Annette Gullickson wrote in message ...
I just received this tape in a trade and listened to it tonight for the
first (and second and third) times. What a great show! Wow. I've got a
rehearsal at Wally Heider's studio. I just love the Mountain song. Man!
I was blow away. Does anyone know any more details about this?
Well, I traded for it about a year ago and the following is what the guy I
got it from sent me:
The Original Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra Tapes Story
by Bill Parry and Steve Rowland
Stephen Barncard 7/4/95
See Tape Box Copy at the end of this note....
Barncard: How this actually started....
These tapes were not really "found" by Graham Nash. We (Graham, David &
me) all were aware of this great music being around but in 1976, after "Wind
On The Water", Graham and David asked me to go through not only all the
Studio master tapes that he had in his vault in SF, but compile a tape of all
unrecorded songs, alternate takes and weirdness that would be used to
complete some kind of contract deal. I really didn't press the details,
because it sounded fun anyway. It took me about month to do up in SF at
Graham's Haight Studio, Rudy Records. This became the notorious "Dirty
Thirty", of which the PERRO material is a subset. So for the first time,
these songs were included with a collection, complete with references to
the source tapes.
First I started with listening to the outtakes of "Wind On The Water".
Between takes, the C/N backup band, the jitters, would either jam or do
funny shit. Most of that band consisted of Craig Doerge on piano, Tim
Drummond or Lee Sklar on Bass, Russ Kunkel on Drums, David Lindley as Dave
Lindley, and Danny Kooch on guitar. The basic Jitters Dourge, Kooch, Kunkel
and Sklar were otherwise known as "the Section". Some very good jams there.
Then, there was Nash's and Crosby's Earliest home tapes -- transferred
to 15 ips 1/4 inch reels from old 7.5 ips half tracks -- more on that
I did most of the transfers and mixes and Joel Bernstein kept score.
(and his own set of copies) and David and Graham came in and listened
to some of it when we were done. Quite an extensive survey.
The PERRO tapes were included verbatim, sort of at the end of the
Collection so I not only organized and brought to the front the perro tapes
but all unreleased material on about 10 or 12 10 1/2" reels ... and I ran off
cassettes for C&N.
In 1991, I again revisited this Dirty Thirty resource as a place
to look for rarities for the Boxed Set. (And some made it there). Most of
my DATS were made at this time except PERRO. On 8/23/91 a copy of the
several PERRO reels were compiled onto an DT 120 Dat on request by Paul to
Graham (since the tapes where kept in the latter's vault) for a copy. At that
time, I also had my copy made, having not enough time during the Box Set
to copy it. That is the only copy session to DAT that was ever done on those
(Start of the The Original Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra Tapes
Story by Bill Parry and Steve Rowland)
When the Crosby, Stills & Nash box set was being put
together a couple of years ago, three reels of 8 track tape
Barncard: --- actually it was 1991. All of the CSNY tape collection
brought in to one place for the first time, including personal
collections of Barncard, Joel Bernstein, Nash and Stills. One of the PERRO tapes
had a small pipe with weed in it and somebody smoked it! It was still good.
There were over 10 16 track reels and they were named "PERRO" on each
so it would fit when the reels were upright. They were never named "Kantner".
labeled 'Kantner' were uncovered and dusted off. These
were forwarded to the Doktor of Space for his
Barncard: The 16 tracks were never remixed in 1991. The material on
PERRO tapes was very interesting, but had nothing to do with CSNY. There were 4
Reels of 2 track mixes made in 1971 during the sessions (obviously there is
More that has never been mixed). The tapes were put into storage in Nash's
Vault. Paul called Nash in 1992 and requested DATs of those tapes. This was the
First time they had been outside of the CSNY organization. They were copied at
A&M Post Production audio and my personal DAT was made at that time.
consideration and in due course Holding Together was
fortunate enough to get to hear two of the tapes. (Paul has
decided that there's nothing of any great worth on the
third. Maybe one day he'll let us have a listen to that one
too?) The tapes in question are of excellent quality. They
were recorded at Wally Heider's studio in the summer of
1971 with Steve Barncard at the controls and they
captured the Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra
working on some material that would later surface on
'solo' recordings by David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, Paul
Kantner and Grace Slick.
On Kantner's 'solo' album of 1983. entitled 'Planet Earth
Rock And Roll Orchestra', he dedicated 'Mountain Song'
...'to David C, Jerry G, Graham N, Grace S, David F,
Billy K and Mickey H and to one summer when all of our
schedules almost didn't conflict.' The title track from that
record also contained the verse
'Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra,
Everybody Here Can Be In The Band,
Planet Earth Rock And Roll Dream '
and it is quite clear that Paul, with his Tribal/Hippy/SciFi
orientation, was the keenest to engender the 'you can all
join in' approach - maybe because the Airplane was never
quite the extended family that the Grateful Dead became.
However, the roots of PERRO go back a lot further than
the summer of 1971. 1 guess it had its inception in the
early years of the '60s (prior to the Airplane, the Byrds et
al) when Kantner, Crosby and Freiberg used to hang out,
play music, get high and rap together around Venice
Beach. That was the initial bond, the start of it all.
Later, when they were in bands of their own, there were
occasional points of interaction - like Garcia sitting in on
the 'Surrealistic Pillow' sessions, like Crosby giving
"Triad" to the Airplane when he couldn't get the Byrds to
record it, like Kantner, Crosby and Stills writing "Wooden Ships".
Barncard: My friend Spencer Dryden has video tapes of the early
airplane, and Crosby sitting around describing the writing of wooden ships...
Then, as the '60s drew to a close, two sets of
circumstances combined to bring the Planet Earth Rock
And Roll Dream a whole lot nearer
One was the opening of Wally Heider's studio in San
Francisco - because now the local SF musicians
(Airplane, Quicksilver, Dead) had a place on their
doorstep where they could record. This gave them
freedom from the corporate studios to record and produce
as they saw fit, to come and go more as they pleased and
to invite the musical neighborhood in if they chose. (It
hadn't been so easy when they were holed up at RCA's or
Warner's studios in Hollywood.)
Barncard: It's true ... I started there in August, 1969, right after
"Volunteers" and just before CSNY "Deja Vu". I was the assistant
on the latter, as well as "Blows" and "Have you Seen the Saucers".
The other catalyst was the state of flux that a lot of bands
were falling into by 1969/1970, for Crosby had left the
Byrds, the Airplane was a less cohesive force with Dryden
out and Hot Tuna splitting off, and Dino Valenti's arrival
had unsettled QMS.
Things had come pretty much full circle by the end of the
decade. Kantner was again hanging out with Crosby (quite
often on the latter's yacht) and with David Freiberg - and,
when Paul came to assemble musicians to record 'Blows
Against The Empire', it wasn't just to his Airplane
cohorts that he turned but also to Crosby and Garcia and
even Graham Nash - who'd just bought a house in Frisco
and ended up producing the whole second side of the
'Blows...' album at Heider's studio. 'Blows..." was the
first album by that collection of musicians whom Paul
liked to term the Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra.
The fact that he billed the album as being by Jefferson
Starship shouldn't mislead anyone. Kantner, Crosby,
Slick, Freiberg, Nash, Garcia, Kaukonen, Lesh, Casady,
Kreutzman, Hart - these people were the Planet Earth
Rock And Roll Orchestra, supporting each other on key
As Grace recalls, "These sessions were like 'Uh, do you
wanna play guitar on this one?' 'No, man, I have to go to
the bathroom.' 'Okay, David, you wanna play?' 'Sure'.
Whoever felt like doing something did it. Parts
interchanged, people interchanged."
Graham Nash says "They asked me my opinion and I just
jumped right in. Grace, Paul, David - they let me do
whatever I heard. I was searching for this kind of
environment when I came to America and when I was
mixing in the studio our imaginations were running
rampant. We were creating virtual kingdoms with music."
Paul's recollection of proceedings is that "The
combinations that happened on these records will probably
never happen again." Let's hope he's wrong - but the
Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra was, for a couple
of years, a free-wheeling and quite radical musical
The second such PER&RO project was David Crosby's
debut solo album, 'If I Could Only Remember My Name',
which features all of the above mentioned Planet Earthers
plus the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Greg Rolie
and Mike Shrieve.
Rumor has it that the third project was going to be
another Kantner album entitled 'Planet Earth Rock And
Roll Orchestra'. Here at HT Towers we have a distant
memory of Melody Maker announcing the impending
release of such a work circa 1972. Of course, nothing
answering to that name appeared for another ten years - by
which time it was a different beast entirely ... except for the
concept and the inclusion of 'Mountain Song'. (it's just
possible that the third project is what materialized as
Grace's solo album 'Manhole'. Perhaps we shall never
But enough of this preamble, and on to the tapes in
question. They come from sessions at Wally Heider's San
Francisco studios in 1971. Crosby had sailed his boat up
to Sausalito harbor. Nash was resident in the Haight.
Kantner and Slick had moved out to Bolinas and the Dead
were in Mill Valley but they would all head for Wally's of
an evening to work on PER&RO songs. Some of these
things ended up on Crosby's solo, a couple on Garcia's
solo, one on Grace's album, one on Paul's 1983 'Planet
Earth...' album - and some have never seen the light of
day, in which case we've had to guess at what they might
be title. Roll the PER&RO tapes.
"Walkin' In The Mountains" (1' 47n): A Crosby
composition featuring typically attractive chordings, but
little in the way of finished lyrics. "All the words we got
so far are just ideas of places we'd like to go,- he tells
Garcia at the start of this...
"I went walkin' out last summer
Tryin' to find a breath of air.
I went walkin' in the mountains
A friend had told me I'd find you there"
comprises just about all the words he has, but the feel is
so airy and open you can almost smell that mountain air.
The sequence makes a surprise reappearance later in the
tape, as an intro to version four of 'The Mountain Song'.
Barncard: Two of the versions are actually the same performance, the
second remixed a little better.
"Is It Really Monday?" (4' 55"): Crosby again, and this
one begins with his acoustic guitar and the composer scat-
singing the abstruse melody. When the lyrics arrive, he
"Is it really Monday?
I must have been here before.
Is it really Monday?
I think the walls begin to speak."
The tempo is very slow, in a country blues vein and
Garcia adds some restrained picking. The lugubrious bass
sounds like that of Phil Lesh.
"Under Anesthesia" (5' 14"): The timing includes a
false start of about 45 seconds, after which Crosby calls a
halt and announces 'No, that's not it. Started too slow,
it's outta time and I didn't get the right words!" When he
does, it's another hugely impressive song, the lyrical
angle of which is to bemoan the inertia of the common
man - who is portrayed as stupefied by beer and TV.
At the conclusion, Crosby launches into a brief sequence
on guitar and comments 'I thought I'd try something
original...if I write another song in E Minor, man, I'm
gonna get fired!'
Barncard: This song is actually called "You Sit There"
"Loser" (8' 41"): The timing includes several restarts and
Jerry explaining - and indeed demonstrating - the chord
progression to his colleagues, who could well be Crosby,
Lesh and Papa John. There's certainly a violin in here and
it works especially well, counterpointing the three guitars
It's obviously an early run through the song as Jerry
doesn't have much more than the first verse written. The
second crack has more audible vocals, but Garcia still
resorts to "da da das" from the second verse on. The
bridge is there, at least intact musically, even if the only
line Jerry seems sure about is the closing
"Don't let that deal go down"
The genesis of a great song.
"Over Jordan" (3' 30"): Another Crosby song, replete
with a beautiful structure, but short on completed lyrics. It
begins with David's rippling acoustic guitar which is soon
joined by that of Garcia for some impressive picking.
"I'm only going over Jordan,
Just a-goin" to my home"
sings the Cros, but after a couple of minutes he declares
that he's forgotten the changes, so re-starts the
performance at the bridge. This is a delightful half-song
which the composer should really have completed and
recorded at some stage.
Barncard: Also called "Wayfaring Stranger"
"The Mountain Song - 1" (5' 11"): This is the first of
several attempts at what would eventually become a slice
of classic Airmachine. However, at this stage, the only
fragment of the song they had to work with was the line
"Gonna make the mountains be my home"
and the chord-sequence that supported it, so it's quite
amazing that from such a meager base Kantner, Slick,
Crosby and Garcia (possibly with Casady and Hart) are
able to conjure 23 minutes of undulating beauty.
There's a banjo featured prominently, plus two acoustic
guitars and Grace's distinctive piano. The banjo could be
Jerry but I suspect that, because some of the acoustic
Barncard: it was Paul
touches are so accomplished, it's Kantner on the five-
string with Garcia and Crosby on guitars. Surprisingly,
there's no trace of Paul's vocal - though the other three
take care of that handsomely enough.
Barncard: Kantner only played banjo and sang BG on these particular
Early on, it's Jerry singing the line in orthodox fashion,
while Grace embellishes with some improvised lyrics
around the theme. Then Crosby takes Grace's place and
scats around Jerry's vocal for a while. As you'd expect,
the playing is loose and slightly tentative on this first
version, but no less affecting for all that.
"The Mountain Song - 2" (5' 17"): Grace is back
providing an improvised descant to Jerry's straight vocal
at the start here, and she's singing about the sky and the
river as he eulogizes the mountains. After a minute or so,
Crosby introduces his scat and Grace leaves the chorus to
concentrate on her keyboards. Her vocal chords are re-
engaged towards the close.
"The Mountain Song - 3" (3' 44"): This version begins
with Jerry and David singing the line and Grace gliding
around them. Briefly, Crosby supersedes her in this role
but soon the two of them are improvising around the
structure as Jerry perseveres in the middle.
At the end of this effort, Paul is heard to remark "It
sounds like everybody's going in and out of time" to
which Crosby responds "No, no, no, it's all working - and
it works perfectly." The listener is strongly inclined to
agree with him.
"The Mountain Song - 4" (8' 20"): As you'll see, this is
the longest version and undoubtedly the most satisfying of
the four. This is where Crosby's embryonic "Walkin' In
The Mountains" suddenly re-emerges and he goes through
the verse and various chord sequences as an introduction
to "The Mountain Song," to which it bridges seamlessly
and beautifully. It's a remarkable segue which makes the
listener keenly aware of how the song could have
developed in a very different direction had Crosby stayed
to contribute throughout its evolution.
Speculation aside, what we do have is a return to the
familiar pattern of banjo, guitars, bass, piano and
percussion. Crosby reverts to his scatted counterpoint
before it slips into a stunning instrumental section.
Herein, the music weaves a genuinely hypnotic spell as it
rolls effortlessly along the bed of Paul's banjo and Grace's
piano, with Garcia picking exquisitely.
After several minutes of this, the vocal pattern is re-
introduced, now in a more restrained vein against
instrumentation which has become subdued, with Grace
and the Cros gently dancing around Jerry to the finale of a
"Wild Turkey" (4' 20"): An interesting improvisation
with Jorma and Jack at the controls, this may or may not
Barncard: Actually I think this called "Leather Winged Bat"
be an early styling of what became the dynamic duo's
"Bark" instrumental. It certainly starts off that way, with
Kaukonen roaring out some aggressive electric noise and
Casady on a familiar rumble. But soon it settles into
something much gentler, employing a more reflective
chord progression. Jorma's playing rises and falls in a
fairly relaxed manner - until the finale, when he stirs it
back towards the "Turkey" structure with some more
combative lead guitar.
It could well be that Jack and Jorma decided the split-
mood approach didn't work and restructured the number
as the wholly aggressive strut we encountered on 'Bark'.
Whatever, it's a nicely balanced piece and a pleasure to
"Jorma & Jerry's Jam - 1" (14' 22"): If the previous
outing was a pleasure, this jam is a sensation! As readers
will be aware, there's little recorded evidence of Mr
Kaukonen and Mr Garcia essaying their remarkable skills
together, so this is a rare chance to hear the fruits of one
such collaboration. Backed up by the supple bass of Jack
Casady plus solid percussion (Mickey Hart?), this is a
quarter-hour of incisive and responsive musicianship -
intuitively structured and beautifully realized.
Jorma leads it off on electric guitar, his playing funky and
rich in wah-wah, whilst Jerry complements it with a more
subdued style. Casady is well mixed and excellent, but it's
Jorma's sprawling mass of notes which take centre stage
in this section; hot, handy and winding all over the
soundscape in unfettered rampage.
Having played a disciplined supporting role for the first
half of the jam - his accomplished touches providing the
perfect foil to Jorma's aggression - Jerry assumes control
for the second phase. Initially calm after the Kaukonen
storm, this movement gradually builds over several
minutes into a fabulous jam, delightfully evolved and
transfixing the listener as it develops. Jerry's playing gets
less lyrical, more earthy, until it is stylistically much
closer to his partner's earlier contribution.
Naturally, Jorma then resumes the lead and steers the
ensemble to a nicely judged conclusion. It would be
perfectly reasonable to hail this example of superlative
sparring as San Francisco jamming at its very finest.
"The Wall Song -1" (6' 00"): After a waggish intro from
the composer, we're into a captivating version of a Crosby
song which appeared in 1972 on the LP 'Graham Nash
David Crosby.' On that take, the duo were backed by
Garcia, Lesh and Kreutzman and there's no reason to
suppose that the same trio isn't in support here. The real
distinction between the released version and this is the
absence of Nash - though this is more than ably
compensated for by the double-tracking of Crosby's
wonderful voice, which provides an imaginative and
But there's a bonus. Just when listeners familiar with the
1972 record expect the track to finish, there's a lovely
instrumental excursion with Garcia in winning form,
shuffling percussion from Bill and a gentle ripple from
Lesh. Really, this is so good it eclipses the official release
by some distance - and should clearly have been included
in the CS&N box of 1991.
Barncard: we ran out of room -- we had to put the full-length Almost
Cut My Hair in there..
"The Wall Song - 2" (4' 27"): Again, David is doubly
tracked, but this time there's only his own acoustic guitar
in support, and the performance is generally a little lazier
"Eep Hour" (4' 44"): A very dissimilar reading from the
one which appeared on 'Garcia' and which had keyboard
and pedal steel dominating the sound. This is just the
acoustic guitars and bass and has a very Spanish ambiance.
Presuming that Jerry isn't multi-tracked and playing
everything himself - as he did on his album - we might
take the other participants to be Lesh and either Kantner
Silberman: For what it's worth, I'm also pretty positive
it's Jack Casady playing bass on EEP HOUR
At the close, there's a whoop of triumph from somebody
and what sounds like Kantner's voice saying 'everybody
just have a little break from their guitar strings!'
"Shuffle" (2' 20"): Two guitars (one electric), bass and
drums glide effortlessly down a four-chord structure for a
couple of minutes. The drums shuffle effectively but
nothing much happens and the piece sounds more like an
intro to something more substantial than an entity in itself.
"Jorma & Jerry's Jam - 2" (14' 29"): This has a slightly
longer introduction than its earlier incarnation (i.e. it
starts a few seconds before) but is otherwise identical to
the first version.
"Banjo Instrumental" (6' 31"): This begins with the
musicians already in full flow but soon collapses and they
begin afresh. The slightly startling proposition of a banjo
taking the lead throws the listener at first but it becomes
apparent that this is actually the reflective segment of
"Wild Turkey" again. Confirmation is given after a few
minutes when Jorma appears to add a brief burst of the
aggressive electric movement before the banjo takes it
back. The five-string player could be Jerry or Paul - it's
hard to tell because the figures played are rather routine
and not particularly distinguished.
When the track ends, rather precipitously, so does the
recording - and that's it.
These tapes are a fabulous find, showing as they do the
formative stages of some classic songs and hinting at
others, notably by Crosby, that could have been among
the best things he never recorded.
It's a mild disappointment that there isn't more of Paul
Kantner's material on here - what I wouldn't give to hear
that third secreted tape - but the reproduction is so good
and the quality of the playing so exceptional that the
whole thing is an aural treat and one feels both excited and
honored to be able to eavesdrop in this way.
Barncard: No guarantee that that there is more Paul on these tapes,
but I should find out within a few weeks ... Remixing soon!!
One can only hope that these musicians will reconvene at
some point (preferably in the studio so we can all
legitimately enjoy the results) and that the Planet Earth
Rock And Roll Orchestra hasn't run its course. The recent
SEVA benefit (see Carry The Fire) and Paul's (still-)
projected 'Blows' extravaganza suggest that it's not a
hopeless dream, that it could happen again if all of their
schedules can be made to almost not conflict one more
time! Here's to that day when the members of the
Orchestra will meet again and see each other's minds, turn
up the band and start another story...
Bill Parry and Steve Rowland
Barncard: For the historical record, let's standardize the song titles.
If you guys are going to "tree" this anyway, get the track sheet right.
These are the original rough mix reels, the only source.
I didn't make the transfers to DAT, so I don't know where the reel
Below are the original Tape Box notations. () is the corrected name
ORIGINAL TAPE BOX NOTATIONS
Recorded by S. Barncard
01. Mountain #5
02. Is it Really Monday
03. You Sit There /incomplete
04. You Sit There
05. Garcia's Tune (Loser)
06. Garcia's Tune (Loser)
07. Wayfaring Stranger *
08. Mountain #1 /ACC's/
-- wound Heads -- Garcia, Crosby, Kantner, Grace, Lesh
09. Mountain #2 /ACC's/ Little Slower
10. Mountain #3 /ACC's/ ** Organized (different mix of above take)
11. Mountain #4 Complete Set Of changes; Long Vocalless Jam
12. Leather Winged Bat /Slower/
13. Electric Bat
14. Jam #10
15. Wall Song - Electric 12/13/70 **
16. Wall Song - Acoustic - solo demo
17. Rounds (EEP Hour)
18. Dope Rap w/Piano /"Funny"/
19. Jam Slide II good parts 11/04/70
20. Jam R&B Riff /Long/
21. Jam After Electric Bat 1/14/71
abrupt end (two track runs out)
Steve Silberman Notes:
* I'm also not yet totally convinced that the name of
that folk tune IS Wayfaring Stranger - it might be another tune. But
Steve may be right.
** The Wall Song on this tape is not the track used for Graham
Nash/David Crosby, the excellent out-of-print album on Atlantic.
It is an out-take. Another, better performance was used for the record,
although sadly, the record fades out just before the jam. That's
especially a shame because the band on both the PERRO tape version and the album
version was: Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann, plus Crosby and Nash. If a
choice were to be made for the CD, I would definitely go with the album
version WITH the extended jam. It's a lot hotter than the PERRO tape
take, with a fiery Garcia & Nash driven peak with that ultra-sweet Garcia
Strat sound of that era...
Obviously these tapes were not mixed in chronological order.
As far as giving you some idea what will be on the CD, I don't know yet
what I can use, and no, it won't be out for a couple of months ... artwork
and mixing, you know ... I have a lot of shit to do ... Soon I will get the 16
tracks, and I will have a better idea of what I can do with this, (and if it is
worth it to remix all of it, or only parts ... some of the two track mixes are pretty
good -- first generation.) At this early stage I cannot commit to any lineup. I
might find <more on the multis -- I haven't played those since '71 !!
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