August 11, 2009

A Jam You Should Hear

7-25-72 is not a show that gets mentioned much....on the whole it's one of those shows from that summer West Coast run that's just too mellow & subdued to catch fire, so it will always hide in the shadow of the shows from the end of August. has one of THOSE moments....hidden inside the second set.
Truckin' is a standard '72 version, not as supercharged as it could be; Garcia's playing is wiry, but they don't take it out much, instead winding down to the Other One drums.... And yet, when the Other One starts, nobody really feels like playing it, they tease the riff a little and then wander off into a different zone. Garcia plays some mysterious repeating phrases, and you can feel them about to discover something.... There's a brief cut in the tape, and we come back to Garcia and Lesh playing stately contrapuntal lines like classical violinists. All of a sudden the waters calm and the universe sounds a lot like the end of Lesh's bass solo in 2-15-73 when Garcia joins him....yes, it's that gorgeous.
But here Weir joins them, and they start taking it somewhere else - chords materialize, a thematic jam that's something like a cross between the Spanish Jam and Goin' Down the Road.... It builds, they start playing harder, and then Garcia starts playing slide and whips out some Allman-like lines. It only lasts about six minutes, but as far as I know it's unique; I don't recall hearing this theme in other shows. Yet it's one of those things everyone should hear, like the "Beautiful Jam" from 2-18-71.
All things end, though....they return to the Other One, and of course Weir instantly forgets the words! They hurry through the rest of it without much jamming, although there is one of the gnarly Lesh solos that he was doing in late '72.
They recover themselves in Wharf Rat, a strong and well-sung version. Garcia's solo at the end is magnificent, climbing the desperate heights before softening down to end on notes of quiet resignation.
Check it out -


  1. Thanks for the heads up on this jam LiA! I have had this show for a long time, but didn't really "hear" this passage until you pointed it out. I just got done playing it and it was intriguing to say the least.
    It is moments like these, moments of pure musical improvisation that made me a "Dead Head", and why I keep coming back to these recordings.
    The term "jam" is used much too loosely I believe. A true jam, like this one, is one that becomes a new thing at it's own direction, born of and for the moment, never heard before, and never to be heard again.

  2. LiA said, not only is the theme of the jam unique, but Jerry's slide playing in this one is really something else. I've never heard him play quite like that.

  3. I've only listened to this once (driving to work this morning) but isn't that St. Stephen they start riffing on?

  4., I don't think so. There are moments (like around 13m into the Other One, when Phil & Jerry are intertwining, or 17m, when Weir's getting into a chordal riff) when it faintly resembles Stephen - but I think they're doing something new.

  5. The jam from 2/15/73 appears on the Zabriskie Point soundtrack in one of the 'Love Scene Improvisations.' Check it out.

  6. thank you for turning me onto this jam! i hear the stephen that the other commenter mentioned. not as developed as the 4/29/71 stephen jam. i also heard some WRS sounding stuff from bobby when he joined in.

    im glad there are blogs like this to keep the music of the GD alive and to help all of us discover new moments when we have thought we've heard it all.

    you should write a post called "jams you've probably never heard...but should". that would be of interest to me!

  7. "Jams you've probably never heard...but should..." That's an idea. Over time, I expect I'll be covering a lot of those...

    I tend to feel like everyone's heard the best stuff & there aren't many surprises left. Then again, there's always someone finding these things for the first time...