Pure Jerry - The
Jerry Garcia vault series
Jerry On Broadway
On Broadway comes in two volumes, a four disc and a three disc
October 31, 1987 - Four discs that includes the
complete acoustic and electric performances of both the matinee and
The Best of the Rest - A three disc compilation of the
Broadway run, two electric and one acoustic.
These Broadway shows were
historic events that consisted of two sets. His acoustic band opened
the shows performing a set of a variety of roots music including
gospel, blues, and war-time songs that was followed by a set from
his electric band. After the Broadway date, they came out West for some gigs and I was
fortunate to see three performances.
Personally, the biggest
charm of the Broadway release is the acoustic material. In 1988 the Almost
Acoustic disc formed a superb compilation of this material.
Including it, now there are four discs of this bands material. From the
Halloween shows, the two sets are similar to Almost Acoustic
and many tracks are repeated, while most of the acoustic material
from The Best Of the Rest has never been released.
acoustic band on this tour was a one time line-up and they surely
are enjoyable. Though, they were very similar in personnel to the 1964 band the Black
Mountain Boys that featured Garcia (banjo), Rothman (guitar), and
Nelson (mandolin). If this band was a more permanent ensemble they would
have even stronger musical chops! Related acoustic
one track, yet of my favorites tracks from Almost Acoustic is
not repeated on this release, “Oh the Wind and Rain”; a song
that also was performed by Garcia / Grisman on Shady
Grove and performed at their concerts. On the subject of
Garcia / Grisman, several other songs “I Ain't
Lee McFall,” “Two
Soldiers,” and “Drifting Too Far From The
Shore” (Old and in the Way) were
performed by both line-ups.
From the 10/31 acoustic
sets, Several songs were not on Almost Acoustic, “Short
Life Of Trouble,” “Troubled In Mind,” “Bright Morning
Stars,” “Good Night Irene,” “Two Soldiers,” If I Lose,”
and "Ragged But Right.”
Jerry isn’t the only star
in this band as Rothman and Kosek are outstanding instrumentalists.
As a result, the songs filled with dazzling guitar, fiddle, dobro,
and mandolin riffs and solos throughout. For more details about the
acoustic music we invite you read our Almost
From the electric material
there is very little overlap of songs among the four discs, and one
song that is repeated, "Masterpiece" has a guest on the
version from The Best Of the Rest. Referring to the releases
featuring the line-up with Melvin Seals several new live renditions
appear for the first time. At the top of the list is Bob
significant, IMO, are the two Van
Morrison covers, "And It Stoned Me," and "Crazy
Love," as well as an original, “Run For The Roses."
The Lunt-Fontanne :
10/31/87 set includes two complete electric sets. The matinee
show is well played and offers my favorite track selection of the
four electric discs. Conversely,
the evening matinee is my least favorite as it is so focused on
Reggae with "Stop That Train," "The Harder They
Come," and Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door."
Though, it was likely appropriate for the holiday event to keep an
upbeat, danceable mood rather than perform slow ballads or gospel
songs. That aside, “Werewolves of
is a fun way to open the Halloween performance. They also perform a
superb version of "Cats Down Under The Stars." However,
"Let It Rock" is the star of this disc characterized by
The electric material from Lunt-Fontanne:
The Best Of The Rest offers oodles of treasures. Disc one is a
bit heavy on the Dylan material representing four songs. The first
four tracks are certainly superb and are among the strongest
electric material from Jerry On Broadway. The only rendition from
the Broadway run of "I'll Take a Melody" (10/19) gets
things off to a great start. Excellent, why didn't they delight
audiences with this one on other dates? Long overdue is a
rendition of Dylan's "Forever Young." Its charm is vocal
interaction between Jerry and the back-up vocalists, even though
Jerry struggles with some of the high notes. Add to that the
excellent dynamics and a strong instrumental. "Forever
Young" floored me when I saw it live. For that matter, so did
"Think," the next song, a rousing blues
standard written by Jimmy McCracklin.
Bob Weir sat in on the last
three tracks, two of which are Dylan songs. The three songs are also
regular rotations in the Grateful Dead's repertoire and the versions
performed by the Jerry Garcia band are ok, a nice rarity for
collectors. Weir sings the two Dylan songs.
Also, I prefer the version of "Masterpiece" with
Jerry singing from the matinee on the 10/31/87 package.
The second electric disc
from Lunt-Fontanne: The Best Of The Rest is highlighted by
some outstanding gospels songs; this line-up of the Jerry Garcia
Band performed this style of music well. Both "Like a
Road," and "Lucky Old Sun" are given outstanding
treatment. The latter is followed by Morrison's "And It Stoned
Me." A very pretty version with a melodic guitar solo that has
one wonder, if the solo just follows the vocal line, how does it
sound sooooo good? Thanks Jerry:).
So what is the bottom-line
on Jerry on Broadway? Regarding the electric music, performance wise
the material is a bit better than the previous three releases with
this personnel, but the sound quality is vastly inferior. Regarding the
acoustic material, as a big fan of this style
of music I consider it essential.
If you can only afford one
of the packages and can’t decide based upon the song selection, if
you have Almost Acoustic, we’d recommend The Best Of The
Rest, if you don’t, then get 10/31/87.
Grade B +