When I dig through old boxes or drawers I find interesting things. Ticket stubs, odd foreign currency, a Bic lighter from the 90’s. When Donna Jean Godcheaux did this, she found a full un-released live recording of Jerry Garcia and her performing in 1976 in Palo Alto, CA!
The performance was recorded at Sophie’s in Palo Alto, CA, which eventually became Keystone, Palo Alto. This is a previously unreleased and un-circulated performance that was only discovered in 2015 by former Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux.
A few weeks prior to the 1976 gig, Dead keyboardist Keith Godchaux was recruited by Garcia to join the group, along with Donna Jean on vocals. Rounded out by former Elvis Presley drummer Ron Tutt and John Kahn on bass, this line up performed almost 70 shows in 1976. One local critic said of the group, “More than any other Garcia band this one allows him room to run through all his guitar styles, often within a single song.”
The Jerry Garcia Band was often under-appreciated, yet an important outlet for Garcia’s wide ranging musical expressions. As much as the Grateful Dead pushed the limits of where live performances could go, the Jerry Garcia Band gave Garcia a forum to fully enable his insatiable curiosity by stretching out on a completely different playing field, with endless possibilities.
I got a chance to listen to the recording and I’m glad I did! The remaster is amazingly done. Considering this was recorded by the legendary Betty Cantor-Jackson (Google “Betty Boards”), I’m not that surprised the recording came out as tasty as it did. Donna gives a full description of how she came about these tapes in the current issue of RELIX Magazine.
When you sit down and listen to this recording you can hear the minimalist nature of the Garcia Band and can almost feel the intimate nature of the venue. Sadly, Sophie’s which became the legendary Keystone, is no more. After 50 years and multiple occupants, the building was demolished in 2014.
There are no “low-lights” only “high lights on this disc set. A little bit of Dead, a little bit of Jerry and a little bit of something else…and a whole lot of great stuff.
The Way You Do The Things You Do
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Who Was John?
Mission in the Rain
Stir It Up
Tore Up Over You
Friend of the Devil
Don’t Let Go
Stop That Train
Ride Mighty High