Thursday, May 31, 2012


Sessions for Bob Weir's solo debut became just another excuse to jam with his bandmates from the Grateful Dead.  Warner Brothers Records offered solo record deals to members of the band as their contract was expiring to entice them to stay.  Jerry Garcia released his solo album in January of 1972; which is when sessions began for 'Ace'.  It was recorded at Wally Heider's Studio in San Francisco by Bob Matthews and Betty Cantor with everyone from the Grateful Dead taking part except for Ron "Pigpen" McKernan and Mickey Hart.    Weir recalls:  "That was a Grateful Dead record, as far as I'm concerned. And I don't do that material with my side groups...It was all me singing, all my songwriting. I started by using a couple of different musicians, and it just settled in to being a Grateful Dead record right quick."

Included in the studio action were Bob Weir on lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars; Jerry Garcia on lead guitar, pedal steel guitar, and backup vocals; Phil Lesh on bass guitar, and backup vocals;  Bill Kreutzmann on Drums and Percussion; Keith Godchaux on piano and organ; Donna Jean Godchaux on harmony and "chick" vocals; Dave Torbert on bass guitar; with Snooky Flowers, Luis Gasca, and the Space Rangers playing horns; and Ed Bogus doing string arrangements.  

Weir admits:  "I pretty much knew in the back of my mind what would happen. I go and get the time booked and start putting the material together. Everybody gets wind of the fact that I got the time booked and I may be going into the studio. So one by one they start coming around. Lesh and Garcia, 'Hey man, I hear you got some time booked...Need a bass player? A guitarist?'...Of course I ended up with the Grateful Dead on the record, which I figured up front...And we had a great time making the record."  Production credits were given to "everybody involved".  Most of the songs on 'Ace' became concert staples for the Grateful Dead.  Weir says:  "That was when I really first kicked into gear and started writing."

"Greatest Story Ever Told" was composed by Weir, Mickey Hart, and Ian Hunter.   This is the only song on the album that has Dave Torbert.  It also appeared on Hart's solo album as  "The Pump Song".

"Black-Throated Wind" was written by Weir and John Parry Barlow

"Cassidy" (Weir, Barlow) "I wrote it shortly after Neil checked out down in Mexico. The song came to me—I was living at a ranch in the middle of Marin County in California. There were a number of us. We were living sort of communally there at the time. One of the ladies here was busy birthing a baby. I went out into the living room. There were a lot of folks sort of helping in that. It was a bit much for me so I went in the living room, picked up my guitar, and just started playing. This tune came. She named the kid Cassidy. Meanwhile, when this tune was coming through, you know, coming through the sky or wherever they come from, I was still thinking, I was still sort of meditating on Neil and his effect on my life and stuff like that. The song was sort of—the music was sort of about the new Cassidy and it was also sort of about the old Cassady. Barlow and I sat down and we hashed that out, we talked that down a bit, and then the lyrics came out."

full album:

Side one
 "Greatest Story Ever Told" (Mickey Hart, Robert Hunter, and Bob Weir) -- 0:00 
"Black-Throated Wind" (John Perry Barlow and Weir) -- 3:39 
"Walk in the Sunshine" (Barlow and Weir) -- 9:21 
"Playing in the Band" (Hart, Hunter, and Weir) -- 12:23

Side two 
"Looks Like Rain" (Barlow and Weir) -- 20:01 
"Mexicali Blues" (Barlow and Weir) -- 26:09 
"One More Saturday Night" (Weir) -- 29:32 
"Cassidy" (Barlow and Weir) -- 33:59

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