Here is a bit more tasty information about those halcyon days
"... In America
So Many Years Ago ..."
Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra Tape Story
(Bill Parry, Steve Rowland, and Steven Barncard *edited by Jen & Bret* - full story here)
Barncard: For the historical record, let's standardize the song titles.
These are the original rough mix reels,the only source.
I didn't make the transfers to DAT, so I don't know where the reel breaks are.
Below are the original Tape Box notations. () is the corrected name
ORIGINAL TAPE BOX NOTATIONS
Recorded by S. Barncard
Transferred at A&M Tape Copy 1/23/91
DAT 120 (2 hours)
01. Mountain #5
02. Is it Really Monday
03. You Sit There /incomplete
04. You Sit There
05. Garcia's Tune (Loser)
06. Garcia's Tune (Loser)
07. Wayfaring Stranger *
08. Mountain #1 /ACCs/
-- wound Heads -- Garcia, Crosby, Kantner, Grace, Lesh
09. Mountain #2 /ACC's/ Little Slower
10. Mountain #3 /ACC's/ ** Organized (different mix of above take)
11. Mountain #4 Complete Set Of changes; Long Voiceless Jam
12. Leather Winged Bat /Slower/
13. Electric Bat
14. Jam #10
15. Wall Song - Electric 12/13/70 **
16. Wall Song - Acoustic - solo demo
17. Rounds (EEP Hour)
18. Dope Rap w/Piano /"Funny"/
19. Jam Slide II good parts 11/04/70
20. Jam R&B Riff /Long/
21. Jam After Electric Bat 1/14/71
abrupt end (two track runs out)
Steve Silberman Notes:
* I'm also not yet totally convinced that the name of that folk tune IS Wayfaring Stranger - it might be another tune. But Steve may be right.
** The Wall Song on this tape is not the track used for Graham Nash/David Crosby, the excellent out-of-print album on Atlantic.
It is an out-take. Another, better performance was used for the record, although sadly, the record fades out just before the jam. That's especially
a shame because the band on both the PERRO tape version and the album version was: Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann, plus Crosby and Nash. If a
choice were to be made for the CD, I would definitely go with the album version WITH the extended jam. It's a lot hotter than the PERRO tape take,
with a fiery Garcia & Nash driven peak with that ultra-sweet Garcia Strat sound of that era...
Obviously these tapes were not mixed in chronological order. As far as giving you some idea what will be on the CD, I don't know yet
what I can use, and no, it won't be out for a couple of months....artwork and mixing, you know.....I have a lot of shit to do....
Soon I will get the 16 tracks, and I will have a better idea of what I can do with this, (and if it is worth it to remix all of it, or only
parts..some of the two track mixes are pretty good -- first generation.)
At this early stage I cannot commit to any lineup. I might find <more> on the multis -- I haven't played those since '71 !!
On 8/23/91 a copy of the several PERRO reels were compiled onto a DT 120 DAT on request by Paul to Graham (since the tapes where kept in the latter's vault) for a copy.
When the Crosby, Stills & Nash box-set was being put together, some mystery reels were found.
All of the CSNY tape collection was brought in to one place for the first time, including personal collections of Barncard, Joel Bernstein, Nash and Stills. One of the PERRO tapes had a small pipe with weed in it and somebody smoked it! It was still good.
The material on the PERRO tapes was very interesting, but had nothing to do with CSNY. There were 4 reels of 2 track mixes made in 1971 during the sessions (obviously there is more that has never been mixed). The tapes were put into storage in Nash's vault.
Paul called Nash in 1992 and requested DATs of those tapes. This was the first time they had been outside of the CSNY organization. They were copied at
A&M Post Production audio and my personal DAT was made at that time.
The roots of PER&RO go back a lot further than 1971. 1 guess it had its inception in the early years of the '60s (prior to the Airplane, the Byrds et al) when Kantner, Crosby and Freiberg used to hang out, play music, get high and rap together around Venice Beach. That was the initial bond, the start of it all.
Later, when they were in bands of their own, there were occasional points of interaction - like Garcia sitting in on the 'Surrealistic Pillow' sessions, like Crosby giving "Triad" to the Airplane when he couldn't get the Byrds to record it, like Kantner, Crosby and Stills writing "Wooden Ships".
Then, as the '60s drew to a close, two sets of circumstances combined to bring the Planet Earth Rock And Roll Dream a whole lot nearer. One was the opening of Wally Heider's studio in San Francisco - because now the local SF musicians (Airplane, Quicksilver, Dead) had a place on their doorstep where they could record. This gave item freedom from the corporate studios to record and produce as they saw fit, to come and go more as they pleased and to invite the musical neighborhood in if they chose. (It hadn't been so easy when they were holed up at RCA's or Warner's studios in Hollywood.) The other catalyst was the state of flux that a lot of bands were falling into by 1969/1970, for Crosby had left the Byrds, the Airplane was a less cohesive force with Dryden out and Hot Tuna splitting off, and Dino Valenti's arrival had unsettled QMS.
Things had come pretty much full circle by the end of the decade. Kantner was again hanging out with Crosby (quite often on the latter's yacht) and with David Freiberg - and, when Paul came to assemble musicians to record 'Blows Against The Empire', it wasn't just to his Airplane cohorts that he turned but also to Crosby and Garcia and even Graham Nash - who'd just bought a house in Frisco and ended up producing the whole second side of the 'Blows...' album at Heider's studio. 'Blows..." was the first album by that collection of musicians whom Paul liked to term the Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra.
The fact that he billed the album as being by Jefferson Starship shouldn't mislead anyone. Kantner, Crosby, Slick, Freiberg, Nash, Garcia, Kaukonen, Lesh, Casady, Kreutzmann, Hart - these people were the Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra, supporting each other on key projects.
As Grace recalls, "These sessions were like 'Uh, do you wanna play guitar on this one?' 'No, man, I have to go to the bathroom.' 'Okay, David, you wanna play?' 'Sure'. Whoever felt like doing something did it. Parts interchanged, people interchanged."
Graham Nash says "They asked me my opinion and I just jumped right in. Grace, Paul, David - they let me do whatever I heard. I was searching for this kind of environment when I came to America and when I was mixing in the studio our imaginations were running rampant. We were creating virtual kingdoms with music."
The second such PER&RO project was David Crosby's debut solo album, 'If I Could Only Remember My Name', which features all of the above-mentioned Planet Earthers plus the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Greg Rolie and Mike Shrieve.
But enough of this preamble, and on to the tapes in question. They come from sessions at Wally Heider's San Francisco studios in 1971. Crosby had sailed his boat up to Sausalito harbor. Nash was resident in the Haight. Kantner and Slick had moved out to Bolinas and the Dead were in Mill Valley but they would all head for Wally's of an evening to work on PER&RO songs. Some of these things ended up on Crosby's solo, a couple on Garcia's solo, one on Grace's album, one on Paul's 1983 'Planet Earth...' album - and some have never seen the light of day, in which case we've had to guess at what they might be title. Roll the PER&RO tapes.
"Walkin' In The Mountains" (1' 47n): A Crosby composition featuring typically attractive chordings, but little in the way of finished lyrics. "All the words we got so far are just ideas of places we'd like to go,- he tells Garcia at the start of this...
> "I went walkin' out last summer
> Tryin' to find a breath of air.
> I went walkin' in the mountains
> A friend had told me I'd find you there"
comprises just about all the words he has, but the feel is so airy and open you can almost smell that mountain air. The sequence makes a surprise reappearance later in the tape, as an intro to version four of 'The Mountain Song'.
Barncard: Two of the versions are actually the same performance, the second remixed a little better.
"Is It Really Monday?" (4' 55"): Crosby again, and this one begins with his acoustic guitar and the composer scat-singing the abstruse melody. When the lyrics arrive, he asks:
> "Is it really Monday?
> I must have been here before.
> Is it really Monday?
> I think the walls begin to speak."
The tempo is very slow, in a country blues vein and Garcia adds some restrained picking. The lugubrious bass sounds like that of Phil Lesh.
"Under Anesthesia" (5' 14"): The timing includes a false start of about 45 seconds, after which Crosby calls a halt and announces 'No, that's not it. Started too slow, it's outta time and I didn't get the right words!" When he does, it's another hugely impressive song, the lyrical angle of which is to bemoan the inertia of the common man - who is portrayed as stupefied by beer and TV. At the conclusion, Crosby launches into a brief sequence on guitar and comments 'I thought I'd try something original...if I write another song in E Minor, man, I'm gonna get fired!'
*This song is actually called "You Sit There"
"Loser" (8' 41"): The timing includes several restarts and Jerry explaining - and indeed demonstrating - the chord progression to his colleagues, who could well be Crosby, Lesh and Papa John*. There's certainly a violin in here and it works especially well, counterpointing the three guitars most effectively.
*Papa John never hung out in PERRO sessions. David Freiberg on viola.
It's obviously an early run through the song as Jerry doesn't have much more than the first verse written. The second crack has more audible vocals, but Garcia still resorts to "da da das" from the second verse on. The bridge is there, at least intact musically, even if the only line Jerry seems sure about is the closing
"Don't let that deal go down" The genesis of a great song.
"Over Jordan" (3' 30"): Another Crosby song, replete with a beautiful structure, but short on completed lyrics. It begins with David's rippling acoustic guitar which is soon joined by that of Garcia for some impressive picking.
> "I'm only going over Jordan,
> Just a-goin" to my home"
sings the Cros, but after a couple of minutes he declares that he's forgotten the changes, so restarts the performance at the bridge. This is a delightful half-song which the composer should really have completed and recorded at some stage.
*Also called "Wayfaring Stranger"
"The Mountain Song - 1" (5' 11"): This is the first of several attempts at what would eventually become a slice of classic Airmachine. However, at this stage, the only fragment of the song they had to work with was the line "Gonna make the mountains be my home" and the chord-sequence that supported it, so it's quite amazing that from such a meager base Kantner, Slick, Crosby and Garcia (possibly with Casady and Hart) are able to conjure 23 minutes of undulating beauty. There's a banjo featured prominently, plus two acoustic guitars and Grace's distinctive piano. The banjo is Paul K.& the touches are so accomplished, it's Kantner on the five- string with Garcia and Crosby on guitars. Surprisingly, there's no trace of Paul's vocal - though the other three take care of that handsomely enough.
Early on, it's Jerry singing the line in orthodox fashion, while Grace embellishes with some improvised lyrics around the theme. Then Crosby takes Grace's place and scats around Jerry's vocal for a while. As you'd expect, the playing is loose and slightly tentative on this first version, but no less affecting for all that.
"The Mountain Song - 2" (5' 17"): Grace is back providing an improvised descant to Jerry's straight vocal at the start here, and she's singing about the sky and the river as he eulogizes the mountains. After a minute or so, Crosby introduces his scat and Grace leaves the chorus to concentrate on her keyboards. Her vocal chords are re-engaged towards the close.
"The Mountain Song - 3" (3' 44"): This version begins with Jerry and David singing the line and Grace gliding around them. Briefly, Crosby supersedes her in this role but soon the two of them are improvising around the structure as Jerry perseveres in the middle.
At the end of this effort, Paul is heard to remark "It sounds like everybody's going in and out of time" to which Crosby responds "No, no, no, it's all working - and it works perfectly." The listener is strongly inclined to agree with him.
"The Mountain Song - 4" (8' 20"): As you'll see, this is the longest version and undoubtedly the most satisfying of the four. This is where Crosby's embryonic "Walkin' In The Mountains" suddenly reemerges and he goes through the verse and various chord sequences as an introduction to "The Mountain Song," to which it bridges seamlessly and beautifully. It's a remarkable segue which makes the listener keenly aware of how the song could have developed in a very different direction had Crosby stayed to contribute throughout its evolution. Speculation aside, what we do have is a return to the familiar pattern of banjo, guitars, bass, piano and percussion. Crosby reverts to his scatted counterpoint before it slips into a stunning instrumental section. Herein, the music weaves a genuinely hypnotic spell as it rolls effortlessly along the bed of Paul's banjo and Grace's piano, with Garcia picking exquisitely. After several minutes of this, the vocal pattern is re-introduced, now in a more restrained vein against instrumentation which has become subdued, with Grace and the Cros gently dancing around Jerry to the finale of a wonderful excursion.
"Wild Turkey" (4' 20")(AKA "Leather Winged Bat"): An interesting improvisation with Jorma and Jack at the controls, this may or may not be an early styling of what became the dynamic duo's "Bark" instrumental. It certainly starts off that way, with Kaukonen roaring out some aggressive electric noise and Casady on a familiar rumble. But soon it settles into something much gentler, employing a more reflective chord progression. Jorma's playing rises and falls in a fairly relaxed manner - until the finale, when he stirs it back towards the "Turkey" structure with some more combative lead guitar. It could well be that Jack and Jorma decided the split-mood approach didn't work and restructured the number as the wholly aggressive strut we encountered on 'Bark'. Whatever, it's a nicely balanced piece and a pleasure to hear.
"Jorma & Jerry's Jam - 1" (14' 22"): If the previous outing was a pleasure, this jam is a sensation! As readers will be aware, there's little recorded evidence of Mr. Kaukonen and Mr. Garcia essaying their remarkable skills together, so this is a rare chance to hear the fruits of one such collaboration. Backed up by the supple bass of Jack Casady plus solid percussion (Mickey Hart?), this is a quarter-hour of incisive and responsive musicianship - intuitively structured and beautifully realized. Jorma leads it off on electric guitar, his playing funky and rich in wah-wah, whilst Jerry complements it with a more subdued style. Casady is well mixed and excellent, but it's Jorma's sprawling mass of notes which take center stage in this section; hot, handy and winding all over the soundscape in unfettered rampage. Having played a disciplined supporting role for the first half of the jam - his accomplished touches providing the perfect foil to Jorma's aggression - Jerry assumes control for the second phase. Initially calm after the Kaukonen storm, this movement gradually builds over several minutes into a fabulous jam, delightfully evolved and transfixing the listener as it develops. Jerry's playing gets less lyrical, more earthy, until it is stylistically much closer to his partner's earlier contribution. Naturally, Jorma then resumes the lead and steers the ensemble to a nicely judged conclusion. It would be perfectly reasonable to hail this example of superlative sparring as San Francisco jamming at its very finest.
"The Wall Song -1" (6' 00"): After a waggish intro from the composer, we're into a captivating version of a Crosby song which appeared in 1972 on the LP 'Graham Nash David Crosby.' On that take, the duo were backed by Garcia, Lesh and Kreutzmann and there's no reason to suppose that the same trio isn't in support here. The real distinction between the released version and this is the absence of Nash - though this is more than ably compensated for by the double-tracking of Crosby's wonderful voice, which provides an imaginative and memorable harmony. But there's a bonus. Just when listeners familiar with the 1972 record expect the track to finish, there's a lovely instrumental excursion with Garcia in winning form, shuffling percussion from Bill and a gentle ripple from Lesh. Really, this is so good it eclipses the official release by some distance - and should clearly have been included in the CS&N box of 1991.
"The Wall Song - 2" (4' 27"): Again, David is doubly tracked, but this time there's only his own acoustic guitar in support, and the performance is generally a little lazier than before.
"Eep Hour" (4' 44"): A very dissimilar reading from the one which appeared on 'Garcia' and which had keyboard and pedal steel dominating the sound. This is just the acoustic guitars and bass and has a very Spanish ambiance. Presuming that Jerry isn't multi-tracked and playing everything himself - as he did on his album - we might take the other participants to be Lesh and either Kantner or Crosby.
*Jack Casady plays bass on EEP HOUR
At the close, there's a whoop of triumph from somebody and what sounds like Kantner's voice saying 'everybody just have a little break from their guitar strings!'
"Shuffle" (2' 20"): Two guitars (one electric), bass and drums glide effortlessly down a four-chord structure for a couple of minutes. The drums shuffle effectively but nothing much happens and the piece sounds more like an intro to something more substantial than an entity in itself.
"Jorma & Jerry's Jam - 2" (14' 29"): This has a slightly longer introduction than its earlier incarnation (i.e. it starts a few seconds before) but is otherwise identical to the first version.
These tapes are a fabulous find, showing as they do the formative stages of some classic songs and hinting at others, notably by Crosby, that could have been among the best things he never recorded.
UP AGAINST THE WALL, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!