Howard Wales & Jerry Garcia: Hooteroll? (1971)

[Kronomyth 0.5]
Careful with That Axe, Clifford.

If Jerry Garcia had joined Pink Floyd, I imagine it would have sounded something like this. Hooteroll? owes its existence to the late 60s jam sessions led by Howard Wales and featuring Garcia, Bill Vitt and John Kahn. It’s really a Howard Wales record in disguise; Jerry is the draw, but Wales is the main musical architect. Like Tom Constanten before him, Wales appears to have been a very experimental cat. Many of these songs sound like they could have come from Floyd’s first two albums: “Morning In Marin,” “Da Birg Song,” “One A.M. Approach.” A couple of them favor the mellower side of Jefferson Airplane (“Evening In Marin,” “Up From The Desert”), and a few are relatively conventional R&B numbers that suggest later collaborations with Merl Saunders (“South Side Strut,” “DC-502,” “Uncle Martin’s”). All in all, Hooteroll? is one of the strangest Jerry Garcia side projects you’ll hear. If the Dead’s sonic spelunkering appeals to you, this album might just blow your mind. Wales is an amazing organist, Kahn really gets into it, sax/flute players Martin Fierro spices things up and Garcia is just the cherry on top of this sonic sundae. The idea that much of this music was probably improvised on the spot makes it even more amazing. For some reason, the original elpee lineup was reshuffled and renovated for the Rykodisc reissue, with “A Trip To What Next” replaced by “Morning In Marin” and “Evening In Marin.” Subsequent reissues reconciled all of the tracks on a single disc. In whichever form you find it, Hooteroll? is an absolute hoot, especially if you come with open ears and an open mind.

Original LP Version
A1. South Side Strut (Martin Fierro/Howard Wales) (5:38)
A2. A Trip To What Next (7:28)
A3. Up From The Desert (3:03)
B1. DC-502 (4:24)
B2. One A.M. Approach (4:39)
B3. Uncle Martin’s (3:09)
B4. Da Birg Song (Jerry Garcia/Howard Wales) (2:35)

All songs written by Howard Wales unless noted.

CD Reissue Version
1. Morning In Marin (6:59)
2. Da Birg Song (2:37)
3. South Side Strut (5:39)
4. Up From The Desert (3:03)
5. DC-502 (3:38)
6. One A.M. Approach (4:39)
7. Uncle Martin’s (3:39)
8. Evening In Marin (4:09)

CD Re-Reissue Version (2009)
1. Morning In Marin
2. Da Birg Song
3. South Side Strut
4. Up From The Desert
5. A Trip To What Next
6. DC-502
7. One A.M. Approach
8. Uncle Martin’s
9. Evening In Marin
10. She Once Lived Here (live)
11. Sweet Cocaine (live)

The Players
Howard Wales (organ, piano), Jerry Garcia (guitar), Ken Balzall (trumpet), Curly Cook (rythm guitar), Martin Fierro (saxophone, flute, horn arrangements), John Kahn (bass), Michael Marinelli (drums), Bill Vitt (drums). Produced by Alan Douglas and Doris Dynamite; recording engineered by Russ Geary; mix engineered by Tony Bongiovi.

The Pictures
Cover painting by Abdul Mati. Photographs by Ron Rakow.

The Plastic
Released on elpee and 8-track in July 1971 in the US (Douglas, KZ/ZA 30859) and the UK (Douglas, DGL-69013) with gatefold cover. 8-track has different track listing.

  1. Re-released on elpee, cassette and compact disc in 1987 in the US (Rykodisc, RALP/RACS 0052/RCD 10052) with different tracks and track listing.
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in 2003 in the US (Evolver/Douglas, EVL2016-2).
  3. Re-released on expanded compact disc on September 14, 2010 in the UK (Wienerworld, AD-06) with two bonus tracks.

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