However, Ross has done some critical research in contemporary Berkeley papers, and his Comments were so revealing, I am posting them in their entirety. To summarize, however, we have some good evidence about a number of events:
- A hitherto unknown performance by the New Riders of the Purple Sage on Wednesday, August 13, 1969 at the Family Dog On The Great Highway, billed as part of a "Hoe Down" with the New Lost City Ramblers
- A firm identification of Jerry Garcia at a meeting of the Family Dog on Tuesday, August 19, which would explain Dennis McNally listing the date, even if it is unlikely that Garcia played, and
- The likelihood that the Family Dog was being used by musicians for public jam sessions during the day, which sheds an entirely different light on August 28, 1969
Part 1: My comment is going to be a mixture of fact and speculation. I have not checked with Jerry Garcia’s Middle Finger http://jgmf.blogspot.com/ but have looked at the Jerry Site regarding various dates in August 1969 and this post – and the associated scanned evidence which will have been mailed by the time you read this – will resolve or speculate to resolve:
(a) Propose an alternate solution for the August 28, 1969 tape – based upon something confirmed shouted by Jerry Garcia on August 19, 1969 – seemingly confirming that the Grateful Dead returned to San Francisco right after Woodstock.
(b) Provide a rationale for the removal, or at least annotation of, the tentative Tuesday, August 19, 1969 date from the Jerry Site.
(c) The erroneous use of the word “Tuesday” in the Berkeley Tribe.
(d) A new date for the New Riders of The Purple Sage, with “Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and starring the fair-haired John Dawson on vocal and acoustical (sic) guitar”.
Part 2: The story starts around 6:00 am UK time this morning. With a cup of tea in hand I set about reading the overnight postings from Corry and found this article speculating on the August 28, 1969 Hartbeats tape. As ever, the conjecture was well founded. After hunting through the relevant copies of the Berkeley Barb, San Francisco Good Times and the Berkeley Tribe to no avail, I stumbled in to an article I must have only read recently and somehow not taken in. It sat immediately below a piece on the Wild West Festival which I recalled scanning only a few weeks ago. I am unable to post the article as part of a comment, but will e-mail it to both Corry and Joe this morning. So for now I shall quote from the article.
The piece appears on pp5 and pp24 of the August 22-29, 1969 Berkeley Tribe – anything contained in parenthesis within quotations has been added by me.
Our story begins: “It was Tuesday afternoon (August 19, 1969 – a known date of the meeting of the Common) at the Family Dog.” Just to be clear to some readers who may not be totally au fait with the location, the Family Dog had relocated from the Avalon Ballroom to the Family Dog at the Beach on the Great Highway by this time.
So attempting to address the four issues noted above in order:
(a) The second paragraph is what prompted me to write this, and I quote: “Nights? Nights?” Jerry Garcia was shouting, “what about during the day? We got musicians running around looking for a place to jam – why not here?”. The article then goes on to discuss various matters including the previous week’s hoe down, the following week’s light show and tape experience and generally encourage folk to come together to rejuvenate what was clearly a waning scene. So how about this: What if Chet did take Jerry’s advice and opened up the Great Highway for musicians to jam during the days? What if this tape is from August 28, 1969 and was recorded in the afternoon – when Andy Kulberg, or any one else for that matter, would likely have no binding commitments? Reading this article has raised an issue that I had never considered before – that maybe there were daytime jams with a “hanging out” style audience at the Family Dog. This would suit the itinerant musician Garcia. We know that the venue was used for meetings during the days – and meetings of the Common were reasonably well recorded.
(b) I am going to take a flyer that the tentative date on the Jerry Site was originally sourced from someone reading this article, figuring out that Jerry was there during the day – reading a review of the NRPS appearance with the erroneous “Tuesday” and mistakenly assuming a NRPS show on the same date. As I will explain below, the “Tuesday” should have been a “Wednesday” and on the basis I would either annotate or remove the reference to a NRPS show on this date. However, I could imagine future prosopographers speculating that we now have evidence of Jerry returning to San Francisco immediately after Woodstock, and of Jerry being at the Common meeting in the same building earlier in the day, then it would not be unreasonable to assume that he took to the stage, guitar in hand, later that evening. There is nothing to substantiate that – but I would guess it could be speculated that it happened that way.
(c) About a quarter of the way in to the article discussion begins “Last Tuesday (August 12, 1969) night, the Common put on a good ol’ hoedown. The dance hall was transformed in to a psychedelic barn with bales of hay, charcoal-roasted corn at ten cents a hit, and the New Lost City Ramblers (who were scheduled to play the Family Dog on August 15 and 16 with Mike Bloomfield & Nick Gravenites, Southern Comfort, Devil's Kitchen and Taj Mahal). Now the hoedown and square dance is a well documented event with a handbill circulating. I don’t have a copy to scan but it does appear in Eric King’s book as FD-690813 – and the date can be clearly seen as August 13. This is key to fixing the date. The hoedown had been advertised in the press and on a handbill as August 13, which was a Wednesday rather than a Tuesday. As such I consider the use, by Art Johnson of the Berkeley Tribe, of the word “Tuesday” in relation to the hoedown and square dance was erroneous – and probably led to an incorrect entry being made in to the database at the Jerry Site.
(d) So hopefully I have now established the date of the hoedown, square dance, hayride and apple bob put on by the Common as Wednesday August 13, 1969. So to continue. The article then has a lengthy paragraph discussing a barter system that folks with no money could use for entry. This is then followed by the following eye watering paragraph: “At the square dance Tuesday (should be Wednesday as shown above) a new San Francisco band made its debut (not quite a debut but certainly an early show). The New Riders of the Old Purple Sage, with Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and starring the fair-haired John Dawson on vocal and acoustical (sic) guitar. The sound was as smooth as the Dead is, yet it had this sweet country pulse and tune that made you swoon.” Too good to be true. Again I think reasonable justification for the erroneous Jerry Site date. I did for a lingering moment think that the Tuesday referred to in the above quotation could have been August 19, but the following paragraph discusses the previous week’s event, a sock hop put on by Fuzzy Dice Productions. That was held on Thursday August 7 – and again it is well documented.
Although it is still pretty early on a Sunday morning, I am reasonably comfortable with these ramblings. Ross.
Ross insights lead me to a few interesting follow up points.
- The August 13, 1969 "Hoe Down" show is known from an existing flyer, but no acts were listed. Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers were playing the weekend show at the Family Dog, so its plausible that they were in town early. In 1992, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman released their cd Not For Kids Only, an album modeled directly on the work of Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers. Its interesting to see that Garcia actually shared a bill with him.
- As Ross points out, we know that Jerry Garcia was at a meeting at the Family Dog on August 19, but we don't know if he--or anyone--played. Probably not, but we know he was there...
- If the Thursday, August 28 show was a musicians jam session held during the day, all sorts of mysteries become clearer. The show was never advertised because it wasn't really a show, beyond the fact that a few casual fans wandered by. If it were an afternoon show, working musicians like Howard Wales or Andy Kulberg (if he was indeed the flautist) would have no interference from their nighttime gigs.
- The mysterious September 7 jam tape (rock and roll oldies with the Hartbeats, Jack, Jorma and Joey Covington) might be more likely to be in the afternoon than in the evening.
- I have always dismissed the Thursday, September 11, 1969 date at the Family Dog as an illusion: it was a Thursday, it wasn't advertised, and it made no sense. I'm changing my tune. While the tape itself is a bit of mystery--a nicely recorded audience tape of a single tune, "Easy Wind," with an earlier, simpler arrangement and a guest slide guitarist--the date suddenly makes lots of sense. If it was a Thursday afternoon jam session, some Dead members were there and played some music. It was never advertised, because it wasn't a show, and it was more of a "Hartbeats" event (if you will) than a Dead show. I'd still like to know what happened to the rest of the tape, but it may not be a Grateful Dead tape at all.
- Incidentally, if my supposition about September 11, 1969 is correct, the guest slide guitarist could be anyone in the Bay Area. I have always dismissed the idea that it was Jorma Kaukonen, as he didn't play slide much at the time (or ever, really). Since everyone is eligible as a possible guest, I'm going to nominate one Robbie Stokes. Stokes was the lead guitarist for a band called Devil's Kitchen, who had relocated to the Bay Area from Carbondale, IL and had become the house band at the Family Dog. Since their equipment was permanently set up there, they jammed regularly with visitors. Stokes, an excellent slide guitarist, went on to move to Marin County, and played on Mickey Hart's Rolling Thunder and Robert Hunter's Tales of The Great Rum Runners.