DAVID CROSBY – ” The Perro Sessions ” circa 1971

Posted: September 25, 2022 in MUSIC
David Crosby and Neil Young Smoking

 The “Perro” Tapes, the Perro Sessions and the ’70 David Crosby Sessions. Each with a slightly different track count and running order. In short, Perro (Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra) was the name given to a loose camaraderie of Bay area players and their simpatico southern California brethren, including, but not limited to, members of CSNY, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and beyond. Regarding the sessions leading up to Crosby’s 1971 LP “If I Could Only Remember My Name”, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Greg Rolie and Mike Shrieve. While never commercially released, a number of the “Perro” tracks would later appear (re-recorded) on various studio efforts by the principals involved, namely said David Crosby LP.

A fully realized embodiment of the sound of California’s folk/rock/psychedelia movement of the time, the record is arguably Crosby’s finest moment. As such the “Perro” sessions further harness that fleeting zeitgeist. A rough-hewn, faded, snapshot. Writing about this set, here, in 2006, a commenter criticized the sessions noting that while the musicianship was “as strong as you would expect from the cream of the Marin County scene, the whole thing has the feel of a stoned weekend jam in someone’s living room.” I suppose one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure, as, for me, therein lies the session’s charm. Yes, it does feel like “a stoned weekend jam in someone’s living room” – albeit one with some exceptional players.

What is the “Perro Sessions” Read on…courtesy of Wiki: The Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra is a nickname given to artists who recorded together in the early 1970s. They were predominantly members of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Their first album together was “Blows Against the Empire”, when they were known as Jefferson Starship. The name changed to Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra for the next album, David Crosby’s “If I Could Only Remember My Name”. During the sessions for Crosby’s album at Wally Heider Studios, the musicians of each band were invited to the sessions and rehearsed hours of material, and everything was recorded.

Material played during these recorded sessions in 1971 was used for Crosby’s album (the “Perro Chorus” is credited on the song, “What Are Their Names”) and several other solo albums after Crosby’s . The name Jefferson Starship was later used for Paul Kantner and Grace Slick’s new band formed in 1974. Paul Kantner recorded a solo album in 1983 as a tribute to this time, Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra.

An Airplane & Crosby, Stills Nash favourite written by David Crosby…recorded here at Elektra records producer Paul Rothchilds house (producer of the Doors & Love etc..) in Los Angeles ’67 he works on what was at the time a brand new song and its facsinating to hear the man at work playing around with the basic tune and doodling around with shapeless words…

Later Paul Kantner would add two complete verses with Stephen Stills adding just the one …both the Airplane and CSN used the song to good effect on album’s with the CSN version used at the beginning of the ‘Woodstock” movie as people walk along in darkness kicking up dust in the evening light….

One of my favourites songs ..that opening line ‘if you smile at me, I will understand…’ Crosby copped from a notice board outside a baptist church in Florida….

When the Crosby, Stills & Nash box-set was being put together, some mystery reels were found. All of the CSNY tape collection was brought in to one place for the first time, including personal collections of Barncard, Joel Bernstein, Nash and Stills.

The material on the Perro tapes was very interesting, but had nothing to do with CSNY. There were 4 reels of 2 track mixes made in 1971 during the sessions (obviously there is more that has never been mixed). The tapes were put into storage in Graham Nash’s vault. Paul called Nash in 1992 and requested DATs of those tapes. This was the first time they had been outside of the CSNY organization. They were copied at A&M Post Production audio and my personal DAT was made at that time. The roots of PERRO go back a lot further than 1971. 1 guess it had its inception in the early years of the ’60s (prior to the Airplane, the Byrds et al) when Kantner, Crosby and Freiberg used to hang out, play music, get high and rap together around Venice Beach. That was the initial bond, the start of it all.

Track listing: 0:00​ – Kids and Dogs 6:51​ – Jorma & Jerry’s Jam v1 21:09​ – Mountain Song (v 2&3) 30:21​ – Loser (Versions 1-4) 39:01​ – Mountain Song (v4) 47:24​ – The Wall Song 53:34​ – Eep Hour 58:30​ – Jorma & Jerry’s Jam v2

Besides the wonderful Perro tapes, also there is a bootleg of David and the Dorks at the Matrix, which was the members of the Grateful Dead and David Crosby playing many of the tunes from those sessions and David Crosby’s ensuing “solo” album.

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