The world’s best cover band: Reviewing Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Recordings, by Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia

For two nights in 1973, frequent musical partners Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia met for their regular gig at the Keystone in Berkeley, CA and really locked it in. The full recordings of both nights now are available for the first time in a four-disc box set.

What do we call it when two top musicians– one an icon, one underrated– come together outside the brightest lights and get down to just performing music? As an initial, analytical matter, one can’t help but mention the Traveling Wilburys, but the feel’s all different here. This isn’t a tongue-in-cheek supergroup experiment shrouded in quasi mystery; rather, it’s two professional musicians doing work as such in a Bay-Area coffeeshop. Top-tier talent playing almost nothing but popular and classic tunes: The world’s best cover band.

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