August 20, 2020

1970 Redated Tapes


Some recent dating inquiries made me realize that a few of the re-dated 1970 tapes are not as commonly known as I’d thought. So I’ve put together a short list of the currently circulating misdated 1970 tapes, along with some notes on the actual dates (when known). There isn’t really any “new” information here – all of these have been noted elsewhere on this site – but it may be convenient to have them all listed in one place.

1.       2/12/70 Ungano’s is actually the 2/13/70 Fillmore East early show.
Whether the Dead actually played at Ungano’s on the 12th has been much discussed, but either way there’s no tape:

2.      3/24/70 is actually from 3/23/70.
Pete Lavezzoli writes:
"The advert lists TWO dates, 3/22 and 3/23. These two dates both DID happen. I have spoken with people in Florida who clearly remember that the Dead played both nights, Sunday and Monday, and they went to both. Another person remembers having to choose between one show or the other and they ended up going the second night. This person remembers Morning Dew, Dark Star, and Lovelight, and so it would appear that the tape we have is from the second night of the two, 3/23/70.
I have also done library research and looked at microfilm of the local Ft Lauderdale News from March 1970, and the Dead were also listed in the paper for both nights, and the Youngbloods were listed to play Pirate's World the next two nights, 3/24 and 3/25. On the actual week of the shows, the paper again lists these dates all the same, with no changes or cancellations. So, between the newspaper and the people I have spoken with who were there, the Dead DID play two nights on the dates that are shown on the advert: 3/22 and 3/23...
In conclusion, Deadlists and DeadBase both need to list two dates for Pirate's World: 3/22 and 3/23/70. And according to one person who attended 3/23, this is the show that we have on tape. There was NO Dead show on 3/24/70. The Youngbloods played that day and there were no changes or cancellations. The tape we have in circulation is 3/23/70. And there was the night before, 3/22, for which we do not have a tape or a setlist, but the date was played."

3.      4/24/70 is actually from 4/25/70.
Newspaper reviews of the Mammoth Garden shows on April 24 & April 25 reveal that the audience tape comes from the second show, while the 24th is lost.

4.      5/9/70 is actually from 5/3/70.
The audience tape attributed to Worcester turned out to match a video of the Wesleyan show. Redated copies have since come out. Worcester remains lost.

5.      7/3/70 is actually 7/4/70.
This is somewhat academic since no tape circulates, but Deadbase, Deadlists and the Taper’s Section all attribute the Dead’s Calgary show to July 3. It was actually the following day. To confuse matters more, Taper’s Section selections from the July 4 show have been dated July 1 and July 3. In short, aside from two songs from 7/1 Winnipeg (Easy Wind & Candyman), all the available Dead performances we have are from the July 4 show. The complete tape is evidently in the Vault.

6.      7/10/70 is actually from 7/9/70.
One Archive reviewer of the tape recalled, "This is not 7/10/70. I was at 7/10/70. Dead at Midnight! The electric set opened with Morning Dew. They also played Dark Star into St Stephen into NFA into Lovelight." Blair Jackson also attended on the 10th, and remembered Lovelight closing the show at 5 am.
The deadlists witness and the newspaper review of the lost Dark Star show were thought to refer to July 9, but given these memories of the 10th, it looks like the audience tape actually comes from the previous night, and the 10th is lost.

7.      7/11/70 and 7/12/70 have been switched.
The first audience tapes for these shows had the dates reversed, and Deadlists and Deadbase preferred to keep the old labels, but evidence for the true dates has mounted. For instance, on our “7/12/70” tape, Marty Weinberg states before the Dead’s set that it’s “Saturday night, July 11.” Taper Jim Cooper has also verified that he taped the “7/11/70” show on the 12th. A couple Archive reviewers also comment: "I was unequivocally there on 7/11, and the opener was, memorably, Easy Wind." "This is the show from 7/12/70, not 7/11/70, having attended both... The Electric set of 7/11 opened with Easy Wind, and featured a medley of Dancing-Cryptical-Other One-Cryptical-Lovelight."
A couple accurately dated copies of 7/12 are now on the Archive (the Darst AUD composite is the best), but all the copies of 7/11 are still dated “7/12” (the Cloverman/Smith source is the best). 

8.     7/30/70 is a mystery.
Much has been written about this unsolved case, but basically: the Dead played a short acoustic set to accompany a New Riders show in a small club. (The set’s even shorter since part of the show is missing.) A number of 1970 New Riders tapes are said to come from Matrix shows, including July 29-30, however there’s no other evidence they actually played the Matrix that week in July. The Matrix schedule that week seems to have been in flux, with conflicting listings in different papers. The Hartbeats (in some unknown configuration) played there on July 27 & perhaps the 28th. But NRPS and the acoustic Dead are known to have played at the Lion’s Share from July 30-August 1, which looks at first to be an inviting match for this tape.
So the question is: was anybody taping at the Lion’s Share? If so, this tape may well come from 7/30 at the Lion’s Share. But with Owsley gone, no one in the Dead organization was taping NRPS shows that we know of. I feel that the Matrix is a much more likely tape source, partly due to the known taper (Peter Abram), the sound of the mix, the small subdued audience, and the existence of multiple NRPS tapes from that club. This leaves the date uncertain.
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2011/03/hartbeats-july-1970.html (discussion of scheduling possibilities)

9.      8/5/70 San Diego – there was no such show.
There’s no evidence the Dead played any show in San Diego that month, let alone a casual acoustic show. So this tape is even more of a mystery than 7/30: the mislabeling could be deliberate, there’s no accompanying NRPS set, and the show has been edited down to a 60-minute tape, cutting out any possible identifying announcements. Since it’s evidently in a small club, the best candidates are the Matrix and Lion’s Share. (The enthusiastic audience is consistent with later Lion’s Share recordings, but it could just be a more crowded night at the Matrix. The recording mix is quite different from 7/30 though, which may indicate a different taper or stage setup.) It’s in roughly the same time period, late July/early August, with several songs repeated – the only new song, To Lay Me Down, is on both tapes, but other American Beauty songs don’t appear yet. Pigpen isn’t present in either show, but Dawson & Nelson participate (with Nelson on mandolin).
This tape appeared as early as 1971 in tape collectors’ circles, so it’s from a different source than the NRPS Matrix tapes which only surfaced (in limited fashion) later on. I believe the two halves of the tape are out of order: the show wasn’t two sets, but ‘Deep Elem’ comes first and the gospel numbers end the show as usual.

10.  The 8/17/70 fragment is actually from 6/24/70.
Just a mislabeled piece of filler from Ken Lee’s tape of the 6/24 early acoustic set. 8/17 remains lost. (For two reports on 8/17, see: http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/07/august-17-1970-fillmore-west.html)

11.   11/9/70 and 11/10/70 are fake compilations.
"11/9/70" comes from several other dates:
Attics of My Life, Mama Tried - 9/20/70 (from a no-longer-circulating audience tape)
Morning Dew, Deep Elem Blues - 12/28/70 AUD
New Minglewood Blues and Walkin' the Dog - from a lost show (or shows), date unknown, but probably not the Action House. 
“11/10/70” comes from a Marty Weinberg compilation reel - the Not Fade Away is from his 9/20/70 AUD, and the Other One is from 2/23/71. (Both of those tapes are on the Archive.)
The real Action House shows are lost. One undated Marty Weinberg AUD fragment which may be from one of the 46th Street Rock Palace shows has survived, randomly attributed to 11/12:

12.  11/21/70 is actually from 4/3/70.
Long thought to be a fragment from the Boston University show in which Ned Lagin played, this tape turned out to be a poor copy of the Cincinnati show. No wonder Ned couldn’t be heard!
A couple accounts of the Boston show:

13.  11/23/70 is actually from 11/16/70.
The real date was determined long ago – what was thought to be a tape from the Hell’s Angels party at the Anderson Theater turned out to be from a surprise Fillmore East show with several guests the previous week. The 11/16 SBD tape has many comments on the correct dating:
The circulating tape is incomplete, but a Good Lovin’ with Papa John Creach was captured in an AUD tape fragment:
A review of the show:
The 11/23 Anderson Theater show is lost, but there is a review:

14.  12/17/70 is actually a compilation from the October 4-5 Winterland shows.
Cold Rain & Snow, Uncle John’s Band – from 10/4/70.
Hard to Handle, Candyman, Me & My Uncle, Dancing in the Streets – from 10/5/70.
Part of this also circulated as “12/23/70” and even in the Vault several of these songs are also dated “12/23,” but these December dates are when the studio mixdowns of the multitrack tapes took place. 
On 12/17/70 David & the Dorks were playing at the Matrix. The genuine 12/23/70, a short benefit show, is here: https://archive.org/details/gd1970-12-23.132343.sbd.miller.flac16


 ***

APPENDIX

While I’m on the subject of 1970 tapes, I’ll mention a few significant upgrades and new sources that have come out in the last couple years – all audience tapes:
4/9/70 partial AUD upgrade:
(This new audience source was a big improvement in the AUD portion of the show from Katie Mae through Cryptical. But for the end of the show, NFA>Lovelight, turn to SIRMick's remaster of Harry Ely’s old AUD.)
5/7/70 electric set upgrade:
(A new audience source – the acoustic set sounds better on the old AUD, but the electric set is much improved on this recording.)
6/24/70 complete late acoustic set:
(Complete at last!)
9/17/70 upgrade of Marty Weinberg’s electric-set tape:  
(Only part of the set, but the Dark Star is complete and at the right speed.)  
9/19/70 complete acoustic set:
(The quality’s rough, but the full set only recently emerged online.)
10/10/70 upgrade:
(A lower-gen tape, clearer and longer than the previous copy.)
Even after fifty years, some tapes are still emerging!

July 11, 2020

You Can Hear the Pennywhistle Blow

Here’s a short post, just a few words to accompany the new podcast on ‘Uncle John’s Band’ –

The Pennywhistlers were a group of American women whose specialty was uncannily-accurate renditions of Eastern European choral folk songs. Folklorist Ethel Raim formed the group with her friends in 1962, with the goal of bringing the traditional music of other cultures to American listeners. They became relatively popular in folk-music circles during the ‘60s and frequently performed at folk festivals and on radio programs, singing mostly unaccompanied Balkan, Slavic and Yiddish songs (though they’d throw in some American folk tunes as well). 

 
They released a few albums:
“The Pennywhistlers” (Folkways, 1963) (Reissued on Verve in 1966 as “Songs from Everywhere.”)
“Folksongs of Eastern Europe” (Nonesuch, 1966) (The whole album was on youtube last month, but has been taken down. Not on CD.)
“A Cool Day and Crooked Corn” (Nonesuch, 1968) (A more subdued effort, also not on youtube or on CD.)

In his autobiography, folksinger Theodore Bikel mentioned “a group of seven women from the New York area who were known as the Pennywhistlers. They had been organized by Ethel Raim and specialized in Eastern European choral or group songs, sung mostly a cappella… These women were the closest to the real thing in authenticity in the United States, a tribute to good musicianship and a good ear.”

In her quest for authenticity, Raim traveled to Bulgaria in 1965 to see the national folk festival there and pick up material in person. (She would later do field recordings of Bulgarian singers, including this track sent into space on the Voyager record.) Since she didn’t know the language, when learning Bulgarian folksongs Raim would transcribe the syllables, then ask a Bulgarian speaker to figure out the words. Her efforts paid off in the very authentic-sounding singing styles on the Pennywhistlers' albums.
Here’s one recent interview with her:

At some point, Jerry Garcia heard of the Pennywhistlers and their versions of Balkan traditional songs. All through the ‘60s, Garcia had an interest in folk singers from different traditions, whether it be old whaling shanties, gospel quartets, Bahamian spirituals, or the Georgia Sea Island Singers:

Along with many other people, he was particularly enchanted by Bulgarian singing. When Garcia & Phil Lesh were guest hosts on KMPX in April ’67, Garcia introduced a song from “the Bulgarian folklore scene,” praising the “unaccompanied two-part singing…just the weirdest intervals you ever heard.”  
This track was from the 1966 “Music of Bulgaria” album on the Nonesuch label, done by the Ensemble of the Bulgarian Republic (with Philip Koutev directing). Rhoney Gissen reports that Owsley also loved the "Bulgarian Women's Choir" album, and they would play it at his house ("Jerry loved that"). Another fan of the album was David Crosby, who praises it to this day.

This album was occasionally played on KMPX; the DJ mentioned that “we played some of this on the air here, because a lot of people reacted very favorably to it. It’s a great sound to listen to.” In the US, the Koutev Bulgarian National Ensemble could also be heard on the very similar album “Bulgaria's Great Women's Voices” (Monitor, 1963); other more academic Bulgarian folkloric-music albums available in the '60s were “Folk Music of Bulgaria” (collected by A.L. Lloyd on Topic Records, 1964), and Alan Lomax & A.L. Lloyd’s “Bulgaria” collection in the Columbia World Library of Folk & Primitive Music series (1959). (Many more well-known albums of Bulgarian female vocal choirs would be released in later decades.)
How many of these (or other collections) Garcia heard besides Koutev’s ensemble, I don’t know. But his interest continued in later years - one person reported "seeing Garcia at the Bulgarian female choir show at the Berkeley Community Theater in 1988, along with Grace Slick and David Crosby." (This was the Bulgarian State Female Vocal Choir concert on 11/18/88, a sold-out show with a thrilled audience.)




Anyway, sometime in fall 1969, Garcia put on the Pennywhistlers’ “Folksongs of Eastern Europe” album, and ‘Shto Mi e Milo’ was the first song he heard:

Interviewed by Blair Jackson in 1991, Garcia remembered the moment well:
“I was listening to records of the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, and also this Greek-Macedonian music, these Pennywhistlers, and on one of those records there was a song that featured this little turn of melody that was so lovely that I thought, ‘Gee, if I could get this into a song it would be so great.’ So I stole it. [Laughs.] Actually, I only took a little piece of the melody, so I can’t say I plagiarized the whole thing. Of course it became so transmogrified when Bob and Phil added their harmony parts to it that it really was no longer the part of the song that was special for me. That was the melodic kicker originally, though.” (Goin’ Down the Road, p.222

A brief song history of ‘Shto Mi e Milo’ is here: 
It’s a traditional song from Macedonia (also claimed by neighboring Bulgaria) – I couldn’t find its age, but it's frequently performed: there’s a recording as early as 1908. (It’s a rather popular song for women’s choirs to sing, with plenty of videos available.) 
I think the Pennywhistlers' version was its first appearance on an American album; it's listed as a Macedonian song (as Garcia recalled), and perhaps was one of the fruits of Ethel Raim's field trip to the Balkans.

The Pennywhistlers also sang the song in Pete Seeger’s 1966 “Rainbow Quest” TV show:
The melodic bit that caught Garcia’s ear would later become the line, “Whoa-oh, what I want to know…” This was a surprise to me. I had thought that a catchy bit like the “Come hear Uncle John’s Band” riff or the initial verse line would have been the first inspiration for the song, but no, it was a twisting little melody that he’d use to awkwardly round out the verse – not the most obvious hook in the song. (It’s possible this wasn’t the only song to fire his imagination – for instance another Macedonian song, ‘Iz Dolu’ on the Pennywhistler’s “Cool Day” album, seems to have some melodic resemblance to the Uncle John’s verse, though that could just be a coincidence or my imagination.)

Once Garcia had put together the instrumental skeleton of the song, he and the Dead jammed on it at length as a loud blazing rock tune, trying out different variations. At this point the lumbering 7/8 riff in the song had become a prominent feature, repeated over and over at beginning and end. They made a rough tape of their rehearsal and gave it to Robert Hunter to write lyrics for the song. 
Hunter recalled, “That came from a tape that the band made of a tune of Jerry’s. They had the whole tune together, drums and everything – in fact I still have that tape – and I played it over and over and tried writing to it. I kept hearing the words ‘God damn, Uncle John’s mad,’ and it took a while for that to turn into ‘Come hear Uncle John’s band’…” (Goin’ Down the Road, p.222)

Meanwhile, Garcia didn’t even wait for Hunter to finish the words before he started showing off his new tune at Dead shows. It appeared as an instrumental jam at three shows in early November ’69 – in the Alligator jam on 11/1:
in the Dark Star on 11/7:
and in Dark Star again on 11/8:

Hunter finished the lyrics later that month, and the Dead worked up a singing arrangement. Garcia would later tell Rolling Stone, “Uncle John’s Band was a major effort as a musical piece. It’s one we worked on for a really long time to get it working right.” (Signpost p.70) Perhaps under the influence of Crosby Stills & Nash, the song was now filled with group harmonies. (Garcia later mentioned, “They never actually worked with us, [but] having them around and sitting down and singing with acoustic guitars was such a turn-on for us that we just got into it.”) Ironically, the song first inspired by a choral folk tune had moved through a fast-paced blasting rock phase and then become a gentle calypso-flavored choral folk tune again.

After some practice the Dead were ready to debut the finished song on 12/4/69, closing a show at the Fillmore West:
The band introduced the song with a disclaimer: “Well, seems we blew most of the set just trying to remember how to play, so we’re gonna blow this part of the set remembering how to sing a song that we just learned how to do – we just barely know it, we’re gonna just try it though. What the hell.”
There are no instrumental elaborations yet, but vocally the song is pretty much complete. The performance is understandably tentative – they're uncertain how to end the song, so after some audible confusion they end it by repeating the first verse.

The next performance on 12/12 is much more solid, with extended soloing – there’s a lovely moment at the end where Garcia, stuck for a verse, just “la-de-da’s” his way through it and dives into another jam. (Then they segue into a brief Friend of Mine.)
They rehearsed the song some more that week, and by the next performance on 12/19 they have the song down and the ending is finalized (though there’s no jamming).
On 12/26 they easily adapt the song to an acoustic format, where it works perfectly in the most charming performance yet:

From there, the song’s progress to album is briefly told. After only about 14 more live performances, the Dead were ready to record the song, and quickly wrapped it up in their studio sessions in early March 1970. They picked it as the first song on the Workingman’s Dead album, and also selected it to be the single. (Phil commented, “Uncle John’s Band was picked because it was obvious.”) Warner Bros. felt it was too long and profane for airplay, so an edited version went out to stations, trimmed for AM listeners:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg7jlrs4ioQ (in mono and profanity-free for radio play)
Afterwards, Garcia groaned about the single: “I gave them instructions on how to properly edit it, and they garbled it so completely and we didn’t get a chance to hear it until way late, and it was…oh fuck, what an atrocity.” 
Weir complained about it, too: "I wasn't pleased - they hacked it to ribbons. It was absolutely necessary, everything they did, but we should just never have tried it. It didn't get us all that much exposure."

 

Nonetheless, the single did well – while their previous singles like ‘Dark Star’ had flopped and disappeared without a trace, Uncle John’s made it to the top 100 and found plenty of listeners. Garcia claimed, “I have no interest about singles so I don’t want to bother about it… It would be nice to have a single, but a hit single usually means 12-year-old audiences.”
12-year-olds remained rare at Dead shows, but the crowds trying to get in soon swelled to unmanageable size as the Dead experienced the first pangs of success. Garcia may not have admitted it, but the influence of folk music on his songwriting had played a small part in making him a rock star. 
(“If I could get this into a song it would be so great…”)

As for the Pennywhistlers, they might never have heard of the Grateful Dead, but they probably could have sung Uncle John’s Band better than the Dead did!
And as for actual pennywhistles blowing…the Dead didn’t use them, but a slide-whistle did make a memorable appearance in one of the shows where Uncle John’s was introduced, playing the national anthem  

*

APPENDIX – PENNYWHISTLER PRESS 

Though not a very well-known group outside folk circles, the Pennywhistlers received some positive notice in the press. The Boston Globe called them “a group of women who sing music from the Balkans with magnificent verve and musicianship.” (8/27/67) 
The Globe also reported on the 1968 Newport folk festival: “The Pennywhistlers, who don’t whistle at all, but are a well-disciplined choral group of seven girls, did a series of Slavic-Balkan songs.” (7/27/68) 
The Chicago Tribune, reviewing Songs From Everywhere: “The seven American girls who make up the Pennywhistlers have remarkably acute ears, both for the sound shades of language and the pitches which make music… They are real experts.” (12/18/66) 

The longest article I found came from the Kingston Daily Freeman, NY, 8/17/68: 

“7 PENNYWHISTLERS

On August 20, the Woodstock Playhouse Tuesday Folk Concert Series will present the Pennywhistlers, seven young women, who although born in the U.S., have a great love for the music of the Danube, Russia, and the Slavic lands. They bring to their audiences the intricate rhythms, earthy vocal qualities, and engaging harmonies of the peasant music of Eastern Europe. True to their heritages, they also sing Yiddish – all are from Jewish families and can speak Yiddish – as well as American traditional and contemporary songs. 
The Pennywhistlers have appeared on campuses across the country, at Lewisohn Stadium, Philadelphia and Newport Folk Festivals; come to Woodstock direct from their appearance at this year’s Newport Festival. They have also performed on TV and radio and have recorded on the Folkways and Nonesuch labels. Concerts at Carnegie and Town Halls led the New York Times to call their recital “brilliant and surprising, polished and joyous… A good deal of the group’s material is drawn from the glorious folk-choral tradition of Eastern Europe, laced with athletic leaps, wild harmonies, dissonances, rough edges and surprising intervals… Not only is the material completely fresh and appealing, but the performances were equal to the repertory.” 
For an evening of pure enjoyment, the Woodstock Playhouse is the place to be next Tuesday night. There you’ll hear Bulgarian planting songs (the group’s director, Ethel Raim, recently returned from a research trip to Bulgaria and Eastern Europe), Hungarian live lyrics, and Croatian hymns, “many of them sung a capella – sustained by the septet’s own strong harmony,” according to a Time magazine review. 
Francine Brown, Shelley Cook, Joyce Gluck, Alice Kogan, Deborah Lesser, Ethel Raim, and Dina Silberman make up The Pennywhistlers. They are being hailed as one of the most exciting singing groups to come along in years and they’ll be at the Woodstock Playhouse for one night only, Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 8:40 p.m.”