In the continued year-long celebration of the late Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday, a special sold-out concert celebration has been announced for August 4 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and GarciaLive Volume Nine: August 11, 1974 – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders (Round Records/ATO Records) is set for release on July 28.
GarciaLive Volume Nine is the latest installment of the celebrated GarciaLive archival series. The two-CD set was recorded at the legendary Keystone in Berkeley, CA and features Jerry Garcia collaborating with revered keyboardist/vocalist Merl Saunders, who was as much a mentor as he was a dear friend to the iconic guitarist. The band lineup is filled out with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Martin Fierro on flute and saxophone and longtime Garcia collaborator John Kahn on bass. Relix just premiered “The Harder They Come” which can be heard HERE.
Saunders had a profound influence on Garcia and, among many other things, inspired the legendary guitarist to interpret standards and covers. This had a powerful impact on Garcia’s approach to his repertoire outside of the Dead as well as inside. In an interview, Garcia once said about Saunders’ influence, “He filled me in on all those years of things I didn't do. I'd never played any standards; I'd never played in dance bands. I never had any approach to the world of regular, straight music. He knows all the standards, and he taught me how bebop works. He taught me music.”
Part of that teaching was bringing songs such as Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” into the fold. The performance burns on this set and became a staple through the remainder of Garcia’s time. Saunders also brought in a current hit from the day with The Four Tops’ “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)”. Performed only four times by the band, this R&B classic receives a 17-minute reimagined treatment featuring Garcia’s fiery virtuosity intertwined with Fierro’s masterful flute playing. This quintet is a force that exudes a soulful energy throughout the set on classics such as “(I’m A) Road Runner”, “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” and “Mystery Train”. (See full set list below.)
1974 would be a highly productive year for Garcia with the release of the Grateful Dead’s classic From The Mars Hotel and his second solo album Garcia (Compliments Of). The Dead would be getting ready to record the highly acclaimed Blues For Allah as they went into an almost year-long hiatus in 1975, playing only four shows. As active as Garcia was during this period, it was as if everything stood still whenever he and Saunders got together, and it clearly showed with this band on that night in August 1974 in Berkeley.
To preorder GarciaLive Volume Nine: August 11, 1974 – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders, go to: jerrygarcia.shop.musictoday.com.
August 1st will mark Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday and in celebration a special event has been announced for August 4 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. The Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Concert, which sold out immediately, will feature Bob Weir & The Campfire Band, comprised of The National’s Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf with Josh Kaufman, Steve Kimock and Jon Shaw. Also featured will be The Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Band featuring Melvin Seals, Jackie Labranch, Gloria Jones, Oteil Burbridge, Kamasi Washington, Tom Hamilton and Duane Trucks. A few more surprises to be announced soon.
On a “feel good” note, decades after Jerry Garcia’s famed Wolf guitar was last played by the revolutionary artist, Wolf remains an instrument for change. Recently, the famed guitar broke the record for the most money generated by a single guitar at auction by selling for 1.6 million dollars, with a silent matching donation, bringing it to an incredible 3.2 million dollars! All proceeds from the auction were donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
GarciaLive Volume Nine
August 11, 1974 – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders
Disc I // Set I
1. THAT’S WHAT LOVE WILL MAKE YOU DO [13:14]
(Henderson Thigpen/James Banks/Eddy Marion)
2. LA LA [17:06]
3. IT AIN’T NO USE [10:57]
(Jerry Williams/Gary Bonds/Don Hollinger)
4. MYSTERY TRAIN [13:33]
(Herman Parker/Sam C. Phillips)
Disc II // Set II
1. THE HARDER THEY COME [19:10]
2. AIN’T NO WOMAN (LIKE THE ONE I’VE GOT) [17:01]
(Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter)
3. IT’S TOO LATE [9:06]
4. (I’M A) ROAD RUNNER [10:43]
(Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland)
5. THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN [6:34]