From the Vault: Legion of Mary

7.2.74

Buried beneath Jerry Garcia’s endless side projects, guest appearances and solo endeavors is the rarely mentioned Legion of Mary. The LOM lineup consisted of Merl Saunders, JGB bassist John Kahn, Martin Fierro on sax and flute along with Ronnie Tutt on drums (who replaced Paul Humphrey in early ’75). The band was short lived—lasting only from July of ’74 to July ’75—but during the time it lasted the Legion of Mary was a rare force, blending the sounds of jazz, rock and R&B with a touch of psychedelia.

To put things in context, Legion of Mary was in action during a rare downtime in the Dead’s career. Following the famous October 1974 performances by the Dead at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco (immortalized in The Grateful Dead Movie), the band went on a short hiatus, performing only 4 concerts together in 1975. During the hiatus, Jerry worked on the movie relentlessly while also recording Blues for Allah and performing around the Bay Area with Legion of Mary.

Jerry Garcia Collection 1: Legion of Mary

The LOM shows contain some of Jerry’s finest playing in the form of long, jazz-inspired improvisations that are stunningly beautiful. Also, a number of these shows were captured by the legendary taping team of Badbob Menke and Louis Falanga who would famously get their mics on stage with the band (literally). There was only one official release by LOM in the form of Legion of Mary: The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 1, but if you seek them out there are some amazing audience recordings that I highly recommend.

I’ll help you begin your search with my personal favorite LOM show recorded by the Menke/Falanga taping team. This one comes from the Keystone in Berkeley, CA on 5.22.75 and features one of my all-time favorite jazz numbers, Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” (also recorded by Milt Jackson, which I also highly recommend). If you like audience recordings, you’ll want to check this one out.

Little Sunflower” (5.22.75)

DOWNLOAD: Legion of Mary 1975-05-22 Keystone, Berkeley, CA [Torrent]
Source: (FOB) Sony ECM-270 and ECM-250 [Positioned Onstage] > Sony TC-152 > MAC

Set 1:
Tore Up Over You
Little Sunflower
Tuning/Crowd
I Feel Like Dynamite
Every Word You Say
Mystery Train

Set 2:
He Ain’t Give You None
Boogie On Reggae Woman
When I Die
Going, Going, Gone
(I’m A) Road Runner

The Anne LaBrusciano Show

Trey once called The Anne LaBrusciano show “the greatest radio show ever, of all time.” But unless you lived in Burlington, VT during the early 80’s, or attended Phish’s fourth show ever, chances are the name Anne LaBrusciano doesn’t ring a bell. Maybe if you attended the Clifford Ball and listened to The Bunny while you waited in miles of traffic, then you might have heard her broadcast. But otherwise, for the most part, this special piece of Phish lore has become a forgotten relic form the past, rarely mentioned, if at all. That will hopefully change today, as we will take a trip back to Phish’s early days in Burlington and rediscover the genius of The Anne LaBrusciano Show.

Anne was the host of a show on WRUV-FM, Burlington, VT 90.1 called “Two Heads are Better than Four Legs,” that ran between 1984-1985. During this time Anne became an inspirational figure in the Burlington radio and arts community and was seen as a pioneer of weird radio. On the air, Anne never spoke a word, and there were no programmers or narrators either. Instead, her show was a free-form sound collage composed of various audio sources: music, poetry, instructional records, audio drama, and incidental noise—much like an acid-test. On her broadcasts,  Anne would also use sound clips recorded by Trey (through some very 80’s effects) specifically for her show.

Phish 1984 Slade Hall

Phish’s connection to The Anne LaBrusciano Show runs deep—she sat-in with the band on their fourth gig ever (11.3.84), on what was the first of many performances at Slade Hall on the UVM campus (click here to download). This is rarely mentioned, if at all, although she can clearly be heard on the recording. As the show begins you can hear Anne mixing her unique blend of sounds beneath an “ignition sequence” which then leads into “In the Midnight Hour.” Later on, during some of the jams, Anne can be heard adding her sound collages under the band, although the poor audio quality makes it somewhat difficult to hear. For example, also listen at the end of the “Bertha” jam as Anne adds some of her trademark sounds before the band leads into “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’.” For now, check out Anne’s intro on 11.3.84:

Ignition Sequence” > “In the Midnight Hour” (11.3.84)

From Phish.com: This was the band’s 4th show, their 2nd gig as Phish and the first of many shows at UVM’s Slade Hall. The tape is labeled ”Wall of Sound” and featured Anne Labrusciano mixing 6 stereo speakers and 3 turntables live during the show. The price on the flyer is $00.00.

This piece of the band’s early career is seemingly known by very few, which is a mystery considering the level of detail many Phish fans desire. Also, when Phish hosted their first festival, The Clifford Ball, they invited Anne to host one of her broadcasts on The Bunny, after her own show had been retired from the air for over a decade. Below, hear Trey introduce Anne’s show on The Bunny.

Today, I’m proud to be able to share with you some highlights from The Anne LaBrusciano Show from the original broadcast on WRUV-FM 90.1. The clips are taken from various shows and provide the listener a sense of what it would have been like to hear her show on the radio. While no two shows were ever alike, the introduction always remained the same. Below you can listen to two clips, the first which includes a typical introduction to The Anne LaBrusciano Show and the second which is taken from various shows over her 14 month tenure at the station. I hope you enjoy these discoveries as much as Trey and I do.

The Anne LaBrusciano Show

CLIP 1

CLIP 2