Monday, July 17, 2006

Poser once, shame on you, poser twice, shame on me...


As I sit here typing this, listening to "Cosmic Charlie" from July 16, 1976 at the Orpheum Theatre, I can't help but think that I am no longer a poser.

It all started with an old friend mentioning a few Grateful Dead shows she had been to in the early 90s... okay, she had been to about 20 but a few stood out to her. Being that she was pretty computer and internet illiterate, I told her I would try and find some of those shows and burn them on CD for her. Brew, this is where you came in, and you showed me where to go.

Having burned those CDs, I listened to them first before sending them off. I heard some old familiar tunes that I never took notice of back in the mid-90s, yet recall them being in the background almost nightly of my college days.

This caused me to explore this www.archive.org site more, looking for more Dead shows. After having listened to more of these live shows, I can't imagine anyone would ever want to buy a studio Dead album as long as they lived. How could it ever compare?

I then went home (Parent's home) a few months ago, and dug through my old belongings, looking for a backpack. I came across many old CDs, 2 of which were "Dead Set" and a "Dicks Picks" collection. They are now in my truck and are listened to frequently.

Back in the day, I think I feigned being a poser because it was fun being made fun of by you guys, but I really did liked the music. I think I also unfairly judged true "Dead Heads". The music is so unclassifiable. As I listen to it more, the categories they fall into are:

Blues, Rock, Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Gospel...

How can a band cover such a wide spectrum so flawlessly? And make it all sound so right? I now have 4 or 5 good songs in my mandolin book, one of which is Morning Dew. I've heard it only one time, but when I play and sing it, it just feels right no matter how I sing it.

I am also blessed in being able to get a frequency in my area from Auburn; 99.9. Every night (it seems) they have the Grateful Dead hour and I am able to hear more kewl picks, all live.

If you haven't given the Grateful Dead a fair shake I recommend it. In fact, if you have tried, give them another try. If it isn't you're beat, no sweat. But I think I want some on during the next pipe smoke.

Now, when I hear these live shows (No matter the year; from 1975 or 1993), I can't help but wish I was there in the crowd. I wish I had appreciated those Further Festivals more when I was at them. I think I have arrived at becoming a true fan, no stickers or tie-died shirts needed. All that is vanity.

22 comments:

Brewster said...

Welcome to the bus.

Truly, the grateful dead produced some of the most amazing and undefinable music in rock.

There are a few good albums, but the place to be is their live stuff. Personally my favorite year is 1977. They still maintained their awesome inventiveness live, but had written enough songs to keep the set lists varied.

Archive is a phenomenal site, but unfortunately they no longer carry soundboards. All they have are audience recordings which range from pretty darn good to god awful.

Let me know when you want more and I can hook you up.

Morning dew is a great song. It started as a folk number but the dead morphed it into the apocolypse.

I uploaded the orginal to our gmail thing if you want to check it out.

Jamison said...

What I like about their live shows is that it almost seems like they were backstage and they asked one another "What do you wanna play tonight?" and they ran off some songs and said "Ok, there's the list, lets go." I am sure they rehearse for hours and come up with the lists days in advance, but the shows seem so relaxed, yet so calculated.

bigsip said...

pipe smokes are open to the Dead...just don't suggest hip-hop and we cool brothah...

btw, my cousin, Ric called last night to check on Rachel and also ask about you.

i'll email you a synopsis of what he said.

Brewster said...

Actually, for the most part, the Dead never played with a set list. In the early days they did practice constantly and listened to a recording of their shows afterwards, kind of like a play back reel in sports. But yeah, no set list.

In the early 70’s you’ll often hear several minutes worth of dead air between songs which is the band trying to think of what they’ll play next. Something that is quite annoying, especially when the song after the long wait is “El Paso.”

The fact that they had no set list is pretty awesome when you listen to sets that transition from song to song to song without much warning. At times it was if the band was one sentient being instead of 7 different individuals.

Of course some song integration became a common thing. :Scarlet Begonias” became intricately linked to “Fire on the Mountain” and so forth. In later years certain consistencies popped up as well. Certain songs typically stayed in the first set, while others were kept to the second set. Listen to enough shows, and you can start predicting what they’ll play and be relatively accurate.

tnmommieof2 said...

Man I look different....

bigsip said...

We all do, sister.

And we all still got it, too...

bigsip said...

OK, I managed to rid this of all the junk.

I still think Jamison's a poser...

Jamison said...

FYI, please use email for "Air Clearing" ... email still has purpose.

kellieja said...

That picture is awesome. If you paired it with the right song (of course a Grateful Dead song) I think it could bring a tear to your eye. I love it. It's just amazing!

My first memory of the Dead? Getting to FU for the first time and thinking why in the world do all these people have little bears stickered on their cars? HUH?

Jamison said...

"Row Jimmy" perhaps? But, thanks to Mullins and an email he sent me a while back, the song "Brokedown Palace" brings a tear to my eye when I hear it, play it, or think of it. I dont think it is fitting for the picture though.

I remember who took that pic. 2 girls on the blanket next to us. One had not had weed for several months (So she claimed) and at this Further Fest she took a pull off a joint and coughed a whole lot.

tnmommieof2 said...

was that the grilled cheese further fest? i miss those days.
and btw jamison, having stickers is not necessarily a sign of vanity
i kinda like my stickers!!! lol...

i remember matt's answering machine message at FU playing like 5 min of "Ripple" before he told u to leave ur name and number...he wants that song played at his funeral...

Brewster said...

Those girls were hotties too. During one set we all chilled on our blankets while they shook their collective sugarmagnolias in front of us.

Brewster said...

posin' got my tie dye on
keep posin' no more showers - gone
just keep posin' ooooooooonnnnn

Jamison said...

No, that was not grilled cheese furhter, that was "Who's swollen" further.

tnmommieof2 said...

oh, the totally scared the wits out of me further...ah those were the days

mullinz8 said...

The Grateful Dead.

No other music moves me like theirs. Jamison there is something about the Dead that’s like Baptism. Once you really experience it there is always a connection and comfort in knowing it’s out there.

I’ve been a head since high school getting boot legs before actual albums. There are very few songs that I like better on the album than the show. Like you said there is something about the songs live that makes them stand out. You’re also right about the songs sounding right. Cover or original when the Dead cut a song they make it their own. Their range is great. They incorporate traditional songs like Jack-A-Roe, Cold Rain and Snow and cover tunes like C.C. Rider, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Shining Star (yeah the cheesy 80’s tune), Hard to Handle and roll out soulful ballads like black Muddy River, Ripple and Broke down Palace then suddenly downshifting into a high octane barn burning jams like Good Loving, Eyes of the World and The Eleven.

Brew is right about the set list, or rather lack there of. When they would have a guest sit in they might write out a few tunes but otherwise they walked on stage and let it go. Some nights are better than others but like the saying goes, “A bad Dead show is better than a good day at work”.

I like some of the mid 80’s shows after Jerry almost died the first time. He came back clean and refreshed and had some moments that are rare gems. His sound changed when he came back and it’s not the same as before. I’m with Brew the 77 shows are some of the best. 73 has some killers but the set list is not as varied.

In the day they rehearsed non stop. In Phil Lesh’s book he talks a lot about the “group mind” and how it formed around them and through out all their experiences it always connected them. Brew, it’s a great read. I’d send you mine but Jules got me an autographed copy, it’s a prize.

When I got to FU I saw a lot of Dead stickers I would ask someone about the band they would without fail inform me they “just like the bears”. Whatever…

I’ve got two stickers on my car and a few shirts. I still love the tie-dyes!

For tablature go to www.rukind.com this place is awesome.

At my funeral I want Black Muddy River, Ripple> Brokedown Palace from American Beauty, Attics of my Life: live w/ Brent, Sugaree for my baby and a rousing live Not Fade Away with trailing drum cadence.

mullinz8 said...

By the way, that picture is something else.

mullinz8 said...

Those Further Fests were peak moments. Those folks in Atl sure make visitors feel right at home don’t they?

Still one of my greatest regrets in life was not getting Brew a ticket for the show in B-ham. My other regret was not blowing the cash on the next nights show and tickets for Atlanta. Donny was such a tool during that show.

Jamison said...

I went to the Further Fests a poser, I think. It was fun though. Mulls and the gang "taught" me so much. Taught me why everyone was selling burritos and grilled cheese sandwiches in teh parking lot. Taught me why people had the gall to ask you for free tickets, taught me wht people camped out that night. Taught me what was in teh balloons everyone was carrying. And when a joint fell on our blanket, they taught me "Jamison, this is what they call a joint".

I had never danced before in my life. Ever. and I recal my feet killing me after the fest because I danced side-by-side with Brew for at least 8 hours straight, only sitting down to drink the weakest margaritas on earth.

Jamison said...

Oh Mulls, thanks for reminding me. rukind has been a good friend lately. While looking for dead songs that I know to play, I would come across dead songs I had yet to hear. But this was good because it caused me to read the lyrics. I was not blinded by the music, all I had to focus on were the lyrics. SO now I look forward to hearing the songs with these lyrics trhat move me so much.

mullinz8 said...

Those drinks should have been called “waterritas”. The fest shows were a lot of fun. Ya gotta shake those bones brother. When Donny and I went to B-ham he just stood there the whole time, what a stiff. How that guy could stand still during Iko Iko, Corrina, and Terrapin Station is beyond me. I danced all night for all it was worth.

I don’t care that you considered your self a poser because as far as I’m concerned you, me, Brew and Jules all shared some music that is really special.

I’ve got a deep stack of tunes I play from the GD catalog and what’s great is that I play each one a bit different than they do and they still sound good. Because they cross genera’s so easily you can play them anyway you want and it works. Next time we get together we should try a few out.

I love playing Terrapin because it’s got so many changes. Another is Sugaree. It’s one of Jules favorites and I’ve got the riff figured out to roll from it into the chord progression pretty smoothly.

tnmommieof2 said...

I never in a million years would of thought that the Dead would be one of my favorite bands. I never really understood the music until matt let me borrow american beauty

i can remember driving(well,riding)
with brew thru downtown montgomery listening to that album, and its like something just clicked in my head and the rest is history.

its funny b/c when i came to FU i was soo into the grunge music scene
and then i discovered the Dead...
definitely changed my life