Jerry Garcia Band Glides Down Music Mountain: June 16, 1982

As the Grateful Dead found themselves in between tours in the early summer of 1982, side projects were apparently the name of the game in order to stay musically limber. And a new music venue in South Fallsburg, NY was more than happy to have them. Jerry Garcia Band kicked off a string of shows in the Northeast at Music Mountain on a co-bill with Bob Weir’s Bobby and the Midnites. This new venue in Sullivan County at a revamped hotel lodge that never quite made it actually played host to the first permissible concerts in the area since Woodstock in its very brief existence.

One of the last of the few shows ever played here was this heralded Jerry Garcia Band show on this day in 1982 that’s loaded with classic cover song selections and a few JGB “originals.” This particular iteration of the band features some of Garcia’s closest and longtime collaborators playing together and it certainly comes through in the sound. Bill Kreutzmann, his Grateful Dead cohort, is on drums with John Kahn manning the bass guitar. Longtime JGB member Melvin Seals is joined on keys by Jimmy Warren. And Julie Stafford and Liz Stires provide the backup vocals.

Jerry Garcia Band 1982
Jerry Garcia Band ticket stub – June 16, 1982

The show begins with a vintage take on Smokey Robinson’s “How Sweet It Is,” a staple in the Jerry Garcia Band songbook. A sizzling early guitar solo sets the stage for responses from Melvin Seals and Warren on keys with everyone in the band getting a chance to shine right from the start. The harmonized vocals add a layer of authenticity to this cover. Bill Kreutzmann then starts up the next number on the bass drum by himself as the rest of the band patiently merges into the beginning of “Catfish John,” a much lesser known cover song that JGB has also made one of its own. Garcia takes the wah pedal/effect out for a spin much to the delight of the Music Mountain crowd with the rhythm section maintaining a steady pocket of groove throughout. After some fun interplay with Seals, Garcia then fires in one last funky guitar solo on this well cooked “Catfish.”

In the three-spot is another Jerry Garcia Band regular, “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” Originally credited to Little Milton in 1971, the song was played numerous times by Legion Of Mary, an all-too-brief previous side project of Garcia’s from the 70s that also featured Kahn, Martin Fierro on saxophone and flute along with Merl Saunders on keys. Their familiarity with this number comes through in spades as Garcia and Saunders take turns ripping through their respective solos on another groove-heavy funk vehicle that has Music Mountain in full swing.

Things finally cool off a bit with “Valerie,” a Robert Hunter-penned song that would go on to appear on Garcia’s Run For The Roses which would be officially released later this year. It’s got elements of “Loser” woven throughout and all the feel of an early 70s Dead song dressed up in a JGB jacket that fits perfectly in this spot. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Grateful Dead-related show without a nod to Chuck Berry and the band takes care of this in the form of a ripping cover of “Let It Rock” that sees Garcia unleashing another bevvy of scintillating guitar runs. This funnels right into a set-closing “Deal” that’s as tight as any GD version with the harmonized backup vocals from Stires and Stafford adding some additional flavor to it.

A spirited Music Mountain crowd welcomes the Jerry Garcia Band back for a second set that starts with another cover, this time it’s “(I’m A) Road Runner,” a song first recorded by Junior Walker and the All-Stars in 1965. This would become another JGB live show staple throughout the years. Seals and Garcia get into some heavy interplay on this one as the the band stretches this “pop” hit into a fun, relaxed jam. “Love In The Afternoon” then follows, another Robert Hunter-penned song that first appeared on Garcia’s Cats Under The Stars album from 1978, his first LP using the band name Jerry Garcia Band and his first LP on the Arista label. 

The real meat and potatoes of the second set, and perhaps the show itself, is the “Don’t Let Go” that comes next. It’s a near 20-minute joy ride of deep funk and some of the more exploratory jamming of the evening. The rhythm section of Kahn and Kreutzmann is hard at work once again and develop a deep groove that Garcia plays off of effortlessly. With Seals adding additional layers of sound atop it all, it makes for a lively jam that’s rife with musical cohesion and craftsmanship. Almost suddenly, the rest of the band then eases up that allows for a brief Kreuztmann drum solo that then turns into a bass duel with Kahn before Garcia slowly reenters the mix. It’s a loose, acid jazzy type jam that’s one of the show’s true highlights.

Jerry Garcia Band 1982
Credit: Bob Minkin Photography

Although there would be no traditional encore tonight, the rest of the set almost feels like one, starting with a super slow take of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down.” With the tempo dialed down to an absolute crawl, this gives one of the last Garcia guitar solos of the night some added poignance and emotion. The beautiful backup vocals from Stires and Stafford certainly doesn’t hurt either. The show then comes to a close with “Run For the Roses,” the title track of the soon to be released album and another classic Garcia-Hunter collaboration. And with that, Jerry Garcia band puts the finishing stamp on one of the last shows to ever take place at the ill fated Music Mountain.

An apparently rain-soaked show from Bobby and the Midnites that went well into the night then followed – check out the audio here.

Jerry Garcia Band – Music Mountain, South Fallsburg, NY – June 16, 1982

Set 1: How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), Catfish John, That’s What Love Will Make You Do, Valerie, Let It Rock > Deal

Set 2: (I’m A) Road Runner, Love In The Afternoon, Don’t Let Go, The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down, Run For the Roses

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