A Native Tribute to Jerry Garcia

A few weeks ago, we shared a couple of tunes from this extraordinary tape, recorded on 8-14-96, four days after the first anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia.

As a band, we were as indebted to Jerry’s legacy as any other band, for to be sure — his influence was almost omnipresent in the music of the day, and of the present, even with artists who might not be readily-associated in any way with The Grateful Dead.

We, having a certain Mike Jaimes in the band, were always going to have more than a touch of the Dead in our music, despite the fact that in the first four years of our existence, we had never covered a single song from the great American songbook of Jerome Garcia & Robert Hunter.

But, there was always the tacit understanding that Jerry was to Mike, what Chuck Berry was to Keith Richards – an all-pervasive influence. Mike assimilated Jerry so thoroughly that he was able to built on the influence, creating his own style which stands as unique from Jerry’s as, well, Keith is from Chuck Berry. And, Mike built a small army of fans who loved the connection whilst celebrating the evolution, and revolution of his mastery.

Despite all this, it was seen as a bold step for Native to finally step up to the plate and take a swing at a Dead tune. It was the event, and sad acknowledgement of Jerry’s passing that led to todays offerings, which include the song we deemed fitting for the event, and remains a treasured memory to this day. We returned to the tune a couple more times, always at a special moment or occasion requiring a life-affirming statement, of which it is a perfect example.

So, please enjoy this penultimate piece of Nativology Vol. 3, as we near the end of John Watt’s thrilling tenure with the band. We’ll have one more offering next week, and then we plan a little break before turning to the DAT shelf, and the onset of the fearsome Wykcoff Epoch, as will be found in Vol. 4, saints preserve us!

Now, kick back and get ready for a buttery slab of cornbread & Jagermeister, as we share four songs recorded deep within the hallowed edifices of McGovern’s Bar, located at the corner of Spring Street and the edge of the universe —

In Or Out
Love Your Love
Fragile Clown
The Wheel

Cornbread Wednesday

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Native – Cake Night at McGovern’s Bar 1-17-96

The Nativology Series, which we hope you’ve been enjoying, has been running well over a year, and even we are constantly astounded by the treasures tucked away in our tape vault. And, it’s a very fulfilling thing to go back and listen again to recordings we made in the studio as we developed new songs.

That aspect of our tapes, the demos that were never intended to be heard by many outside our circle, as we knew we would redo them in a proper studio, with things like compression (and air conditioning) have formed the better part of three volumes. It’s safe to say we are truly chuffed, gobsmacked, and all hopped up on cake that this series has at last yielded these recordings to a much larger audience than we could have dreamed reaching in those halcyon days of pre-internet stone tablets, pony express, and record companies that saw versatility as a minus, not a plus.

As we reached Vol. 3 of Nativology, 1996 is the year we stopped doing multitrack demos, for the most part, and had turned to live gigs as a way to develop the songs. Accordingly, this series has turned its focus on performances from that era that exist on cassette tapes, recorded by our Manager and Friend, Paul Ducharme, where the rare, and soon to be rare, songs are the center of attention.

Ah, cassettes — a wonderful-sounding but very flawed form of media. Live performances didn’t stop and wait patiently for you to flip the tape when side one ran out. No, the band would soldier on with no thought to how posterity was being robbed of their utter, utter brilliance, and you would flip the tape as quickly as possible (additionally, if you are dancing, you were likely unaware that the side had ended at all!). Side two would have an inevitable gap as we rejoined several bars later in the same song, or in the middle of the next song, leaving everything buggered as far as listenabilty, much less releasability, goes.

Today’s tape has those flaws, but what is contained within the realms of those two swathes of high-oxide tape, is (as Ralph Kramden said) cherce!

On a personal note, I remember the night we played this show. There are certain nights that just live on with you, and the reason why is the remembrance of how happy we were on the ride home afterward. We knew we had really done something beautiful.

With a four-vocal front line, a rhythm section that could make falling down a flight of steps sound awesome, and the sinuous leads of the ever-impeccable Michael Jaimes, we stormed through 1996 like a Spanish Flotilla, only not… Spanish.

Native had developed into a band with many musical friends who liked to join up for a jam. Dirk is an old chum who raps really well. Listen to the bands’ prowess at just making-it-up, on-the-spot groove-spotting behind his rhymes. Sean Pace is an even closer mate who was a daily presence in our lives. He and Mike had a great dialogue going on, whenever they picked up their guitars. Here’s an epic example of that. (Also, this is the night Mike spontaneously came up with a little bridge in Look A Py Py that we kept going back to in each subsequent playing of that fabulous Meters classic.)

But, as previously noted, on this night the tape didn’t come out as well as expected. Aside from the chopped-off beginnings and middles of songs, there’s extra added befuddlement to be had from the distorted sound on the voice mics. I take it that the P.A. was running a little hot that night! But, I love it the same way you love a three-legged dog.

So here it is, in all its sonic, and out-of-chronological-orderliness deficiency —

I’m All Hopped Up On Cake
Island
Rolling Thunder
Smallest Moon
Dirk Goes Native
Look A Py Py

Cornbread Wednesday

Another Cornbread Wednesday!

As with the last few posts, we’ve been going through the Native tapes from that hallowed era – 1996, when men were men, women were women, pants were optional, and Native was effing Native!

This week, to make up for being absent in our duties to bring you the best bloggage we possibly can last week, we give you not one, nor two, not even three, we give you four songs from the treasure trove of great McGovern’s tapes that were spun by our dear friend and manager, Paul Ducharme, and our equally dear aboriginal misfit/soundman, John Fitzwater.

We’d like you to think of these four cracking numbers as bonus tracks to our album, Live From Marmfington Farm, Vol. 1. For, lo! They emanate from the same time period that yielded the performances heard therein.

This particular night, many of the songs ended up incomplete on the tape that resides in our monolithic vaults deep beneath Mount Olympia in the garment district of Manhattan.

The tape is mind-bendingly incomplete – more songs are cut off than those that aren’t.

But, miraculously, these four astounding performances tell the tale of that fabled night. We begin as Mike Jaimes, arguably one of the greatest guitarists in the history of ever, teases the crowd with a small, delightful snatch of an iconic tune —

Interested Third Party (McGovern’s 6-3-96)
Big Boss Man (McGovern’s 6-3-96)
I Am (McGovern’s 6-3-96)
Corrina (McGovern’s 6-3-96)

Cornbread Wednesday