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Published: 2016/07/29
by Larson Sutton

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
Garcialive Volume 6: July 5, 1973 Lion's Share

With all the discussion and debate this past year swirling around in Grateful Dead land, most has centered quite expectedly on whoever is occupying the space once commanded by Jerry Garcia. It’s unfair on its face, for any comparisons to Captain Trips are pointless; Garcia was as unique a musician as he was an individual. He was also very much a symbol of his time, carrying on the circus of the ‘60s through several decades that consistently used him to shoulder the burden of stereotype- hippies, drugs, peace and love- when most of the time all Garcia wanted to do was play some tunes. The Garcia Live series, with this Volume 6, allows fans to hear Jerry doing just that; out from under the big top, working on his craft, and having some fun. Granted this three-disc release from a July 1973 outing at a club in San Anselmo, CA can be assessed with the value of hindsight, and subsequently seen as a key period in the evolution of the Dead, but all of that was in the future, and Garcia never was one to be playing for tomorrow. With longtime pal Merl Saunders, Jerry works his way through a set with long passages of improvisation and dominated by covers, including “After Midnight” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” that at the time were contemporary songs popularized by peers Eric Clapton and The Band, but now feel more historically significant. In fact, every time one of these performances emerges from the vault it confirms what the Dead community knew instantly back in the dark of August ‘95: There would never be another Jerry Garcia.

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