Long day at work, all I wanna do is kick back and enjoy some Jerry! Right at the end of my shift I shoulda gone to the university like I often do... I shoulda gone for a run, it wouldn't a hurt me none. Instead, straight back here I came, to the comfort o' me house and I'm just gonna relax. I've got one Alaskan Stout opened, two more nicely chillin' and waitin' for me... they're calling my name... shhhh, little ones, your time will come soon!
It's been almost 10 days since I last posted a show. I don't like going that long without putting up something from somebody in the family. But I think I know why there's been the drought -- all the ungrateful downloaders out there, yes, you, you who grabs and goes without any appreciation whatso-freakin'-ever. Maybe I oughta put a different password on every download and whoever is Grateful enough, you'd have to e-mail me for it. And if you're not nice -- OFF WITH YOUR HEAD! Well, not really. No violence. But I am damn pissed that so many don't give a crap. And if Manchester, England returns -- OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!!! Well, not really... but what the hell? I guess it just goes to show that there's no Greater Community of Kind Deadheads anymore.
All this that I've done, all that I still wanna do, let's take a quick look at why the hell I do it... for my own personal satisfaction? No. If I shut this down right now I'd have less stress and more time to get back to other things in my life. But I keep on putting up with all the ungrateful BS because I believe in giving, man, I believe in hooking some people up with these great tunes... I believe in sharing. Just so sad that so many don't give two shits to say even one word -- Thanks.
Just so you know, if you love this music as I do, I'd still sit down and have a beer with ya.
And to those who have expressed gratitude -- Thank You for doing the stand-up thing. I appreciate your appreciation. Enjoy the music!
Think, Finders Keepers¹, The Harder They Come,
La-La, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)¹
¹ with Matt Kelly on harmonica
Bill Vitt, longtime drummer with Jerry outside of the Grateful Dead, played his last show less than a week before this benefit (for an unknown cause) at Berkeley. Into the seat hopped none other than some dude named Billy, Kreutzmann is it? Now Bill has sat in for Vitt several times before over the previous years so this gig isn't one that's exactly unfamiliar to him.
Also brand new to the band -- Martin Fierro on sax and flute. Now (again) this gig ain't exactly new to Martin either... he's also sat in a few times dating back to the summer before, or thereabouts. This show would be their third as members of the band... and this recording would be the first full show that exists with this new lineup. (The two nights prior to this, well, Night #2 (1/18/74) probably doesn't exist in its entirety and neither does Night #1 (1/17/74) but there is a compilation with the date of 1/17/74 that might be/is probably from those two nights combined ... but no one knows for sure and so it's just a guessing game.)
Think opens things up. Only the third known time this has been played by Jerry & Merl. The song would go on and have quite a long life, all the way up to the middle of the 2nd Set of the very last Jerry Garcia Band show in April 1995. Here it was just in its infancy but you'd never know it. At times this song is practically all about Merl, John Kahn on bass, and Billy on drums. So much room for Jerry to kick back and play Bobby, sort of, so to say, adding only a little rhythm guitar here and there while everyone else is doin' the majority of the music makin'. And then add into the mix Martin Fierro puttin' in his 2 cents worth on sax and it's like they've all been performing this song together for years.
Merl busts out some funk with Finders Keepers and this one's for dancin'! Very cool when special guest Matthew Kelly takes a solo on harmonica. No, he's not a new member like the others, but yet again, Matt's pretty comfortable up there as he's been a guest before, too. Harp solo done, time for Martin on sax. While those two did their thing, more time for Jerry to kick back and wait for his turn again. And, man, his turn is sweet! Every note is beautifully placed; Merl, Jerry, John and Billy have this instrumental in a total groove of perfection. Mmm!
The Harder They Come loses the funk but the groove remains the same. Again quite interesting the way Merl takes a solo, Martin takes one on sax, and Jerry just chills a bit. All the while John and Billy seem to be the ones really pushing this sucker along, never missing a beat. And then in comes Jerry again for some more of the spotlight. Round and round she goes, bein' in the Pauley Ballroom that night was the best place in the world to be, everybody there knows!
Another third known time played, La-La, brings things down to almost slow dance or light a joint and mellow out speed. This instrumental is definitely a change in the feel of the show. Martin switches from sax to flute and everyone plays this one almost quietly. Dixie Down keeps that slower pace going. Not as long as the previous songs, this little lagtime soon comes to an end.
While quite familiar and often played, How Sweet It Is still just hits the spot! And how sweeter it is when Matt Kelly comes back out for another go around on that harmonica of his! Perfect! The song doesn't go a whole lotta places in the jamming department but they rock it out for a great finish to this brief show.
Jerry's only time playing in the Pauley Ballroom at Berkeley is well worth every second ... but since it's so short, why listen just once? I've now listened about a half dozen times in the past few days and it gets better each time!
Sound Quality: a good solid A,
conservatively graded: A- ... liberally graded: A+
|1/19/74 - Jerry & Merl, UC Berkeley|