BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS
LIVE AT THE QUIET KNIGHT, CHICAGO, IL, JUNE 10, 1975
There are many great live concert bootleg recordings by Bob Marley and the Wailers, many of which have been presented here on this blog over the past year. However, it is hard to find that rare flawless soundboard recording that showcases an epic performance that is remembered as one of the greatest of an artist’s career. Luckily, we have that in Bob Marley and the Wailers Live at the Quiet Knight, Chicago, IL, June 10, 1975. This is the only recording I share twice per year on here because it is THAT GOOD!
There are so many interesting notes about the show: no Marcia Griffiths on the tour; a new guitarist from upstate New York named Al Anderson touring with the band for the first time; Marley’s NYC herb dealer, a white hippie kid named Lee Jaffe, who blows the shit out of the harmonica on “Three O’clock Road Block” and “Talkin’ Blues” (Interestingly, Jaffe would go on to make moves in the industry, producing Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalize It’ album and shooting the iconic cover photo).
But most striking to me is Marley’s performance. As raw, as gritty, as grimy a performance you will hear from Marley. Clearly exhausted from touring and playing small cigarette smoke-filled gin and whiskey joints, his voice breaks throughout the show. The performance is a “soul sacrifice” for Marley, as he surely left a piece of it laying on stage that night. The crowd is raucous and lively. Think about this: they had never seen ANYTHING like this before. This was still entirely new in 1975. The crowd, and Marley’s interaction with it, bring a whole new element to this performance, primarily because the club is so small, and the crowd so close to him.
The performance is simply hard to believe, and if it were not documented here in superior soundboard quality, we never would have known it occurred.
The Quiet Knight was a 60′s and 70′s era folk and jazz club owned by Richard Harg that originated on North Wells in Chicago and moved briefly to 953 West Belmont toward the end of its run. Many musicians got their start here including Bruce Springsteen (as opening act for the Persuasions). Blues legend Muddy Waters even had a weekly gig at the club.
The club also housed some of the earliest punk and proto punk shows in Chicago. One of Chicago’s earliest known “punk type” shows was The Velvet Underground at the Quiet Knight in 1970. Sometime in the late 70s the Quiet Knight became Tuts, which played more of the traditional punk bands.
Today, the old Quiet Knight is known as Milio’s Hair Salon. The list of bands that played this little hair salon include Tom Waits, R.E.M., Prince, Run D.M.C., The Cramps, Bauhaus, Echo And The Bunnymen, The Stray Cats, and Psychedelic Furs.
The second Smashing Pumpkins show on August 10, 1988 was there. Legendary Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin had not yet joined the band so they played with a drum machine, and they were on the second stage, which was in a back room. They weren’t good enough or ready for a front-room stage.
In late spring/early summer 1975, Bob Marley and the Wailers embark on a tour of small clubs throughout the U.S. in support of the Natty Dread album. The Wailers play the Quiet Knight club on June 9 and 10, 1975. The performance is known as one of Marley’s best in a small venue, and the circulating soundboard recording is pristine, although incomplete. The bootleg recording is routinely included in “best bootleg” lists on blogs and music journals. The recording has circulated as “Jah Joys and Rainbows”, “Live in Chicago”, and “The Last Club Tour ’75.”
In addition to including the recording of this historic show, I have included a review of the June 9, 1975 performance written by Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune, published June 10, 1975.
Click to enlarge
Bob Marley, vocals, rhythm guitar Aston Barrett, bass Carlton Barrett, drums Al Anderson, lead guitar Tyrone Downie, keyboards Alvin Patterson, percussion The I-Threes, backing vocals (Rita Marley & Judy Mowatt) Lee Jaffe, harmonica