Owsley Stanley Foundation to Release Early Chieftains Live Recordings

Article Contributed by Dennis McNally | Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Owsley Stanley Foundation, in partnership with Claddagh Records and Universal Music Ireland, is pleased to announce the ninth release from Owsley’s storied archive of live concert recordings – Bear’s Sonic Journals: The Fox Hunt — The Chieftains Live in San Francisco, 1973 & 1976. These previously unreleased live concerts showcase the Irish band The Chieftains in 1973 on their first US tour, playing at the Boarding House in San Francisco on October 1 as the opener for Old and In the Way at the invitation of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, and then on their triumphant return in 1976, at the Great American Music Hall on May 5. A two-CD set and digital downloads of both the 1973 & 1976 shows, as well as a Vinyl edition of the full 1973 show will be available in stores and the usual digital platforms on September 2nd, but pre-sales begin today on OSF’s website (www.owsleystanleyfoundation.org).

"I love them both! They contain lovely subtleties that don't normally happen. They’re wild, with fire and personal touch,” said Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney in August 2021, after auditioning Bear’s complete Chieftains tapes. Maloney had long wanted to release Chieftains archival material from the early ‘70s, but hadn’t found tapes from that era that captured their full live sound -- until these. Paddy Maloney passed away on October 12th, 2021; this was the final album of previously unreleased live material he collaborated on.

Recorded by the Grateful Dead’s legendary soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the infamous LSD chemist, Owsley’s tapes have an uncanny ability to transport the listener to the room that night. Owsley’s tapes have long been considered some of the highest quality live concert recordings of his era; in particular, Bear’s 1973 recording of Old & In The Way is hailed as a benchmark, and this new Chieftains record from 1973 was recorded in the same venue just the week before, making it a must-listen for audiophiles.

This is the ninth chapter of the nonprofit OSF’s critically acclaimed Bear’s Sonic Journals.  Previous titles feature Doc & Merle Watson, the Allman Brothers, Jorma Kaukonen & Jack Casady (Hot Tuna), New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, Ali Akbar Khan and Zakir Hussain, Tim Buckley, and Johnny Cash.

The LP edition features the entire performance from October 1, 1973 at the Boarding House, while the 2-CD set contains two complete concerts -- nearly 2.5 hours of music -- from the 1973 show as well as the Great American Music Hall on May 5, 1976. CD Bonus tracks include Jerry Garcia discussing the Irish roots of American bluegrass music during a radio show he did with The Chieftains in 1973, and excerpts from OSF's extensive, in-person interview with Paddy Moloney from August 2021 -- sadly, his last major interview.

Both vinyl and CD formats feature a lavish booklet, including intricate original cover art by Dublin native Conor Campbell, calligraphy by Alembic's Mica Wickersham, previously unpublished photographs, and extensive liner notes featuring new interviews with Paddy Moloney, Ricky Skaggs, and legendary soundman Brian Masterson (of Windmill Lane Studios fame), and others.

“​The sound is beautifully wide and remarkably balanced. Take a bow, Mr. Owsley.” - Brian Masterson, founder, Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin

About the Owsley Stanley Foundation

The Owsley Stanley Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of “Bear’s Sonic Journals,” Owsley’s archive of more than 1,300 live concert soundboard recordings from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, including recordings by Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, and more than 80 other artists across nearly every musical idiom.