Various Artists/Relix Records
Gathering on the Mountain
Every summer it's the same. When the weather starts getting nice, the music and camping festivals kick in. Nothing new about that. Over the past four or five years though, the popularity of these gatherings has mushroomed. In no small part due to the void left by the absence of a Grateful Dead tour, thousands upon thousands of road happy groove vagabonds jump in the microbus and head for the hills instead of the highway.
One of the most popular hills on the festival map is the Big Boulder Ski Area in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. For three years running, the "Gathering on the Mountain," has been one of the biggest and best summer festivals. Dedicated to the "legendary artists that formed the psychedelic music scene of the late 60's," the "Gathering" has all the tie-dyed trappings of a Grateful Dead alumni reunion.
Former Dead member Tom Constantin opens the CD with a warm instrumental version of "People Get Ready," followed by another past Dead constituent, Donna Jean and her band on a bluesy version of "No Mercy." Nobody's ever been closer to the Dead, and Jerry Garcia in particular, than Merl Saunders, who simply kicks butt with a rousing version of Jerry Band favorite, "Tore Up." Relix Magazine and Records have also been involved in "music for the mind" for over a quarter century. Multitalented magazine editor by day and rocker by night, Toni Brown, wows the crowd with a sultry version of "Summertime." The album finishes with a potent dose of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna founding member, Jorma Koukonen. Blazing his distinctive electric guitar mastery on "Uncle Sam's Blues," "Gypsy Fire" and the traditional sing along of the Grateful Dead's extended family "Not Fade Away," Jorma and the rest of these wonderful musicians are keeping the lovelight shining brightly. ###