Did J. Gordon Holt really play the guitar?
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absolutely. the thing that's funny is listening to GD you can see the logical breaks in JG's style. towards the end he was the grizzled but reluctant frontman, in stark contrast to the quasi-5-headed monster of the late 70s.
my fave years were the late 60s / early 70s: pigpen's band! and JG was relegated to a lead guitarist supporting the rest of the cast (which he said he greatly preferred, and it shows in the music: listen to el paso or lovelight from @ 70-71 and its obvious that JG was most at home in this era, though his talent (demonstrated when he was lead vocals + guitars) was undeniable.).
3 from the vault is prob my fave GD recording, along w veneta, OR, the 75 shows (blues from allah in SF); all the other 68-72 shows are tied for 2nd.
Yes Rhyno, me too. I can't really get into most of the stuff after 73, with the exception of the 'Blues for Allah' period. I saw my first dead show in 77, so maybe that's it.
Still, 68-73 is my absolute favorite vintage Jerry. These days the only rock album I still listen to with any regularity is Jerry's first solo album with 'The Wheel'. Amazing man, amazing music.