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home | Acid Test Chronicles | The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 6 (T . . .

This one-of-a-kind poster was hand-drawn.
<br><br>Only 2 other posters are known to exist for Mother McCrees shows. One precedes this date by one month, and the other one is shown below. Both of them are very similar and printed Neither are hand-drawn.<br><br>"The Zodiacs, circa 1962-63, were a fundamental seed for the Grateful Dead. All the people and places were moving about so fast, although it seemed normal at the time, that a historian could easily be confused." - The Grateful Dead - Vanguard of a New Generation - Hank Harrison - Page 47<br><br>It appears to me that the inspiration for this artwork was the "Zodiacs". Pretty Cool!
This one-of-a-kind poster was hand-drawn.

Only 2 other posters are known to exist for Mother McCrees shows. One precedes this date by one month, and the other one is shown below. Both of them are very similar and printed Neither are hand-drawn.

"The Zodiacs, circa 1962-63, were a fundamental seed for the Grateful Dead. All the people and places were moving about so fast, although it seemed normal at the time, that a historian could easily be confused." - The Grateful Dead - Vanguard of a New Generation - Hank Harrison - Page 47

It appears to me that the inspiration for this artwork was the "Zodiacs". Pretty Cool!

The Acid Test Chronicles - Page 6 (The Formative Years - Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions)

This was the first lineup that comprised the center of what would later become the Warlocks, and eventually the Grateful Dead.

Jerry Garcia, ~21 - guitar, banjo, bass, kazoo, vocals
Bob Weir, ~16 - washtub bass, jug, acoustic guitar, vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, ~18 - harmonica, guitar, vocals Marshall Leicester - guitar
David Nelson - guitar
Bob Matthews - washboard, kazoo, guitar
Tom Stone - fiddle David Parker - washboard, kazoo

These songs made up the set lists Mother McCrees played at the Tangent

Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
The Tangent, Palo Alto, CA, July 1964
Ain't It Crazy
Beat It On Down The Line
Beedle Um Bum
Big Fat Woman
Boodle Am Shake
Cocaine Habit Blues
Crazy Words,
Crazy Tune (aka "Washington At Valley Forge")
In The Jailhouse Now
Memphis Tennessee
The Monkey And The Engineer
My Gal
On The Road Again
Overseas Stomp
Shake That Thing
Yes She Do, No She Don't (aka "I'm Satisfied")

   "Talk about a blip on the cultural landscape: jug bands had a very brief run as a popular form of folk music in the mid-'60's. As with the old-timey revival, the craze started in the East. The major proponent of the style was Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, which, like the late 50's generation of string band players, went back to 78s by the original jug bands of the 20's and 30's for some of their material. In the years before the Depression, jug bands had sprung up like dandelions all over the South, though the most famous--Like Cannon's Jug Stompers and the Memphis Jug Band--originated in Tennessee. While most of the popular jug bands from the music's first era were black, in the 60's revival the musicians were overwhelmingly white. Still, the instrumentation and the repertoire were similar. Jug bands invariably played a lot of humorous material--noverly tunes--and ribald blues-based numbers were also popular. Kweskin's group also did a few rock 'n' roll tunes jug band style, like Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Jug bands were usually loose and anarchic-sounding; they ended up having the perfect vibe for a place like the Tangent, filled with irreverent Stanford students.
   "The jug band didn't have the egrarious discipline that bluegrass required," noted Marchall Leicester. "And there was no way to make a living playing bluegrass. Jerry was married, he had a kid, he was looking for a way to find an accomodation with adult responsibilities--a problem he had for the next thirty years. But he was genuinly trying, working for Dana Morgan, and he was always trying to get together some kind of band that would keep him playing. And it was a real strain. Mother McCree's was fun for him and it allowed him to get in touch with musicians who had been on different paths. We'd known Ron McKernan for years, but aside from playing sort of Lightnin' Hopkins backup to Ron at parties and the Boar's Head and places like that, making him part of the same musical scene sort of hadn't arisen before."
   For a change, Jerry didin't have to worry about whether this player or that was going back to school in September or after Christmas break: Mother McCree's was mainly folks who were part of the same dropout culture he was from. The personnel was always changing: Bob Matthews thinks as many as twenty different people played with the group at one time or another; that may be an exaggeration. "I think I only lasted six months," said Matthews. "I went from washboard to first kazoo, to second kazoo, to being out of the band. I think I was out of the band the night we were playing and Jerryleaned over to me in the middle of a tune and said, 'Why don't you take a break,' and I got off the stage."
   ".....The jug band rehearsed anyplace it could--at the Hamilton Street pad, Weir's parent's house or, as likely, in the garage of the cozy two-bedroom cottage Jerry and Sara rented after he returned from his eastern odyssey. Three-fifty-one Bryant Court was a sunny little house with a small yard surrounded by a white picket fence, a great improvement over their previous residence."
   Like the Kweskin band (and New York's Even Dozen Jug Band, featuring Dave Grisman), Mother McCree's took it's repertoire from everywhere, it seemed: They lifted liberally from Jim Kweskin and company (colorful tunes like "Borneo," "Beedle Um Bum," "Washington at Valley Forge," Overseas Stomp"); there was a dose of old-time string band tunes like "Cold Rain and Snow" and "Been All Around This World"; there were jug blues taken from Cannon's Jug Stompers (Viola Lee Blues," "Big Railroad Blues,") and the Memphis Jug Band (Stealin'," "On the Road Again); relatively modern folk blues, like Jesse Fuller's "Beat It On Down The Line" and "Monkey And the Engineer"; and Pigpen brought in his own repertoire of popular and obscure blues songs by Lightnin' Hopkins, Jimmy Reed, Howlin' Wolf and others.
   Dave Parker estimates that Mother McCree's probably played twenty-five to thirty gigs over the course of seven or eight months. "There was no way we were anything close to commercial," he says. "It was really just a good-time thing. It was a little eccentric even for what tastes were in folk music at the time. I don't think it was conceivable to any of us that it could be recorded and sold. But it sure was a lot of fun."
   At the same time the jug band was going, Jerry and Pigpen were also playing occasionally in an electric blues/rock group called the Zodiacs, fronted by a guitarist names Troy Weidenheimer. "While Jerry was teaching folk guitar, Troy was teaching electric guitar; he was known around town," says Eric Thompson. "Troy had a R&B band that played Stanford frat parties and Jerry sometimes played Bass in it and Pigpen was the singer. Troy could not only play exactly like Freddy King, he could move like Freddy King too." -- Garcia: American Life - Blair Jackson - Pages 64-66

   "While still in High School, Kreutzmann started hanging out at the Tangent, where he heard Mother McCree's on numerous occasions. "I went down there faithfully and listened to them all the time," he said. "I really got off on those guys; I really liked them a lot. My heart just said, 'This music is really cool.' Bill also got a job at Dana Morgan's as a drum teacher, so he and Garcia were tight by the time the jug band was winding down and the dream of starting an electric band was coming to the fore. -- Garcia: American Life - Blair Jackson - Page 68

   "The Tangent started as an amusement for two bored young doctors, but it became, for two years, the home of folk music on the Peninsula. Stu Goldstein and David Schoenstadt were Stanford Hospital residents who knew nothing about folk music, but Max and Bertha Feldman's Palo Alto deli had a room upstairs, and it occured to Stu and David to open a club there, using Pete Seeger's songbook, How to Make A Hootenanny, as their blueprint. They opened in January 1963, with open hoots on Wednesdays and the winners playing weekends. The charge was a dollar fifty and the performers got five or ten dollars. It quickly became Garcia's new musical home, "a little community...a sweet scene. It also produced some remarkable music.
   ....."The Tangent was part of an informal network of folk clubs that included Coffee and Confusion in San Francisco and the Cabale in Berkeley. The Cabale had more national acts, including Lightnin' Hopkins, though it was laregly dominated by an in-group purism.
   .....On February 23, 1963, Garcia brought his band, now named the Wildwood Boys, to it's new home." -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis McNally - page 47

   "In Palo Alto, there was a club; actually it was a pizza parlor, called the Tangent. I had just moved to Palo Alto from upstate New York where I grew up. I was probably seventeen and a half, driving around Palo Alto on my bicycle when I heard this banjo music  coming out of the top floor of the Tangent. I slammed on the brakes, pulled over, parked the bike, went inside, and there was this old bald guy making pizzas there. It was a scary kind of place, really funky, the windows had never been washed. It was hot in there and they had a little stage on the upstairs floor and I was listening to this banjo music floating down the stairs. This was the best banjo music I had ever heard. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before. My ear was just going right up the stairs. I asked the guy behind the counter, "Who the heck is playing the banjo up there?" And he said, "Oh that's Garcia. He plays over here. He plays with the jug band and they're going to be playing here in a couple of days and he's just using the rooom to rehearse in." I said, "Do you think he'd mind if I went up and had a look around?" And he said, "No, go ahead." So I trotted up the really crusty old stairs and there was Jerry sitting on a stool in the middle of this dusty dark place, practicing the shit out of the banjo and just tearing through these unbelievable long runs, and what he was practicing was a song called, "Nola." he would rip through these long complex runs and then hit a bad note and stop, go back to the beginning, and start over. Then he looked up, looked at me and I looked at him and I said, "oh just looking around." There was no contact because he was rehearsing. I thought, "Pretty cute. Not bad." I went back downstairs and the guy behind the counter leaned over and said, "What'd you think?" I said, "Gee, really interesting. When are they going to play here?" And he said, "Now listen honey He's married." He could read the interest. I went back out and got on my bicycle and went away. I did come back for the show a few days later and absolutely loved it. That was Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions or one of the pretty early versions of it and it was my first look at the people who were to become my friends. But it was several years before I met any of them." -- Mountain Girl -- Dark Star - Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 48-49

  "In March, the Black Mountain Boys had played the Tangent with Jerry Koukonen opening, and one of their best tunes was Keith's "Devil's Dream." Although the Black Mountain Boys were inclined to play too fast, much of their show was technically excellent. -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis McNally - page 71

   "By the end of 1963, Jerry Garcia was playing Scott Joplin rags on the piano. He had teamed up for "wet gigs," as the new bar jobs were called, with Ron McKernan (not yet "Pigpen") in an R & B band called the Zodiacs. Formerly Dr. Don and the Interns, after the leader, a black musician named Don Dee Great, the Zodiacs also played at Bay Area fraternity houses and strip joints." -- Sweet Chaos - Carol Brightman - Page 57

   "Morgan's led him [Garcia] to another musical viversion, his first foray into rock and roll since the Chords. Dana Morgan's store manager was Troy Weidenheimer, an electric guitarist whom Jerry had known since the Boar's Head. Troy had a band called the Zodiacs, and that summer [1963] he invited Garcia to join in--as the bass player. "It was great fun", Jerry would say, despite that fact that he was "out of my idiom" playing rock and out of his instrument with the bass. -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis McNally - Page 51

   "It wasn't until 1964 that Garcia formed Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions.
Which dragged all the loose ends out of the Chateau and haunts of Palo Alto, for a while at least.  Even that was merely a transition. In '62, Pig Pen found himself playing singles again and hitching to Boston for one forelorn mother of a winter until he came home to play for Paul Foster, the Merry Prankster, and Paul Kantner, now in the Jefferson Starship, at the Off-Stage Club in San Jose. It was this bistro that provided nourishment for the grapevine that started to grow rapidly in April 1963." - The Grateful Dead - Vanguard of a New Generation - Hank Harrison - Page 47

   "Moving on to Menlo-Atherton High school after the usual dustup, we find Bobby with "bigger fish to fry" than high school classes or social entanglements. He was actively involved in the pursuit of music, searching out the best practitioners of blues and folk guitar, notably Jorma Kaukonen, who played locally, and Jerry Garcia, then teaching at Dana Morgan's Music in Palo Alto. With these kinds of connections, it wasn't long before Bob was playing washtub bass and jug in Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a jug-band collective that included Jerry and Pigpen." -- Searching for the Sound - Phil Lesh - Page 45

   "On New Year's Eve, 1963, Weir and a friend were roaming the streets of Palo Alto looking for something to do. They were too young to get into any clubs, so they wandered over to Dana Morgan's Music, where they heard banjo music. They knocked on the door, and it opened. Weir recalled, "It was Garcia. We recognized him from the numerous bands that he was in at the time.....He was the local hot banjo player. He was in there playing banjo, waiting for his students to show up. Of course, it was New Years Eve, and absolutely none of them were coming." Weir talked Garcia into letting them use a couple of guitars from the store, and they started jamming.
   By the end of the evening they decided to assemble a jug band. They rounded up a bunch of old jug band records and started working on songs in Garcia's garage and at the music store. Weir played washtub bass, jug, and some guitar. They enlisted another young musician, a local harmonica player named Ron McKernan, known as "Pigpen." His father, Phil McKernan, had been a blues disc jockey who went by the name of "Cool Breeze" on KRE, Berkeley's progressive radio station. Pigpen grew up listening to his father's huge collection of blues albums and learned to play blues piano and sing the blues. At fifteen, he had already quit school, and was hanging out at the various Palo Alto scenes musicians frequented. At sixteen, he was playing harmonica in his first band, the Zodiacs, and Garcia would occasionally sit in on bass when they had paying gigs, in order to bolster his income.
   Garcia remembered the young Pigpen: "He'd come around to these parties and i'd be playing blues and he'd watch very carefully and he'd go home and learn things, all on the sly...he'd been playing harmonica secretly, and one time he got up on stage at a folk music place and I backed him on guitar -- he played harmonica and sang. He could sing like Lightnin' Hopkins, which just blew everybody's mind!" Garcia and Pigpen became close friends, spending hours at the McKernans' listening to old blues records.
   In addition to Garcia, Weir, and Pigpen, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions also had David Nelson on guitar and David Parker and Bob Matthews sharing duties on washboard and kazoo. Nelson detailed the origin of the band: "Hunter and I came up with the name for the jug band. We named it together -- Hunter came up with the Mother McCree's, and I added Uptown Jug Champions. The jugband's first rehearsals were at my room at 431 Hamilton Street in Palo Alto, which is where Hunter, our friend Willie Lagate, and I lived after Frank Seratone disbanded the Chateau. The Hamilton Steert house was a big house that we sublet from some college kids and slowly took over. I rented this little eight-by-ten room in the basement for fifteen dollars a month. It had a dirt floor with boards over it, and the ceiling consisted of the beams from the floor above. The rehearsals for the jug band were down there. I remember Weir, Pigpen, Garcia, Bob Matthews, Dave Parker, and I had to straddle the boards on the floor to get a solid footing. We rehearsed songs like "Deep Elem Blues", and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band songs "Washington at Vallet Forge," "Beetle Um Beetle", "K.C. Moan," and "I'm Satisfied with My Gal."
   .....Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions played anyplace that would hire a jug band, and they started getting popular around the mid-Peninsula area. Garcia remembered, "Our jug band was complete and total anarchy. Just lots and lots of people in it, and Pigpen and Bob and I were more or less the ringleaders. We'd work out various kinds of musically funny material. It was like a musical vacation to get on stage and have a good time.
   .....Mother McCree's stayed a jug band for almost a year. Then, at Pigpen's urging, the band went electric. Pigpen had been after Jerry for some time to start up an electric blues band because he was totally into his blues trip. Garcia agreed that a transition to electric intruments was a logical next step in the evolution of the band since they were already playing a lot of blues and some rock 'n' roll tunes. They patterned themselves along the lines of the early Rolling Stones, who were also playing a lot of blues songs. Garcia said, "Me and Pigpen both have that background in the old Chess Records stuff -- Chicago blues like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters and people like Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry.
   With the core band in place -- Garcia on lead guitar and vocals, Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Pigpen on harmonica, keyboards, and vocals -- all they needed was a bass player and a drummer. Back they went to Dana Morgan's Music, where they found a bass player in Dana Morgan, the son of the owner, and a drummer in Bill Kreutzmann, who taught music at the store with Garcia. The elder Morgan supplied all the equipment the band needed." -- Captain Trips - Sandy Troy - 53-57

   "Their first show was at the Tangent on January 25, 1964, and their performances throughout the year were always down-home, with a "certain level of chaos and disorganization, slightly looney and chaotic," said David Parker, much funkier than Kweskin's band. Weir he saw as goofy but lovable, well meaning, the boy of the bunch and the main butt of the traditional male ribbing. Pigpen, on the other hand, needed to get slightly, but only slightly, drunk to perform. Oddly enough, or perhaps not, the band began to grow in popularity. "Somehow," Jerry mused, "the sheer fun of it made it successful." Lacking the anxiety-producing perfectionism demanded by bluegrass, jug certainly had an effect on him. -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis Mcnally - Page 67

   "Some say it was Garcia's idea to turn Mother McChree's into an electric blues band, but Garcia told me it was Pigpen's idea. At first he wanted to electrify the jug band, but then changed his mind, saying, "No, let's get a drummer and make it a blues band." When the band turned into the Grateful Dead, Pig became our keel, our roots, our fundamental tone; even in the midst of the most free-flying stormracked howling madness no-mind improvisational waveforms, Pig had to step to the mike and sing -- "I went down.....to see the gypsy woman....one day, oh, no...." "without a warnin, you broke my heart" -- and the whole band would snap into the groove like a crack of a whip, we'de be Back Home, rolling like Otis on a Shakedown Cruise." Pig was the perfect front man for the band: "Intense, commanding, comforting; but I don't think he enjoyed doing that quite as much as sitting on the couch with a guitar and a jug." -- Searching for the Sound - Pages 54-55

   "It was around New year's Eve 1964 when the jug band went electric, changing their name to the Warlocks. The Warlocks rehearsed in s small room at Dana Morgans's Music, using equipment they borrowed from the store. They began to develop a repertoire of cover tunes by playing 45s over and over on the store's phonograph until they got them right. David Nelson was at some of the first rehearsals. Weir was just a green kid, unbelievably green, and Garcia would stop everything and just rail on Weir: 'No, no, no chowderhead, knocklehead, idiot goon child! No, no, no, I told you a thousand times!'  He'd be yelling about some passage in the song. 'Let's try it again.' But it was all very good-humored. Eric Thompson and I would watch, and it was hilarious. i've got to hand it to Weir, he hung in there and got better and better."

   "Early in January [1965] Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions played it's last gig at yet another San mateo Folk Festival." -- What A Long Strange Trip - Dennis McNally - Page 79

   "The Way he talked about Mother McCree was that it was nice to play for people. It was nice to be listened to and it was nice to be paid. Of course, that was not all that was going on. I'd say it was a coalition out of all the kinds of musicians that were available. Integrating all the various worlds that had built up around the Chateau and around the Peninsula in the course of those four or five years was also part of it. Even though the band wasn't together very long, Mother McCree was really an important intermediary step and sort of a bridge between that old-time music and blues. Because it was so much looser that the rest of it. And I think that live energy was always immediately important to him." -- Marchall Leicester - Dark Star - Oral Biography - Robert Greenfield - Page 47

Here is another Poster for Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions on the same date, July 16, 17, 18, 1964, as the poster above. This poster, as well as the poster below, were both printed, not hand-made. It also appears that they were both done by the same artist in similar fashion.
   Here is another Poster for Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions on the same date, July 16, 17, 18, 1964, as the poster above. This poster, as well as the poster below, were both printed, not hand-made. It also appears that they were both done by the same artist in similar fashion.
Here is a Poster for Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions for a gig a month before in May. This is the earliest known poster for Mother McCree's.
   Here is a Poster for Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions for a gig a month before in May. This is the earliest known poster for Mother McCree's.