Blue Mountain functionally serves as a reboot for the guitarist, whose solo sensibility long ago veered far from Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter’s cosmic Americana and into the AOR waters of 1978’s Heaven Help the Fool (made with Fleetwood Mac producer Keith Olsen), the pastel fusion of Bobby and the Midnites in the ’80s, and the dense jam-jazz of Ratdog in the ’90s. With an ambient C&W production that often subsumes lead guitar into the reverb swirl (and occasionally swallows Weir), Blue Mountain will likewise probably prove inseparable from the historical period in which it was recorded. But, unlike Weir’s previous albums, Blue Mountain also finally seems like the right album at the right time for Weir. Quietly adventurous, wise, and a welcome late-career turn, Blue Mountain builds an ethereal home for a rhythm guitarist who was tempered in the chaos-friendly environs of Dead.

Don't just read about it, though. I'm listening to it as I write this and it is sounds are smooth and soothing. 

 

 

 

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