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...

  8. Light Into Ashes --

    Thanks -- this jam is just freaking lovely. Flipped every switch I have.

    You know, you are right about someone always finding these things for the first time. I'm old enough that I avoided computers like the plague when they came out -- partly from an ill-considered decision to take a computer class in college.

    I had 400 hrs. on cassette, but after the Vault and Dick's Picks started coming out with some regularity, I found myself not playing my cassettes much anymore. Nevertheless, I didn't even start on the digital music until like late 2009 (then kicked myself pretty hard on account of how easy it was--I was expecting lots of hard computer stuff I had no idea about).

    I get together with 3 other guys (who are several years older than me -- saw shows back in the early 70s) about every other week and we pick a year, all pick our own selections-- 60-90 minutes worth -- and sit back, "relax", and listen. One guy was way ahead of me on the digital music. The other two basically haven't started doing it yet-- except for getting the digital downloads -- and I think the other guy helped them with that.

    Blah, blah, blah . . . . (Sorry, I've gotten really fast at typing now that I use computers.)

    Long and short of it is that I expect there are still a lot of old school Deadheads out there that haven't remotely tapped into the digital music, so info like this is stuff that those antiquated Luddites will really appreciate. Hell, I appreciate it and I am one full baby step ahead of them on the digital music . . . .

  9. I just went to Etree and tried to snatch the show and no one is seeding it. Yet anything from the later years gets seeded out the wahzoo. Go figure.

    1. Fortunately for non-downloading luddites, the Internet Archive is still streaming! I admit I don't break out the tape player much anymore.
      And new listeners are discovering these shows all the for whom a "cassette" is just an antique relic from their parents' day... They're the ones who'll be carrying on this discussion in the decades to come, while the "original" deadheads drop out.

  10. Someday the last person who saw the band live and really got it will pass away and that deep knowledge of the in moment of being in that room will be forever gone.

  11. I finally discovered this gem, too. What a great piece, good post, young LIA!