Hot Tuna is/was Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the lead guitarist and bass player who broke off from the Jefferson Airplane in 1970 to pursue other interests, originally in acoustic blues. Their first album, recorded live in Berkeley, has been reissued with bonus cuts and sounds better than ever. The heart of the album consists of traditional blues songs with updated arrangements and numbers by Rev. Gary Davis, Kaukonen’s first musical hero.
I saw Hot Tuna — Kaukonen and Casady together with Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin — at the Cedar Cultural Center on the West Bank in Minneapolis when they came to town in 2009. It was an intensely beautiful show. Having played together as long as they have, Kaukonen and Casady have a telepathic yin-yang thing going that you can’t miss.
Yesterday Casady turned 68. Let’s mark the occasion with a look back at his appearance with Hot Tuna in the Twin Cities. During their 2009 visit they dropped in to the studios of Minnesota Public Radio in downtown St. Paul to play “Hestitation Blues” (video below), one of the many highlights from that first Hot Tuna album.