Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia Band: Bay Area 1978

Let Me Roll It to You…

Just in time to celebrate Jerry’s 67th birthday (August 1, of course) comes a new installment in the Pure Jerry series, this one an especially hot selection from 1978. This was a particularly exciting period for the Jerry Garcia Band, which at that time included his perennial bass buddy John Kahn (of course), Buzz Buchanan on drums (who’d played with Jerry since the fall of ’77), his partners in the Dead, Keith Godchaux on piano and Donna Godchaux on vocals, and, at many shows that year, second singer Maria Muldaur, who blended so nicely with Donna.

We’ve drawn together the listenable/usable/releasable parts of four Northern California shows from the first half of ’78 to create this stellar compilation. Much of the material was culled from consecutive shows in February of 1978, shortly after Jerry, Keith and Donna had returned from fine, high-energy Midwest tour by the Dead (documented wonderfully on Dick Picks Vol. 18). Songs from the 2/18/78 JGB show at the 2,000-seat Marin County Veteran’s Auditorium include a barn-burning “Mystery Train,” the loping “Catfish John,” and, best of all, a spectacular “Lonesome and a Long Way Home” that ambles through all sorts of fascinating moods and spaces over the course of more than 20 minutes. The next night, the JGB landed at the Santa Cruz Civic—a similar-sized venue—and this time the fans (and now, you!) were treated to such tunes as the Motown classics “Second That Emotion” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (a great version!), “Mission in the Rain,” Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” and, the piece de resistance, a 30-minute “Don’t Let Go” featuring generous solos all around and ultra-soulful guitar-and-vocals from Jerry on the “Hold me tight and don’t let go…” passage towards the end. Wild!

Rounding out this exceptional package are four tunes from June 1978: The 6/10 show at the tiny Keystone Berkeley gives us the bouncy, rockin’ “Tore Up Over You” that opens Disc Two; then, after a couple more tunes, we move to 6/18 at the Keystone Palo Alto—a favorite JGB haunt for many years—for what is arguably the greatest version of Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It” that the group ever played (and there weren’t many), and then superb versions of the still-new “Gomorrah” and the gospel tune “I’ll Be With Thee”—the latter always a fine showcase for Donna and Maria.

If you loved the ’78 Pure Jerry from the Warner Theatre (3/18/78), this one should be right up your alley, too—it’s definitely primo JG! You can see the full track listing below, and order your copy here!

—Blair Jackson

Track List


1. Mystery Train (2/18/78, Veterans Memorial Auditorium)
2. Catfish John (2/18/78, Veterans Memorial Auditorium)
3. I Second That Emotion (2/19/78, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)
4. Mission In The Rain (2/19/78, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)
5. Don't Let Go (2/19/78, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)


1. Tore Up Over You (6/10/78, Keystone Berkeley)
2. Simple Twist Of Fate (2/19/78, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)
3. The Way You Do The Things You Do (2/19/78, Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium)
4. Let Me Roll It (6/18/78, Keystone Palo Alto)
5. Gomorrah (6/18/78, Keystone Palo Alto)
6. I'll Be With Thee (6/18/78, Keystone Palo Alto)
7. Lonesome And A Long Way From Home (2/18/78, Veterans Memorial Auditorium)


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Joined: Jun 14 2007
Happy Birthday 67th Jerry

Larry E.Smith I miss you so much Jerry,I'm in graditude for the other ones,the Dead and Furthur incarnations but you were my favorite of them all,your humor and wit and you would just facinate me with your knowledge of Music and tie it in with so many cool things like synchronicity and current events as well as whats currently happening with you at the moment,2010 just doe'snt make much sense to me and I hope next year will be a much better year than this one,cool people need to stick together and feed each other batteries,this is so lacking and makes me sad,sending this to you via cyberspace.Be Well need a eyes 10/19/1974 and a New Potatoe Caboose 2/14/1968

Joined: Jun 8 2007
Love it

What a performance!
To be honest i didn't know what to expect as i thought the set list was ok but nothing special.
Well, i was absolutely amazed by the quality of each song, individually starting right from Disc1 song 1.
Mystery train version is a real gem, and true to this collection name: Pure jerry...
Catfish john version is enromous as well, mission in the rain so poignant...
great jamming on don't let go.
Stunning early version of Simple twist of fate.
great job Mr lemieux and thanks to the Garcia family involved...

So thanks you ever so much for another release of pure Jerry.
A great JGB is always giving me a unique feeling of love and peacefulness.

Can't resist asking for a reconstruction for the next edition...would be great , although i would also be happy with Cosmic badger request....

Thanks to keep them coming for all the generations to come, remember you are on duty here!

Merci et bravo!

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007

Arrived on Friday. It's simply outstanding!

The liner notes say

'Released by : Annabelle, Theresa and Tiff Garcia, Heather Garcia Katz and Sunshine Kesey'

thanks to you all for sharing!

Maybe a JGB-with-Nicky Hopkins release next please??

WGJORDAN3's picture
Joined: Sep 11 2009


Captain Stormfield's picture
Joined: Nov 4 2007
Catfish John

I always thought of Catfish John as one of those just OK tunes we had to listen to until Jerry got to the good stuff. That is, until I heard THIS version of Catfish John. The band just plays the shit out of it. And Jerry's solos? So sweet. Was he playing that aluminum-necked thing during that tour? His playing has that metallic tone of 77. Not complaining, I think he sounds great.

Lopezz's picture
Joined: Feb 9 2008
I'm not much for compilations

but I am sooo glad that I got this! Just the Lonesome And A Long Way From Home is worth it. I only wish that they would restarted this series with some from 76,77, then 78. Great stuff though!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Don't Let Go

Great stuff with a LOT of groove. Reminiscent of After Midnight, although of course that's a different lineup. No little schwaggy extras like some of the earlier Pure Jerry series had. Then again, I never quite understood the significance of the napkin!

According to the liner notes, this was put out by Jerry's daughter and family, with no mention of Deborah Koons Garcia, so I can only presume that the legal shenanigans are more or less settled.

And dig this...Don't Let Go is a half hour long!

DancingSingingGirl's picture
Joined: Mar 5 2009
Pure Jerry

I received my "Pure Jerry "CDs earlier this week, and theyre great !
I remember seeing The JGB a couple of times in 1978 as well as The Grateful Dead . It was a great year in my opinion.CD Nice start with Mystery train and a nice long Train as well, ( (8:27) its so upbeat and refreshing ! Jerry has a screaming raw guitar sound on this and Keith Godchauxs piano is clean and crisp. Catfish John is soo sweet, again clean piano and Donna Jean right with Jerry makes a nice clean vocal mix, almost sounds like a studio recording, nice guitar sound, Jerry just rollin and laid back with a big tone, building throughout the song, really made me think of New Orleans ! Theres the first 2 songs, in a " nut shell" and thats just the first 2, of 12- great gems on this package, I reccommend getting this one. Its a great deal with the 3 " Road Trips " Grateful Dead CDS. worth buying.... enjoy , More " reviews " to come play on

Joined: Mar 12 2009
Great show

just got mine 8-31-09 sounds great have to get more shows of GJB

cactuswax's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Hot Sh*t!

I think this is my favorite lineup of the JGB - Jerry's guitar is fluid but raunchy, Donna and Maria are on-key and well blended, Keith is imaginative and funky (in a way he really wasn't with the Dead in 78), and the rhythm section is just ON. Funnily enough 1978 isn't a super great year for the Dead but I think it's my favorite year for the JGB - maybe those two are inversely related somehow (though considering other hot years for both, probably not). Anyway, this is surely a double treat set of goods, and thanks to the GFLLC and the rest of the folks responsible for putting it out.


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