Picks and Pans from a Garcia Collector
on some of Jerry Garcia's side-bands.
the rest, by year/era ...
no can do, it's all too good: the rest of August, 7/3 (unique and
funky), 6/4-6, October stuff (6th is an amazing half-hour of
music!), 12/29/74b are all pretty wonderful. Weakest of the year IMO
are the January-February shows and the November east coast tour.
LOM: April east coast stuff is overrated. Rest is great,
especially 6/3-4 and 6/21-22!
Hopkins era: parabolic function, weakest early (getting warmed
up) and late (Nicky is drunk). Best shows IMO are late October and
early November, especially anything with Let's Spend the Night
Together > Edward!!
James Booker "era": every last note.
*1976-- Mmmm ... tough. January-February are reeeaaaaaalllllly
sllllooooooooowwwwwwwww. April has one of the all-time great
performances in 4/3/76b, with 4/1/76 not far behind. Rest of the
year is hit-or-miss IMO, but check out the guest pedal steel player
hit or miss, IMO. November-December east coast stuff strongest, IMO.
wonderful year. March stuff is great. 6/18/78 is nothing short of
spectacular, with one of JG's finest performances ever in Let Me
Roll It. October is great, but especially check out 11/3/78! Amazing
Reconstruction: I love this stuff, most people like it less than
I do. Much that is great here, better in June-July-August than
earlier or later. Special mentions for 7/22/79, funkified craziness,
and 8/10/79's Sama Layuca > Dear Prudence, with a couple minutes
of the most beautiful Garcia guitar work this side of 2/18/71's
Ozzie Ahlers era: Much wonderful stuff here. 3/8/80 is king of the
heap, but just about everything is stellar. July east coast
mini-tour especially noteworthy, after the killer month of February,
one of Garcia's finest months of playing (after 8/74 and just before
electric: ... hit or miss. 6/16/82 is famous and very great.
Don't miss 5/31/83 and 6/1/83. My favorite electric shows through
the rest of the 80s are probably 2/6/88, 7/10/88, 11/26/88, 5/19/89,
8/26/89, 10/31/89. Honorable mentions to 10/4/86 (first post-coma
show, and good in addition to being emotional), 8/29/87, and most
everything else in 1988-1990.
acoustic: ... hit or miss, generally solid. 6/3/84 is pretty
great, nice Bird Song. November '84 east coast is, IMO, the poorest
and most embarrassing public display that Garcia ever put on. The Jerry
Garcia Acoustic Band (JGAB) shows from '87-'88 are enjoyable.
electric: I dunno. I think 1990 is waaayyyy overrated. Garcia
sounds like crap, IMO, for most of the year, including the
much-loved June shows.
every damn note of it, but especially the December '91 shows, really
wonderful. Even the '94 shows (5/4-5) are wonderful, Garcia sounding
very old and fragile, which suits the music just fine.
a few off-the-cuff thoughts, happy listening.
(Caveat: I don't
know post-1990 JGB very well at all, have only recently started
digging into it.)