Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Garcia: JGB

Day 3 of 'Everything Jerry' focuses on The Jerry Garcia Band (JGB). I was fortunate to see JGB 3 times in the early 90s, once in Hampton and twice at The Cap Centre. For those of you not familiar with JGB, this was one of Jerry's side projects from the mid-70's through the mid-90's. During downtime from touring with The Dead, Jerry would pull together some friends, almost always including bassist John Kahn, and an assortment of others (including The Godchauxs in the late 70's) for a number of brief tours.

JGB was essentially a cover band, with a few Jerry originals thrown in. But even though most of the songs JGB played were covers, Jerry's special touch was evident on each and every song. The band's sound was much tighter than The Dead's, not as much jamming, but more of a straight-ahead sound, featuring a variety of styles including rock & roll, blues, reggae, folk and more.

Great examples of how Jerry made classic songs even better include his versions of How Sweet It Is, Dear Prudence, The Harder They Come and more. His After Midnight>Eleanor Rigby combo found on the Kean College CD is truly amazing. But it was his treatments of 3 Dylan songs that I found truly special. He took Dylan's folky, sometimes jangly I Shall Be Released, Forever Young and Simple Twist of Fate, and crafted them into beautiful, inspirational masterpieces.

I love the fact that the Garcia Estate is releasing old shows on CD now. JGB shows are not available on, and the quality of the shows available on SugarMegs is not always the best. I have the Kean College and Merriweather Post CDs now, and am very excited about 2 new releases, The Shoreline Amphitheater DVD and Warner Theater CD (which fits nicely into my DC Dead motif, yea!).

I'm particularly excited about the Shoreline show. This show (9/1/90) was originally scheduled to be a Dead show before Brent Mydland's death that summer. The Dead had not fully integrated Vince into the band yet, but rather than cancel the date, JGB went on instead. You can find a good quality version of this show on SugarMegs. Go find it and download it now. You will find some of Jerry's most inspirational music in that show. His heart and soul are in every note that he played that night.

Depending on my mood, sometimes I can be more into JGB than The Dead. I know my wife prefers the JGB sound a bit more since it's a bit more 'mainstream'. Be sure to check out the Shoreline show, or any of the shows available at for some great music.


At 9:35 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Youmare fortunate - I never got to see JGB.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Natsthename said...

I never saw Jerry live in any band...only with David Grisman on the Letterman Show. :(


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