I don’t know if it’s the weather, an act of habit or a touch of both but I often find myself returning to Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia’s Live At The Keystone discs this time of year. A truly soulful pairing, I once heard their union described as something akin to “going to church,” and it made sense. The fruits of the jam session that make up the Keystone discs were fleshed out by John Kahn on bass and Bill Vitt on drums. As a whole, the group just effortlessly swings. Recorded at Berkley’s Keystone club in the early ’70s, the atmosphere feels loose and plays eclectic ranging from soul and reggae to blues, jazz and, obviously, rock & roll.
Garcia paid tribute to Dylan via many a cover over the years (many of which were compiled in 2005 on the Garcia Plays Dylan set), but this one, culled from Live Keystone Vol. 1, has long been a favorite—Garcia and Merl Saunders take on the bard’s “Positively 4th Street.”