SoL 2012 – The Trailer

The 6th annual Summer of Love Party is to be held in Kent on the 6th & 7th July 2012

The line up  is

Friday 3.00 pm – 12 midnight
======

Marrakesh Express – covers of Byrds and CSN
Sarah Tonin – psychedelic rock
Heart of Rust – Neil Young cover band
Adam Piggott & Jayne Freeman
Corey Webb

Saturday 11.00 am – 1am
========

Cosmic Finger – Grateful Dead Cover Band (from Germany)
Michael Chapman – a fully qualified folk survivor from the 60s
Rant ‘n’ Rave – Americana originals
The Blox – Ian Dury cover band
Galley Beggar – describe themselves as a mix of Fairport Convention and Led
Zep.
Kerry Andrew “You are Wolf” – young alt.folk original

Summer of Love Party is a private party and entry is for members only – so pop along to ourwebsite for details on how to become a member!

 

Dark Star Orchestra

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Dark Star Orchestra
The Garage, London
18th March 2012

Show: The Lyceum 23rd May 1972

Set 1

The Promised Land
Sugaree
Mr. Charlie
Black Throated Wind
Tennessee Jed
Next Time You See Me
Jack Straw
China Cat Sunflower>
I Know You Rider
Me And My Uncle (Not played)
Chinatown Shuffle
Big Railroad Blues
Two Souls In Communion
Playing In The Band
Sittin’ On Top Of The World
Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu
Mexicali Blues
Good Lovin’
Casey Jones

Set 2

Ramble On Rose
Dark Star >
Morning Dew
He’s Gone
Sugar Magnolia
Comes A Time
Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad >
Not Fade Away >
Hey Bo Diddley >
Not Fade Away

Encore
Uncle John’s Band

Filler
Brokedown Palace – with other drummer

So I went to see the Dark Star Orchestra’s first ever UK appearance tonight at the garage in Highbury, London. They’re a Grateful Dead cover band but one which is well known in the US for playing whole shows taken from the 30 years or so that the Dead toured. As 2012 is the 40th anniversary of one of the Grateful Dead’s most (in)famous tours – their tour of Europe which spawned their triple album Europe 72 it seemed only fitting that the band come over and play some of the 72 shows in the cities where they were originally played. It doesn’t look like we’ll get a visit from the latest incarnation of post Dead bands Furthur so we’ll have to do without any of the original members.

It was obvious from the pre-show blurb that they would be playing one of the four Lyceum shows but which one? There were two which had huge versions of Dark Star and the other two had great versions of The Other One so either way we were in for a treat. There was speculation in the pub before hand with the 23rd May and the 26th May being the favourites. Unless it was the 24th it was going to be difficult to spot which show at first as the other 3 nights all opened with the same song. In fact the two nights mentioned shared the same four songs at the beginning of set 1!

As it turned out the show in question turned out to be the opening night of the run at the Lyceum back in 1972. The Garage was actually a lot fuller than I thought it would be as the band kicked off the show. I was quite close to the front in the middle so I had a good view of the band. Unfortunately I also had to put up with some drunken idiot dancers too and one in particular seemed to think it was a good idea to celebrate the end of a song by throwing his beer up in the air, something he did twice during the first set.

I’ve seen a few GD cover bands over the past few years, The Cosmic Charlies and Workingmen’s Deed from the UK and Deadicace from over the channel in France/Belgium. I have to say though that I found DSO to be a lot tighter and sounded more together than any of the other’s I’ve seen. This could be that they play together on a much regular basis and as the market for GD cover bands is so much bigger out in the States there are far more opportunities for them to play and earn money. I obviously can’t comment on how authentic they were to 1972 Grateful Dead as I wasn’t at those shows as I was only 11 (thank you to the person who asked me that down the front!). My only comment on that score was I thought DSO were a lot rockier that I would have expected from listening to the recordings from that era. I did get a comment from an old timer at the bar during the interval who said they were “too loud and lacked finesse” but obviously that’s his opinion and I don’t know if he was at the original show.

I guess that’s the thing about the Grateful Dead there are so many reasons why people like them. I, for example like the extended jams in songs like Dark Star or The Other One but other people like the danceable rock numbers, there is even one friend of mine who swears that 1995 Dead is the best there is, whereas most people think their final tour was awful. Some like to listen to the music, other like to dance the night away and of course there are all stations in between! This also means that while some people liked some of the above mentioned cover bands others saw different aspects to them – I still think the one I enjoyed the most was Workingman’s Deed as to me they were in the right area musically but other’s didn’t like them because of their vocals.

I was pretty sure I had the right date at the end of the first set but not being someone who memorises set lists so a quick check on deadlists during the interval confirmed what was to come in the second set. They kicked off again with Ramble on Rose before heading off into my favourite piece of Dead – Dark Star. Sadly I never got to see them play it and have only really seen it played live by the Cosmic Charlies and as a short jam by Workingmen’s Deed so I really enjoyed seeing it played right in front of me. It never ceases to amaze me what can be made of something that is essentially a riff and two verses of words. The only studio version that exists last a mere 2:40 and yet the live versions lasted 20, 30, 40 or even in one case on the Europe 72 tour 50 minutes.

The song was just reaching a crescendo when the drunken dancer suddenly re-appeared next to me. Now I wanted to listen to the song and the last thing I wanted was to have my enjoyment spoiled by someone sticking their drunken face into mine and starting to stroke my beard! So I brushed him away and when he came back I lifted my arm and basically shoved him away from me. Luckily for him he didn’t come back again otherwise I might not have been responsible for my actions! In fact I didn’t see him again for the rest of the night although his legacy remained as my feel stuck to the beer sodden floor!

So all in all a good night, bumped into lots of people some of who I knew and remembered and some that knew me but I couldn’t remember them (I’m hopeless!). I handed out a few leaflets for SoL at the end and even managed to give one to the band and tell them they should come and play next year. They did say they’d be coming back but then we’ve heard that before from American bands who then are not seen again. I can quite understand it though as I’m sure they enjoy playing here but suspect that once they get home and tot up the finances it doesn’t look as attractive as it did. The sad reality for most musicians these days especially those in bands.

Summer SoLSIX

The line up is almost finalised for the 6th annual Summer of Love Party to be held in Kent on the 6th & 7th July 2012

The line up as it stands at the moment is

Friday 4.00 pm – 12 midnight
======

Marrakesh Express – covers of Byrds and CSN
Sarah Tonin – psychedelic rock
Heart of Rust – Neil Young cover band
Adam Piggott & Jayne Freeman

Saturday 11.00 am – 1am
========

Cosmic Finger – Grateful Dead Cover Band (from Germany)
Michael Chapman – a fully qualified folk survivor from the 60s
Rant ‘n’ Rave – Americana originals
The Blox – Ian Dury cover band
Galley Beggar – describe themselves as a mix of Fairport Convention and Led
Zep.
Kerry AndrewYou are Wolf” – young alt.folk original

 

Every year Michael Eavis says of Glastonbury “This years festival will be the biggest and best yet” so I can confidently predict that this years SoL will be the same size as last year and be every bit as good!

Summer of Love Party is a private party and entry is for members only – so pop along to our website for details on how to become a member! Full membership is just £50 and if you join before 7th February you’ll get a 10% discount.

Go on you know it makes sense!!

Free Music

The Grateful Dead are giving away free music every day in November. Each day an unreleased track from their extensive archive will be made available to download in mp3 format. The tracks are only available on the day of release and you need to log in to be able to download them. They are posted at 12 noon EST which is about 4pm GMT and usually disappear before the following morning so grab them quick!

There is also a competition to guess the date of each recording with the first correct answer drawn winning their choice of CD’s from the band’s Road Trips series – sadly due to various laws the competition is only open to people resident in the US but hey the music is worth it on it’s own. So far we have had New Speedway Boogie from the Fillmore East in September 1970 and a recording of the bands improvisational epic Dark Star from the seminal year of 1969, this time from the Fillmore West.

So click on the image above or this link to download the latest tracks and remember to go back every day to grab a new one.

Solomon Burke and other New York Stories

The death of Solomon Burke last week at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport was widely reported but at first the news didn’t really resonate with me but after a while I started to think about it. I became sure that I had seen him at some point in the past and I started to wonder if it was him that I had seen at Summerstage in Central Park, New York back in 1995.

I’d gone to America for work to organise two events for a client, the first in Boston, the second in New York. I had flown into Boston on the Tuesday evening and did the Boston show the following day. Then I flew to New York and checked into my hotel and the following day I did the show again at the Four Seasons Hotel. After that I was free for a couple of days before I had to fly home on the Sunday. I was determined to make the best use of the time I had in the Big Apple!

I had a list of things I wanted to do and was armed with a copy of a New York on a budget book and a copy of a paper which had listings of events in New York. I had a couple of CD’s I wanted to find and I’d also arranged to meet up with a guy I had met on Compuserve and become friends with due to a shared grief over the death of Viv Stanshall earlier that year. The internet was still in it’s infancy in those days and I had only been on there for a few months, the www as we know it today was only just starting and browsers were still being developed. If it had been more developed I would have known that the Grateful Dead were playing in NJ on the Sunday (supported by Bob Dylan) and wouldn’t have arranged to fly home before the gig!! Never mind, I thought, I’ll see them next time – little did I know this would be their final tour as Jerry Garcia died later that year.

Still there were plenty of other things to do and I set about doing them. One of the CD’s I found straight away – it was Todd Snider‘s debut album Songs for the Daily Planet. The other CD’s proved a little more tricky and I must have gone into every record shop in Manhattan looking  for albums by Tom Ovans without success. In fact on one day I ended up walking from my hotel on 42nd street all the way down the island till I got to the Statten Island ferry terminal looking in every record store I passed. Once there I did the classic tourist thing of catching the ferry and then getting off at the other end and running round to catch it back again. The trip was wonderful giving wonderful views of the Statue of Liberty and the bottom end of Manhattan and the classic skyline with the two World Trade towers that would be attacked and destroyed just over 6 years later.

Music coloured almost every move I made in the city, if it wasn’t things triggering off songs in my head like “Walking down Madison” or “Fairy Tale of New York ” every time I saw NYPD on a Police car it was going to visit places from songs and one such place was the Chelsea Hotel. The Chelsea Hotel has long been (in)famous for it’s literary and musical residents. Dylan Thomas was staying there when he drank himself to death and Bob Dylan wrote Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands there. Leonard Cohen wrote about having sex with Janis Joplin there and Sid Vicious allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in the hotel in 1978.  I went in to the beautifully ornate reception area but it was deathly quiet so I left again – I’m not sure what I expected to find but it wasn’t there. If I’d thought about it I could have booked myself in there instead of the dreadfully sterile Central Hotel that I was staying in.

The night out with my friend from Compuserve turned out to be in Greenwich Village, itself an abvious destination on my musical odyssey because of the Bob Dylan connection. I met him in an underground bar where we drank and played darts with his friends – they were labouring under the misapprehension that being English I’d be good at darts! It wasn’t quite the night out in Greenwich Village I’d hoped for but enjoyable non the less and the group of people I met up with were intelligent and witty (they would later be responsible for an underground literary magazine called Lurch) and were eager to suggest things I should do while in town.

LURCHlogo

As I left the bar that night I noticed that there was a second hand record shop a few doors down so in a slightly drunken state I went in and started looking through the racks of CD’s. To my surprise I found a CD by Tom Ovans which I didn’t even know existed so I bought it and set off back to the hotel. In 2003 I finally got to see Tom at the 12 Bar Club in London and I took the CD cover along and got Tom to sign it after I told him the story.

The listings newspaper I had been recommended had lots of shows advertised that I would have loved to gone too but in true Sod’s Law fashion none of them were on while I was there. I remember there was a full page ad for a band I had vaguely heard of called Phish who were playing at Jones Beach but it was two weeks later. So with nothing I fancied doing I turned to the New York book to suggest things. After thumbing through it I set off to go and eat at a Lebanese restaurant that it recommended. However in order to get there I had to go through Times Square and while I was doing that I noticed the half price ticket booth like the one they have in Leicester Square in London. I toyed with the idea of seeing a Broadway show so I looked up and down the listings and then one caught my eye. It was called the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) – I’d heard about this when it was in London  performed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company so I asked the guy if it was the same one but he didn’t know. I thought “what the hell, how often will I get to see an Off-Broadway show” so I bought a ticket and headed off to the theater. It was indeed the same show where they cover all 37 plays in 97 minutes and it was hilariously funny and I even got an extra laugh at the pronunciation of War-Wick-Shire!!

After the show I continued my journey to the restaurant which was, thankfully, still open. After eating I walked up to 88th Street to go to Manny’s Car Wash Blues Club which I think had been recommended to me by a friend. The journey I took snaked across town from west to east  and from south to north but I managed to make the route pass the corner of 53rd and Third which was the scene of the Killing of Georgie in the Rod Stewart Song! Arriving at the club the doorman told us it was something like five bucks to come in. This made me wonder if it was about to close so I asked him and he said it was open till 4am so in I went. I don’t remember who was playing that night but I’m sure if I found my diary I could but I stayed until about 2am enjoying good music and good beer (If I recall correctly I drank the first dark beer of my stay in this club).  As I left the club I decided that 46 blocks was too far to walk at this time of night so I hailed a cab that was coming up Third Avenue. The driver hung a left and then turned left again into Second Avenue and the road being empty at that time of night reached incredible speeds for my journey back to the hotel.

The weather was incredible that week, it was hot and humid and walking anywhere was a major task so it was incredible that I managed to avoid going on the Subway for most of the time I was there. In fact the only time I did venture underground was after my walk down to the Statten Island ferry that afternoon. It was either walk all the way back in the searing heat or take the plunge and catch the Subway. I went down the steps and paid at the ticket booth and was given a token by the man. I think it was obvious that I didn’t know what to do so the man from the ticket booth came over and showed me where to put the token.

On the Saturday afternoon I headed off to Central Park to go to a Summerstage concert in Rumsey Playfield making a detour to visit the spot where John Lennon had been shot and the monument in Strawberry Fields. I then went on to the concert which was free but I recall they were collecting for charity and I threw some money into their collection box. The reason I was there was to see the support band G Love and Special Sauce who I had heard on the Saturday afternoon show on Radio 1 back home. Once inside the stage was set along one side of the arena and people were spread out all around enjoying the sunshine. Around the area there were a number of stalls some selling tickets and some selling beer. You had to queue up to buy tickets before taking them to the bar to get a drink. There was also a Sony stall showing the new Minidisc system which I had a listen to but declined to buy a raffle ticket to try and win one!

G Love was really good, it was the first time I’d seen them but I did get to see them again about a week later at Glastonbury and they remain the only act that I have seen on both sides of the Atlantic! I may have left after their set if it hadn’t been for what happened on my way to get a beer. I was walking across the arena when I heard someone shout my name. I paused for a second but then realised that I was in New York and who would be calling me! So I started to walk again and then sure enough I heard them shout again, so this time I turned round and found two or three of the guys I’d met at the bar in Greenwich Village waving at me.

So I stayed and we watched Soloman Burke who arrived on stage being carried on a throne while being dressed in a Gold lame suit.  He played some hot soul music on a hot afternoon. It was so hot that they turned the fire hoses on the audience to cool them down.  The audience drank the bars dry and in the end we had to buy beer off illegal vendors who were skulking around with cool boxes and bags. When the gig finished we went off to a restaurant nearby where we sat and ate out on the street, talking about stuff and once again I had an enjoyable conversation with these guys. They invited me to join them in Brooklyn that evening to continue the party, initially I thought I would but then declined as I had an early flight the next morning. They gave me a lift back to my hotel and we said our goodbyes.

So I was right about having seen Soloman Burke and my quest to find this out has raised a lot of good memories and turned up one or two interesting links. The first, and the site which confirmed it had been Solomon Burke that day, was a recording of the G Love set that I found posted on archive.org. the second was a collection of Solomon Burke pictures from that afternoon which I found on Getty Images, obviously I can’t post one here without breaching copyright so I will just publish a link so you can check out that suit!!

Put your gold money where your love is baby

A few years ago the Grateful Dead released a box set of recordings from their 1969 run of shows at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. These shows were recorded by the band on a 16 track machine, the first album to be recorded on one. Some of the music recorded over the four nights was originally released on the bands first live album the legendary Live/Dead. Recordings of those shows, of various qualities, have long circulated amongst deadheads but the news of an official release of the entire collection had people leaping for joy!

The only problem was that the 10 disc collection was to be a limited edition of 10,000 copies and to add extra spice to all of this if you pre-ordered you got an 11th disc, containing more music from the same era, as a bonus. So the set became an instant collectors item and right from the start silly money was being spent by some who had missed out on buying copies on ebay.

Well last week a copy went on sale on ebay.co.uk – someone in London was selling his copy and it was noted with interest on my Dead group Eurotraders. The estimate that was touted was probably somewhere in the region of £250 – so i decided to watch it and see what happened.

fillmore

It started at £85 and quickly progressed to around the £200 mark where it stayed for quite sometime. However by the time the final hour came round it was sitting at just over £280 and then in the dying seconds the price jumped over the £300 mark finishing at £310.50. The seller offered free postage which was decent of him!

So there you are, now my problem is deciding if I want to keep my copy or sell it and raise some much needed cash. I mean I would want to be thought of as a breadhead would I?