Tuesday, August 1

Happy birthday, Jerry

Today would have been the 64th birthday of Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 - August 9, 1995). He was one of the most prolific and influential guitarists and songwriters of his generation, and he left us far too soon. Whether with his own band, alongside such artists as David Grisman, Bob Dylan, and David Crosby, or playing with the Good Ol' Grateful Dead, Garcia won the hearts and blew the minds of millions during a career spanning more than three decades.

In honor of the man and his music, here are a few live tracks from throughout his career. The JGB songs each feature him leading his own band, while the Grateful Dead tracks are each songs on which Garcia had the lead vocal and contributed some gorgeous guitar work. I won't begin to claim that these are the best or most representative versions of these particular songs, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.

Jerry Garcia Band - Deal (live October 1987; from Pure Jerry 4)
Jerry Garcia Band - Friend of the Devil (live July 1977; from Pure Jerry 1)
Grateful Dead - Bird Song (live 12-11-1988)
Grateful Dead - Sugaree (live 9-9-1972)
Grateful Dead - Dark Star (live 3-26-1968)
Grateful Dead - Loser (live 8-6-1971)

I'll never understand why so many indie/hipster types choose to dismiss anything related to the Dead without giving it a chance. They wrote some beautiful songs, and even if you can't stomach the jamming you should pick up a copy of Garcia (1972). Wow.

Bonus mp3:
Ryan Adams - Bird Song (live 6-16-2005; with Phil Lesh)


Blogger Satisfied '75 said...


4:54 AM

Blogger Frank Garrison said...

Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot.

3:42 PM

Blogger charity said...

good show, old man.

4:11 PM

Blogger AmyMeacham said...

Thank you, Rich! I only saw the Dead once (in the 70's) and got more into them in recent years after his death. Garcia is one of my favorite singers as well Like Fred Astaire was Cole Porter's) because he makes you see and feel the song. I love his interpretations of the bluegrass standards on "The Pizza Tapes" (with David Grisman and Tony Rice, released a few years ago); they are my favorite versions. To hell with the hipsters who won't give his music a chance and also to the jamsters who won't give punk or indie rock a chance. I like what I like and don't give a shit what's "hip"; never have...

5:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on, Amy!

Oh, and the Pizza Tapes are outstanding. I had a bootleg version for a few years before they were released, but the official version is pristine.

On a related note, I *still* haven't seen Grateful Dawg. I'll have to add that to the old Netflix queue...

7:23 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Shit. That was me. Oops.

7:23 PM

Blogger Code Name: Ryan said...

nice tracks. thanks.

1:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you! I'm a 38-year-old Gen X hipster, and I DO like Garcia! I still remember where I was when I heard that he passed, what I was doing, and what I was wearing. I was in Burbank at the Copy Center on W. Olive, and from that moment on the day just didn't seem the same. I wasn't raised as a Deadhead by hippie parents. I just like good music and eventually glommed onto it. The hipsters you refer to might be put off by the essential Baby Boomer-ness of the music.

He was, after all, their cultural hero.

But I'm enjoying the music much, and thank you.

7:30 PM


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