A Fresh of Breath Air II (Part 2 of an indeterminable number of parts)

“How much deception can you take?

How many lies will you create?

How much longer until you break?

Your mind’s about to fall

And they are breaking through,

They are breaking through,

Now we’re falling,

We are losing control”

From the song “MK Ultra” by Matt Bellamy, on the album The Resistance by Muse, 2009

While this is a continuation of my re-exploration of my documentary, spoken word, and other related  albums, I want to delve into a bit of history to provide some perspective before I continue. Here I will also describe some essential music releases of the era as well as spoken word. So here goes:

Hallucinogenic plants and fungi have been with us for as long as humanity has existed. Many cultures have used them for medicinal and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. As alchemy evolved into chemistry, additional substances were created out of plants, fungi, and other chemical compounds in the interest of finding cures for various ailments or to otherwise improve the human condition. It was always hit and miss, and laws were created to restrict use or production when it was determined that a substance was more of a danger than a benefit. Few know that cocaine was used in Coca Cola and lithium in 7Up before being prohibited. While some religions and cultures continue to encourage the use of mind-altering substances, such as peyote in the Native American Church, most Western religions condemn their use as a temptation from the devil or a form of witchcraft. Most Eastern religions tolerate, or are indifferent to, their use.

Ergot, which is a fungus that grows on the rye plant can produce vivid hallucinations but also can destroy body extremities and often results in violent death. The name given to the effects of ergot poisoning is St. Anthony’s Fire. It is often suggested that Joan of Arc may have eaten rye bread with this fungus, which would explain the visions she claimed guided her to victory in battle, but also caused her to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Likewise, the victims of the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials may have suffered from St. Anthony’s Fire. Ergot is the fungus from which LSD is derived.

Albert Hofmann

But let us zoom up to November 18, 1938 at Sandoz laboratories in Basel, Switzerland. This is the day Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann synthesized LSD while looking for a treatment for headaches and respiratory problems. When Sandoz decided not to pursue treatment for these ailments, Hofmann set the compound aside until April 16, 1943, when he decided to re-examine it. He accidentally spilled some on his fingertips and somehow absorbed it into his system. He then grew ill, went home, and for the next two hours he experienced vivid hallucinations. On April 19, three days later, he decided to confirm these effects were from the LSD by ingesting 250 micrograms in a glass of water. As he rode home on his bike, he began to experience hallucinations. The day April 19 is now known by some as “Bicycle Day” to commemorate the date of the first intentional LSD trip. Pink Floyd’s co-founder guitarist, Syd Barrett,  composed the song “Bike” in 1966 to commemorate the event and in 1967 the song appeared on their first LP “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” The songwriters Keith Hopkins and Ken Burgess of the band Tomorrow composed “My White Bicycle” in 1967. It was their first single, appeared on their only album “Tomorrow,” and was one of the first songs to use backward guitar phasing. While “My White Bicycle” has been associated with this event, the writers later claimed it was inspired by a Dutch anarchist group’s bicycle sharing system in Amsterdam. This song was covered by Nazareth in 1975 and by Neil the Hippy in 1984.

Hofmann was also the first scientist to identify, create, and name the primary hallucinogenic mushroom compounds, psilocybin and psilocin. He later wrote the book “LSD: My Problem Child” and in the early 1980s recorded a lecture, in English, of the same name. He referred to LSD as a “sacred drug” and continued to use it personally throughout his life. On his 100th birthday, Hofmann said in a speech “It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation…I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance LSD. It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.” Hofmann died April 29, 2008 at the age of 102.

Albert Hofmann – LSD: My Problem Child (1983) This was a lecture by Hofmann in English at the Psychedelics and Spirituality Conference II in Santa Barbara, California on May 13-14, 1983. It initially was offered by cassette, but I was able to obtain a CDr copy sometime around 2008. Also speaking was Humphrey Osmond, 30 years to the day that he administered mescaline to Aldous Huxley.

Humphrey Osmond – The Early Days: Mescaline Opens Huxley’s Doors of Perception (1983) Lecture at the Psychedelics and Spirituality Conference II in Santa Barbara, California on May 13-14, 1983 by the man who coined the term “psychedelic” in 1956. Among those speaking at the conference besides Hofmann and Osmond were Ralph Metzner, Terence McKenna, and Andrew Weil. In attendance but not speaking were Timothy Leary, Joan Halifax, Kathleen Harrison McKenna, Peter Stafford, and many other scientists, psychologists, and spiritual leaders. The conference speakers were recorded, and a complete six audiocassette package was available, as well as each individually. I obtained CDr’s of both Hofmann’s and Osmond’s talks from the same source offering the cassettes.

The CIA and MKULTRA

LSD was first synthesized just a month before scientists succeeded in nuclear fission. The first LSD trips by Hofmann occurred just a month before designs were developed for the first atomic bomb. As war seems to corrupt many things, so it goes with mind-altering drugs. Japan, Nazi Germany, the US, and the USSR military and intelligence took an interest in the use of such drugs for the purpose of mind control and biological warfare. In the US, the CIA was officially sanctioned in 1953 with the creation of the secret program now known as MKULTRA. Only those involved at the CIA knew about this mind control program until it was investigated by Congress in the 1970s. The public was clueless, yet they were often the guinea pigs in this later-declared-illegal program. Techniques included dosing unsuspecting as well as volunteer subjects with LSD and other hallucinogens, electroshocks, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as other forms of torture. It was conducted in colleges, hospitals, mental institutions, and prisons in the US and in Canada (with the Canadian government’s blessings.) Some of the cruelest practices were conducted by the US in Canada. Wherever these experiments were conducted some died and others were permanently scarred as a result. The program was supposedly ended in 1973 but some have claimed it never ended. In fact, there is evidence from 1974 that some experiments continued at various US college campuses with unsuspecting students.

From 1959 through 1962 Harvard University participated in these CIA MKULTRA experiments, under the guise of being run by Harvard’s Department of Social Relations, headed by psychologist Henry A. Murray. One of the 22 undergraduates in the experiments was Ted Kaczynski, later known as The Unabomber. I find it interesting that many of his bombs were sent to scientists and other academicians.

In 1973, the Director of the CIA, Richard Helms, ordered all files related to MKULTRA destroyed so that Congress could not investigate. Thankfully, some documents had been misfiled and were later discovered in 1977. They provide some of what we know today, but there is still much missing from our understanding of what went on from 1953 to 1973 including the magnitude of the project and who all was involved. Most information we have comes from victims or their families and retired members of the CIA who grew a conscience.

Timothy Leary

I wrote in my last post that Timothy Leary involved professors Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner from the Harvard psychology department in running experiments. In 1962 Leary and Alpert formed the International Federation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) to continue studies on the religious use of psychedelic drugs outside of their Harvard University research. After Leary and Alpert were fired from Harvard, they continued their “religious” experiments at Millbrook in New York. Was Leary enlisted by the CIA to conduct any or all these experiments? We may never know. We know he lived as a fugitive after being arrested several times, beginning in 1965 and continuing into the mid-70s. Nixon called him “the most dangerous man in America.” Being that Leary had a history of going rogue dating back to the late 50s were these arrests efforts to keep him quiet about the CIA experiments? Note that LSD and psilocybin were legal at the time of his first arrest. His arrest was for possession of marijuana and resulted in an excessive 30-year prison sentence, which he successfully appealed. His story involves more arrests, escapes, apprehensions, and eventually a sentencing in 1973 to Folsom Prison where he was placed in a cell next to Charles Manson. He was released early in 1976 due to his cooperation as an FBI informant regarding the Weather Underground. The government ceased their harassment after this. His interests shifted from psychedelics to cybernetics and cryogenics in the 80s and 90s.

Also noted in my last post is that Leary released his first three LPs in 1966. All three were recorded at the Millbrook mansion. Despite arrests, appeals, and escapes he continued to record three more LPs.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out Soundtrack (1967) – Not to be confused with his 1966 spoken word LP of the same title, this album is filled with music utilizing veena, guitar, and tabla in the style of the music of India but it is Westernized in a psychedelic style. The movie never received a public viewing, yet the soundtrack was a big seller. It has Leary guiding Ralph Metzner through an LSD trip, with sound effects, echo, and an eerie female voice floating in and out with various admonitions. By the end of the album, Ralph’s trip has ended. I have the CD reissue.

You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1969) – This was recorded as part of Leary’s 1969 campaign for governor of California. Ronald Reagan won that election. Stephen Stills, Jimi Hendrix (on bass!), John Sebastian, and Buddy Miles were part of his back up band. The first side was taken from a Leary campaign press conference with music in the background, and the second side has Leary rapping over music on two pieces. The first is about using drugs to become anyone you want; Leary says “you can be John and Yoko this time around.” The second is about turning on to music while taking drugs and the biological effects that go on while this is happening. He also used short snippets of the music of Pink Floyd but mistakenly credits it to The Grateful Dead on the album cover. I have the CD reissue.

Timothy Leary and Ash Ra Tempel – Seven Up (1973) While Leary was a fugitive living in Bern, Switzerland in 1972, he connected with the German space rock band Ash Ra Tempel and they recorded an LP. It consists of two side-long compositions titled “Time” and “Space” respectively. Music was composed by the band, with lyrics written and partially sung by Leary. The music is typical of the space rock meanderings Ash Ra Tempel is noted for but with a little more bluesy feel than usual. This is the only recording where Timothy Leary sings. I have this on CD.

Mel Lyman

Another notorious person who participated in experiments at Harvard in 1963 was folk musician Mel Lyman. It is uncertain whether he participated in the MKULTRA experiments that may have secretly extended beyond 1962, or Leary’s experiments, or both. For years Lyman traveled through the country honing his skills on harmonica and banjo. In 1962 he spent some time in New York City and became familiar with Andy Warhol’s group at The Factory as well as the Greenwich Village folk scene before moving to the Boston area in 1963. This is where the facts get muddy. In 1963 he supposedly joined Boston-based Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band on harmonica and banjo. However, he does not show up in credits until their second album. On the first album, Bob Siggins plays banjo and Bruno Wolf plays harmonica and sings. Bruno Wolf, or Wolfe, is a pseudonym for David Simon. Both Lyman and Wolfe are credited in the band lineup when they performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964. Both appear on the second Jug Band album credits in 1965.

Ironically, according to Kweskin, David Simon was replaced by Mel Lyman because David had a drug habit at that time. But Lyman had been busted in Tallahassee, Florida for drugs after breaking up with his girlfriend. She had participated in LSD experiments with Mel against his wishes. As he had anticipated it messed her up, and she freaked out and moved back home to Kansas. At Lyman’s sentencing he was to either get a regular job or go to jail. So, he joined the Kweskin Jug Band. It is hard to believe that Kweskin didn’t know Lyman’s drug or arrest history.

From everything I have read Mel had been using morning glory seeds and LSD long before joining the Jug Band and was a firm believer in the benefits of hallucinogens. Later he began to believe he had a higher divine calling and that maybe he was God. He formed a cult-like community in 1966 known as the Fort Hill Community, and members were referred to as The Lyman Family. According to former members he ruled the community with an iron fist, hated hippies, and demanded male members wear their hair short and women dress conservatively, and all were to serve him as some divine avatar. They published a newsletter called Avatar.

Neither the Kweskin Jug Band’s 1963 LP nor subsequent releases show any indication of hallucinogenic influence. However, there were three albums where The Lyman Family was credited in some respect and while there are no lyrical references to drugs, and no “psychedelic sound effects,” the mood of the albums could be the result of mind-altering substances. The last of the three albums was not released until 2002 on CD but supposedly was recorded in 1970 and has a dreamy, almost depressed spiritual bluesy feel. My impression is that this album sounds like the band was on Quaaludes. No credits of performers are given other than Mel Lyman and “The Lyman Family.”

Two notable members of the Jug Band were Geoff Muldaur and Maria D’Amato. Maria joined for the second Jug Band album and married Geoff (divorced in 1972) and later had a successful solo career as Maria Muldaur. Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur continue to perform as an acoustic duo. I met them a few years ago when they performed at the Adams Avenue Unplugged festival in San Diego.

Mel Lyman disappeared in the late 70s and the Lyman Family announced in the early 1980s that he had died in 1978. Other accounts say he died in 1980. Some say he took a drug overdose; others say his body simply vanished. It is still a mystery. Mel Lyman and The Lyman Family had a colorful but notorious history. A Rolling Stone two-part series said the group was somewhat like the Manson family except for the murders. There was a bank robbery in the 70s that was attributed to Family members, and there were reports of mind control, and mental and physical brutality in the group. The group still exists as a sophisticated construction company and founding members claim the Rolling Stone articles were an exaggeration with many untruths. There are many Mel Lyman stories that are only tangential to this post, but there is plenty of information about his music career and The Lyman Family on the Internet.

And what about David Simon? Because of similar looks and musical style, he was often mistaken for Norman Greenbaum, famous for the 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky.” Greenbaum had previously led Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band from 1966 through 1968, famous for the minor hit “The Eggplant That Ate Chicago.” It is confirmed Greenbaum and Simon are not the same person. Simon got into macrobiotics and scientology. He became a naturopathic herbalist trainer and researcher. He was supposedly influential in the Incredible String Band members converting to scientology. David died in 2014. Greenbaum also got out of music for a while but now he is again performing.

The group, Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band, had an original sound but based on good-time music in the folk and blues tradition. While it never had any hit songs, it was immensely influential in the creation of jug bands around the country that soon evolved into The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and The Fish, and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The following is a list of significant Lyman-related albums. Unlisted here is the Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band CD, “Greatest Hits!” which I purchased when meeting Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur. I obtained their autographs on the inside cover at that time. Jim thought I was younger than I am, a bit in disbelief when I told him I had heard them back in the 60s via a friend whose older brother had one of their albums. I first heard them in late 1967 or early 1968 in my high school freshman year.

Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band – Unblushing Brassiness (1963) The first album by this band. This was before Mel Lyman and Maria D’Amato joined. David Simon, under the pseudonym Bruno Wolf played harmonica and sang. Bob Siggins was on banjo. Fritz Richmond played jug and washtub bass. Geoff Muldaur was on mandolin, guitar, and vocals. I have this on CD.

Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band – Jug Band Music (1965) Here the band is credited with both Bruno Wolfe (note the added “e”) and Mel Lyman as well as Maria D’Amato. It is assumed that Maria joined some time in 1963 or 64 before the Newport Folk Festival of 1964 since she is part of the band at that event. Siggins was replaced by Bill Keith on banjo. So, the band at that point was Kweskin, Muldaur, Lyman, Wolfe (Simon), D’Amato, Keith, and Richmond. I don’t have this.

Jim Kweskin and The Jug Band – See Reverse Side for Title (1966) Here the band loses Bruno Wolfe and Maria is now credited as Maria Muldaur. Mel Lyman is in the fold on harmonica. This indicates that the songs were recorded in 1965 before the Newport Folk Festival that year, because it is said that Lyman’s last appearance with the Jug Band was at that Festival. I don’t have this.

Jim Kweskin Jug Band – Garden of Joy (1967)  The name changed slightly, and a drummer and viola/violinist are added. Mel Lyman had left by then. The band soldiered on until May 1968 when they did their last show. Geoff and Maria Muldaur then headed to Woodstock, New York and recorded two LPs together. The surviving members of the band reunited in 2013 for a 50th anniversary reunion tour. Mel and Fritz had died, so the surviving four: Kweskin, Geoff, Maria, and Bill Keith were the 2013 touring unit. I have this on a CD that also contains the Jim Kweskin’s America album.

The Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred – American Avatar (1969) According to Lisa Kindred, this was supposed to be a Lisa Kindred album called “Kindred Spirits”. It was recorded in 1964. Lyman plays harmonica and produced the album, and band members included Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur from the Jug Band. Others credited were Bruce Langhorne and Terry Bernhard.  Lisa shelved the project because she did not like the mix. So, five years later Lyman decided to take the recording and remix to put Lisa’s voice in the background. He released it as by The Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred. Lyman originally wanted to call the album “Love Comes Rolling Down” but then changed it to “American Avatar.” Ten years later Lisa learned that it had been released and was furious but did nothing about it. The music is deliberately slow and soft, with harmonica in the foreground rather than the vocals. It is unlike the Jug Band sound, more a mellow spiritual and folk blues. I have this on CD.

Mel Lyman and The Lyman Family – Birth (1970) This album was not released until 2002. It has no credits except Mel Lyman and The Lyman Family. I suspect that this was recorded sometime around the 1964 recording of the Lisa Kindred album with the same people and that the 1970 date is given due to the release of American Avatar being 1969. The female vocals sound like Lisa Kindred and Maria Muldaur, which supports my suspicion. There is no percussion. The music is mostly blues and spiritual covers, similar to the Kindred album. Everything is slowed down to the point that makes one feel restless for the tempo to pick up. But it never does. I have this on CD.

Jim Kweskin – Richard D. Herbruck Presents Jim Kweskin’s America Co-starring Mel Lyman And The Lyman Family (1971) Here is a whole new lineup. All Jug Band members are gone, except Kweskin and Lyman, and a new set of performers are credited. In the liner notes, Kweskin defers to Mel Lyman as being the creative power behind the album and comes close to declaring Lyman to be the savior of the world. The sound is unlike the Jug Band. It is folk blues and spiritual, and some Americana standards; a bit more upbeat than the other two Lyman Family releases. I have on CD; see Garden of Joy above.

Maria Muldaur – Waitress in A Donut Shop (1974) This followed Maria’s first solo LP release from 1973 that contained the hit “Midnight at the Oasis.” For this she is backed by a big band on most songs. Lots of swing jazz and folk standards. After the success of the first LP she was able to gather some of the top folk, jazz, and Black spiritual artists in the business for this outing. I have this on both LP and CD.

Ken Kesey

In the late 1950s Ken Kesey became a graduate student in creative writing at Stanford University. Sometime in the early 60s psychology graduate student, Vik Lovell, who knew Richard Alpert and Allen Ginsberg, invited Kesey to volunteer to take part in psychology department sponsored experiments at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital where Kesey worked nights as an aide. These experiments turned out to be part of the CIA’s MKULTRA project but that was unknown until a decade later. Kesey agreed to be a guinea pig, as it would provide him with some extra cash. The experiments included administering various hallucinogens and cocaine to the volunteers to study their effects. As a result, Kesey became an advocate of the use of these drugs.

After graduation from Stanford, Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which was published in 1962. The book’s inspiration came from his work at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital. All the while, Kesey continued to participate in the drug experiments to supplement his income. After the book’s success in 1963, he purchased a ranch in La Honda and moved there, just fifteen miles west of Stanford University. He began to have parties inviting various bohemian types he met while at Stanford, including Neal Cassady and Ken Babbs. This group became known as The Merry Pranksters.

In 1964 after completing his next novel Sometimes a Great Notion, Kesey’s publisher required his presence in New York City. So, Kesey purchased a bus and the Merry Pranksters helped him prepare it for the trip. They painted, wired for multi-media, provided for sleeping areas, and provided for an observation deck on top of the bus. The entire group then headed for New York in the bus, now christened “Furthur,” (spelling later corrected). There were several stops along the way to visit friends. The trip was filmed, and audio taped. The audio focused on the wild raps by Neal Cassady, who drove. After going to New York City, they stopped by Millbrook to see Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert at the invitation of Allen Ginsberg. They then headed to Canada and eventually back to La Honda, California. Journalist Tom Wolfe, who documented the trip in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test was not on the bus but used the videotape Kesey filmed during the trip as the material for his book.

After their return, the parties continued, and involved the consumption of LSD and other hallucinogens, while experiencing sensory bombardment by multi-media and live music supplied by the Anonymous Artists of America and The Warlocks (later renamed The Grateful Dead.) These parties began to be called “acid tests” and were totally unstructured events. In 1965 Kesey began hosting these acid tests at various locations in the Bay area but also in other western US cities on into early 1967. He had many of them recorded from late 1965 through 1966. Sound engineer and supplier of the LSD was local chemist, Augustus Owsley Stanley III (aka Owsley, aka Bear). Bear became the official sound engineer for The Grateful Dead for many years. The best description of these acid tests would be to think of a regular party of young adults talking and laughing, with a live band performing as well as someone playing with echo and sound effects with a microphone plugged into a sound board and with an elaborate PA system, plus multi-media and wild lights. Then imagine all these people high on various substances. That is exactly what it was when you hear recordings of these events.

Kesey was busted for marijuana possession in 1965 (sound familiar?) and faked suicide, fleeing to Mexico. The acid tests that were held while he was in Mexico were held in the Los Angeles area and were led by Ken Babbs and Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney). He snuck back into the US eight months later and continued his acid tests. In January 1967 he was sentenced to six months jail time at the San Mateo County jail in Redwood City. Two days after sentencing he was arrested again for smoking marijuana. A final acid test was held at Rice University in Houston, Texas on March 16, 1967 and hosted by Kesey and Babbs friend Larry McMurtry (novelist and father of present-day Americana/folk rock singer-songwriter James McMurtry). Kesey began his sentence in May 1967. After his release he moved to the family farm in Pleasant Hill, Oregon and spent the rest of his life there, continuing his writing and operating Key-Z Productions until his death in 2001.

Kesey-related recordings

Neal at the Wheel: Neal Cassady driving Further into NY on the NJ Turnpike June 25, 1964, Parts 1 & 2 – In the late 90s Kesey edited audio tapes of the trip to New York on two CDrs, which I was quick to purchase when they were made available. Audio is not top quality as the sound of the bus and traffic sometimes drowns out Neal Cassady’s raps. It is more of historic significance giving an audio account of what it was like being on the bus and listening to Neal.

The Acid Test – the official LP released in 1966 on Sound City Productions, and 2005 on Acadia label CD, was of the Sound City Acid Test of January 29, 1966 in San Francisco at Sound City Studio. I only have the CD.

The Acid Test, Volume 1 – Issued on CD in 1998 on the King Mob label in the UK and is probably a bootleg. This is the Sound City Acid Test that was released on LP in 1966 but it wrongly states that the event was in 1965. This CD includes additional material from “Red, White and Blue Meet the Black, Vietnam Day 1966” (which happened October 16, 1965). Ken Kesey reissued it on CDr in 1999 with the same date errors and liner notes. Both issues are credited to “Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs, and The Merry Pranksters.” I have both.

Hogs are Coming b/w Peggy the Pistol – credited to “Ken Kesey with Ken Babbs and The Merry Band of Pranksters.” This was a seven-inch 45 rpm issued in 1997. The two selections come from the Sound City Acid Test LP. I have this and burned it to CDr.

Excerpts from The Acid Test – Issued in 1966 on the Sound City label as a radio station promo on a seven inch 33 1/3 rpm. The selections taken from the Sound City Acid Test LP and slightly edited in places. Extremely rare and I do not have this.

The Acid Test, Volume 2 – CDr issued by Ken Kesey in 1999 of the San Francisco State Acid Test on October 1, 1966. This version is the longest version of this acid test available. Issued with both color and black and white covers. Mine is black and white.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1988) – This was a bootleg LP, supposedly issued in Sweden, but now thought to have originated in the US. This is a unique version of the San Francisco Acid Test of October 1, 1966. This LP says October 1 & 2, 1966, which may be more accurate if the event began the evening of the first and into the morning of the second. This recording has excerpts inserted at the beginning and end of each LP side that originated from a television interview by Tom Snyder with Ken Kesey and Jerry Garcia. The program was NBC’s Tomorrow Show and the date was May 7, 1981. The full interview can be seen on YouTube. I have this LP and burned a copy to CDr.

The Acid Test Reels – This is a set of downloadable files that have been available on the Internet, mostly from sites dedicated to archiving Grateful Dead related recordings. Each volume fits on an 80-minute CDr. There are now six volumes. It had begun as a three-volume set exclusively of recordings made during various acid tests but has expanded with three more volumes to include recordings that are related to the acid tests.

The following gives a description of what is found on each volume:

Volume 1 – The Fillmore Acid Test, Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, January 8, 1966

Volume 2 – The Pico Acid Test, Danish Center, Los Angeles, probably March 19, 1966; and The San Francisco State Acid Test, Whatever It Is Festival, San Francisco State University, October 2, 1966

Volume 3 – The San Francisco State Acid Test (continued), Merry Prankster Sound Collage Sequence, and End of Whatever It Is Festival, all from October 2, 1966; and Acid Test Graduation Jam, Winterland, San Francisco, October 31, 1966

Volume 4 – Related Recordings: Neal Cassady & The Warlocks, 1965; Neal Cassady Raps excerpt from Straight Theater, Haight Street, San Francisco, July 23, 1967; Jerry Garcia from Acid Test audio, 710 Haight Street House, San Francisco, Summer, 1967; Jerry Garcia one hour interview circa 1967

Volume 5 – Supplementary #1: The Watts Acid Test, Youth Opportunities Center, Compton, February 12, 1966; and Pico Acid Test expanded version, Danish Center, Los Angeles, March 12, 1966

Volume 6 – Supplementary #2: San Francisco State Acid Test and Kesey/Garcia Interview on Tomorrow Show, May 7, 1981. This is an exact copy of the 1988 bootleg LP mentioned above.

Neal Cassady Raps (1967) This is a 10-minute version of the June 23, 1967 recording excerpted on Volume 4 of the Acid Test Reels above. Sold as a seven-inch flexi disc to accompany “The Dead Book: A Social History of The Grateful Dead” by Hank Harrison in 1973. Cassady was live onstage with The Grateful Dead. Recorded before he left for Mexico. He returned briefly only a couple more times before going back to Mexico where he died in 1968.

Neal Cassady – Drive (1965) Two CDs of these tapes were released by Kesey in 1999. Cassady was recorded by Kesey and Mountain Girl on the La Honda ranch, while sitting in a Plymouth station wagon rigged with earphones, microphone, and a “girlfriend” (so he had someone to rap to) with music provided by Robin and the Hoods in one ear and engine sounds in the other. He was taped from midnight until dawn. The music is often mistaken to be The Warlocks.

That concludes this post. I am exhausted. I am sure you are too if you read the whole thing.

Thanks a lot; see you later.

One thought on “A Fresh of Breath Air II (Part 2 of an indeterminable number of parts)

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