ken kesey and the merry pranksters

the Acid Test Graduation party, a celebration organized by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, in 1966. Photo by Ted Streshinsky

Kesey Mural Unveiled in Springfield Oregon

Zane Kesey at the unveiling of his father’s mural in Springfield, Oregon yesterday.  Jerry Garcia’s widow Mountain Girl Garcia, the surviving Merry Pranksters and Ken Kesey’s bus Further were also in attendance.

Grateful Dead & Merry Pranksters
The Acid Test Reels

Download: FLAC/MP3

A chronological compilation of the Acid Test recordings listed in
The Grateful Dead Tapers Compendium Volume One.

DISC ONE: Fillmore Acid Test/Sound City Acid Test

The Fillmore Acid Test
Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
January 8, 1966
1. Stage Chaos/More Power Rap
2. King Bee
3. I’m A Hog For You Baby
4. Caution: Do Not Step On Tracks >
5. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
6. Star Spangled Banner / closing remarks

The Sound City Acid Test
363 6th Street, San Francisco, CA
January 29, 1966
7. Ken Kesey interviewed by Frank Fey
8. Ken Babbs and harmonica
9. Take Two: Ken Kesey
10. Bull
11. Peggy The Pistol
12. One-way Ticket
13. Bells And Fairies
14. Levitation
15. Trip X
16. The End

7-16 The Acid Test: A Sound City Production

DISC TWO: Pico Acid Test /S.F. State U Acid Test (pt.1)

The Pico Acid Test
Danish Center, Los Angeles, CA
March 12, 1966
1. Viola Lee Blues
2. You See A Broken Heart
3. In The Midnight Hour

The San Francisco State Acid Test
Whatever It Is Festival
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Stereo Control Room Master (rec. 4:00AM – 6:00AM)
October 2, 1966
4. The Head Has Become Fat Rap
5. A Mexican Story: 25 Bennies
6. A Tarnished Galahad
7. Get It Off The Ground Rap >
8. It’s Good To Be God Rap >
9. Nirvana Army Rap >
10. The Butcher Is Back
11. Acid Test Graduation Announcement
12. Send Me To The Moon >Closing Rap

Credits on 10/2/66:
Voices: Ken Kesey and Hugh Romney
Guitar: Ken Kesey
Violin: Dale Kesey
Organ: Jerry Garcia
Engineering: Steve Newman, Ken Kesey, Mountain Girl

DISC THREE: S.F. State U Acid Test (pt. 2)/Graduation Jam

The San Francisco State Acid Test
Whatever It Is Festival
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
October 2, 1966
1. Ken Kesey’s dialogue (isolated remix)

Merry Prankster Sound Collage Sequences
October 2, 1966
2. Prankster Music/Sound Collage #1(sequence 1)
3. Kesey Rap > Prankster Music/Sound Collage #2 (sequence 2)
4. Prankster Sound Collage #3 > Prankster Raga(sequence 3)
Prankster Recordings broadcast over the P.A.

End of Whatever It Is Festival
October 2, 1966
5. Closing Jam
6. Prankster Electronics

Acid Test Graduation Jam
Winterland, San Francisco, CA
October 31, 1966
7. Jam Session (musicians unknown)
from The World Of Acid film soundtrack

Disc Four: Related Recordings

Neal Cassady & The Warlocks 1965
1. Speed Limit
studio recording/Prankster production tape circa late 1965
Straight Theater, Haight Street, San Francisco, CA July 23, 1967
2. Neal Cassady Raps (backed by The Dead)
recording released as a flexi-disc in the 1st printing of The Dead Book

Acid Tests Production Reel
3. Jerry Garcia commentary with Acid Test audio
710 Haight Street House, San Francisco, CA summer 1967
4. – 6. Jerry Garcia
one hour interview about music, drugs, politics and social changes circa

compilation and package by Alan Bershaw
shn discs by TaW
Note 1: I split the 1h Jerry interview on disc 4 into 3 smaller pieces (a-c).
Note 2: The shn-tracks for audio disc 4 are split between shn-discs 2 and 3!


The Love Pageant Rally took place on October 6, 1966[1] — the day LSD became illegal — in the ‘panhandle’ of Golden Gate Park, a narrower section that projects into San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The major instigators of the rally were Allen Cohen and artist Michael Bowen, the creators of the San Francisco Oracle, the occasion was the banning of LSD, by the California legislature. This enactment virtually created a neighborhood of outlaws in the Haight, where 'acid’ was a staple of community culture. Since the new law was to go into effect on October 6, 1966, Cohen and others related the event to the number of the Beast of Revelation. On a more serious level, busts for drugs were ramping up locally and on the national level, and confrontations between the hippie communes and the local police were getting more intense and led to street protests and rioting, followed by neighborhood curfews. A better form of protest, more suited to hippie culture was needed.

“Without confrontation,” said Allen Cohen, “we wanted to create a celebration of innocence. We were not guilty of using illegal substances. We were celebrating transcendental consciousness. The beauty of the universe. The beauty of being.”

Posters advertising the event invited participants to “Bring the color gold… Bring photos of personal saints and gurus and heroes of the underground… Bring children… Flowers… Flutes… Drums… Feathers… Bands… Beads… Banners, flags, incense, chimes, gongs, cymbals, symbols, costumes, joy.”[2]

Thousands showed up for the event, read a “prophecy of a declaration of independence” written by Cohen, after which many placed a tab of acid on their tongues and swallowed in unison. Music was provided by the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin,[3] both invited to play by Michael Bowen for free. Ken Kesey was on hand with the Merry Pranksters in the legendary bus.

The Love Pageant Rally drew several thousand people. It was a warm-up for the Human Be-In[4] the following January, which brought 30,000 together and established media attention to hippie culture that then led to The Summer of Love.

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