Acknowledging various dates takes on a melancholy feel as a person gets older. This site has been up since the beginning of March, and I’ve probably run 10 or so posts on people who have passed away during that time. There also are the birthdays of folks who are no longer around.
In any case, Jerry Garcia would have been 70 years old today. Above, he plays Irving Berlin’s beautiful Russian Lullaby with David Grisman.
Los Lobos, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir do perhaps the greatest American patriotic song. Thanks for visiting the site.
It’s kind of silly to list a lot of Grateful Dead links. Folks who like the band know where they are, those that don’t like the band don’t care. But, anyway, here are some good ones: U.S. Blues, Dire Wolf, Cumberland Blues and Alabama Getaway (skip the first two minutes; someone switched on the camera early). The above performance, which of course technically isn’t the Dead, was apparently impromptu. Too bad nobody focused the camera.
There are pages upon pages at Google on the band. One I’d like to point out is The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, which is a massive collection of information published by David Dodd, a researcher at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It apparently hasn’t been updated for a few years, but it still is monumental.
One point that strikes me about the band is the deep connections to Americana that slip into Robert Hunter’s lyrics. Many of the songs are overtly tied to American history. Those and others throw in terrific cultural references. Examples include U.S. Blues lyrics such as:
Shake the Hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan
and this verse from Alabama Getaway:
Majordomo Billy Bojangles Sit down and have a drink with me What’s this about Alabame Keeps comin back to me?
I think that the band, or at least Hunter, were more closely tied to the mainstream of American music and culture than casual observers recognize. Dodd’s site provides many more examples and interesting commentary.
I don’t know much about Phish, other than they are a terrific band. The have obvious similarities to the Grateful Dead both in the music and how they run their concerts, have a tremendous number of songs — including many covers — and my 15-year old son loves them.
Here is a link to the band’s site, a list of covers and the audio of the performance of Terrapin Station on the third anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. Please send me other good Phish links and I’ll add them.