I fell in love with San Francisco rock & roll thanks to a Herb Greene photo
It was Grace Slick’s eyes, staring out from the cover of the posthumous live album by her erstwhile combo, the Great! Society.
Like some psychedelic siren, the bottomless well of her gaze pulled me in and I was hooked. A short while later, the sartorial elegance displayed by the Jefferson Airplane on the Surrealistic Pillow jacket had my friends and I scouring London’s flea markets for a striped shirt that had to be exactly like the one Jorma Kaukonen sported.
With no emotional; or nostalgic ties to the psychedelic era, our post-punk generation couldn’t help but view these images, and accompanying music, as glimpses of a faraway, magical time and place.
Innocent, tentative, but with a distinct gleam in the eye that indicated something was happening here, Mr Jones. Did we think that was cool? Boy, did we ever.
Hand me my old Guitar
They were otherworldly. They spoke to one another in tonalities and rhythms as often as with words and phrases. Their chief orator expressed the gamut of emotion and seemed to do so effortlessly. While the message was perhaps always there, the medium through which it was delivered was a progression of dedicated artistry.
The sound stemmed from a voracious and vivacious consumption of musical casts. It satisfies, then, that the man’s guitars were built in an analogous tradition. By skillfully layering various bands of wood together, a rich depth of tonality emanates. They were more than guitars, far more the mere instruments. They were, in and of themselves, artful compositions.
Their outward beauty remains a testament to the peerless joy their playing impressed upon generations.
Welcome to Hand Me My Old Gitar, the latest gallery from Herb Greene celebrating the tools of genius, the instruments of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.