Jerry Garcia & John Kahn: Santa Cruz Blues

Live at The Catalyst Club, 10/16/85

CD504 - 1 CD
Zip City 2017

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Jerry Garcia and John Kahn - Santa Cruz Blues
Live at The Catalyst Club, Santa Cruz, 10/16/85

This is another gig by Garcia and his long time friend and musical partner John Kahn. Having played together for many years in various bands, it's when they play as a duo that their playing can really be heard. This set (73 + minutes) is from Oct. '85 from the Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz, Ca. The sound is very good--Garcia's guitar is front and center sounding very crisp and clean. Kahn's double bass is mixed (to my ears) slightly too low but he can still be easily heard adding a fullness to the sound, especially with headphones. Garcia's vocals on the first few tunes sounds as if he's singing off mic a bit or the live mix needs adjusting. But that small quibble is fixed and everything is fine after that. There's a two page booklet with a couple of paragraphs about the duo and the music along with a b&w photo of the Catalyst Club, and a list of tracks. Because of Garcia's playing on acoustic guitar and his vocals, along with the support of Kahn, this deserves five "stars", even with the slightly distant vocals on the first few tunes.

This gig combines songs that were some of Garcia's favorites. The set list is "Deep Elem Blues", "Friend of the Devil", "Little Sadie", "She Belongs To Me", "Jack-A-Roe", "Oh Babe, It Aint't No Lie", "When I Paint My Masterpiece", "Been All Around This World", "Run For The Roses", "Bird Song", "Gomorrah", and "Ripple". I was told by a friend that the song "Reuben & Cherise" is missing from this show.

In a nutshell--this is a very fine gig by Garcia/Kahn. Garcia is clearly having a lot of fun playing these tunes. His vocals are energetic while his acoustic guitar work is at times simply awesome--flowing, energetic, and exciting. It's on a par with his electric guitar work in his main band as far as where he takes many of his solos--hear "Bird Song" as just one of many songs where he really shows how good a player he is in this style. Kahn's bass fills in the bottom just right as an anchor for Garcia's playing, adding a deeper feel to this gigs sound. This show can sit next to other Garcia/Kahn shows like "Lonesome Prison Blues", and similar shows. (..) If you're a fan of Garcia's acoustic playing along with Kahn's bass work, this show shouldn't be missed. ( customer review)


 1. Deep Elem Blues
 2. Friend of the Devil
 3. Little Sadie
 4. She Belongs to Me

 5. Jack-a-Roe
 6. Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie
 7. When I Paint My Masterpiece
 8. Been All Around This World
 9. Run For the Roses
10. Bird Song
11. Gomorrah