Jerry Does Van
1. And It Stoned Me (JGB, 4/17/93, Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles)
2. He Ain’t Give You None (JGB, 8/16/76, The Keystone, Berkeley, CA)
3. Tupelo Honey (Garcia & Saunders, 1/15/72, Keystone Korner, San Francisco)
4. He Ain’t Give You None (Legion of Mary, 4/6/75, Orpheum Theatre, Boston – Late)
5. Crazy Love (JGB, 4/24/87, The Stone, San Francisco)
6. He Ain’t Give You None (JGB, 11/8/93, Hartford Civic Center)
7. Bright Side of the Road (JGB, 11/7/91, Capital Centre, Landover, MD)
For me, the pantheon is Van and Jerry.
What Van does with his voice, Jerry did with his fingers.
So it seemed only natural to marry the two.
Van never covered Jerry.
But Jerry covered Van.
He only covered five of his songs and much of that was in his later years.
Jerry’s versions seemed somewhat pedestrian at first. They were rather faithful to the originals, not terribly expansive as Jerry was known to be. But listen closer and they’re real Jerry. The artistry. The sense of fun. The passion.
The centerpiece of this set is He Ain’t Give You None. It’s the one song that Jerry covered in distinctly different phases, all of which were notable by the keyboards. There’s the r&b/jazz/funk stylings of the Garcia & Saunders/Legion of Mary years. The understated elegance of the Keith Godchaux years. The gospel of the Melvin Seals years, further enhanced by the additions of the exquisite Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch on backing vocals. It was the one song in this collection (and Vanatics will understand when I say this) that Jerry “workshopped.” So I’ve included a version from each phase.
I have a feeling Van fans that aren’t Jerry fans will be disappointed. There will be a tendency to compare the voices. That would be unfair. As Hunter once said, “I thought Jerry had a glorious voice, or maybe I had to to write the songs.” But he did have a glorious voice. What he lacked in range and technique, he made up for with passion and emotion, even in his later years when he croaked through many a show. When Jerry growled or strained, you knew it wasn’t artifice.
So take this for what it is. One musical god paying homage to another. Without comparisons.
And It Stoned Me: The JGB performed this 96 times, the first time soon after Jerry returned to the stage following his 1986 coma until just a week before the last JGB show in 1995.
He Ain’t Give You None: Performed 51 times, including 16 times with Garcia & Saunders/Legion of Mary in 1974-75 and one performance in 1976 with Keith Godchaux. It was then brought back in 1991 and played consistently until, and including, the final JGB show on April 23, 1995.
Tupelo Honey: Performed just twice, once in January and once in February of 1972 with Garcia & Saunders.
Crazy Love: Performed 15 times, starting in October 1986, just after returning to the stage and last performed on Halloween 1987, the final night of his two-week Broadway run.
Bright Side of the Road: Performed five times, all in November 1991.
Technical matters…the beginning of Tupelo Honey had a nasty tape pause release screech which i have removed at the expense of the first second or two of the song. The fade in on Bright Side of the Road is on the master.
Track 1, 5-7: Jerry Garcia, guitar/lead vocal; John Kahn, bass; David Kemper, drums; Melvin Seals, keyboards; Gloria Jones and Jackie LaBranch, backing vocals.
Track 2: Jerry Garcia, guitar/lead vocal; John Kahn, bass; Ron Tutt, drums; Keith Godchaux, piano; Donna Jean Godchaux, backing vocal.
Track 3: Jerry Garcia, guitar/lead vocal; Merl Saunders, keyboard; John Kahn, bass; Bill Vitt, drums; Tom Fogerty, guitar.
Track 4: Jerry Garcia, guitar/lead vocal; Merl Saunders, keyboards; John Kahn, bass; Ron Tutt, drums; Martin Fierro, sax
_ The tapers, without whom this is impossible.
_ SIRMick, for his talent recreating Michelangelo.
_ vanark, for handling the cover art details and lettering.
_ Vierstein91, who prodded me along by sending me a dozen Jerry shows (from Australia, no less), including one of the two performed versions of Tupelo Honey that I had found somewhat elusive.
_ Joe Hoyt, SIRMick and Mike Lembo from Sugarmegs, who provided me quite a few versions of songs I didn’t already have.
_ Art Siegel, he of the golden eye, who gave me permission to use one of his photos for the back cover. It was supposed to be of Van but this one was too unintentionally perfect to pass up.
_ Jerry, for the fingers, all nine of them.
_ Van, for the words (and the voice).
A Skiddly Bop Production
May 12, 2007