This is how it always happens: a nice stranger on the internet pays you a compliment and BOOM: listening to the fuckin’ Jerry Band. (And don’t give me any guff about “Legion of Mary,” or “Reconstruction,” or whatever: it was always just the fuckin’ Jerry Band. And what that was, was Garcia and John Kahn making dope money.)
The Jerry Band mostly sucked, except for the times when, coincidentally, people like Merl Saunders or Ronnie Tutt were in the band. Odd how that happened. Otherwise, it was ponderous, unmemorable Dylan covers.
My main memory of The Jerry Band was my Dead Bodhidharma, Glenn. He dug the ’90 live CD, the one with Simple Twist of Fate on it, in which John Kahn takes an eight-minute bass solo (strike three) in the wrong key. Or for the first time on a fretless. Or with a number of head wounds and contusions. these are only some of the excuses he might have for whatever it was I was forced to sit through.
P.S. Speaking of intonational follies, check out Second that Emotion from 4/13/71 at the Catholic Youth Center in Scranton, PA. The intro answers the question “Could Garcia be so out of tune, he actually becomes in tune the long way around?”
P.P.S. Seriously, go find this recording: Jerry Garcia Collection vol 1: Legion of Mary.