Apr 10 2008
A couple of years ago they finally released the documentary Festival Express. It detailed a trans-Canadian train ride and series of concerts with the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, The Flying Burrito Brothers and other American and Canadian acts. It features some incredible and historical musical moments. Aside from the five mini-festivals that occurred along the way, the jams on the train were simply stunning. Buddy Guy and Jerry Garcia performing “I Can’t Do it Baby” and Garcia and Sylvia performing “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” were among the highlights. Another highlight was when the then unknown (to the larger audience) Buddy Cage (touring with Ian & Sylvia) sat down across from Jerry, pedal steels in hand, or rather on laps. The significance of this first meeting wouldn’t be realized for nearly a year but it was significant.
“Nobody knew each other,” Buddy explained. “Jerry knew Janis. We knew vaguely of the Burrito guys [Flying Burrito Brothers]. And you knew Buddy Guy, and stuff, but nobody really knew each other. So everybody was kind of scared of each other or at least cautious. Jerry and Sylvia broke the ice really. He says, ‘Hey you want do a song?’ And she just went, ‘Well, sure.’ It was kind of like a dare, you know? And there she was trying to fit in. But then he started doing ‘Going Down the Road Feeling Bad’, shit, it was such a spiritual moment. That led to the idea for Garcia and me to set up our steels,” he continued, “and we became the focal point of a folk and country and bluegrass jam. Janis, Sylvia, Bonnie, Ian, and Garcia all sang on “No More Cane (On This Brazos)” as an example. Beautiful.”
At this time, 1970, Buddy was already becoming a legend in his own right. Much like Garcia, he incorporated diverse elements into his singular pursuit of pedal steel mastery. Jazz, rock, funk, country, soul and the kitchen sink found their way through his hands and feet and came out in some revolutionary sounds. Read More
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