June 26, 2010

Playlist Week of 6-26-10

* Venice Baroque Orchestra (Marcon/Carmignola): Concerto Veneziano (Archiv Prod. CD)
* Venice Baroque Orchestra (Marcon/Carmignola): Concerto Italiano (Archiv Prod. CD)
* A. Scarlatti: Il Gardino di Rose (Accademia Bizantina/Dantone) (Decca SACD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics 2 CD)
* J.S. Bach: The Works for Lute (Kirchhoff) (Sony Classical 2CD)
* J.S. Bach: Violin Sonatas (Manze/Egarr/ter Linden) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* John Patton: Accent on the Blues (Blue Note CD)
* Bobby Hutcherson: The Kicker (Blue Note CD)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Dialogue (Blue Note CD)
* Sun Ra: Slug’s Saloon 6-07-72 (AUD 2CDR)
* Sun Ra: Slug’s Saloon 8-19-72 (AUD 3CDR)
* Sun Ra: Lanquidity (Saturn/Evidence CD)
* Herbie Hancock/Wayne Shorter Quartet: Theatre du Chatelat, Paris 7-04-04 (FM 2CDR)
* Anthony Braxton 12+1tet: 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 (d.4) (Firehouse 12 9CD+DVD)
* Olu Dara: Neighborhoods (Atlantic CD)
* Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You (Atlantic/MFSL CD)
* Led Zeppelin: Mothership (Atlantic 2CD)
* Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority (Rhino 2LP)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol.3, No.3: Fillmore East 5-15-70 (GD/Rhino 3+1CD)
* Grateful Dead: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 9-08-91 (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 9-09-91 (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY 9-10-91 (SBD 3CDR)
* New Riders of the Purple Sage: Fillmore East, New York, NY 5-15-70 (SBD 2CDR)
* The Band: Rock of Ages (Capitol/MFSL SACD)
* Van Morrison: Wavelength (Polydor CD)
* Can: Soon Over Babaluma (Spoon SACD)
* Talking Heads: 77 (Sire/Warner Bros. DVD-A)
* Robert Pollard: We All Got Out of the Army (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Robert Pollard: Moses on a Snail (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Radiohead: Amnesiac (Capitol CD)
* Radiohead: “Pyramid Song” (Capitol CDEP)
* Radiohead: “Knives Out” (Capitol CDEP)
* Animal Collective: Campfire Songs (Paw-Tracks CD)
* Animal Collective: Here Comes the Indian (Paw-Tracks CD)
* Animal Collective: Sung Tongs (Fat Cat CD)


The new Road Trips is the first three-discer in the series (actually, four discs including the limited “bonus disc” -- more on that later). It contains most of the Grateful Dead’s epic performance at the Fillmore East on May 15, 1970, a classic show that has circulated widely in trading circles for forever. One has to ask: is it worth it? In my estimation: for a measly twenty-five bucks, yes. The sound quality is much improved, being sourced from the original vault masters and while purists may squawk about the editing decisions and the use of dynamic range compression, it is a smooth, coherent presentation of this music.

And what music! Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter were writing whole batches of wonderful new songs that drew on their shared interest in old-time string band styles; Grateful Dead concerts were starting to sound more overtly country than outrĂ© psychedelic. By the spring of 1970, they were opening their concerts with intimate acoustic sets wherein these new songs were introduced (“Uncle John’s Band”; “Black Peter”; “Friend of the Devil”); obscure covers were given impromptu airings (“Long Black Limousine”; “The Ballad of Casey Jones”; “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”); and ending with a white gospel standard (“Cold Jordan” or “A Voice from On High”). Their touring companions, New Riders of the Purple Sage, would then play a set featuring Garcia on tangy pedal steel (!) and the Grateful Dead would conclude the evening with two more electric sets peppered with more of these tantalizing Garcia/Hunter tunes which sound like they were already a hundred years old (“Cumberland Blues”; “Dire Wolf”).

The pair were an uncannily copasetic songwriting team and the subsequent outpouring of songs came to define Garcia’s musical persona. But here Garcia is still trying to find his singing voice, affecting at times a faux-southern accent or at other times reverting to the acidized howl of the primal period. It would take another year or so for Garcia to grow into these songs. Even so, this set is a delight from beginning to end. The casual banter between the band and audience is charming and Pigpen is in fine form throughout, but especially on the concluding thirty-minute rave-up, “Turn On Your Lovelight,” hectoring the audience to “take your hands out of your pockets and do something!” while the band rages away modally behind him. Good stuff. Despite the good-timey vibe, if you listen closely you can hear the ghosts of Kent State hovering over the proceedings in the startlingly volatile outbursts of “off the pigs” and other counter-cultural rhetoric emanating from the stage from time to time. It was the ugly end of a utopian era -- and the beginning of a modern, professionalized Grateful Dead. In later years they would say almost nothing to the audience for fear of undue influence on their rabidly devoted (and possibly chemically altered) fans.

The annoyingly ultra-limited edition “bonus disc” is, of course, essential, containing six more songs from the May 15 concert, including gorgeous renditions of then-new Garcia/Hunter songs, “Candyman” and “Attics of My Life” as well as an electrifying forty-plus minutes from the previous night’s show in St. Louis. These things go out of print quickly, so if you’re interested in having the whole enchilada, you better act now. Even if the bonus discs are all gone, Road Trips Vol.3, No.3 is definitely top shelf Grateful Dead. Only available at dead.net.


Sam said...

Well, all I can say is that it's a good gaddam thing I'm not a completist! Else I would be anxious and depressed all the time. This whole limited-edition thing would drive me nuts. As it is, I just don't have the pocket change to lay out for this stuff. Oh well. Fun to read what you have to say about it all, though!

Here's my list from last week:

Playlist 2010-06-28

*Art Ensemble of Chicago: The Alternate Express
*Paul Bley/John Gilmore/Paul Motian/Gary Peacock: Turning Point
*John Coltrane: My Favorite Things: Coltrane at Newport
*Cooper-Moore: Deep in the Neighborhood of History and Influence
*New Loft: 2010-04-21 "Extra Inning" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-04-28 "Splint" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-05-05 "Culture Property" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-05-12 "Arbitrary Rest Area" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-06-09 "Station Dreams" (wav)
*New Loft: 2010-06-23 "A Lot of Jazz Under the Bridge" (wav)
*Sun Ra: An Evening with Sun Ra, vol. 3 (cassette compilation)
*Sun Ra: 1972-06-07 Slug's (CDR) disc 1
*Sun Ra: 1972-08-19 Slug's (CDR)
*Sun Ra: Space is the Place (Blue Thumb) side 1
*Cecil Taylor Unit: One Too Many Salty Swift and Not Goodbye
*Cecil Taylor & Derek Bailey: Pleistozaen Mit Wasser
*Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley: Leaf Palm Hand
*Cecil Taylor: 1989-10-22 Macedonia (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: In Florescence
*Cecil Taylor Quartet: Nailed
*Cecil Taylor Ensemble: 1993-07-18 Austria (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor Ensemble: Always a Pleasure
*Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion
*Bollywood compilation, from soundtracks at "Music From the Third Floor" disc 13
*Boredoms: Live on KLXU Radio (1995) (mp3)
*Cold Blood: compilation CD
*Grateful Dead: 1970-06-24 Capitol Theater, 2nd set (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: 1972-04-29 Hamburg (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: Crimson, White & Indigo
*Pere Ubu: The Tenement Year
*Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
*Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: I Learned the Hard Way
*Sean O'Hagan: High Llamas
*Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St. (deluxe ed., remastered)

Reading log 2010-06-28

*Bath, John. On With the Story (started)
*Heatley, David. My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (started)
*Bachman, Richard (Stephen King). Blaze (finished)
*Marias, Javier. Your Face Tomorrow, vol. 1: Fever and Spear (finished)
*Larson, Gary. The Complete Far Side (in progress)
*Musil, Robert. Man Without Qualities (in progress)
*Palmer, Robert. Blues and Chaos (in progress)

Sam said...

..and of course, that's "Barth," not "Bath."

Rodger Coleman said...

Yeah, well, being a completist is kind of a hassle, that's for sure. But the record-collector in me appreciates the effort. The GD are like food, a necessary expense!

Speaking of the GD, I see "Crimson, White & Indigo" on your list. Do you have that? What did you think? I raved about after listening to it/watching it once, but haven't listened to it since. That "Scarlet>Fire" is excellent -- I remember that!

BTW, I covet your CT-Berlin box...(forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned!)...I told you about being denied a copy at Tower in Boston back in the day, right? I should try to obtain the individual CDs before they all disappear!

Sam said...

Hey, no, you never told me about being denied a copy! What, not hip enough? heh heh --so, what happened?

My buddy Cal lent me "Crimson" and I gave it a listen. I'm not as much of a late-Dead fan as you (or he) is..."Iko Iko" just doesn't cut it for me...but Jerry was doing great stuff at this show. I thought "Let it grow" was the strongest track, and yes, the Scarlet>Fire is really strong.