Pig. Keith, Brent & that guy from the Tubes

Postby FretfulDave » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:21 pm

I will note a couple items. I feel Keith was the best piano player for sure. Brent was better on eletronic keyboards, organs, synths and the harpsichord also (China Doll on "For the Faithful" / "Reckoning"). However, Keith did play organ, elecric piano (not sure it it was a Rhodes or not) and synth. I certainly saw all that gear in '76 and '77. If memory serves me, by late '77 to '78 only the grand was appearing on stage and the band grew increasingly unhappy with Keith not continuing with the various other keys and focusing soley on the piano. I read that Keith's belief was that the sound fabric was the best when using the piano, but it was limiting for the rest of the band.

When all was said and done, I also enjoyed the times when Bruce Hornsby sat in as Vince was just starting. Bruce fit in so well, I do wonder what it would have been like to have had Bruce as keyboard player in the 80s.

Each era seemed to be defined by the keyboard player, though. Each with a sound that fit the music that was being developed at the time.

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Postby bodiddley » Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:52 pm

I never understood all the hoopla about Pig. Someone once said that on any given night in Chicago you can find 20 guys doing what Pig did, only better. That's pretty much my sentiment. Having said that, Pig's Lovelights put Bob's to shame, but there are other factors than just Pig that play into that. Keith was good when he was on, but Brent (in spite of all his bad songs that he brought to the Dead repetiore..,.which was all of them as far as I'm concerned, except covers) will always be the man. Flame away Pig lovers.
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Postby ebick » Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:29 pm

To look at Pig in terms of his keys playing is just not even worth the time spent, IMHO. It was his abilities as a blues singer and his general influence on the band that is of importance.
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Postby tigerstrat » Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:07 pm

Brent on an acoustic grand piano is something that would have been pretty great to hear with the Dead. I think he's playing one on his 4/26/88 solo set. Either that or his patch is sounding awesome. I wonder if he wasn't allowed to tour with a grand- even Keith was playing a Yamaha electronic by '78. I think '71-'74 could have been just as amazing if Brent had taken the seat at that time. 'Course he would have been 19 in 1971... Conversely, if Keith and Donna had stayed on until the end, perhaps we would have had Melvin on the B-3 and synths and Keith on pian'er... Basically I think a lot of our picks for things like favorite keyboardists are directly derived from the song selection, and our impression of the band's (and esp Jerry's) sound as a whole in different years.
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Postby Dozin » Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:36 pm

I like Brent myself. However, I believe Brent snuffed out Bob's beautiful playing. You can't beat Weir's playing in the mid to late 70's. When Brent arrived he was all over the place and filled in a lot of void where Weir use to be able to do alot of his licks. Keith was more basic which really opened the door for Weir. Besides that,.. it was all good to me.

Darks explains this too in his LLR video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAi53cUKOv0
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Postby phreaker » Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:37 pm

In terms of kick ass-ness (not keyboarding, just in general) Pig takes the cake. A really unique person, and was a good leader in the Deads early years.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Brent was probably the best keyboardist for the Dead. Lots and lotsa talent. However, I could never really get into his songs, or some of the synth stuff he did. However, my favorite "Deals" usually come from Brent's era, because whenever he went organ, man he could bring it!

People usually say Keith was the best, just because the Dead's strongest years were with Keith. He had the potential to be godlike, but hearing some organ everynow and then would be nice. I guess that wasnt his thing. Plus, Bobby started to really step it up in the 70's which kind of balances everything out.

I think Vince was probably just as good as Keith. Unfortunantly, Vince joined at a bad time for the band (as much as we love some of those 90's shows, the majority were pretty weak) so he never got any propage. Plus, give some of Vinces post-Dead work a listen. Not bad, not bad.

In the end, I think it was good that the Dead went through a lot of keyboarders (its not good that they all died) but each one brought a new style and sound for the band to work around.

Oh, and dont forget TC! A 68-69 Dark Star just wouldnt be the same at all.
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Postby mttourpro » Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:41 pm

I figure I'll add my highly biased (aka Brent is the man) two cents here....I agree with posters who say that each had his "place" in the band. I really do think each was there at the right time for the band at the time and what they were doing musically for the most part....would 68-69 sounded "right" with anyone but TC?? Hard to really say given each player helped to define the sound by simply being there at the time.

Would the 80s have sounded the same with say keith---no. Does that mean it wouldn't have been what we'da come to expect and then say was the "sound" of the band in the 80s?

As far as sheer intensity and passion, I think one has to give the nod to Brent. Nobody kicked the band's collective ass like he did. His playing had more character IMHO than anyone else's---I think that's one reason people never really dug Vince a lot, because he was pretty subdued for the most part and didn't really add a lot to the overall sound that was very remakable. Seemed like it was only AFTER Brent's death that people really realized what they lost and how musically signicant Brent was to the band. As a person, I think he was generally so dark/depressed (at times) and from such a different kind of background, that he really didn't fit in to the GD's "ethos" as a person...

I would love to've heard what would have been if Bruce was there for the 80s. When I first started going to shows in the early 80s I remember lots of people complaining about Brent. He was always considered the new guy almost to his death. I suppose people may've thought he dominated the rap a bit much or was too hyper for the GD....I don't know why people often criticized him but I've always considered him the quinessential keyboard guy in the GD. Ain't no doubt the guy could play his ass off---especially on that B-3...

What would the band have been like if they had Brent and Bruce in the band together!!??
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:05 pm

mttourpro wrote:What would the band have been like if they had Brent and Bruce in the band together!!??


Go directly to 12/10/89 to find out:
-I-
Hell In A Bucket ; Sugaree* ; We Can Run ; When I Paint My Masterpiece ; Loser ; Victim Or The Crime ; C C Rider # ; I'm A Man#
-II-
Jack Straw* > China Cat Sunflower*> I Know You Rider** ; Man Smart (Woman Smarter)** > Drums > Space > The Wheel > I Need A Miracle > Stella Blue > Good Lovin'**

* = w/ Bruce Hornsby on accordion
** = w/ Bruce on piano, Brent on B-3
# = w/Spencer Davis gtr & vocals, and Bruce accordion

I had great view of of the dual keyboardists at this, my last SoCal show.
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Postby mttourpro » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:06 pm

How quickly I forget...actually, I saw the buckeye 88 show where Bruce played as well....Jerry actually scolded the crowd a bit, as they actually grumbled when Bruce was announced...Jerry said, "hey, we don't just let any accordian player sit in with us"

I'm sure the 89 show is the better example of the 2---I'll have to revisit that show and take a good listen...MT
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Postby Pigpen » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:50 pm

Im not liking the anti pigpen attitude, without him the Dead never would have started. It was his idea to put together an "Electric Blues Band" otherwise Jerry would had still been playing banjo and bluegrass and that is not something anyone would want. Also his energy made the whole band work better just listen to Hard to Handle or Good Lovin from 69-72 fantastic jams and just overall fantasticness. yup, so dont do the anti pig stuff because the dead never would have started without him.
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Postby ebick » Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:01 pm

Pigpen wrote:Im not liking the anti pigpen attitude, without him the Dead never would have started. It was his idea to put together an "Electric Blues Band" otherwise Jerry would had still been playing banjo and bluegrass and that is not something anyone would want. Also his energy made the whole band work better just listen to Hard to Handle or Good Lovin from 69-72 fantastic jams and just overall fantasticness. yup, so dont do the anti pig stuff because the dead never would have started without him.


Agreed.....but that didn't make him a good keys player......certainly not of the caliber of those that followed him.
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Brent ripped it!

Postby saintjeremy » Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:34 am

I loved Brent's playing overall - he would often scat along to the notes he pulled out of the B3 (there's a really famous walkin' blues that shows this)... But pigpen was a whole lotta fun vocally, despite his lack of styling (as some say) he was still a great player. Vince... I met vince once, and he was a little rude to myself (who was just chatting up as a fellow keyboarder) - while I did enjoy his playing, I could never get over the appearance he made in the movie Xanadu... ahhh, those roller disco days. Keith, to me, is the most technical player and contributed the most out of all the hot-seat players. Given the choice, I would have to say I'd listen to a Brent show overy anything else... if only he's come along earlier.
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Postby ronster » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:38 am

Been listening to Garcia Band 2-14-76, on that night Keith and Jerry both appear to have reached their musical peaks. Keith's playing fits in so perfectly with Jerry's that it ends any debate over who was the best (at least I'm finsished debating it). He may not have always been the best and could not add to the band what Pig and Brent did but to me the Dead or anyone for that matter never sounded better than the JGB did on that night. It all climaxes with a Catfish John that words can not describe. Do yourself a flavor and listen to that one.
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Postby krzykat » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:35 am

Bruce was the Dads best piano player hands down, but Brent was the F**king Man! no if ands or buts about it
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Postby gratephulphish123 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:00 pm

brent
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