Known for their free-flowing and eclectic live shows, the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD will release BETTY’S S.F. BLENDS, VOLUME ONE (Silver Arrow/Megaforce), a limited edition quadruple album exclusively on vinyl on Friday, November 23 (Black Friday). The vinyl box set was curated by Grateful Dead producer and engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson, who assembled what she felt were the best moments of the band’s epic five shows at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall in December 2012.
BETTY’S S.F. BLENDS consists of 19 tracks including live versions of songs from their two albums released in 2012: Big Moon Ritual and The Magic Door. There are also songs the band hasn’t released on albums before; two songs from Robinson’s 2004 This Magnificent Distance album; and a treasure trove of cover songs.
“We feel super blessed to have Betty’s cosmic ears and prolific talents,” says Chris Robinson. “We’re honored and inspired that Betty chose our farm to table psychedelic hayride as a vehicle to continue her amazing sonic work.”
“This was fun as hell. They’re the first band that has really moved me since Jerry [Garcia] passed,” says Betty Cantor-Jackson, who recorded, engineered, produced and mixed BETTY’S S.F. BLENDS, VOLUME ONE. “I met them at a benefit show and we became friends, and I started recording their shows whenever they’d come around, and last year they asked me to do it for real. They’re great guys with wonderful music…I love the songs, the lyrics and they have lots of interesting changes in the songs, so it keeps you interested.” Cantor-Jackson whittled down the 96 songs the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD performed over the five nights to just nine to fit the vinyl format. “That was a big challenge,” she admits. “With CDs, you can just put out whatever you want and as long as you want. Knowing I had finite space on a vinyl record, I focused first on the performances, then on time length and tempo, and of course you want to leave the listener wanting more.”
The CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD is Chris Robinson (lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals). The California-based group toured heavily in 2011 and 2012 and released two albums last year: BIG MOON RITUAL (June) and a companion album THE MAGIC DOOR (September).
Just as Betty has curated the best of the five-night run, resident artist extraordinaire Alan Forbes, has also contributed a beautiful Victorian tea tin-inspired package that includes 4 pieces of vinyl, a mini poster of one of the five nights, and a 12-page booklet mostly photographed by guitarist Neal Casal. The set also includes liner notes by Ethan Miller, friend of the Brotherhood and monster guitarist from the Bay Area band Howlin’ Rain.
Other than the vinyl, the shows will be available–in their entirety only–as the first digital-only download from Silver Arrow Records, exclusively through Amazon. These shows will be released simultaneously with the vinyl configuration.
Fans and critics HAVE responded enthusiastically; here’s a sampling of critical quotes:
“…created a roots-o-licious collection of tunes…beautiful guitar tones, inventive parts, gorgeous solos, and killer vocals all around.”
–Matt Blackett, GUITAR PLAYER, June 2012
“…a full immersion into Southern psychedelics, nine-minute song swoops, extended grooves and wailing vocals. Robinson may have assembled an ace new band (including Ryan Adams guitarist Neal Casal), but Big Moon Ritual is Robinson’s baby. He celebrates his idols (The Allmans, The Dead, CCR and Zeppelin abound) and showcases himself—his vocals lead the charge, and Casal’s guitar daydreams replace his brother’s heavy riffing. It’s a record informed by the road: vast seas of soulful jamming and Robinson’s free-flowing vocals come together now and then for a blowout chorus.”
–Justin Jacobs, RELIX, June 2012
“Robinson and co. strike a psychedelic balance between lush jamming and bluesy rocking. The result is a real trip down the rabbit hole complete with some of Robinson’s most poetic lyrics and truly impressive musicianship. It’s a fascinating, fiery, and formidable introduction to the group and one of the year’s most mind-blowing records.”
–Rick Florino, ARTISTDIRECT.COM, July 9, 2012
Here is the track listing for BETTY’S S.F. BLENDS:
Side A: Crash on the Levee, Star or Stone
Side B: Do Right Woman, Badlands Here We Come, Tornado
Side A: Try Rock & Roll, Jump the Turnstile, Someday Past the Sunset
Side B: Barefoot by the Cherry Tree, Poor Elijah/R. Johnson
Side A: Reflections On A Broken Mirror, 100 Days of Rain
Side B: Saturday Night in S.F., Girl on the Mountain
Side A: Roll Old Jeremiah, Tulsa Yesterday
Side B: Meanwhile in the Gods, Train Robbers, Hello L.A. Bye Bye Birmingham