I've written about Suze Rotolo. But Mike Bloomfield also passed away this month. And the latest to go is Augustus Owsley Stanley III, aka Bear.
For many, even most, of my generation, Owsley was the man who provided the acid for the Acid Tests, organized by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. You want to know about all this, read Tom Wolf's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. It's what he was known for, and his New York Times obituary refers to him as the 'artisan of acid'.
Better judges than I will confirm that his stuff was better quality and supplied in bigger quantity than any other. He was the first mass manufacturer of acid, the Henry Ford of the underground.
But I didn't do acid. I'm paranoid enough without the assistance of recreational chemicals of any kind. I did it vicariously, through the music of the Dead, the Airplane, Quicksilver.
So what I remember Owsley for is the skull and lightning bolt logo for the Dead, and - first and foremost - the Wall of Sound.
In 1974, the Wall of Sound, conceived and engineered by Owsley, was the biggest concert sound system ever built. It probably still is. It delivered not only distortion-free sound but allowed the band to hear their music as if they were the audience. Which is sorta what the Dead were about.
But the problem was, it was too big, too complex and too fucking good. A road trip needed three of them: one being de-rigged, one in use, and one being built for the next night.
But the sound was amazing. Check out any of those 74 shows: the first was Cow Palace in Daly City, which is beautifully engineered in Dick's Picks 24.
I commend it to you.
Today's listening: England v Windies in the last chance World Cricket Cup game. On the edge as I write. And then - gotta be Cow Palace from March 74. 27 years ago - wow.
PS Given the sporadic nature of these posts, you may wish to subscribe to the RSS feed. Avoids disappointment.