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#3 - Fire. This song is COMPLETELY  dependent on how inspired Garcia was at that moment. When he was ON it was inspiring, when he wasn't it felt repetitive - I mean there's no bridge, no key change - and God it could drag like a motherfucker. 

 

I agree and i feel the same about Franklin's Tower and to a lesser degree, Sugaree.  To be good to me they have to have huge crescendos and a driving rhythm section.  Otherwise its sluggish, repetitive and flat, to me.  The great ones are fantastic, but I get bored with most versions.

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I agree and i feel the same about Franklin's Tower and to a lesser degree, Sugaree.  To be good to me they have to have huge crescendos and a driving rhythm section.  Otherwise its sluggish, repetitive and flat, to me.  The great ones are fantastic, but I get bored with most versions.

Interesting. I've always much preferred the pre-hiatus Sugarees, especially '71-'72. I got so used to hearing those over the years that when I was exposed to the later versions, I felt they were overlong, and the crescendos a little embarrassing. I'm sure headyversion would confirm I'm in the minority on this one, though.

 

That's one of the greatest things about the Dead, how they had such a long career, and so much variation among the different versions of tunes, there's really something for everyone. My main admiration for Jerry as a player is how he so often played tasteful fills and solos that fit the songs perfectly. For the same reason, I prefer early versions of Deal to the latter shredfests (even aside from Jerry's vocal decline). But it's all "different strokes." Don't like Pigpen's lengthy covers of Lovelight with the rap in the middle? Jump ahead to Bobby's versions in the 80s. And so on, ad infinitum.

 

What do you guys who have listened to it think of the Pacific NW box? I've been working my way through, and I must say I'm finding scant bits of greatness for a pre-hiatus lover. I feel like the 6/22/73 and 5/19/74 shows are the main tentpole shows this beast was built around, but having listened to the first 3 shows, I only found a few versions I'm willing to use space on the iPhone for. Made a little list of my highlights so far, for those of you who are sorta into it, but need a reference guide. :lol

 

6/22/73 - Bird Song, He's Gone, Truckin'

6/24/73 - Loser, Mexicali, Stella Blue

6/26/73 - Row Jimmy, Playing, Black Peter

5/17/74 - Nobody's Fault Jam, Eyes>China Doll

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Interesting. I've always much preferred the pre-hiatus Sugarees, especially '71-'72. I got so used to hearing those over the years that when I was exposed to the later versions, I felt they were overlong, and the crescendos a little embarrassing. I'm sure headyversion would confirm I'm in the minority on this one, though.

 

 To me, like with so many Dead songs, those early versions of Sugaree are under-developed proto versions of what the song would become in 1977, which to me was its obvious peak.  I don't understand what is embarrassing about a crescendo unless you are taking that kind of thought that a concise guitar solo is better that a long one and that there is some kind of self-indulgence in long solos (I don't think that way), but like you said, people just like different stuff.  For me its not that longer is better, its that a passionate intense performance is better.  When that coincides with longer, that is what I really like.  Shorter versions can possibly be intense, but early versions of many songs were often played in a more tentative way, at least to me.  I get that there can be beauty in concise and crisp playing, but that was not really the Dead's strong suit, I don't think.

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I don't understand what is embarrassing about a crescendo unless you are taking that kind of thought that a concise guitar solo is better that a long one and that there is some kind of self-indulgence in long solos (I don't think that way), but like you said, people just like different stuff.  

For me, I love Jerry's playing the most when it's tasteful and suits the original spirit of the song. The two things he did that I liked the least are:

 

1) Overplaying fast stuff on songs that weren't that up-tempo (Deal, Sugaree, etc.). I can appreciate the wild and fast solos on Victim or the Crime; on mid-tempo songs, not so much.

 

2) A ton of "fanning" at the end of a crescendo (as often happened in Morning Dew. Sometimes too much really is too much). 

It's not that I'd turn off a '77 Sugaree, but I find that repetitive circling around a few notes he did in the post-hiatus versions to be very tedious. It actually reminds me of some of the Viola Lee Blues solos from the late 60s. Not my favorite Jer moments.

 

All that being said, the guy is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. Maybe "embarrassing" wasn't the right word in this context. "Silly" would be better. Bob Dylan once said of Mick Jagger's stage moves, "You don't have to do all that. It's way hipper and cooler to be Ray Charles, sitting there but still coming across." I feel that about what I described above. There's a part of me that feels like, "Come on, you're Jerry Garcia, man. You don't have to do all that!"

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For me, I love Jerry's playing the most when it's tasteful and suits the original spirit of the song. The two things he did that I liked the least are:

 

1) Overplaying fast stuff on songs that weren't that up-tempo (Deal, Sugaree, etc.). I can appreciate the wild and fast solos on Victim or the Crime; on mid-tempo songs, not so much.

 

2) A ton of "fanning" at the end of a crescendo (as often happened in Morning Dew. Sometimes too much really is too much). 

It's not that I'd turn off a '77 Sugaree, but I find that repetitive circling around a few notes he did in the post-hiatus versions to be very tedious. It actually reminds me of some of the Viola Lee Blues solos from the late 60s. Not my favorite Jer moments.

 

All that being said, the guy is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. Maybe "embarrassing" wasn't the right word in this context. "Silly" would be better. Bob Dylan once said of Mick Jagger's stage moves, "You don't have to do all that. It's way hipper and cooler to be Ray Charles, sitting there but still coming across." I feel that about what I described above. There's a part of me that feels like, "Come on, you're Jerry Garcia, man. You don't have to do all that!"

I've read pretty identical quotes of Jerry critiquing the Stones. Sounds like Jerry and Dylan discussed it. I'm not sure Jerry's pyrotechnics compare to Mick's gyrations, but interesting point. Safe moves they both relied on.

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And, an add: Bird Song. Yeah, it's awesome and all. But, the 1st set noodling on it sometimes left me antsy at shows.Seeing Garcia/Khan acoustic do it was different, though.

I loved the Jerry and John shows. Sometimes a hot mess, but there were always moments of brilliance in Jerry's playing.  I caught a Bird Song at the Bushnell in Hartford that went on for 20 mins.  

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I loved the Jerry and John shows. Sometimes a hot mess, but there were always moments of brilliance in Jerry's playing.  I caught a Bird Song at the Bushnell in Hartford that went on for 20 mins.  

Ha, I was at that Bushnell show! A buddy flipped out on acid during the Birdsong and left the venue...No lie.

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Ha, I was at that Bushnell show! A buddy flipped out on acid during the Birdsong and left the venue...No lie.

 

It was out there and the window panes were very strong at that time......or so Ive heard. :) Loved the Jerry shows at the Bushnell. Something good always seemed to happen at Hartford shows.

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Here is an "edited" version of 17 May 1974 Truckin'~NFBM~Eyes~China Doll Sugar Mag I assembled...

 

https://youtu.be/64_gAE2vCe0

 

Enjoy...

Very cool. 

 

This, for whatever reason, reminded me of one of my favorite '80s fluid combo of tunes, St. Paul, MN (7.10.81) from out of Space: 

 

Uncle John's Band->

Playin' in the Band->

China Doll->

Uncle John's Band->

Playin' in the Band->

 

https://archive.org/details/gd81-07-10.nak300.munder.7314.sbeok.shnf/gd81-07-10d3t02.shn

 

The whole 2nd set is fantastic, but the meat of it above is  the stand-out, imo.

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Listening to some great Legion of Mary shows, including the Garcia Live Vol. 3 from '74. Jerry was on fire in this period, but JFC, Merl Saunders should never have had a microphone in front of him. He sounds like he's gargling phlegm every time he sings anything!

It sounds weird to say, but he would have been a pretty decent, funky singer if not for the whole gargling phlegm thing.

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Listening to some great Legion of Mary shows, including the Garcia Live Vol. 3 from '74. Jerry was on fire in this period, but JFC, Merl Saunders should never have had a microphone in front of him. He sounds like he's gargling phlegm every time he sings anything!

It sounds weird to say, but he would have been a pretty decent, funky singer if not for the whole gargling phlegm thing.

Which shows? I was just listening to some and over on the JGB site, noting they played Boulder for an early/late date I'd never heard about....

 

ed. I saw Merl and his band play in Boulder the night of Garcia's death. It was pretty bittersweet, to say the least.

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Which shows? I was just listening to some and over on the JGB site, noting they played Boulder for an early/late date I'd never heard about....

 

ed. I saw Merl and his band play in Boulder the night of Garcia's death. It was pretty bittersweet, to say the least.

I have a playlist in iTunes I call "New To Library," which is stuff I own but haven't played yet. The most recent LOM show I listened to before the Garcia Live Vol. 3 show was 4/4/75, but the next ones in the queue are 4/7, 4/9 & 4/20 from that tour.

So, you know, I don't always listen to the shows I obtain in date order, but it looks like I might with these!

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^^We did a tour of that campus two yrs ago, beautiful place^^

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my oldest child starts college at CU Boulder this fall...She definitely could have chosen a worse location...

Nice. My wife graduated from there. We still take the dogs up there in the summer to hike up the Boulder Creek trail. Fun place to live, but housing costs are worse than Denver.

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I have two Math classes and one E.L.D. class that I teach per day. I always have them write the date in their notebooks/workbooks to start the day, and make sure to say the complete date  (month name, etc.) and then tell them they can abbreviate it in writing with numbers. 

 

In 2 of the 3 classes yesterday, when speaking the date in numbers, I accidentally said "5.8.77". I was summarily corrected by two groups of 9 and 10 year olds.

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