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Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings Box set

56 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, September 25, 2012
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$30.79
$27.84 $23.84
$30.79 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings + Garcia Live Volume Three: Dec 14-15 1974 NW Tour [3 CD] + Garcialive Volume Two [2 CD]
Price for all three: $61.06

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Editorial Reviews

Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merl Saunders performed live at the Keystone in Berkeley, CA together on July 10th and 11th, 1973. Although components of this memorable show have been previously released, this is the very first time that the concert has become available in its entirety. This 4 disc box set assembles the full set list, all remastered, and in the order in which the songs were performed. The repertoire spans blues, rockabilly, jazz, funk, Broadway, Motown, two Bob Dylan songs, and Jimmy Cliff s immortal The Harder They Come.

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Disc 4
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 25, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Fantasy
  • ASIN: B0089X38C2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,992 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jack Tripper VINE VOICE on September 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD
It wasn't easy for me to give in and replace my homemade Keystone box set, painstakingly assembled many moons ago--so that I could listen to these shows in their entirety--by re-sequencing the tracklist and burning onto CD-Rs the four previous releases (plus bootleg) that featured highlights of these two July 1973 Berkeley shows. But after hearing the pristine remastered sound that came out of my speakers while listening to 'Keystone Companions,' I'll now gladly set fire to my old one as an offering to the music gods, in thanks for this excellent release, even though in the back of my mind I'll secretly be thinking, "What took so dang long?"

But that's neither here nor there, as it's here now, and captures Jerry at (arguably) the peak of his improvisational powers. There's no stronger evidence than listening to songs like the jammy, hypnotic "Merl's Tune," the straight-up blues of "Hi-Heel Sneakers," and especially the band's insanely tripped-out take on the jazz standard "My Funny Valentine," which contains some near-supernatural psychic interplay between Jerry, Merl, John Kahn, and Bill Vitt. Merl weaves his keyboard melodies tightly in and around Jerry's guitar leads as if the two have been playing together regularly for a decade, and the rhythm section is precise and on-point, even during the various sudden changes in tempo throughout.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Boomerocity on September 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Keystone Companions/The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings, recorded live on July 10 and 11, 1973 at the Keystone Club in Berkeley, California, beautifully captures the magical musical friendship of keyboardist Merl Saunders and guitarist Jerry Garcia. The Fantasy Records lavish four-disc set, is scheduled for release this Tuesday (September 25th) on the heels of the 70th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's birth and includes seven previously unreleased tracks, a special booklet featuring vintage photos, liner notes by Grateful Dead expert David Gans; a poster, a coaster, button and "scratchbook" (replicating the design of the original album's promotional matchbooks.

The incredible band featured Saunders; Garcia, guitar and vocals; John Kahn on bass; and Bill Vitt on drums. Virtuoso David Grisman added mandolin to the classic Bob Dylan number, Positively 4th Street. The mix of songs ranged frm Saunders originals to covers of songs by Jimmy Cliff, Junior Parker, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Rodgers & Hart, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudp, Lightnin' Hopkins, Don Nix, Dan Penn and Dylan.

San Franciso-born keyboardist Merl Sauders had been writing and performing in New York before returning to the West Coast. Producer Nick Gravenites offered him studio work that included playing with guitarist Jerry Garcia, already at the helm of one of the world's most popular rock bands, the Grateful Dead. "Garcia reminded me of (jazz guitarist) Eric Gale," Saunders recollected, "Anything he played was very musical. He knew how to do a rhythm on any kind of tune - gospel, blues, jazz. I was amazed."

Saunders also helped Garcia expand his harmonic knowledge and even showed him some Art Tatum runs. "He taught me music," Garcia said of Saunders.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on October 3, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
1973 was a pivotal year for Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Pigpen died in March, and Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders had settled into a regular routine of playing at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco. While they had been playing together since December, 1970, after Jerry stopped playing with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, he and Saunders became frequent companions, meeting up to play totally different types of music from what Jerry played with the Dead, or with the New Riders. In 1973 Garcia was also playing in the short-lived Old and In the Way, a bluegrass band, but he and Saunders still managed to play a few dozen concerts together, and would eventually play 266 gigs.

But in 1973, Jerry and Merl were hot. While the Dead were performing some of their best concerts, Jerry's side projects showed him in a different light, playing blues, standards, Bob Dylan songs and much more, in a jazzier, more R&B tone. Together with other band members John Kahn and Bill Vitt, this recording features two complete shows, July 10 and 11, 1973, and shows the range of Jerry's non-Grateful Dead material.

With the exception of a couple of Dylan songs that the Dead would cover twenty years later, not one song in these two shows was in the Dead's repertoire. They range from standards like My Funny Valentine to R&B songs such as I Second that Emotion and How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You), by way of a cover of Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come. (The film of the same name, which broke reggae out of its island, was released in 1972.)

Listening to Jerry Garcia play guitar and sing these songs shows how versatile he was.
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repeats
Because these are the July 10th & 11th, 1973 shows in their entirety.
Sep 25, 2012 by M. Judkins |  See all 4 posts
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