Gloria Jones is a famous vocalist who was part of the Jerry Garcia Band from 1984 until Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995. When Gloria Jones joined the Jerry Garcia Band, the group already included a fantastic lineup that included the likes of Jerry, vocalist Jacklyn LaBranch, organist Melvin Seals, drummer David Kemper, and bassist John Kahn. With the exception of Kemper who took a four-month break between 1985 and 1986 and subsequently left the band in 1994, the band remained intact from its formation up to the period when Jerry Garcia passed away. Jacklyn LaBranch and Gloria Jones were nicknamed The Jerryettes and were instrumental in creating the band’s soul food sound. Over the years following Jerry Garcia’s passing, Gloria Jones participated in various events paying tribute to Jerry including the Jerry Garcia Birthday Band’s performances at Vail in 2018 and Red Rocks in 2017
Jacklyn LaBranch became a member of the Jerry Garcia Band as early as 1982 and was a member of the band until Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995. LaBranch was an instrumental vocalist for the band and her positive presence offered a direct connection to the work and life of Jerry Garcia and their shared origin from the Bay Area. Jacklyn LaBranch was first introduced to the Jerry Garcia Band through Melvin Seals. At the time, LaBranch was not at all familiar with Jerry Garcia’s music. The year was 1982. LaBranch was a member of a community choir and their director had just moved out of town. The community choir had not disbanded, but they had sort of stopped singing. Melvin Seals asked LaBranch if she would like to be a member of the Jerry Garcia Band after doing some recording work in his studio, an offer that LaBranch agreed to in delight. And that’s how LaBranch joined the Jerry Garcia Band.
After that, LaBranch, Melvin, and Dickerson, also known as Dee Dee started doing singing rehearsals together. To LaBranch, music was music, so she really did not really question the lyrics or music. LaBranch always played the piano, and also played in the orchestra. Some of the pieces she started with include The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, and Dear Prudence. After learning the Music with Melvin Seals, they did a singing rehearsal with the band. It was during the band’s singing rehearsal that LaBranch met Jerry Garcia.
The first gig that Jacklyn LaBranch did as part of the Jerry Garcia Band, was at The Stone. They had to walk all the way from the dressing room to the stage and as LaBranche looked out, she silently wondered where all the hippies had come from and where they had been all these years. The Deadheads’ love for Jerry Garcia became most apparent in 1986 when he fell into a coma following a diabetes illness. Jerry was down for some time and when he was back in form his first performance wasn’t with the Grateful Dead but with the Jerry Band Garcia at The Stone. When Jerry Garcia got on stage that day you would have thought that God himself had made an appearance. It was not much the shouting and yelling, as it was the love that filled the room. The love was palpable and you could feel it. The band and the audience were so glad that Jerry was back. It was an experience like you’ve never seen before.…