To start out with solo Jerry work, Merl Saunders is key. This leaves you with Legion Of Mary, Reconstruction, and Jerry and Merl shows. LOM is pretty sweet imo. I also really dig Reconstruction where Jerry was more of a sideman than lead.
Also if you can get your hands on Hooterroll? from Garcia and Howard Wales you will be doing your ears a great service.
All eras of Jerry are pretty awesome, in my opinion. The Jerry Site is a good source to start with:
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His early 70s sound with Merl was jazzier -- definitely free and soul jazz influenced.
By the mid-70s with Legion of Mary and JGB it was more rockin, but no less awesome. Donna, pound for pound, was better with JGB and works well during these years. The Travis Bean guitar was also a very nice mix with JGB. 77 Legion of Mary is one of my picks for sure.
I think 78 is an overall standout year for JGB as well. After that, the line-up changes a bit, and doesn't work quite as well until they pick up Melvin at the end of 1980. After that the band really takes off again. 82 is a fantastic year -- some of my favorite shows are from that year. There are some great solo shows, as dogstarz wrote about here, and some HOT JGB shows, especially the spring tour. Check 2/27/82 if you can find it. Maybe I'll post it.
83 is also fantastic, tho problems with his vocals are more noticeable. Fall 83 sees some huge shreddage. Check any November show for great jams.
I'm a big fan of the 90's JGB too. 90 and 91 are terrific years, and again it seems to be the fall tours that shine. 93 is a surprisingly hot JGB year too. Jerry really settled into JGB during those years and seemed very comfortable in that role. His acoustic work with Grisman is amazing of course.
Too many great things to write about. Just pick one out and start listening!
Check out the " What Jerry Show did You Listen to recently? " We have some shows reviewed there and that is a good starting point .
I'm with S&R on his recommendations. 78 is a very good year. I also really like 76 as well and it might be Donnas best year with either JGB and the GD. I'm big on 83-84. Something about the 4-5 song sets just get me going because he jammed out the tunes the most. It's self indulgent Jerry, which you don't get in other eras. He was locked into himself.
OK I'll see but I thought that it was limited stricktly to the GD shows.
I wanted the Jerry Garcia solo projects suggestions .... but I'll check!
Oh right, I misread....
Some of my personal favorites are:
3/18/78 Warner Theatre. That era had the dual backing vocals of Donna and Maria Muldaur.
Calderone Theatre 1980
6/16/82 Music Mountain. Man, what a show.
11/26/83 Cleveland. Rippin stuff.
The 1989 Merriweather Post Pavillion shows.
The 1987 shows from the Lunt Fontaine theatre are fun- several official releases with those.
_________________ We used to play for acid, now we play for Clive.
I agree with virtually everything that has been said but I want to add a few things.
I have been listening a lot to November of 93 lately and really like a lot of the songs, such as The Maker. I really recommend 11/5 and 11/19, which has an outstanding version of Shining Star.
I also would recommend late 75 stuff with Nicky Hopkins. Hopkins was a really good keyboard player although he also was a flaming drunk such as with the new years eve show. He was great on the slower stuff such as Mississippi Moon and Limbo. He also could do upbeat stuff well. They often ended shows with lets spend the nite together into Edward.
Let me make a few specific show suggestions. I only have time for those up to the mid 70s.
1/15/72 = Does a rare Tupelo Honey, a spacey instrumetnal called Man-child, and a ripping Thats all right Mama
1/19/72 = He does a number of instrumental versions of Lennon's imagine that I like in January but this one transitions from Expressway, which I like a lot.
6/30/72 - Does some unusual blues numbers and a rare performance of Biloxi, which is a ballad I cannot get enough of. Wonderful lyrics. This also has a long and good version of Lonely 4 u, which I like a lot and this goes into a space type jam.
72/12/20 - This show is a must listen in my opinion and it has one of my favorite sequences of Jerry's. The sequence is Expressway>jam>space jam>Georgia on My mind (instrumental). The latter is absolutely gorgeous. This is followed by an All Right Mama that is another song I like a lot. he plays it quite fast in 72 with some ripping guitar work.
I am not a huge fan of 73 because there is a woman singer, sara fulcher who I cannot stand.
74/1/17 A very good lonely 4 U and an unusual instrumental version of Funny Valentine
74/2/5 and 2/9 I really like Merle doing Wondering Why and the Mystery Trains during this time frame with the sax. I think the sax adds a lot to this song that I love.
75/5/15 mostly for Wicked Messenger, which is a very dark song
75/5/22 This may be my favorite from LOM with a terrific Goin, Goin, Gone followed by Roadrunner.
75/10/23/ and 10/24. These are shows with Hopkins who I mentioned in my prior post. I have these shows mixed together but they have some unusual songs and great versions of some, such as Mississippi Moon.
75/12/19 and 12/20 I also have these mixed together but one has a very good Spend the nite together into Edward and Limbo.
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