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am 26. April 1999
This is really a good book, though it left me a little depressed after I finished it. The book begins with a haunting, faded picture of a young Jerry Garcia concentrating intently on his banjo and then proceeds to words by Garcia's brother, Tiff, on how Jerry lost part of one of his fingers and the death of their father. Greenfield lets the people who lived around or with Garcia tell the tale...and what a powerful story it is. The sorry part of it is that it seems like the last 10 years of Garcia's life was like a slow suicide. The center of Garcia's life was music and people who adored him, though it seems he had a great deal of trouble making lasting, emotional bonds to those who loved him. The ones he did make are just sweet. The highlight of the book, for me, is the tale of Garcia's recovery from his mid-80s coma and how instrumental Merl Saunders was in helping Jerry back to life and back to music.
Garcia was a human singularity and this is an interesting portrait of this interesting, adored, and creative person.
Of all the books about Garcia that you want, this is the one you want the most.
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am 11. Januar 1998
Learning that Jerry Garcia played guitar on Bobby Freeman's, "Do you want to Dance" was a revelation. I went to high School with Bobby Freeman and met Jerry Garcia along the way on several occassions. I would hope that San Francisco's Balboa High School and Denman Middle School would at least put up a photo of Jerry in their Main Offices, after all Jerry was their most famous student of all time - (even though he did not graduate off the stage). Jerry once came to the rescue of a group of students from a SF Public Alternative School in 1973. The students were in a music business class called SUMMERLAMD/ play on Bill Graham's Winterland. Teachers for this class included Bill Graham, Country Joe McDonald and others. The idea was for students to put on concerts in San Francisco. A group of students went to Graham for help and he said, "Sure, I'll help go out and find a real headliner and come back and see me". Excited the group went to the Airplane, "NO", Santana, "NO". Big Brother, "NO". Jerry Garcia, "sure why not". So Graham backed the idea and three concerts took place. Bimbo's 365 Club in North Beach was the site of the first concert featuring Jerry Garcia and Old and In the Way, The Rowan Brothers, and the Sufi Choir. That evening at Bimbo's will always live in the minds of all who attended and worked the event. Two other events took place in Golden Gate Park and featured John Cippolina the late and great lead guitar of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Reading DARK STAR is more than just a story about the life and times it is a history of the SF SOUND era and many personalities from that time who knew Jerry. It is a serious history ofsome of the life and times of San Francisco.
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am 6. Januar 2000
I enjoyed this book, though I was dismayed by the revelation of some of Jerry's less than desirable qualities. Most interesting are the comments from Mountain Girl and Jerry's brother, Tiff. Though the author tries to string together a sort of pseudo narrative, there are large, occasionally disconcerting, gaps in the flow.
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am 27. September 1999
I was unable to put this painful, marvelous book down until I had finished it. Starry-eyed twirlers should beware their illusions: Jerry Garcia was a powerful, wealthy (in the end), troubled genius who broke a lot of hearts. But his contribution to his friends and the millions who adored his art stands as one of the most enduring of the last half of this century. He once said, "Anybody who thinks I'm God ought to talk to my kids." Truer words were never spoken, and this book illustrates the folly in putting people on pedestals. Garcia is still my favorite artist, bar none, and this book is priceless for it's clear view into his life and work. It also provides a lot of depth and counterpoint to Rock Scully's "Living With the Dead", correcting some of the wilder tales with conflicting eye-witness accounts. The only negative comment is that the interviews are printed verbatim, and the often broken and incorrect English makes the statements unintelligible. I remember reading several of them 4 or 5 times and still being unable to decifer the intent. But they are the minority. Buy it, read it.
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am 16. Februar 1998
Even though I knew about Garcia's drug and alcohol problems, I still thought he was one of the most wonderful people on the planet. Until I read this book. His treatment of the women in his life - including his neglect of his daughters - made me realize that he was just another human being, and possibly someone I might not even have wanted to meet. I still think that he really did want and try to be a good person at times, and and I still love his music, but reading this book was quite a shock for me. It was hard to deal with my feelings of disillusionment afterwards.
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am 9. September 1999
I really learned a lot, not only about Jerry, but about the people he surrounded himself with. I feel it is a well rounded account largely because of the form of the book--with stories from different individuals, including Jerry himself. I bought it when it first came out in harcover and savored every word. It's a must read!
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am 14. September 1998
I would just like to say that this book is absoulutely one of the best books that I have read on Jerry Garcia. It is definately a great representation of what Jerry Garcia was, and what still remains of him.
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