Sunday, April 20, 2008

Droppin' some GD ... for the first time ever, kind of...

Welcome to Volume 2 in this

Chronological Trip through the Grateful Dead

I might be kinda sorta spoiling a surprise for some of you out there but suck it up, junior, and get over it!

Here's what's goin' down -- I've decided to take a stroll through the history of the Grateful Dead from beginning to end... and this will, to a lesser degree, include All Things Garcia and a wee smattering of this & that along the way. I'm not putting a halt to posting shows from other years... this'll be like an every other Dead show posting kinda dealie-ma-bob sorta like this...

--a volume in the Chronological History Trip
--some other time period
--a volume in the Chronological History Trip
--some other time period

That's when it comes to Grateful Dead stuff. I also plan on, now and then, interjecting (posting up) anything else under the sun from within the GD family, you know: Jerry Band, Legion of Mary, Robert Hunter, Phil, Ratdoggie Dogg, Weir-Wasserman, "The Dead," The Other Ones, etc, etc, et-freakin'-cetera... lotsa side-projects through the years and post-Jerry, also... and I'd like to touch on all of them... with an emphasis on Garcia (like I have been doing.) So the Chronological History Trip will be in effect just not that that often. Catch my drift? Capiche? Okay, good.

Almost two weeks ago I started this adventure with some pre-Grateful Dead -- their studio demo for Autumn Records when they were The Warlocks, before the Grateful Dead name was ever born.

Now I'd be willing to bet the national debt for the current year, and for every year until the end of time, that I'll never actually get through all the material there is... but I'm gonna try. With any luck, the medical powers that be will invent the magical elixir allowing us all to live to the ripe old age of, oh, 420 or so... and maybe by that time I'll have made a noticeable dent in this project.

But for now it's onward with merely the second step in this groovy journey. Today's volume for your listening pleasure: a double dose of Acid Testing... so grab your LSD and hang on, kiddies, this is a neat-o ride!



Grateful Dead - 1966 on Haight Street, San Francisco

Grateful Dead -- January 8, 1966
Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco
The Fillmore Acid Test

Stage Chaos/More Power
I'm A King Bee
I'm A Hog For You, Baby
Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks)
Death Don't Have No Mercy
The Star-Spangled Banner


Up at the Fillmore Auditorium, Ken Kesey's Acid Test event was in action when I got there around the middle of the evening. The people were like the backstage crowd at the California Hall dance (that the Airplane played the same night.) The costumes were, wow! A strobe light was flickering at a very high frequency in one corner of the hall and a group of people were bouncing a golden balloon up and down in it. It was a most perturbing frequency. It hurt to look at them.

In one corner there was a piece of metal, tubular sculpture by Ron Boise, a thumping machine. If you hit it, you got different sounds if you hit it different places. There was a lot of electronic equipment which sent out a low reverberation that resonated throughout the hall. And the whole place was filled with streamers and balloons. There were TV cameras and a TV screen, and you could see yourself in it. Onstage there was a rock group; anybody could play with them. It was a kind of social jam session.

A guy in a white mechanic's suit with a black cross on the front, and on the back a sign saying 'Please Don't Believe in Magic', ran up and down all night. Oh wow! Periodically the lights went out and everybody cheered. Giant Frisbees, balloons like basketballs, acrobats, girls in felt eyelashes four inches long, people with eyes painted on their foreheads, glasses low on the nose with eyes painted on them, men with foxes on their shoulders! Wow!
--Michael Rossman (S.F. Chronicle, 1/66)


I've got a feeling that doesn't even truly begin to describe half of what was going on in the Fillmore Auditorium that night in early January, 1966.

According to sketchy information known about those first months of the Grateful Dead, this is about their fifth show or so with that name. This is also, so far as I can tell, the first recording we have with that name (nothing from December of '65 exists that we know of.)

After the insanity on stage, apparently when things were getting set up for band to play, we're treated to a fine and beautifully bluesy King Bee. Just so sweet to groove to and NOTHING like what's on their Autumn Records demo from a couple months before this.

I'm A Hog For You plays more like a pop song that could have been on that demo... makes me think Beach Boys more than a 30 minute Dark Star. Through the years other Leiber and Stoller tunes would be rolled out by the Dead and by Bobby, such as: Searchin', Youngblood, Poison Ivy and Kansas City.

It's almost strange to follow up Leiber and Stoller with some very Primitive Dead in Caution. This is the earlier studio version done proper with room for Pig to be Pig and Jerry to have fun on guitar, with Pigpen on harmonica playing off him. Great to hear them open it up and have fun with it a lot more than within the confines of the song used on the demo.

A splice in the recording almost makes it sound as if Caution goes into Death Don't Have No Mercy ... and while this might have been the case, we can't really know for sure. More Jerry here, completely shinin' on guitar. Oh mannnn... so nice! When Jerry takes it easy it's Phil, Mickey and Pigpen leading the way while Jerry waits for his spot. But where's Bobby? I seriously can't hear him at all. Did he even know how to play guitar yet? Maybe the LSD kinda sorta disabled him from any musical participation. Who knows.

A very cool set of music.
Plus there's comedy, too -- keep listening after Death Don't for what is a total treat, something to match the lunacy to kick off the recording! Yeah, only four songs but this is history, pure history. What's here is priceless above and beyond any note of music that would ever follow from this band.

1/8/66 at Archive.org

the soundboard

for listening only

-or-

TINY STEAL YOUR FACE Download It Right Here TINY STEAL YOUR FACE

GD: 1/8/66 Fillmore Acid Test
1-8-66 aka 01-08-66 aka 1/8/66 aka 01/08/66 aka 66-01-08 320 kbps mp3 download and setlist
Ken Kesey - date unknown (late 60's?)
Ken Kesey, undated

Bonus Time
this is not the Grateful Dead but reportedly Jerry and Pigpen were there... not that that really means much because I don't think they're on the recording anywhere... but it's cool none-the-less. This isn't one of the larger Acid Tests with masses of people and a band and craziness up the wazoo, apparently it's more of a recording session in a studio, to cut an LP for personal listening... and tripping and such.

Ken Kesey
And The
Merry Pranksters

Sound City Acid Test

January 29, 1966

363 6th Street
San Francisco
Ken Kesey interviewed by Frank Fey
Ken Babbs and harmonica
Take Two: Ken Kesey
Bull
Peggy The Pistol
One-way Ticket
Bells and Fairies
Levitation
Trip X
The End

Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady, undated
perhaps from an acid test


1/29/66 @ Archive.org:
for listening only

-or-

MUSIC NOTE Download It Right Here MUSIC NOTE
Sound City Acid Test -- 1/29/66

Uncle Sam - Can You Pass The Acid Test? psychedelic design

9 comments:

henryband said...

This is gonna be good! Thanks for all of the Dead-keep the early ('66-'74) stuff comin'!

Bob said...

This was when the Newport Folk Festival was still big. Dylan just went electric and Rev. Gary Davis lighted up the '65 festival with Death Don't Have No Mercy.

I can easily see early Dead having this in their repertoire so early on. Of course, Samson and Delilah would be added later.

The Dead always were influenced by the popular tunes of the time (i.e. Bobby McGee).

I look forward to your journey here.

Abbadon said...

Jerry Band, Legion of Mary, Robert Hunter, Phil, Ratdoggie Dogg, Weir-Wasserman, "The Dead," The Other Ones, etc, etc, et-freakin'-cetera... lotsa side-projects through the years and post-Jerry, also...

And the NRPS, man, the NRPS...

Abbadon said...

And the Dinosaurs (RH was a founding member).

Anonymous said...

Hey - first off - THANKS for all the great shows etc!!
I have been stopping by everyonce in a while and plan to stop more. PLEASE up some weir/wasserman - usually not much of a weir fan but love the duo - had a great show from Kauai on maxell that i would love to get on mp3 but would love any bob/rob. THANKS for all your hard work!!

azrag

Abbadon said...

Kingfish.

Heart of Gold Band.

Oh, hell, here:

http://www.deaddisc.com/GDFD_Related.htm

Zooomabooma said...

Global Drum Project
Planet Drum
Mystery Box
Rhythm Devils
Diga Rhythm Band
Mickey Hart Band
Bob Weir Band
Bobby & The Midnites
Go Ahead
Crusader Rabbit Stealth Band
Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band
Reconstruction
Garcia-Saunders
Garcia-Grisman

Hmmm, ya know, the "etc, etc, et-freakin'-cetera..." covered all of those!

But thanks, chief!

Anonymous said...

donna and the tricksters also

Nik said...

Hey, this is nik from LJ. Thanks for the link! Looking forward to trying the Dead out :)

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

 
Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated