Monday, May 11, 2015


Original image artwork by Arizona Jones

The Heart of Gold Band was organized by Keith and Donna Godchaux after their departure from the Grateful Dead in 1979. Unfortunately, Keith Godchaux was killed in a car accident in 1980, effectively scuttling the new group, though tapes of them were issued on album several years later

Original image art by Rick Griffin

Drawn from Robert Hunter's timeless lyric in The Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias," Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux started "The Heart of Gold Band" along with drummer Greg Anton early on in 1980 following their years as band members in the Grateful Dead. Although there were personnel changes in the short-lived tenure of the HGB (including a young and very talented guitar player, Steve Kimock, and piano player/composer, Mark Adler.), Greg was the constant. Thanks to him, the spirit of the band has been kept alive over the years through funky, cassette-recorded gigs that would have never been released on record or CD under normal circumstances. The extra-normal presented itself when Keith was killed in a car accident in July of 1980, only a few days after their first gig in San Francisco. The band reorganized and played just a few shows before disbanding in early 1981.
23 years later, in a most unexpected turn, "The Heart of Gold Band" returned Keith's and Donna Jean's son, Zion Rock Godchaux, wrote, sang, played guitar, drums, sax, and helped produce many of the songs on the newly-released CD, "At The Table." Zion and Donna Jean sing together on a few songs. Keith's brother, Brian Godchaux, also sings several songs that he wrote, and plays acoustic and electric mandolin and violin. (Brian has been violinist for Dan Hicks for the better part of 15 years.)
David MacKay, Donna Jean's husband, (a member of the reorganized "Heart of Gold Band" following Keith's death) played stand-up and electric bass (including some rich fretless), Wurlitzer electric piano, and wrote the only instrumental track, "Three Dog Jig." David and Donna Jean's son, Kinsman MacKay, played guitar and wrote and sang the closing track. The result is a multi-flavored blend of electric and acoustic roots music, from soaring electric violin and mandolin to earthy tastes of reggae and R&B to down-home stand-up bass and brushes. Lead vocals are shared between Brian, Donna Jean, Zion, and Kinsman, with harmonies that definitely suggest a "family blend."

1 Let It Ride 04:33
2 Little Red-Haired Girl 05:51
3 The Table 05:39
4 Indian Time 05:47
5 This Time 06:02
6 Goin' To Florence 04:06
7 Layin' Back 03:56
8 The Animals 04:51
9 Chickadee And The Dove 04:30
10 A Visitation 05:10
11 Three Dog Jig 05:26
12 Memories 03:47 


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