"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, June 28, 2014


On this date in 1969, The Grateful Dead played a show in Santa Rosa, California. A soundboard copy of the show can be found HERE.
This is one of those shows where the band truly takes an idea and makes a song out of it. A young kid intros the band as they launch into the short lived cover of "Slewfoot." Right away you'll notice that there is one guitar because Garcia is playing his Pedal Steel guitar. He came across the Petal Steel on your when the bus made a pit stop. The instrument was derived from the dobro, which is related to the guitar. Immediately Garcia had an idea of how to play this instrument and how the strings related to each other and the effects of petals below. He became so good that he was able to use his abilities as a barding chip with Crosby, Stills and Nash. He offered to play Pedal Steel on "Teach Your Children" if they would teach the Dead how to better harmonize. They did this for both "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty." Both bands helped each other form some of their most iconic sounds and songs
The song "Slewfoot" was a traditional song that Bobby developed out an arrangement that Doc Watson originally did. Later in 1973, Bobby and the New Riders played on an album "Slewfoot" by David Rea. Ironically that album didn't feature the song "Slewfoot."
The fifth ever "Mama Tried" comes next, with Jerry staying on the Pedal Steel. He moves to electric for "high Time" before he switches to acoustic guitar for "Dupree's." Jerry bounces back to electric for the third ever "Casey Jones." You'll notice that the trademark guitar rift that starts the song is not part of the song. Instead there is a "Ramble on Rose" type rift that they use to link the chorus to verse. Garcia solos over this but with no turn in the music, the solo just kind of fades before he starts singing the verse.
Then we get the screwball of the set, the fifth ever "Dire Wolf." For which Jerry moves back on to Pedal Steel and Bobby takes vocals, the only time he does as a member of the Grateful Dead.
The "Dark Star" as always serves as the launching pad of exploration. Between the verses, Bobby starts a rhythm that Jerry picks up on and the drummers. The band builds the jam up and up until it explodes and quietness takes over. Then after the second verse there is some nicely played interchange between Jerry and Bobby until "St Stephen" is started. Jerry starts off the song with an electric solo, even though the beat that they established is a little mellow for the song. After the "One man gathers what another man spills" line the band gets real quite. The audience is cheering and laughing the pause until the band slams the E to A change that brings them into the "William Tell" bridge.
The band starts the "Eleven" then decides they do not want to play it and it disintegrates to Bobby strumming. Jerry jumps back onto the Pedal Steel for the country standard "Green Green Grass of Home." Jerry really wanted to show off his musical ability on this night and the only thing missing was his banjo.

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