Archive for Jerry Garcia

Texas Thanksgiving – Live from the Armadillo

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2012 by 30daysout

Armadillo World HQ poster by Jim Franklin

Editor’s Note: This is a blog post that originally appeared in 2010, repeated here in case you can’t get home to the Armadillo this holiday season.

Long as I can remember, the corner of Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road in Austin, Texas,  has been a Thanksgiving Day oasis.  Today of course that’s the location of Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a down-home restaurant with killer chicken-fried steak and the best tattooed waitresses in town.  And yes, they are open on Thanksgiving Day: usually the place is packed by 11 a.m. and although no reservations are necessary you can expect to wait at least an hour before being seated.

Doug Sahm in the 1990s (Photo by Scott Newton/KRLU)

This Threadgill’s is also the living descendant of the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters, the city’s top music venue in the 1970s and the spiritual heart of the Austin music scene.  Many of the top touring acts of the era played there, as well as Lone Star legends like Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Joe Ely, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Delbert McClinton and many more.  One of the house favorites was Doug Sahm, the unofficial State Musician of Texas.

In 1972 Sahm decided to look up some of his friends and play a giant Thanksgiving show at the Armadillo.  He enlisted a who’s who of Austin musicians and added ace keyboardist Leon Russell.  Then he learned the Grateful Dead would be in town for a gig the night before; Sahm and the Dead went back a ways, so he gave them a call too.

Armadillo World HQ, back in the day (Photo by Steve Hopson)

So on November 23, 1972, Doug Sahm and his all-star band – including the Dead’s Jerry Garcia on steel guitar and Phil Lesh on bass – took the stage at the Armadillo and delivered a sonic feast of country, R&B, early rock ‘n’ roll, honky tonk, blues, bluegrass and Bob Dylan.  Somebody in the house had the foresight to roll tape from the soundboard, the recording of that show has been a sought-after souvenir for many years.

Thanks to a number of sources (mainly the excellent blog The Adios Lounge) you can download and hear the entire show here.  Think of it as a little thank-you gift to you, our loyal readers.  Being a soundboard recording from the early 1970s, the sound isn’t perfect but it’s a great way to celebrate a holiday.  The full set list is included in the download, and we’ll give you a few samples so you can decide if you want the whole meal.

Thanksgiving Jam samples

MP3: “Wild Side Of Life”

MP3: “Me and Bobby McGee”

MP3: “Swingin’ Doors”

MP3: “Roll Over Beethoven/Good Golly Miss Molly”

The Full Show (ZIP file)

MP3: Doug Sahm’s Thanksgiving Jam, 11/23/1972 entire show (269 MB)

Armadillo photo by Steve Hopson – here is his website

From “Armadillo Comix” by Jaxon

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , on August 1, 2012 by 30daysout

Jerry Garcia (Sculpture in Hard Rock Cafe, New York City)

Jerry Garcia as a guitarist maybe wasn’t as flashy as a Jimmy Page or a Jimi Hendrix, but he was nevertheless just as influential. As the main man of The Grateful Dead, and as a solo artist, Garcia always seemed to find a comfortable groove in any song, no matter if it was rock, country, blues or jazz.

Beyond his singing, guitar playing and songwriting (Garcia co-wrote many of the Dead’s songs with lyricist Robert Hunter), Jerry Garcia is most important in helping establish rock and roll as an art form best experienced live and in person.

The Grateful Dead’s legendary live shows, with large chunks of improvised performance, are noteworthy for their sheer passion and depth of virtuosity, if not also for their length. You hear about Bruce Springsteen playing some four-hour concert somewhere, just know that long ago The Grateful Dead been there, done that.

Many people are not fans of The Grateful Dead, that’s for sure. But for every one of those there has to be at least four or five devoted fans – surely the Dead have one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in all of rock and roll.

Jerry Garcia would have turned 70 years ago today; he died in 1995 at age 53. Like him or not, let’s toast one of the most visible icons of 1960s rock and a great musician.

MP3: “Dark Star” (single) by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Shakedown Street” by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Touch of Grey” by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “St. Stephen” (live, 1969) by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Casey Jones” (live, 1971) by The Grateful Dead

MP3: “Amazing Grace” by Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and Tony Rice

MP3: “I Shall Be Released” by the Jerry Garcia Band

MP3: “Johnny B. Goode” (live, 1971) by The Grateful Dead

YouTube: “Uncle John’s Band” by The Grateful Dead, 1980

Rock Moment: Grateful Dead, 1970

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , on January 7, 2009 by 30daysout

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You may have noticed, we’re kind of on a country rock kick of late … I’ve tried to avoid this moment but any serious discussion of the genre should include the Grateful Dead’s landmark album from 1970, American Beauty.  Following such trailblazers as Dylan, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and others, the Dead moved into folk-country territory early in 1970 with Workingman’s Dead.  Although that album contained the touchstones “Uncle John’s Band” and “Casey Jones,” American Beauty had an even better selection of country rock from the Dead.  

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