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The Peak of Jerome John Garcia

 
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:51 am    Post subject: The Peak of Jerome John Garcia Reply with quote

As far as his invidual performances go, Swami and I agree, and I would like to submit it to you all... that Jerry's peak was in the 1977-1984 period.
1977-1984, there were shows that were misses... but almost never because of Jerry. Usually someone else was slagging off (Keith in 77-78, Phil in 80-82). Jerry had the majority of his personal best shows in the 77-84 window.
In 76, there was more a focus on beauty and getting back into the teamwork. You could make an argument that by the end of 76 the peak really began.
By 85, Jerry had lost a 1/2 of a 1/2 Step... Or maybe he just decided to check out what effects could add and lost a wee bit of interest in his personal noodling, etc.
Yes, I know he was good in the primal dead period... but no where near fully developed.
Golden era? Nah, that was just an example of EVERYONE being on in almost every damn show.

I stand by this statement, and would like to know your thoughts. Swami, in particular, but not only, perhaps you could add your comments here.
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dogstarz
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait a second here Koch. This seems like a "golden era" thread in disguise. Either way I will still buy into it. Garcia was on it for the majority of that era. After listening to more 79 than I have before I have concluded that a lot of Jerry's work was helped by a young Mydland. Listen to the NYE run in Oakland. For the most part the band was all on but Garcia was on fire. Sugaree from 12/18/79 is a perfect example of this. Also Koch you might want to consider looking at winter 88 and spring 89 for great Jerry moments. His playing may not be up to par to the era you mentioned but a great honorable mention. IMO atleast.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

68>>79Just loved his tone and energy. His tone changed often but it was always unmistakenly Garcia. The purity of his sound. Unadulterrated-No gimmicks. I think you Koch once described his playing like a hot knife through butter. I'm not sure what years you were talking about but that is a perfect description. The New Yorker once described his playing as Big fat wet notes. I like that one as well. I realize this is a pretty long period but this is when I enjoyed him the most- The whole band for that matter. What a surprise huh Wink

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Kochman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really think 76 is within Jerry's best years? And 70-71?
Not saying they were bad... all years of Jerome are better than anything since in my book.
But you think Jerry's personal performances, not talking about anyone else in the band, but Jerry's performances were better than oh say his performance in 9/4/80? Or 11/2-3/84 (the end of the era)?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
You really think 76 is within Jerry's best years? And 70-71?
Not saying they were bad... all years of Jerome are better than anything since in my book.
But you think Jerry's personal performances, not talking about anyone else in the band, but Jerry's performances were better than oh say his performance in 9/4/80? Or 11/2-3/84 (the end of the era)?

Just curious, why do you think 84 was the end of the era, and not 85??? He was still blazing away, the dominant force in the band. I agree 86 and after the coma he never was quite the same (although still damn inventive and creative especially mid-89 on..) Not trying to be contentious, just wondering what your basing it on. In terms of effects he was using a lot in 83 and 84 too, other than just the normal distortion, wah, and envelope filter.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I just feel like he had fallen a little bit behind... perhaps you could make the argument that in the Spring tour he was still wailing... as you could say that maybe Late 76 was the real start...

But, by the summer tour, which I still love, I feel like he had lost a 1/2a 1/2 step. I think Weir picked his game up (85 was his best year I think) to assist and keep the shows blazing, but when I listen to Jerry himself, particularly by late 85, he is playing great, amazing sounds, just not the serious noodles that my brain can barely even keep up with on the listening side. In 84 its the last year where I really find myself thinking, how did he move his fingers so fast? Did the stubby help? Maybe Spring 85...
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
You really think 76 is within Jerry's best years? And 70-71?
Not saying they were bad... all years of Jerome are better than anything since in my book.
But you think Jerry's personal performances, not talking about anyone else in the band, but Jerry's performances were better than oh say his performance in 9/4/80? Or 11/2-3/84 (the end of the era)?
Of course my opinion is biased. I'm not as familiar as you with these shows. I will give them a listen. BTW loved his playing in 70>71. Maybe I read to much into the question. Peak as in his playing or as an artist? As you know 70 gave us AB and WD. Garcia-Guitar(acoustic and electric) pedal steel,banjo, these albums produce some of the best songs written by Garcia/Hunter(some were probably written before 70) and his voice then was incredible

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean just his guitar playing, isolated, as completely as possible.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
I guess I just feel like he had fallen a little bit behind... perhaps you could make the argument that in the Spring tour he was still wailing... as you could say that maybe Late 76 was the real start...

But, by the summer tour, which I still love, I feel like he had lost a 1/2a 1/2 step. I think Weir picked his game up (85 was his best year I think) to assist and keep the shows blazing, but when I listen to Jerry himself, particularly by late 85, he is playing great, amazing sounds, just not the serious noodles that my brain can barely even keep up with on the listening side. In 84 its the last year where I really find myself thinking, how did he move his fingers so fast? Did the stubby help? Maybe Spring 85...


Hmmmm.....maybe Oct 85 - i could agree with you on that - versions got noticeably shorter, he had a little less attack on his playing. I've been listening to alot of June 85 lately and he still had it!

Oh and BTW I generally agree with you on the peak years - just in terms of his guitar playing. IMO this era contained most of the really smokin JGB shows and he was very dominant in terms of his lead guitar playing - really shredded more and continually developed. Of course he did this to a degree in preceding and following years and always continued to develop as a musician, but in terms of a "guitar playing machine" this era was his peak. 3/7/81 confirms this for me.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: peak Jerry Reply with quote

In recent times, Koch and I have generally agreed that more specifically 1979-1981 was Jerry's peak in terms of strictly his dominance on guitar. More generally the 77-84 period still applies, with the distribution curve peaking during 79-81.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject: Re: peak Jerry Reply with quote

swamiGD80s wrote:
In recent times, Koch and I have generally agreed that more specifically 1979-1981 was Jerry's peak in terms of strictly his dominance on guitar. More generally the 77-84 period still applies, with the distribution curve peaking during 79-81.

Well, I did agree with Dude that 85 counted as well, at least Spring...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know About this one man.....there were some pretty sick shows in 87, 88, and 89. Check out 3/31/87 and you will see what I mean.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know About this one man.....there were some pretty sick shows in 87, 88, and 89. Check out 3/31/87 and you will see what I mean.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, but he'd definitely lost a step from his peak...
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kochman wrote:
Sure, but he'd definitely lost a step from his peak...


Never fully recovered to peak form post-coma strictly in terms of guitar playing prowess - altho I would say that he got 95% there.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swamiGD80s wrote:
Kochman wrote:
Sure, but he'd definitely lost a step from his peak...


Never fully recovered to peak form post-coma strictly in terms of guitar playing prowess - altho I would say that he got 95% there.

On his best nights, he was basically "there", he was just less consistent, I would say.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think that 1987, and 1988 he kind of got his mojo back. As much as I hate to admit it, with the release of In The Dark, and all the success it brought to the band, it almost revitalized him. If you listen to a lot of the shows from 87 and 88 and you listen to Jerry, you can really hear him giving it his all and just jamming the hell out. Just my opinion....

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being more sober might have helped that too... to some extent.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

colonialsrv wrote:
I still think that 1987, and 1988 he kind of got his mojo back. As much as I hate to admit it, with the release of In The Dark, and all the success it brought to the band, it almost revitalized him. If you listen to a lot of the shows from 87 and 88 and you listen to Jerry, you can really hear him giving it his all and just jamming the hell out. Just my opinion....
Why do you hate to admit it Mike? I'm willing to bet the band got a lot of satisfaction and gratification with the success of that album. They tried to play it off as no big deal and it didn't matter much. I feel deep down inside they were probably jubilant for finally getting the recognition they deserved. Pure conjecture on my part. I agree with Koch that Garcia being clean at that time probably helped. I guess he lost a step in the later years. I gotta tell you though the solo he plays in So Many Roads at the last show is sounds really nice to my ears.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the reason that I say that I hate to admit it is because even though I agree with you, that the band was probably overjoyed at the success of the album, the success brought along other things that weren't so good. For instance all of a sudden the band went to playing these giant arenas and the whole scene changed. While I'm sure it was great for the band, we probably (I'll admit I didn't) really notice it at the time but things started to go downhill. Not only did they go downhill at an alarmingly fast pace, but there wasnt time or a way to right the ship. I do not mean that the band went downhill, but everything else did. I guess what I am saying is subjective but that is my opinion anyway.... Evil or Very Mad

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

colonialsrv wrote:
I guess the reason that I say that I hate to admit it is because even though I agree with you, that the band was probably overjoyed at the success of the album, the success brought along other things that weren't so good. For instance all of a sudden the band went to playing these giant arenas and the whole scene changed. While I'm sure it was great for the band, we probably (I'll admit I didn't) really notice it at the time but things started to go downhill. Not only did they go downhill at an alarmingly fast pace, but there wasnt time or a way to right the ship. I do not mean that the band went downhill, but everything else did. I guess what I am saying is subjective but that is my opinion anyway.... Evil or Very Mad


every human experience has a beginning and an end ... I read this quote somewhere (and we had a thread about quotes I remember ...).

The peak years were really the 72 - 81 for sure but as for his voice what he has lost in terms of intensity he recoverd in a kind of a "broken" "tired" sound

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tizi wrote:
as for his voice what he has lost in terms of intensity he recoverd in a kind of a "broken" "tired" sound

Completely agree here... some songs need that broken old man singing the blues quality...
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garcia's pedal steel work on "I Used To Be A King" by Graham Nash is a high point.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think of it like a chart. There was a strong trajectory up to the '81 period. Then there was a plateau with a few steep sharp declines (like 86 at times) and then on to some volatility with spikes up outside the range (85, 87/88, 89) before a more steady decline beginning in '91 and a bottom that was put in from '93-'95.

There is no denying that mixed in all through the 80s and early '90 were some shows that had some staggering Jerry talent and band moments. I remember walking out of Hampton '89 thinking that if I never saw another show that I would be satisfied with what I had just seen and that my quest had been successful.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hugo Fugazi wrote:
Think of it like a chart. There was a strong trajectory up to the '81 period. Then there was a plateau with a few steep sharp declines (like 86 at times) and then on to some volatility with spikes up outside the range (85, 87/88, 89) before a more steady decline beginning in '91 and a bottom that was put in from '93-'95.

There is no denying that mixed in all through the 80s and early '90 were some shows that had some staggering Jerry talent and band moments. I remember walking out of Hampton '89 thinking that if I never saw another show that I would be satisfied with what I had just seen and that my quest had been successful.


I like the chart idea, and I think of it this way:

Upward towards peak from (improving from prior year): 1977-1979
Prime Peak: 1979-1981
Secondary Peak (slightly below prime): 1982-1984
Standard Jerome: 1985-1988
One-step Slower than Standard: 1989-1991
Notably slower: 1992
Reprise to Standard Jerome: 1993
Final Decline: 1994-1995

I really disagree with 1991 being considered a better year for Jerry than 1993. You could argue that the band was better overall in 1991 (I would disagree with this as well), but isolating Jerry's guitar - he was clearly better in 1993.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swamiGD80s wrote:
Hugo Fugazi wrote:
Think of it like a chart. There was a strong trajectory up to the '81 period. Then there was a plateau with a few steep sharp declines (like 86 at times) and then on to some volatility with spikes up outside the range (85, 87/88, 89) before a more steady decline beginning in '91 and a bottom that was put in from '93-'95.

There is no denying that mixed in all through the 80s and early '90 were some shows that had some staggering Jerry talent and band moments. I remember walking out of Hampton '89 thinking that if I never saw another show that I would be satisfied with what I had just seen and that my quest had been successful.


I like the chart idea, and I think of it this way:

Upward towards peak from (improving from prior year): 1977-1979
Prime Peak: 1979-1981
Secondary Peak (slightly below prime): 1982-1984
Standard Jerome: 1985-1988
One-step Slower than Standard: 1989-1991
Notably slower: 1992
Reprise to Standard Jerome: 1993
Final Decline: 1994-1995

I really disagree with 1991 being considered a better year for Jerry than 1993. You could argue that the band was better overall in 1991 (I would disagree with this as well), but isolating Jerry's guitar - he was clearly better in 1993.

"Reprise to Standard Jerome"
Hahahahahaha, that's a keeper!

I pretty much agree, however, 86 Jerome was not as good as 1989 Jerome in my book... 7/7/89 TOO, for example, is probably a better example than most anything from 86.

I agree that 93 was awesome, and better than most of 1991... Summer 91, East Coast, was pretty awesome.

How does JEROME and Jerome alone figure on the chart from 1966-1975?

I actually made a chart, at the old site, somewhere, and it pretty much echoed what you guys said...
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we stop using Jerry's gov't?

I know how bad you all wish you were his mother Wink

And for the record I think Jerry peaked in Nov. '79, there are great moments scattered throughout the 80's and 90's. He became a world class guitar player during US72.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not that I'm always a contrarian, but I have a hard time looking at JG's playing in a vacuum as everyone else seems perfectly capable of doing. I just cannot discount how much '69, '72-'74 and summer '89-summer '90 are eras where Jerry had things consistently "just exactly perfect." So what if he wasn't as fast later, the notes he played could not have been chosen or produced by anyone else. And you can't even get into the GD catalog without going through '69 (and the '70 albums) and Europe '72.

Don't get me wrong, I love '77, '79 and '80 too, but I have to say, IMO, that '69, '72 and '89-'90 JG are superior to '81-'88 holistically.

Not that "official" releases should matter, but releases like the Fillmore West '69 box set and the Europe '72 (crazy ass) box set do lend just a little credence to my argument.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... i dont think we.are taking.a.vacuum approach here... i agree he was awesome for most of his gd career... but... it really isnt quite a big leap to think the guy got better with age and experience... then started declining due to heavy drug abuse...
86 to 88 were definitely inferior to 89 to 90 in my book... btw... a renaissance of the fat man if you will...
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also have a real fondness for JG's playing in the JGB/Legion of Mary '73-'75. He always seemed so capable in the absence of a rhythm player to rise up and push himself to match Merl and Martin Fierro.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a deliciously subjective topic in the world of discussing music preferences and the long (but not long enough) career of Jerry Garcia.

Firstly, is anyone here willing to put their favorite Jerry shows 79-84 on a DVD and send them to me? I would gladly Paypal shipping and handling cost. In the days when the Lost Sailor downloads were easy-peasy, I would simply take your list of faves and get to work... but I'm both lazy and busy (and would love the excitement of getting a bunch of bootlegs in the mail).

I would like to listen to the best of the best from that early Brent years to compare and contrast with the 69-77 era that I know pretty deeply. Although I did go to some excellent shows in 86-91, and enjoy those recordings, a lot of the shows I've heard from the post-coma era don't hold my attention or aren't to my taste.


Secondly, I'd like to hear a little more in depth about what specifically the guys on this thread LOVE about Jerry's guitar playing from '79-'84, which seems to be described as a peak time. Is it Jerry's tone, use of effects, energy, precision, passion, melodic ideas, etc...

I know getting Brent into the mix was a major shot in the arm (no junkie puns intended). I know that playing the Tiger was a major breakthrough, especially in combination with the Mu-tron envelope filter which became known by casual and [CENSORED] music fans as "Jerry Garcia's sound".

Thanks for posting this thread and keeping the Lost Sailor running and I look forward to hearing what you guys think.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can still download from the archive, as far as I know, with the new technique.

As for best shows, well, there's plenty listed in the Brent section that fit the bill!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve been listening to lots of shows from ‘79 onward and I can hear where this thread is describing a Peak of Jerry guitar playing, especially that ‘79 into ‘80 era. It seems like everything that came before crystallizes into the “Jerry” sound and style we know and love. Having the new Tiger guitar and playing alongside Brent’s enthusiasm and wicked chops must have pushed Jerry into a new level, as he is a guitarist with many peaks throughout his evolving career.

As far as how long that peak lasted, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree ☺ Of course, when Jerry was ON during any given show, he was a marvel and delight to witness. But I can hear how much heroin started draining his energy and stamina by ’82 onward, sabotaging his consistency and dexterity. I believe Jerry described that era as his “Dirty troll phase.” Throughout musical history, all the greats who were also junkies talk about their regret for missing all that practice and playing when they were feeding the beast instead.

I am glad to have explored the eighties shows more fully. Although I attended a few show myself in that era, and listen to them still, my comfort zone with GD has usually been ‘71-‘77. And especially that stretch when Jerry is running a Strat into Fender Twins (late ’71-mid ’73), which is a Golden Grail Tone as far as my taste goes. Also during that slice of time, Bobby is playing a sweet Gibson 335, which is a killer classic tone, as well. By the mid to late 70’s, Bobby got into coil-tapping those sweet humbucker pickups and his tone becomes more thin and watery than I prefer for the rest of his career.

Although I generally prefer the songs and the band’s playing style (one drummer!!) of 71-73 to other eras, I admit to missing some of those fantastic effects Jerry started using once he got the remade Wolf guitar with it’s bypass loop.

Anyway, thanks for having this thread of discussion and all the links to find recordings.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

artfultouch11 wrote:
I’ve been listening to lots of shows from ‘79 onward and I can hear where this thread is describing a Peak of Jerry guitar playing, especially that ‘79 into ‘80 era. It seems like everything that came before crystallizes into the “Jerry” sound and style we know and love. Having the new Tiger guitar and playing alongside Brent’s enthusiasm and wicked chops must have pushed Jerry into a new level, as he is a guitarist with many peaks throughout his evolving career.

As far as how long that peak lasted, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree ☺ Of course, when Jerry was ON during any given show, he was a marvel and delight to witness. But I can hear how much heroin started draining his energy and stamina by ’82 onward, sabotaging his consistency and dexterity. I believe Jerry described that era as his “Dirty troll phase.” Throughout musical history, all the greats who were also junkies talk about their regret for missing all that practice and playing when they were feeding the beast instead.

Yes, as Swami, I, and a few others have said, the peak of the peak seems to be 79-81.
I completely agree about 82, it's a year I have generally had a hard time appreciating.
I also agree that Brent was the proverbial new blood in the group, his aggression in 79 in particularly played well with Jerry. They also hit a nice zone in the late 80s and 90.
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1974
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Care to elaborate?
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Kochman
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Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 10252
Location: Davy Jones' Locker

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool
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fillmoreeast



Joined: 08 Jul 2008
Posts: 1645

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps Joe rambled back to 1974 and can't get out. God imagine all of those seastones he has to suffer through.

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