Valerie - The Jerry Garcia Band

Posted On: Friday - September 11th 2020 7:41PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  The Dead

Commenter Mr. Ganderson cheers up the readership with some music from The Jerry Garcia Band. This is a live recording as are a majority of the (full) Dead songs that Peak Stupidity features. That's the way you've got to hear these guys. (Their only studio album was Cats under the Stars.) This one is from June 17th of 1982. Does everyone remember what he was doing that summer? I do.

I'll admit (shamefully to Mr. Ganderson) right now, that I've never that I know of heard any music by this 20-year-long side project band of Jerry Garcia's. I don't really miss Uncle Phil's stupendous bass all over the place, but that's only because on laptop/table speakers you hardly get any bass. There's nothing like Jerry's other band, though.

I liked Valerie right away. The lead put me in a place to where I didn't even know it was over till well into the next verse.

I wish I could have seen these guys, or, better yet, The Dead themselves, back in those years.

Saturday - September 12th 2020 10:44AM MST
PS. Mr Blanc- no one listens to Jerry for the vocals, although his singing can sometimes be enjoyable- he played the shit out of this song in the early 80’s- the guitar work is heavenly, IMHO.

Saturday - September 12th 2020 9:43AM MST
PS That’s a decent blues, but, like most white guys, Garcia’s voice is too thin to really put it over. Those higher T levels do make a musical difference. Music-wise, in the summer of 1982 I was spending most every Saturday evening at Bill Gilmore and Rob Hecko’s BLUES on Halsted, listening to the likes of Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Dawkins, Eddie Taylor, Lefty Dizz, Johnny Dollar, Phil Guy (the Other Guy), JImmy Johnson, Detroit Junior, et al. Or maybe Sunday evening, when Floyd Jones held down the chair, accompanying himself on the electric bass, with Playboy Venson on drums. Big Time Sarah Streeter and Debbie Gilmore and the girl with the huge maine of black hair who was married to Johnny Dollar tending bar. I forget the name of the guy at the door who never collected the cover from me. Good times.
Friday - September 11th 2020 11:35PM MST
PS: 1982, Summer. No, I can't say I remember.

But, somewhere right around there I saw my one and only Grateful Dead concert. It was a Saturday night, and I could not get off work; so a couple of friends were to go up there early and get tickets. I would bring sandwiches and BEER. The first friend (who had "organized" this) came by work to tell me that his parents wouldn't let him go (he was twenty something); but friend number two, let us call him Abe, would be there. Now, I have many good "Abe" stories, but let me just say, that he was not the reliable sort.

OK. Just one story. A mutual friend (a very small, mild, guy) had been jumped in the middle of a business deal gone wrong, and robbed. A couple of days later, Abe is driving down the street, and sees one of the guys involved. He slams on the brakes, and skids his pickup, blocking the road and grazing a parked car. He jumps out, hits the (black) guy from behind, knocking him to the ground. At this point, he realizes that he has the wrong guy. So.

He apologizes, helps the guy to his feet, and brushes off his clothing. He then realizes that the guy might be able to identify him, so he runs to his pickup, and starts to drive off. But, he feels guilty. So, he empties his pockets and ashtray, and tosses the guy twenty some dollars as he drives off. Now, this was his grocery money for the week, so he and his dog live on rice and beans (literally, rice and red beans; not even spices or a hotdog) for a week.

But, back to the original story. My girlfriend and I head for the concert, and find a windy road leading to the parking lot absolutely packed by hippies. "We'll meet at the North-east corner of the parking lot." Now, I was driving some piece of crap, either a massive 1964 Plymouth Fury with a 361 Police Interceptor, or some Toyota that had been rear-ended by a truck. (It is amazing what body work one can do with a piece of railroad tie, some very stout rope, and a light pole.) I think it was the Toyota.

So, I am trying to get there on time, a bunch of drug addled freaks are blocking the road, the parking lot is almost certainly full, and I am trying to drive up a steep hill at about one mile an hour. And the BEER is getting awfully warm in the trunk.

Finally, I get to the parking lot. All these stoners had parked along the highway, and walked in (a mile or more); leaving half the parking lot empty. Now, while I have participated in my share of drugs, I can not say that they contribute to rational thought.

Miracle of miracles, we did find "Abe". But.

He had not bothered to get us tickets (although he had his own) because friend number one had our ticket money. So, a little over an hour to concert time, a LOT of people in line to get tickets.

"Abe" say "no problem", takes our money, walks to the front of the line, says "excuse me", and buys us tickets. There were probably a couple dozen or so tickets left at this point, because the line broke up only a minute or two after this.

As we're sitting in the parking lot, drinking beer and eating PB & J sandwiches, we are approached by a hungry guy. A joint for a sandwich? (I had long ago decided that getting pulled over with drugs was a hassle I wasn't willing to put up with.) Since there were three of us, and one of him, three joints for two sandwiches.

A few minutes later, one of the local LSD guys wandered by. No, that fourth six pack is not mine (friend number one). So, six tabs for six beers. Being the selfish prick that I am, I took four, girl friend got two, and "Abe" got none.

I can't say that I remember much of the concert, except when I went off to pee. I couldn't find the bathrooms. When pissing against the fence, some guy started asking "Is it safe?" Shades of 'Marathon Man'!

Friday - September 11th 2020 9:25PM MST
PS. Lots of good Garcia Band stuff has been released commercially over the years, and there were a bunch of studio records in addition to “Cats Under the Stars“. There’s an album called “Fire Up” which I believe is listed as being by Merle Saunders, which is quite good. It has a smokin’ instrumental version of the old Sole Survivors’ hit “Expressway to Your Heart”, as well as Doc Pomus’ “Lonely Avenue” As for live recordings, I’d recommend: Bay Area 1978; and the one they released from the 1975 tour featuring the great Nicky Hopkins. At least those are good places to start.

In the summer of ‘84 my then girlfriend had decided to ditch me by taking a job back in her home state of New Jersey- she figured I’d never move away from Minnesota. Well, I found out that Garcia was playing outdoors at Caldwell (NJ) College, so I figured, what the hell, and moved. We’ve been together ever since.

Here’s “Mission in the Rain”, from Bay Area 1978, The back up singers are Donna Godchaux and Maria Muldaur, Keith G. is on the piano.
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