Garcia Family Provisions on Wednesday shared archival audio of Jerry Garcia and Merle Saunders performing “The Harder They Come”. The Jimmy Cliff cover, recorded on November 2nd, 1974 at Keystone in Berkeley, CA, will appear on GarciaLive Volume 18 on June 10th via Round Records.
The reggae-infused cover lifted from the 1972 cult-favorite film of the same name hears Garcia and Saunders quickly lock into a groove as only longtime friends and collaborators can. Alongside them is reliable co-conspirator John Kahn on bass as well as prolific session drummer Paul Humphrey and future Legion of Mary bandmate Martin Fierro on saxophone. The relatively succinct lineup allows each musician to stake their claim of the jam, as improvisation goes around the horn for this 15-minute telling.
GarciaLive Volume 18 captures Garcia and Saunders in their element at one of the Grateful Dead guitarist’s all-time favorite venues. The upcoming release will mark the first circulation of Betty Cantor Jackson‘s original 1/4″ analog reels, which contain Garcia, Saunders, and company exploring a wide range of influences from Donny Hathaway to Randy Newman and beyond. In many ways, November 2nd, 1974 was just another night as Garcia went down to the Keystone for a low-profile gig just across the bay from San Francisco. The magic of the evening comes from its spontaneity, as the obscurity of the recordings shows just how commonplace it was for Garcia and Saunders to fire off incredible performances on any given night down at Keystone.
Listen to Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders cover “The Harder They Come” and click here to pre-order GarciaLive Volume 18.
Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders – “The Harder They Come” (Jimmy Cliff) – 11/2/74