|That's so Merl!|
Seriously, Ronn Tutt was fucking killer. You think I’m kidding about the man-crush? Listen to this guy on the ‘75 Legion stuff. He’s my little puddin’ pop sweetie pie.The way he works with Jerry is seriously nuts; the guy was staggeringly good and muy simpatico with Jerry on a musical level. He kept playing with Jerry in the Garcia Band after the end of the Garcia-Saunders era, until mid 1977.
All the filesets these tracks are taken from list John Kahn as the bass player, and for most of them that’s true. But for some of the ‘74 shows it isn’t; it’s Merl Saunders’ son, Tony Saunders on bass. Did you know Tony Saunders is a badass bass player with a huge discography? He is and he does. And if you listen to the tracks from 6-4-74 and 7-22-74 you’ll hear what he sounds like: he’s a thumping, popping, sliding jazz-funk-soul bassist who sounds 100% completely different from John Kahn’s lugubrious signature style. Despite the labelling on the existing filesets, if you listen to these tracks and compare them to the ones that are definitely Kahn, for instance all the ‘75 stuff, I’m sure you’ll hear the difference.
Did I mention Jerry Garcia is in this band?
|Golden Gate Park|
.Solos aside - did I mention those? - Garcia was also playing a lot of punchy, swinging rhythm guitar parts as well, which are almost as fun to hear as the leads because of course he was really good at it and seems to have been having a blast. (I Feel Like) Dynamite is maybe my favorite example here. Even more than in later JGB years he was really into it in these days, which I think was due to a few things: his personal style at the time, the funky/soulful material, and the fact that Martin and Merl stepped out front more than the later keyboard players. His voice was also still quite good, strong and soulful and clear, and this collection includes more than a few of my alltime favorite Jerry vocal performances to go along with the deluge of great guitar work and fine ensemble playing.