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From the 60s acid, psych, ríníb to 70s rock and beyond, The Grateful Dead were a phenomenal success and primarily a live band, as shown by their improvisations, jams and indulgences.

Mainstay Jerry Garcia also had his solo band, Legion Mary, and like The Dead, spent a lot of time on the road.

Legion Mary, between 1974 and 1975, played around 60 shows in total, and this live recording from those dates is the first and only official release under that name. (LEGION MARY The Jerry Garcia Collection Vol 1 (Rhino R2 74692 (79:08) (79:11), 2005)

Dylanís Touch Mama opens proceedings, and is one of only tracks on disc 1 under 11 minutes. Sill, at 9 minutes it shows the live improvisations and arrangements associated with the Grateful Dead, if a little more Jazzy than Garciaís home band.

As well as the jazz influences itís also heavy on the soul end of ríníb, with a thick Hammond organ and a saxophone filling the sound. The guitars arenít too heavy, and the meandering bass lines make for an enjoyable listen.

Disc 2 continues in a similar vein, with gentle and sometimes haunting vocals. A 14 minute rendition of Chuck Berryís Let It Rock goes down well, and is one of many drawn out tracks youíll recognise.

Both music and applause is rather polite for most if the set, but well packaged and essential for most Grateful Dead fans. ***½

Following the death of Grateful Dead Brent Mydland, the band pulled out of this recorded show, and Head Dead Garcia filled in rather than cancel completely. Iím sure the Deadheads in attendance werenít complaining.

A gig of 2 sets, (JERRY GARCIA BAND Live At The Shoreline 9/1/1990 Rhino R2 9970433, 2005) the first kicking off with How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You, which despite the politeness of the soul and ríníb sound, shows some neat guitar from Garcia.

Bassist John Kahn mixes in well and brings the best out of Garcia, and the soulful keyboards and two backing vocalists add a gospel edge.

The band do appear to enjoy themselves, producing a nice sound.

As usual with anything Dead related, expect long workouts and improvisations. The two sets here total over 2 hours.

Dear Prudence is another great piece, and is short too at only 8 minutes!

Thereís not much onstage activity, or interaction with the audience, but the sound is excellent and the band are tight. Pretty enjoyable.

With a long running time and band interviews as a bonus itís good value too but, beware, it is set to Region 1. ***½

Reviews by Joe Geesin

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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