“You cannot underestimate how big a deal this hair thing was at the time”: DAVID BERMAN on a certain shift in punk culture in the 1980s

Sometime in 2004, I asked Daniel Chamberlin to write a piece for Arthur to explain how on earth he could be so into the Grateful Dead—how it had happened, what was the nature of the appeal given his other tastes in music, yadda yadda. He’d talk about the Dead in conversation, but I’m not he’d ever thought about writing such a piece. I wanted him to go for it, to really think it through and get it down. Make the pitch for the Dead! I had a hunch it might resonate with Arthur’s audience, such as it was. Dan wasn’t sure, but he went for it.

Somewhere along the line, I guess I asked David Berman if he’d like to illustrate Dan’s piece. Berman had already let us publish some of his “Scenes From the First Yes Tour” comics in the first issue of Arthur, so this wasn’t a completely out-of-leftfield idea… But I also think it must have been because Berman had mentioned the Dead somewhere — in a lyric, or a poem, in an interview, in a comic strip, in private conversation, I don’t know; something about the space between the notes of Jerry Garcia solos being the key to the Dead’s appeal? (Maybe a Berman scholar can help us out here. Please.) In any event, David gave us two single-panel comics to run with the piece in the July 2004 issue fo Arthur. You can see scans of them here.

I don’t know where in the timeline of all of this I received the following email from DCB, addressed to Dan. Maybe there was some correspondence back and forth between them while he was coming up with the art to accompany the piece? Dan can’t remember and neither can I. All I know is that I’ve saved it all these years, and Berman either never sent a follow-up, or it’s lost.

—Jay Babcock


From: “D.C. Berman”
Subject: RE: Alienated Deadheads
Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 12:20:19 -0500

oops. this is the first part of my response to your question and I haven’t even gotten to the part where i start liking the dead yet. more tomorrow.

DCB

You see a lot of reassessments of 1980’s culture nowadays. These reassessments might lead you to believe that sarcastic new wave music was the dominant trend in the decade but i remember it differently. I remember new wave as an aberrant, sometimes top 40, middle ground between the more rigorous fucktruck of hardcore (and what we now call post-punk bands) and the true ruling culture of (hair and seventies) metal and classic rock. This revisionism is standard procedure (consider how hard it is to find an admitted Uriah Heep or Three Dog Night fan on the links nowadays), and will soon have its chance to do a number on the present era as today’s teenagers tomorrow, wised up through learned humiliation, will replace their memories of attending dave matthews concerts with false ones about chasing down royal trux bootlegs at the corner store.


I have always held contempt for people who trust those that do not have their best interests in mind (like poor people who vote republican, for instance). They are in a word, dupes.  And from my olympian perch (for I had placed myself above all mankind except Greg Ginn) there were no bigger dupes in sight than deadheads. Instead of creating their own culture they had borrowed that of their aunts and uncles. In fact that’s what deadheads seemed like to me, even ones my own age, prematurely elderly. But worse, old folks wearing pajamas with teddy bears on them (the grandma glasses, unkempt hair and frail arthritic music). It really gave me a stomach ache just to gaze on them. Meanwhile things were changing a bit for young strident assholes. Rollins grew his hair. The Meat Puppets slowed down, Karl Precoda grew his hair (you cannot underestimate how big a deal this hair thing was at the time), DRI went metal as did plenty of other hardcore bands. I started to soften to guitar solos. There was less dexedrine and more acid.”You’re Living All Over Me” changed my mind about a lot of things (I remember where i was when i heard the news that a group of classic rockers nobody gave a fuck about had filed suit against Dinosaur about the name and remember feeling the helpless frustration that they (the hippies) had done it again! (Though forcing Dinosaur to add Jr. to their name might have been the original hippies final cultural victory). A lot of people started changing their minds. It seems that while we were railing against the classic rockers our heroes had decided that the real enemy was the boring rules of hardcore. In those days all shows of an “underground” nature attracted the entire “punk community” of whatever town. No band could command an audience large enough to justify subsets of fans, so touring bands were constantly the object of abuse by those in the audience of a different punk rock denomination. Why did Richmond skinheads show up at decidedly brainy Honor Role shows? It was the only game in town. This set up all kinds of conflict which (considering the artists were contrarian in nature) drove a lot of post-punk bands to adopt hippy tropes (just to piss rules loving militants off).


More than any other band I think the Butthole Surfers started to crumble the distinctions between hippie and punk.

OUT, DEMONS, OUT!: The 1967 Exorcism of the Pentagon and the Birth of Yippie! (Arthur, 2004)


This piece was originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004), with cover artwork by John Coulthart and design by William T. Nelson, pictured above (click image to view at larger size). A correction involving Cosmic Charlie published in a later issue has been embedded in the text here at the most natural point. I’m sorry that I’ve been unable to include the many fantastic photographs from the print article here. However, I have added a still from the film “Will the Real Norman Mailer Please Stand Up” by Dick Fontaine, which we did not have access to at the time of print publication into the text, and there are more stills from various films appended. —Jay Babcock

Clip from Arthur No. 13’s Table of Contents page, featuring photo by Robert A. Altman.


OUT, DEMONS, OUT!

On October 21, 1967, the Pentagon came under a most unconventional assault.

An oral history by Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Michael Simmons and Jay Babcock

* * *

INTRODUCTION BY MICHAEL SIMMONS
By Autumn of 1967, the “police action” in Vietnam had escalated. The United States of America waged War—that hideous manifestation of the human race’s worst instincts—against the small, distant, sovereign land. 485,600 American troops were then stationed in Nam; 9,353 would die in ’67 alone. We were there under false pretenses (the “attack’ at the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened), operating under a paranoid doctrine (the Domino Theory, fretting that Vietnamese Communists fighting a civil war in their own country with popular support would envelop all of Southeast Asia and end up invading Dubuque, Iowa). Seven million tons of bombs would eventually be dropped, as opposed to two million during World War II. Indiscriminate use of gruesome weaponry was deployed, most infamously napalm, a jelly that sticks to—and burns through—human skin. Saturation bombings, free-fire zones, massive defoliation with the carcinogen Agent Orange. “Destroying the village to save it,” as one American military man put it.

For a generation that remembered the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals after WW II, something had to be done. Genocidal fugitive Adolf Eichmann’s “I was just following orders” excuse would not fly. The draft was sending 18-year-olds off to die. A domestic anti-war movement emerged, as had a counterculture of hairy young people who rejected the militarism, greed, sexual repression, and stunted consciousness of their parents and leaders to pursue Joy and Sharing as well as Dope, Rock and Roll, and Fucking in the Streets. Pundits spoke of The Generation Gap. A quaking chasm had split the nation.

San Francisco painter Michael Bowen had a dream of people coming together to celebrate his city’s burgeoning hippie subculture, and so he and his wife Martine initiated the Great Human Be-In on Sunday, January 14, 1967. Sub-billed as A Gathering of the Tribes, 10,000 hippies, radicals and free spirits convened in Golden Gate Park. Beat poets emceed (Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Lenore Kandel), rock bands rocked (Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Charlatans), Hell’s Angels returned lost kids to their mommies – and the cops busted no one, despite rampant open marijuana use. For many, the realization that there were other Martians was transcendental. Berkeley anti-war activist Jerry Rubin gave a speech, but his narrow political rap was dubbed “too histrionic” by Ginsberg and many in the crowd. It fortuitously forked Rubin’s direction. “It was the first time I did see a new society,” he said later. “I saw there was no need for a political statement. I didn’t understand that until then, either.”

Events ending with the suffix “In” became the rage. Bob Fass hosted the hippest radio show in the country, “Radio Unnameable” on New York’s WBAI. The all-night gab-and-music fest was Freak Centra, functioning as a pre-internet audio website. Regular guests included Realist editor Paul Krassner (dubbed “Father of the Underground Press”), underground film director Robert Downey Sr. (father and namesake of…), actor/writer Marshall Efron (arguably the funniest man on the planet), and a manic activist-gone-psychedelic named Abbie Hoffman—all rapping madly, verbally riffing and improvising like musicians. One night after participating in a UsCo avant-garde multi-media show of projections, movies, music, etc., at an airplane hangar, Fass stopped by nearby JFK International Airport and noticed a group of three dozen young people—clearly ripped to the tits—communally entranced by a giant mobile centerpiecing a terminal. The vast open spaces of an airport, with jet planes and stars in the sky, were the stage for dreams to come to life. Fass flashed on the infinite possibilities.

He conceived a Fly-In at JFK and announced it on Radio Unnameable. Though Saturday night, February 11, was freezing cold, 3,000 of the underground’s finest came to sing Beatles songs, torch reefers, dance the body electric, and groove with their sisters and brothers. “One of the things that happened,” Fass observed, “was that there was such a colossal amount of human connection that there was something akin to feedback that happened, and people really began to experience not ‘happiness,’ but Ecstasy and Joy. We’re planning another one at your house.”

New York responded to San Francisco’s Be-In with its own. Key to its success was Jim Fouratt, a young actor who’d become one of the most effective hippie organizers on the Lower East Side. Promotion for the event cost $250, which paid for posters and leaflets. On Easter Sunday, March 27, 10,000 full and part-time hippies came together—some in the carnal definition—at Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. It was a glistening, no bad vibes, lysergic day. Fouratt was central to virtually every NYC hip community event, including the infamous Soot-In at Consolidated Edison, where he, Abbie Hoffman, and others dumped bags of nasty black soot at the coal burning, energy company’s offices, in a protest that prefigured and influenced the birth of the environmental movement.

Emmett Grogan was a brilliant and enigmatic prankster/con man at the heart of San Francisco’s do-goodnik anarcho-rogues the Diggers. He suggested to his friend Bob Fass that a Sweep-In would strengthen the momentum the Fly-In had sparked. The idea was to “clean up the Lower East Side” area of NYC where the hippies dwelled. Fass conspired with Krassner and Abbie and listeners on his radio show, and they chose Seventh Street, where Krassner lived. The buzz grew louder and one day an inquiring bureaucrat from the Sanitation Department called Radio Unnameable. The potentates of garbage at City Hall were nervous about these beatniks with brooms taking their gig. While appearing cooperative on the phone and in a later meeting, the city pranked the pranksters on the day of the Sweep-In, April 8. When thousands of mop-wielding longhairs appeared at 11 a.m., they beheld a garbage-free, sparkling fresh, squeaky clean street of slums—courtesy of the Sanitation Department. Fass and Krassner were amused that they’d actually forced the city to do its job. Unfazed, they moved the Sweep-In to Third Street. When a city garbage truck turned the corner, the street peeps leaped on it and cleaned it as well.

No single human—other than Tribal Elder Allen Ginsberg—was as influential on this emerging culture than Ed Sanders. He led the satirical-protest-smut-folk-rock band The Fugs with East Village legend Tuli Kupferberg, ran the Peace Eye Bookstore (and community center) on 10th Street, published Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, made films like Mongolian Clusterfuck, wrote poetry, rabble roused for myriad peacenik causes and cannabis legalization. Sanders—one of the first public figures to live seamlessly within realms of Politics, Art, and Fun—was a first cousin to Che Guevara’s paradigmatic New Man—albeit thoroughly American and anti-authoritarian.

But the Life Actor who embodies the Revolutionary Prankster in 20th-century history books is Abbie Hoffman. And he is where our story begins…

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Arthur Radio Transmission #23 w/ Prince Rama of Ayodhya

At the center of a wind tunnel, we find ourselves stuck between perspectives. Is the world moving at a million miles around us, or are we the ones who are flying? This week, join hands with Hairy Painter and Ivy Meadows as they plunge into the unknown, fortified by Prince Rama of Ayodhya‘s ancient primordial howls, growling synthesizer moans and consciousness-melting pulsations, which swirl like electrified streams of sonic debris in the positively charged atmosphere… “Give yourself. Lose yourself.

DOWNLOAD: Arthur Radio Transmission #23 w/ Prince Rama of Ayodhya 6-27-2010

playlistum lyeth beneathio…

[HAIRY PAINTER + IVY MEADOWS DJ SET]
keiji haino – look, darkness and light both begin to copy
clara rockmore – the swan
conrad schnitzler – electric garden
s.d. batish – raga tilang alaap
far east family band – live in l.a. 1978
seltaeb – nug mraw a si ssenippah
alejandro jodorowsky – tarot will teach you/burn your money
arthur russell – the name of the next song
robert johnson (on speed? <—–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnson_musician Playback_issues_in_extant_recordings) – – hold my body down
rusty santos – feel radio signals (botanical mix)
pocahaunted – time fist
julian lynch – topi garden 2
mawan te dhiyan – surinder kaur & parkash kaur
sun ra – celestial road
albert ayler – the wizard
sonny sharock – black woman
nagane aki – the wind that flows through the trees
paul metzger – the uses of infinity (side a)

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79-minute GRATEFUL DEAD MIX Volume 2 by Greg Davis

gratefuldeadmix2

Grateful Dead Mix – Volume 2
by Greg Davis
(April / May 2010 – Burlington VT)

Stream: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/01-Grateful-Dead-Mix-Volume-2.mp3%5D

Download: Grateful Dead Mix Volume 2 (mp3, 146mb)

track listing:
Yamantaka (from Mickey Hart, Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings Yamantaka) + Bill Graham Presents… (from The Bugs – unreleased radio play 1982)

Ollin Arageed (from Rocking the Cradle – live at the Pyramids Cairo Egypt 09/16/78)

Stage Banter / Technical Difficulties (live at Woodstock Festival Bethel NY 08/16/69) + Seastones (from Seastones Sessions 11/28/73)

Fire On The Mountain (live at the Pauley Pavilion UCLA Los Angeles CA 12/30/78)

Bugs On Broadway (from The Bugs – unreleased radio play 1982) + Magnesium Night Light (from Infrared Roses)

Casey Jones (from Workingman’s Dead Sessions)

Franklin’s Tower (from Blues for Allah)

…Quick, the Baby Is Crying… (from Home Recordings Summer 1969)
The Barbed Wire Whipping Party (from Aoxomoxa Outtakes)

Seastones (from Seastones Sessions 11/28/73) + Magnificent Sevens (from Diga Rhythm Band) + Music To Be Born By (from Mickey Hart Music To Be Born By)

Stella Blue (from Steal Your Face – live at The Winterland San Francisco CA 10/20/74)

Eyes Of The World (from Wake Of The Flood)

Crowd Sculpture (from Infrared Roses) + The Bells The Bells (from The Bugs – unreleased radio play 1982)

Ollin Arageed (live at Uptown Theatre Chicago IL 11/18/78)

China Doll (from From The Mars Hotel)

Drone Collage includes The Revolving Mask of Yamantaka + Yamantaka + Solar Winds (from Mickey Hart, Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings Yamantaka) + Love Scene Improvisations (Take 4) (from Zabriskie Point Soundtrack outtakes by Jerry Garcia)

Touch of Grey (from In The Dark)

So it Came To Pass (from The Bugs – unreleased radio play 1982) + Seastones (from Seastones Sessions 11/28/73)

Dark Star (studio version from What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been)

Dark Star (live at The Family Dog San Francisco CA 08/30/69) + Dark Star (live at The Fillmore East New York NY 01/02/70) + The Bells The Bells Reprise (from The Bugs – unreleased radio play 1982)

Estimated Prophet (live at Barton Hall, Cornell University Ithaca NY 05/08/77)

Star Spangled Banner & Closing Remarks (from The Fillmore Acid Test San Francisco CA 01/08/66)

Bird Song (from Ladies and Gentlemen live at The Fillmore East New York NY 04/28/71)

Love Scene Improvisations (Take 3) (from Zabriskie Point Soundtrack outtakes by Jerry Garcia)


Previously: Grateful Dead Mix Vol 1 by Greg Davis

GREG DAVIS IS A MUSICIAN:

http://www.autumnrecords.net
http://www.myspace.com/gregdavismusic
http://www.myspace.com/suncircle
http://www.myspace.com/cwgd

“Blurred + Spacey”: Brightblack Morning Light’s Nabob Shineywater on SANDY BULL (Arthur, 2006)

Originally published in Arthur No. 25 (October 2006)

Blurred and Spacey
By Nabob Shineywater

Sandy Bull
Still Valentine’s Day 1969: Live at the Matrix, San Francisco
(Water)

When I was living in Point Reyes, my closest friends became people in their sixties. They would share stories with me as I managed the community print shop. One day I was listening to Sandy Bull, and a visiting Vietnam vet shared a great story with me. One day back in the late ’60s he was riding his bicycle through Mill Valley when he heard very, very loud music. He was able to locate the house it was coming from, and sat on the porch and listened for about three hours. Then the music stopped and he knocked on the door to thank the artist. Two very tall African women opened the door, traditionally dressed and very gorgeous. Then Sandy appeared, and was friendly, but also severely spacey. The house was empty with white walls and carpet. My friend was already familiar with Sandy’s music, and had attended some of the shows in San Francisco that Sandy was doing. He rode away on his bicycle, surprised and happy.

Sandy lived in Berkeley, Mill Valley and Fairfax in the ’60s and his best friend was Hamza El Din, the oudist from Egypt. What a special time these men had together. Hamza had arrived in the United States after opening for the Grateful Dead at the Pyramids. He is best known for his ’70s release Escalay (translated as “The Water Wheel”), which features Sandy playing an ancient beat on an ancient drum. In Escalay, Hamza wanted to translate the feelings of the folks whose role it was to haul water to and from the well. It’s the best cinematic folk music I’ve heard—when you listen to it alone you actually arrive at his homeland. The oud is the most gut-pounding stringed instrument I’ve heard: it sends out depthful waves, resonations that have bass where you wouldn’t expect it.

Still Valentine’s Day 1969: Live at the Matrix, San Francisco is a live album from 1969, and the result of Sandy pushing the limits by using an electric oud through about four different Fender amps, all with heavy reverb and vibrato. I really enjoy the entire collection of songs, and have spent some high times with them lately. The songs feel a little more blurry and druggy than on E Pluribus Unum, the 1968 studio album where a lot of them first appeared. Which I appreciate: I am getting stoned a lot, so I am currently looking for items to reflect that, that I respect. Yet I know he was into the junkier side of drug experimentations. I feel if the tapes were mixed track-by track, that it could expose some more low-end that might be now missing. Sandy had a degree in classical bass; he was highly skilled, and his bass lines are sometimes just as interesting as his oud.

Sandy’s shows are another discussion, but briefly, he wouldn’t play with anyone. So he recorded all the instrumentation on analog tape, and then figured a way to synch up each tape machine. He would then haul this to a gig, press play on everything, then rotate between electric oud and pedal steel. Sandy bootlegs are amazing and even funny, as he was so interesting—Sandy had a great style and it is rumored that William Burroughs saw Sandy and immediately copied his fashion; the Beatles song “Come Together” is actually about Sandy; etc. Anyway, Sandy told obscure funny stories between songs. This release has a small dialogue about the live sound engineer ; the un-mastered version I have actually has a huge wallop of stage feedback due to the lack of understanding by the evening’s sound engineer of just what Sandy was attempting in relation to amplified reverb. The feedback is a painful-sounding slash across the speakers, not interesting at all, and isn’t approved of by Sandy. The same thing regularly happens today in live performance—this realm has not progressed much, and the truth of it is that it’s the fault of people’s stagnant exchange with audio psychedelia. There’s been a lack of progression or maybe a lack of respect for the trade of sound engineering folk.

If you get to know the songs you can actually feel Sandy become elated with tonality as he plays here. Some may think his jams are light, or even beatnik. I think his jams are of the heaviest order, and I believe him to be Northern California’s greatest artist ever because he wasn’t a contrived enterprise. This music is a reflection of what was the norm in NorCal back then. People were learning about the strength of folk culture around the world, and using that knowledge to justify dropping out … and to drop out in colorful, musical ways.

Sunday night at The Cinefamily Silent Movie Theatre in L.A. – Jeff Perkins Psychotropic Light Show

“Light sculptures hover in space, slowly growing and merging into primitive, but at the same time, futuristic forms. The present, the rational world, is erased. Hypnotic, entrancing and unpredictable, they awaken the unconscious mind, and evoke primordial, inchoate existences pre-dating H. P. Lovecraft’s ancient Cthulu gods. The dreamer journeys into numberless spaces, worlds beyond comprehension which change and merge, collapse and grow into archetypes of a primeval, timeless connection with the fetal mind.” — Peter Mays

Alongside artists such as Nam Jun Paik and Yoko Ono, Jeff Perkins was a member of the Fluxus group in the mid-1960s and later in the early ’70s, an innovator and practitioner of psychedelic light shows as a member of California’s Single Wing Turquoise Bird (who played live along with rock bands like The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead). First performed in the late ’60s and early 70’s in Venice, CA, his light projection pieces are highly minimal but not at all static. This evening, Jeff will be performing a live set (with a special musical guest), using hundreds of slides and four projectors. The slow flickering dissolves, from patterns to minimal shapes, will optically trick the mind into thinking it’s a constant moving image — a show not to be missed.

Lights by Jeff Perkins with music by Taketo Shimada and Tres Warren:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2TLapgx1l4
Sunday, September 20th – 8PM
The Cinefamily Silent Movie Theatre
611 N Fairfax Avenue / Los Angeles, 90036
$13

Buy tickets here.

Heavy "Primal Dead" from October 12, 1968

19681011

In keeping with the Grateful Dead thread that happily resurfaces every so often here on Arthur, I’m offering up one of the heaviest bootlegs in my collection: A soundboard recording of October 12, 1968 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. It’s a show that came up in our “Listen to the Dead” story from 2005, and it’s my favorite single-disc representation of how monstrously weird this band used to be. Legendary taper Dick “Picks” Latvala is quoted on Deadlists saying that this is among his favorite performances, calling it “primal Dead.”

It’s a short show by Dead standards — just about 80 minutes — comprised entirely of CRUSHING jams. No folky “Sugar Magnolia” sing-a-long first set, not much noodly Phish bullshit and almost no sign of the gentle rainbow twirly groovin’ bear nonsense. Instead it’s near ambient passages that slowly gather speed and intensity before exploding into massive psychedelic earthquakes of rhythm that leave aftershocks of cosmic guitar lines shimmering through the air. This is the fearsome and messy STEAL YOUR FACE sound that people who compare the Dead to Royal Trux or Comets on Fire are talking about. A Dead show where you can see why Greg Ginn and the Black Flag dudes were into these guys.

Check the annotated setlist below. FYI the “>” is taper shorthand for songs joined together by “a defined jam or contiguous transition” so you get the idea how loose things get:

Set One (1) [0:23] % (2) [0:37] ; Dark Star [14:53] > Saint Stephen [4:51] > The Eleven [9:58] > Death Don’t Have No Mercy [7:#52] ; (3) [0:31]

Set Two Cryptical Envelopment [#1:28] > Drums [0:10] > The Other One [7:08] > Cryptical Envelopment [8:30] > New Potato Caboose [3:28] > Jam [3:11] > Drums (4) [1:35] > Jam (5) [7:12] > Feedback [7:15#]

A couple notes: Some Deadheads like to talk about how maybe Jimi Hendrix was hanging out in the wings during the show. As rumor has it he snubbed the band’s invite to check ’em out the night before — there was this girl and she had some acid and yadda yadda — and so they failed to invite him on to jam or something. Who knows if it’s true, but like the shows these guys played with the Allman Bros later in the ’70s, it’s fun to imagine such a ridiculous gathering of guitar avatars in one place.

People also complain about somebody who is just cold goin’ bananas with some kinda wood-stick percussion thing on “Dark Star,” all “ritzy-rit-ritzy-rit” outta rhythm with the rest of the band from time to time. Whoever it is walks up to a mic at some point and it gets really annoying in the front of your speakers for about 25 seconds but then it fades out, so just chill about that. It’s also a show where beloved keyboard slob Pigpen is not on stage — probably off getting wasted with Janis or something. Good for him!

You can stream the show over at Archive.org, or download it by clicking below.

The Grateful Dead – Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA – 1968-10-12 (320kbps)

More Dead on Arthur after the jump …

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Wednesday music: a 56-minute Grateful Dead Mix by Greg Davis

gratefuldeadmix

Download: Grateful Dead Mix, Vol 1 by Greg Davis mp3 (large file!)

the grateful dead
vol.1 mixed by greg davis
june 28th, 2005

1. feedback (live-fillmore west – 08/21/68)
2. china cat sunflower (from ‘aoxomoxoa’)
3. seastones (live-palace of fine arts – 11/28/73)
4. the main ten (from mickey hart’s ‘rolling thunder’)
5. ripple (from ‘american beauty’)
6. spidergawd (from jerry garcia’s ‘garcia’) + its good to be god rap (live-SF state acid test – 10/02/66)
7. that’s it for the other one (from ‘anthem of the sun’)
8. seastones (original fe. 1975 version) + what’s become of the baby (from ‘aoxomoxoa’)
9. new potato caboose (from ‘anthem of the sun’)
10. late for supper (from jerry garcia’s ‘garcia’) + nirvana army rap (live – SF state acid test – 10/02/66)
11. uncle john’s band (from ‘workingman’s dead’)
12. prankster sound collage #2 (live – SF state acid test – 10/02/66)
13. attics of my life (from ‘american beauty’)
14. prankster sound collage #3 (live-SF state acid test – 10/02/66) + fire on the mountain (mickey’s barn 1973)
15. st. stephen (live – harpur college – 05/02/70)
16. rolling thunder / shoshone invocation (from mickey hart’s ‘rolling thunder’) + seastones (live – 06/06/75)
17. we bid you goodnight (live-berkeley community theater – 08/15/71)

GREG DAVIS is a working musician. Here’s what he’s up to:

out now : ‘mutually arising’ cd on kranky
out now : ‘primes’ cd on autumn records
out now : sun circle ‘s/t’ lp on lichen / autumn

http://crystalvibrations.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/gregdavismusic
http://www.myspace.com/suncircle
http://www.myspace.com/cwgd

Headneck Bonanza: Doug Sahm live in 1972 with Leon Russell and the Dead


Sir Doug and Jerry Garcia, onstage in Austin. Photo: Steve Hopson


Our celebration of recently departed hippie-country music pioneer John “Marmaduke” Dawson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s legacy started a conversation about the history of “headneck” music: tunes beloved in equal measure to cowboys, hippies, bikers and all varieties of stoner hicks, country heads and longhaired rednecks.

Beyond the New Riders and the Dead, the consensus seems to be that Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel and Doug Sahm (in his many incarnations, from dusty Texas boogie, accordion-flecked Tex-Mex and sun-dappled Mill Valley country) represent some of the pinnacles of this rowdy sound. After a bit of digging around in the Google crates, we found one of the holy grails of headneck history over at The Adios Lounge: a bootleg recording of an impromptu 1972 Doug Sahm, Leon Russell, Jerry Garcia and Friends show at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas.

On Thanksgiving weekend in 1972 the Dead were in Austin, on tour of course, and they joined Sir Doug and country-time piano genius Leon Russell — you know his rollicking keys from session work with The Byrds, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, his oft-covered song “Superstar”; and you really should seek out the riches of his 1971 solo album, Leon Russell and the Shelter People, as the psych-out cover art is just the beginning — on stage for a couple hours of once-in-a-lifetime country grooves.


Genuine Texas groover Sahm with spliff and brew


At our request, Lance — the gracious proprietor of The Adios Lounge — has re-upped the whole two-and-a-half hour jam session full of songs from Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams, among many others. It’s a soundboard recording (A-/A for the tapers out there) full of Garcia’s lush pedal steel, Phil Lesh’s noodly bass, and fiddle duties handled by Marty Mary Egan and Thirteenth Floor Elevator (!?) Benny Thurman. Vocals are traded between Sahm, Garcia, Russell and what sounds like a room full of rowdy Texan headnecks having the time of their lives. “Holy shit” is right.

This is music for hot afternoons, sitting shirtless in the sun, chasing shots of green dragon with econo-brews and popping off at the empties with your “blaster of choice.” Many thanks to Lance for the re-post. Click here to go download yourself a copy.

Now who’s got the hook up on some vintage Commander Cody bootlegs? And “muchas Garcias” once again to longtime Arthur compadre Michael Simmons for initiating my search for this music.

Also: BONUS HEADNECK JAM after the jump …

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