Stuck in the Psychedelic Era 2/26/24 – Bear’s Sonic Journals

Tonight at 7pm, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era takes a look at Bear’s Sonic Journals. Owsley Stanley, known as Bear to his friends, was constantly looking for ways to improve his skills as a live sound man for the Grateful Dead and other San Francisco bands. Starting around 1966, Bear began taping every performance he did sound on, listening back to what he called his “sonic journals’ in order to critique his own work, often in the company of the performers themselves. Over a period of about 15 years Bear managed to accumulate in excess of 1,300 reels of live performances in a variety of venues, including the legendary Carousel Ballroom (later known as the Fillmore West) and it’s New York counterpart, the Fillmore East.

Since Bear’s death in 2011, his family and friends formed the Owsley Stanley Foundation to preserve and, when necessary, restore these Sonic Journals. To finance the project, the Foundation has released a series of CDs featuring a variety of artists ranging from Johnny Cash to the Allman Brothers Band.

This week, we present excerpts from some of these CDs, including an extended look at the latest release of the Bear’s Sonic Journals: Sing Out, a benefit concert recorded on April 25, 1981 at the Berkeley Community Theater, with additional commentary from Hawk Semins, one of the founders of the Owsley Stanley Foundation. For the first hour, the emphasis is on album tracks, with a couple of singles tossed in for good measure. It all begins with an “impossible” battle of the bands featuring one group that stopped doing live performances around the same time as the other was being formed.

See for a complete playlist.