Gypsy Sun & Rainbows: New York City (ATM 246-248)
"Gypsy Sun & Rainbows: New York City"
The GSR Studio Sessions
(actual song timings given; see artwork for CD track times)
Disc 1 (46:32)
01 Freedom (29) Jam (8:00)
02 Message to Love (3) (2:35)
03 Message to Love (50) (6:18)
04 Easy Blues (1) (complete) (10:12)
05 Easy Blues (3) (edited) (7:41)
06 Easy Blues (2) (more edited mix) (4:35)
07 Jam Back at the House (13) (2:23)
08 Jam Back at the House (15) (4:19)
Disc 2 (78:50)
01 Izabella (1) (0:19), Izabella (2) (1:07)
02 Izabella (3) (4:44)
03 Izabella (4) (0:40), Izabella (5) (1:07)
04 Izabella (6) (3:40)
05 Machine Gun (1) (12:18)
06 Machine Gun (2) (alternate take) (12:39)
07 Izabella (25) (mono mix) (3:40)
08 Izabella (28) (stereo mix) (3:39)
09 Machine Gun (3) (8:11)
10 Machine Gun (38) (11:19)
11 Machine Gun (39) (7:28)
12 Machine Gun (40) (1:19)
Disc 3 (70:31)
01 Jungle Jam / Jam Back at the House (3) (5:58)
02 Valleys of Neptune (22) (instrumental) (3:54)
03 Blues for Me and You (2) (10:29)
04 Blues for Me and You (1) (10:00)
05 Lover Man (45) (instrumental, stereo) (3:42)
06 Blues for Me and You (3) (8:55)
07 Lover Man (4) (instrumental, mono) (4:18)
08 Blues for Me and You (4) (edited) (5:43)
09 Stepping Stone (1) (15:22)
A 3-disc collection of available studio recordings from the Gypsy Suns and Rainbows. These recordings date from late August to mid-September 1969, a period of a little over two weeks. The recordings all likely took place at the Hit Factory except for the last track (from the Record Plant). Shortly afterwards Jerry and Larry left the group, and the ensemble that played at Woodstock was only a memory.
There's nothing unexpected in this collection; all of the tracks are readily available on scores of discs. The versions included here are the best quality copies circulating, and they've been checked and corrected for technical issues including pitch, phase offset, and digital errors.
Together with the Shokan tapes and the complete Woodstock live concert, these complete the coverage of the brief existence of the GSR.
Notes on particular recordings:
The recording date of Freedom (29) Jam is unknown.
Message to Love (3) is possibly from the 29th rather than the 28th.
Easy Blues (1) is the most complete version of this recording, with an extra second at the start and without edits.
Easy Blues (3) is edited, with a 2:30 section removed at the 1:34 point (a Larry solo). In addition, it's a different mix with the percussion and tambourine removed.
Easy Blues (2) is taken from collectors' tapes with a few extra seconds at the end. The mix differs from the other two, with instruments placed somewhat differently in the stereo image and some of Larry's guitar mixed low. This version is more heavily edited, with a 3:16 portion removed at 1:17 (Larry's solo again). There are 5 further short edits, removing either one or two measures each: at 2:59 (7 seconds removed), at 3:13 (7 seconds removed), at 3:32 (4 seconds removed), at 3:41 (4 seconds removed), and at 4:00 (7 seconds removed). This version also fades 1:50 early at the end.
Jam Back at the House (13) is a nearly mono mix of the first part of the unaltered track. It ends before providing us with all the parts in the other edits.
Jam Back at the House (15) is digital mono, a rough edit of the track with portions missing, but without later overdubs. It has a 9-second cut at 1:01 and a longer cut (at least 44 seconds) at 1:29, and is cut at the end. Without a complete unaltered version we don't know what other edits might be present later in the track.
Jam Back at the House (4) (3:04) is not included here. That is the overdubbed altered track from 1975's "Midnight Lightning" LP, and there's nothing in it that's not on (15), which is longer, less edited, and lacks the posthumous overdubs.
Izabella (1-6): This instrumental session times to 17:42 and runs straight into Machine Gun (1). This is nearly identical to the version on "Soulful Sessions", except that some remaining minor errors have been repaired: one short repeated section between takes has been removed, and a couple of short gaps between takes have been patched from another source.
Izabella (3): There is a sudden cut at 1:51, at which point the recording jumps back to the 0:39 point and repeats. It's difficult to tell exactly what's going on here; much of the guitar in the right channel is different the second time around, parts of the guitar overdub appear to have been moved around, and there is likely some further editing in this section as well. I've never seen anything like this, but it's definitely altered from its originally recorded form.
Machine Gun: (1) and (2) are distinct takes, with notably sparse vocals. Interestingly McDermott only mentions one take in his book. Both of these takes seem to be basic tracks presented with minimal overdubs.
Izabella (28) is a mono mix of the take from this date that was for some time the working master. (25) is the stereo mix of the same take, but without the congas track.
Things get more interesting with Machine Gun composites (3) and (38), which feature two vocal tracks and guitar overdubs. There are parts from both (1) and (2) in these composites, but there are also overdubs which are not present on (1) and (2). It may be that (3) and (38) include various overdubs that were recorded for (1) and (2); it may also be that another take exists, and parts from that were used for the composites.
Whatever the case, (3) is an incomplete narrow stereo mix and (38) a wider complete mix. They are the same edit, the only difference being that (3) fades early. There may be some different overdubs between the two; I haven't checked every second. But generally the overdubs are similar, although the mixes place the parts in different places in the stereo image. Some of Larry's guitar on (38) is mixed way down and can only be heard very faintly.
Machine Gun (39) is a shortened mono composite, this time with only one vocal track and (in most places) only a single lead guitar track. On this one also, most of Larry's guitar parts can only be heard very faintly. This version is interesting because it's the basic track for the official overdubbed 1975 version. It's exactly the same edit, but prior to posthumous overdubs. That official version (Machine Gun (4)) is not included here since there's nothing unique on it.
Machine Gun (40), also mono, is a short middle section from the same composite, but with some different guitar overdubs.
Jungle Jam / Jam Back at the House (3) is not firmly dated; there is no definitive descrïption of this recording in McDermott's book, but 4 September is a possible date.
The 3 longer mixes of "Blues for Me and You" are all unedited, but differ in the amount missing at the start. (2) has some unknown amount cut at the start (we have no recording of this missing part); (1) starts 0:29 later than (2), and (3) starts 1:35 later than (2). Instrumental placement is different in these 3 mixes, and echo is added to the vocals on (2). (3) goes to nearly mono about 5 minutes in, and stays mono through the take of Lover Man (4). An alternate stereo mix of Lover Man (45) follows (1), but is cut at the end. Most of the audio between Blues (3) and LM (4) is edited out, but is present between Blues (1) and LM (45).
Blues for Me and You (4) is edited, with the 0:40 end vocal section repeated at the start, followed by the last 5:03 of the track with the vocals again at the end. Congas are also mixed out on this version. This is probably a try by Alan Douglas at an official release for this track, which never materialized. I've only found the last part of this version on the bootleg LP "Mannish Boy", which was used for the end section even though the quality is inferior.
Stepping Stone (1) is the only recording not from the Hit Factory, and is from the last session of the original GSR line-up. Several more sessions featured Juma, but it appears that Larry and Jerry left following this session at the Record Plant.
Edit: the descrïption of Izabella (25) and (28) has the numbers backwards. (25) is the mono mix and (28) is the stereo mix. the track listing at the top, and the artwork, are both correct; it's just the notes that got it switched.