• Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders

    Heavy Turbulence

    January 01, 1972

Merl Saunders' first solo release. Jerry Garcia plays on all tracks. Although released as a Merl Saunders album it is essentially the working Garcia/Saunders band of the time.


  1. My Problems Got Problems
  2. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  3. Save Mother Earth
  4. Imagine
  5. Welcome To The Basement
  6. Man-Child

  • Merl Saunders (keyboards, vocals)
  • Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals)
  • Tom Fogerty (guitar)
  • John Kahn (bass)
  • Bill Vitt (drums)
  • The Hawkins Singers (Edwin, Walter, Tramaine, Lynette, Freddie, Carol) (vocals)
  • Eddie Moore (drums, saw)
  • Kenneth Nash (percussion)
  • Bob Drew (saxophone)
  • The Tower of Power Horns (horns)

(0) Additional Personnel

Album Notes

The original LP provides a simple list of musicians and brief credits for producers and engineers.

The front cover is as shown above. The rear cover depicts Merl Saunders holding up a cocktail glass with ice in it and the torso and head of someone (Tom Fogerty?) in miniature peering out. There’s also what may be a tiny image of Jerry just behind.

The majority of information provided here is taken from the 1992 Merl Saunders album, Fire Up Plus, which included all the tracks from Heavy Turbulence.

In the liner notes for Fire Up Plus Merl commented as follows: “In 1971 after my return from living in New York, Heavy Turbulence was born. I was running in a turbulence of heavy musicians and singers. Looking back 17 years, I think I named the album correctly. On two tracks, Welcome To The Basement and Man Child, I used one of the first Yamaha Synthesizers known as YC30 – this was one of the first Yamaha Synthesizers to be recorded”.

In an interview with Sandy Troy in the 90s Saunders recalled an event which arose from Heavy Turbulence: “I’ll never forget when we [Legion Of Mary] played the Bottom Line in the spring of 1975. We did three shows in three days and the place was jampacked. We were playing and the audience was just freaking out, and all of a sudden we hear all the noise stop. We hear ‘oooh,’ and we see a flash go by into the dressing room. We look at each other because we didn’t know who went in there. When we went into the dressing room John Lennon was sitting there. We were shocked. He came to thank us for doing his number ‘Imagine’, on my album Heavy Turbulence. I had done the first cover version of his song”.



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