Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, “Hot Tuna Performance”, by Gregory Morgan
This month my music selection is a bit different from previous months. In my area, this month has been filled with smoke and furiously hot days so my listening days have been more limited than usual (It’s amazing how much a tube amplifier heats up a room). I have therefore been listening more to streaming music through headphones, rather than LP’s, as usual.
My music Selection for the month is a Hot Tuna Performance available streaming on Amazon Prime and available as MP3 Downloads. This performance is listed as “1993-10-24 McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA.” I believe this show may be available on other streaming services according to Google, but I don’t have other services to verify. Hot Tuna, for those that don’t know, is a spin-off band from the Jefferson Airplane consisting of Jorma Kaukonen on acoustic guitar and Jack Casady on bass. They are, at times, augmented by other musicians and perform as an electric rock band, but this show is just Jack and Jorma performing acoustic rag-time blues, which has always been my preference for their performances.
McCabe’s Guitar shop in Santa Monica is legendary concert venue, which has hosted Some truly amazing performances (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCabe%27s_Guitar_Shop). At full capacity, McCabe’s holds 150, making performances very intimate and unique experiences, as they often have some pretty big names in the music industry perform. At this show, Jack and Jorma are joined by Pete Sears on keyboards and accordion, and Michael Falzarano on Guitar, giving this show a much fuller sound than just the duo of Hot Tuna. I think that Jorma Kaukonen is by far one of the finest fingerpicking guitar players I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and there are few guitar players that can match Jack Casady in terms of finesse and this show demonstrates that beautifully. I was at this show and listening to it again after almost 30 years, brings back a lot of memories and has the same energy I remember from that night.
My one complaint is that that there aren’t FLAC files* available for these shows. I know the people who recorded the McCabe’s performance and know that they used Bruel & Kjaer 4011 microphones throughout the recording of this show, so somewhere there must be some really amazing recording of this run of shows (there were four – an early and a late show on October 23 & 24, 1993). This performance leans heavily on the songs of Reverend Gary Davis, but also includes a number of Traditional songs and self-penned tunes. Personal favorites on this recording are “Keep You Lamps Trimmed and Burning,” “San Francisco Bay Blues,” and “Water Song.”