Lossless Bootleg Bonanza: Merl Saunders – Ithaca, NY (04/24/91)


Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band
The Haunt
Ithaca, NY

Our very own commenter Jeff sent me this one from his own taping archives. He says its never been released anywhere else. Its a very nice sounding show and a really great performance. Apologies to Jeff for taking so freaking long to get this up.

Download: FLAC, MP3

Recorded by Jeff (nowurtalkin)

1. Blues for the Rainforest
2. Drums
3. Blue Hill Ocean Dance
4. After Midnight
5. Do I Move You
6. Save Mother Earth
7. Sugaree
8. I Just Want To Be Your Lover Man

Notes from the taper:

There are a few spots on this recording where it sounds like there is a major tape drag, like from out of nowhere, however there are also a few unmistakable instances where it is merl who does this w/the music. He had some kind of flanger or pitch control thing, I guess hooked up to his Hammond, and does this effect occasionally. But there are a couple times when it truly sounds like the recorder is about to die or eat tape & I cannot say for certain if all the instances were purposely done by merl? But there is no reason for the recorder to have done it. Also, there was an in-song tape flip done, during sugaree I think, at around 48 min +. And so I could not help having a 1 second long dropout on the transfer. I cut out that dropout but the joint is not perfectly lined up. Not bad tho. Also there was an unexplained close to 10 second dropout, during the time after sugaree, and the encore, while merl was talking. That’s somewhere around 54:00 mark. I cut out that dropout & it’s almost unnoticeable. I still am VERY inexperienced at this.

5 thoughts on “Lossless Bootleg Bonanza: Merl Saunders – Ithaca, NY (04/24/91)

  1. * if anyone is interested in a few other minor tidbits related to me seeing & taping this show, a few things below of possible interest.

    I don’t recall any other visits to this place or to see merl. I’m thinking it must’ve beef suggested to me or maybe I was even accompanied by, a fellow deadhead to see this major Jerry collaborator. (on a recent listen I hear my friend Gary talking to me, a fellow deadhead). It also was me grabbing the chance to see the other main half of Legion of Mary after having discovered them in 86 or 87. So those were the basic circumstances. This is the original location of this venue, which was later moved to a new & somewhat larger place & still exists today. They started this bar/club in 1969 & many biggies have played there, even tho this original location had a seating capacity limit of under 150. This place called Ithaca, is home to Cornell University & professor Carl Sagan, who taught there. Also many gorges, hence the famous bumper stickers: “Ithaca is Gorges!”

    This recording is crystal clear, right up front, high quality sound. There is, for the most part, no audience noise while the music is playing, except during a few real quiet moments of playing & my understanding is there was a well known audience feedback between merl & his fans. As far as I know, the rainforest band lasted about 10 yrs, from around ’90 to ’99, so this would then be close to within their 1st year. Definitely recorded in a “sweet spot”.. I was obviously very close to band & PA. I don’t know if there’s a lot of rainforest band boots or not but I doubt highly if anyone else recorded this show, other than possibly a sbd tape? I’ve never shared it before.

    I think merl died approx 5 yrs ago due to complications from a stroke several yrs prior. While searching to see if there were other rainforest band boots, I was very surprised to find one from around 1997 on midnight Cafe. I’ll have to see if it’s still there. (I think it is no longer hosted). Maybe Mat can dredge it up if anyone’s interested. Many, most or all of the rainforest band shows, I believe, are very different from ea other so worth checkin out. Unfortunately, when tho Jerry was in on this rainforest band band thing from the beginning, he was not present during the 91 show. Spacey & new age. I believe the album won a new age Grammy or at least some kind of award. Enjoy!

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