The PERRO Sessions: Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco 1971

David Crosby and Neil Young Smoking

Over the past decade, by my (rough) count, I have encountered at least three varying collections grouped under the catchall titles: the PERRO Tapes, the PERRO Sessions and the ’70 David Crosby Sessions. Each with a slightly different track count and running order. In short, PERRO (Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra) was the name given to a loose camaraderie of Bay area players and their simpatico southern California brethren, including, but not limited to, members of CSNY, the Dead, Jefferson Airplane and beyond. And for our purposes here (regarding the sessions leading up to Crosby’s 1971 LP If I Could Only Remember My Name), Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Greg Rolie and Mike Shrieve. While never commercially released, a number of the PERRO tracks would later appear (re-recorded) on various studio efforts by the principals involved, namely said David Crosby LP.

A fully realized embodiment of the sound of California’s folk/rock/psychedelia movement of the time, the record is arguably Crosby’s finest moment. As such the PERRO sessions further harness that fleeting zeitgeist. A rough-hewn, faded, snapshot. Writing about this set here in 2006, a commenter criticized the sessions noting that while the musicianship was “as strong as you would expect from the cream of the Marin County scene, the whole thing has the feel of a stoned weekend jam in someone’s living room.” I suppose one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure, as for me therein lies the session’s charm. Yes, it does feel like “a stoned weekend jam in someone’s living room” – albeit one with some exceptional players. Pejorative context removed, a rather perfect summation.

I tend to dig these out once a year, typically as the summer begins to burn off in August and play them throughout the length of September. If you have yet to check these out, you can dig into an informal PERRO history, here, and explore the tunes themselves via this working download link.

Aquarium Drunkard is powered by its patrons. Keep the servers humming and help us continue doing it by pledging your support via our Patreon page. For heads, by heads

17 thoughts on “The PERRO Sessions: Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco 1971

  1. Did this then lead up to the “Blows Against the Empire” Jefferson Starship album which had a lot of the same people on it?

  2. “if only” is one of the greatest of david crosby’s accomplishments……wish we could have heard more of jerry garcia’s pedal steel which was incredible on that album… “the wheel” on steroids……

    or like the jerry’s pedal steel on the New Riders’ “Dirty Business”….

    any one know where we can get more jerry pedal steel???

  3. The Internet is indeed sometimes a lovely place, and thanks to it several versions of the PERRO tapes have hit My computer, Marvelous ,Multiple renditions of ” The Mountain Song which would eventually emerge a decade later on Kantner’s PERRO album, Early versions of “The Wall Song” and Garcia trying to get that “Deal” go down and if You listen carefully Grace working on a very basic ” Come again “Toucan”,surely it’s time some bright thing produced and mixed an ” Ultimate PERRO release, musically these are historical documents.

  4. Cool stuff, I love that “remember my name ” album. Sounds like maybe Jerry on Banjo in the second track?

  5. Hey! thanks, in my humble opinion, ” If I could only remember my name” and “Blows against the Empire” are arguably the 2 greatest audio documents of the most dynamic and powerful rock and roll statements ever. The interplay between all is just so honest and giving….thanks for sharing……

  6. Great tunes from a great time in american music history. Besides the wonderful Perro tapes, also there is a bootleg of David and the Dorks at the Matrix, which was the members of the grateful Dead and David Crosby playing many of the tunes from those sessions and David Crosby’s ensuing “solo” album.

  7. Hands down Crosby’s best album. Heard Phil Lesh play Cowboy Movie a few years ago at NJPAC. Was a true highlight.

  8. My goodness people. this is just so great.
    Can anyone tell me where I can find this music to buy/have it forever???

  9. Listening to a CD of these sessions for the first time. I had never heard of it before. Thank you for giving background on it. Hearing Jerry work out “Loser” is fantastic!! 🙂

Comments are closed.