Dead Notes #8 :: Alligator (5/18/68 Santa Clara, CA)

Welcome to Dead Notes #8 where we find our steadfast pranksters in the pivotal years of 1967 and 1968. Long gone are the proto-psychedelic fuzzy garage jams, replaced with long, exploratory suites awash in subtle instrumental and explosive feedback passages as the band weaves from one song into the next. Deep into the recording of their way-over-budget ‘thick air’ opus, Anthem of the Sun, (which finally sees it’s release in the second half of the year) they enlist of help of their old friend, later renowned lyricist, Robert Hunter. Hunter, living remotely in New Mexico and loaded on LSD, crafts a beautiful, allegorical dig at the riffraff who had recently flocked to San Francisco, aptly entitling it “Alligator”. For his efforts he is handsomely paid $250, which he then blows on a used car as he skips town for the Northwest and a job restringing beads on necklaces. Thankfully, the car breaks down and he instead wanders back to his friends in San Francisco. In turn, “Alligator” becomes a big-teethed, bugged-eyed second set monster as the band morphs into an aggressive 7-day-a-week touring machine.

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