Live at the Keystone with Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia etc.

by | Jun 1, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia/John Kahn/Bill Vitt – Live At Keystone, Vol. 1; Fantasy FSA-7701-6 Hybrid Stereo SACD ***1/2: 

This disc slides right into a funky guitar riff with psychedelic
keyboards and backing instrumentation.  This is the first of the
“jam session” recordings between Saunders and Garcia.  Saunders
has worked with varied artists like Bonnie Raitt, Harry Belafonte, and
Frank Sinatra, but his most prolific association was with Garcia
leading to several records.  The vibe on this disc is mellow and
smooth as is the recording.  The concert was recorded live at
Keystone in Berkeley, July 1973.  A few of the songs are covers,
but most of the material is original.  The record is heavy on
groove and style—it’s very 70s.  “It’s No Use” is a blues tune,
that, like the other music on this disc is not too gritty or
hard-hitting, but manages to sneak up on you in a good way.  The
last track is a bonus track that runs for 13 ½ minutes.  It’s a
more traditional rock jam ala the Allman Brothers or John Mayall. 
It’s a nice addition to the record and pushes the running time of the
disc close to an hour.  If you’re a fan of Jerry Garcia, or 70s
groove rock then this record is for you. 

Songs included are:  Keepers, Positively 4th Street; The Harder
They Come; It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry; Space;
It’s No Use; Merl’s Tune (bonus track).

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