Jo Baker - vocals, percussion; Perry Welsh - vocals, harp; Elvin Bishop - guitar, vocals; Stephen Miller - piano, organ, vocals; Kip Maercklein - bass; John Chambers - drums; Ricky (unknown) - tambourine, percussion
Following his years with Chicago's legendary Butterfield Blues Band, Elvin Bishop relocated to San Francisco and became a mainstay of the Bay Area jam scene, before forming his own band. Another client on Bill Graham's fledgling record label, the group became a popular Bay Area attraction. To Bishop's credit, he never dominated the band's material. As a consequence, they developed a wide-ranging repertoire that often showcased the band's diverse talent - especially female vocalist Jo Baker, who becomes the focal point on much of this earlier material. Also notable is keyboardist Stephen Miller, an incredibly talented musician who was also a ubiquitous presence on the San Francisco jam scene.
This Fillmore closing week set captures the group at an early stage and, musically, is a sort of mixed bag. From the countrified boogie of the opener, "Stomp," to the oldie remake of "So Fine," the gospel leanings of "Higher and Higher" and the chugging shuffle of the closer, "Party 'Til The Cows Come Home," the group proves they were capable, diverse musicians knowledgeable of a wide range of contemporary music. Bishop does play some hot lead guitar throughout, but with the exception of "The Sky Is Crying," which showcases his trademark blues guitar, and the set closer/encore jam where he cuts loose, often relegates himself to a supportive role. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as some of their most engaging material showcases the vocal talent of singer Jo Baker. Keyboardist Stephen Miller is the other outstanding talent, and "Crazy 'Bout You Baby" is a great example of his chugging Hammond organ as a propelling element within the band.
As he had promised at the end of his band's set early in the evening, Elvin returned to the stage at 3:30 a.m., following It's a Beautiful Day's set, to jam. Apparently, nobody else was in any condition to play, so he jams solo acoustic while encouraging audience participation for another 15 minutes or so to end the night.