GarciaLive Vol. 15: May 21st, 1971 Keystone Corner Coming December 4th
Round Records digs deep into the Garcia Family Vaults for our final release of the year. GarciaLive Volume 15: May 21st, 1971 Keystone Korner finds Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders in the middle of their first multi-night run at the San Francisco club. The previously uncirculated two-set performance was mixed and mastered from 4-track analog reels. The newest installment in the series will be released on December 4th as a 2-CD set and available for digital download or streaming.
With John Kahn thought to be on another gig in Southern California, Garcia, Saunders, and drummer Bill Vitt shift to an organ trio configuration with Merl’s feet ably rounding out the rhythm section. Saxophonist and future Garcia/Saunders & Legion of Mary bandmate Martin Fierro joins the fold, his first known performance with Garcia/Saunders, on 5 songs pushing the group to dizzying heights. Saunders noted the early performances with Garcia were often loose, free-spirited affairs, and that’s clearly the case here. The show opening “Man-Child” sets the tone with a 17-minute heavily improvised, funky jazz-fusion romp, while the self-described “Keystone Korner Jam” is (as best we can tell) a completely improvised adventure that takes the group into uncharted territory. Set Two offers more of the same with an incendiary take on Saunders’s original “Save Mother Earth” that tips the 25-minute mark to open the set. The highlight of the night, however, may be the only known Garcia-led performance of David Crosby’s “The Wall Song.” Immortalized on both the Planet Earth Rock and Roll sessions and Graham Nash & David Crosby’s self-titled release, Garcia carries the lead vocals here and, along with Fierro, drives the performance into a furious jam that punctuates the evening… so much so that you won’t even notice the slight edit necessary to make up for the untimely reel change. While Saunders is credited with teaching Garcia “regular, straight” music, there’s certainly no evidence of anything mundane here.
GarciaLive Volume 15: May 21st, 1971 Keystone Korner is now available for pre-order at Garcia Family Provisions in advance of its December 4th release. The 2-CD set or digital download can be pre-ordered on its own or bundled with an exclusive 100% organic cotton t-shirt and/or a limited edition 18″ x 24″ screen-print designed, signed & numbered by artist Andrew McGranahan.
Disc One // Set One:
2. One Kind Favor
3. I Know It’s A Sin
4. I Was Made To Love Her
5. Keystone Korner Jam
6. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Disc Two // Set Two:
1. Save Mother Earth
2. That’s All Right
3. The Wall Song
4. Mystery Train