Jorma Kaukonen - vocals, acoustic guitar, dobro; Jack Casady - bass
The second set of Hot Tuna's December 30th performance at the Fillmore West contained more familiar songs than the first set. There were plenty of gospel-country/blues like "I'll Be All Right Someday," "Death Don't Have No Mercy" and "Another Man Done Gone" mixed in with classics including "I Know You Rider," "Rock Me Baby," "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning" and "I See The Light." Kaukonen and Casady keep their singing dynamic enough to move the pace along, despite playing two shows back to back.
Things fall into place and really come to life at the finale of the show, when they play "Keep On Truckin,'" "Too Hot To Handle" and "Water Song" in quick succession. The original studio recordings were made when Hot Tuna was a five piece electric band, but these unplugged versions work equally as well - and are both interesting and refreshing to hear.
Kaukonen is hardly a great singer, but it's not his voice that attracts the fans. As guitarist and bassist, respectively, Kaukonen and Casady are still masters of their instruments. Kaukonen has never stopped playing acoustic blues, and remains one of the most dedicated musicians determined to keep the legacy of these great songs alive for generations to come - and the fact is more than apparent on this recording. Casady, additionally, brought one of the most distinctive bass styles to the music of the 1960s and remains a "low end" icon to this day.
This show was part of a reunion tour the duo embarked on after regrouping unofficially in 1986. Two years after these shows, Jack and Jorma resumed the electric five-piece version and returned to the recording studio to start a new album. Having begun originally as an unplugged side-project from Jefferson Airplane, it's refreshing to know that the ensemble still perform regularly and tours today.