Trying To Get To You

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bootleg Friday: Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia, 1972

This is inexcusably late of me, but losing Merl Saunders, organist extraordinaire, at the end of October was a loss I felt keenly. Saunders played with Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Lionel Hampton, Bonnie Raitt, Miles Davis and many more. His playing was warm, fluid and soulful – with an obvious debt to Jimmy Smith, with whom he studied.

But more importantly, Saunders had a spirit that lit up a room – his playing was immensely joyful, and if you were lucky enough to be in a room in which he was playing, it was almost impossible not to be swept up in the good feelings he conjured. Saying someone is “all about the music,” can occur as cliché, but in Merle’s case, it was the glorious truth.

Today’s Bootleg Friday consists of a few selections from a Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders show from San Francisco, early in 1972. It features great ensemble playing from both Saunders and Garcia, and it’s heavy on the soul, with some great, extended versions of Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye classics. Really wonderful stuff.

Download: “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” San Francisco, CA 2/6/72
Download: “Expressway To Your Heart” San Francisco, CA 2/6/72
Download: “When I Paint My Masterpiece” San Francisco, CA 2/6/72
Download: “I Was Made To Love Her” San Francisco, CA 2/6/72
Download: “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” San Francisco, CA 2/6/72