• October 19, 2011
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blairs-golden-road-blog-best-covers-dead-songs
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog - Best Covers of Dead Songs?

    My blog a couple of weeks ago about the new/retooled Persuasions of the Dead CD, on which the famous a capella giants tackled a wide variety of Grateful Dead songs, got me thinking about my favorite covers of Dead songs. Although the Dead will never match the zillions of new Beatles covers released every day, the number of Dead covers being released has increased steadily through the years, particularly since Garcia died.

    The first cover a Dead song I recall hearing was folk singer Chris Smither’s version of “Friend of the Devil” on his Don’t It Drag On album back in 1972. I don’t have any figures to back it up, but I’m guessing that “Friend of the Devil” must be the Dead’s most covered song—it’s become a virtual standard in the acoustic folk-country-bluegrass world. (Has anyone actually heard the Kenny Loggins version of that song that Garcia says influenced him to slow it down post-’72? I’ve never found it.)

    After Smither’s cover, however, I can recall very few other recorded versions of Dead tunes for the next decade and a half. Chris Hillman cut a nice “Ripple” on his 1982 album Morning Sky. And avant-guitar master Henry Kaiser—always an explorer of the first order—boldly put a 31-minute exploration of “Dark Star” > “The Other One,” along with the previously unreleased “Mason’s Children,” on his eclectic 1989 CD called Those Who Know History are Doomed to Repeat It. The following year, on Heart’s Desire, Kaiser and his band dialed up a live version of “Dark Star,” and then his 1995 Garcia tribute, Eternity Blue, contained still another “Dark Star,” plus a 30-minute, totally out-there voyage through “Blues for Allah” and several other Garcia-associated songs. All are good choices for you adventurous types! For more on Henry’s trip and to hear some cool tunes go here.

    In 1991, an L.A.-based record and film producer named Ralph Sall assembled the first CD consisting entirely of GD covers — Deadicated, put out by the band’s label at the time, Arista Records, with proceeds benefitting a pair of nonprofit groups the Dead favored, Rainforest Action Network and Cultural Survival. The star power Sall mustered for Deadicated was impressive: 15 tracks, including such “name” performers as Los Lobos (“Bertha”; the song subsequently became a part of their regular repertoire), Elvis Costello (“Ship of Fools”), Suzanne Vega (“China Doll” and “Cassidy”), Dwight Yoakam (“Truckin’”), Indigo Girls (“Uncle John’s Band”), Warren Zevon (“Casey Jones”), Lyle Lovett (“Friend of the Devil”) and Burning Spear (“Estimated Prophet”). Two of the riskier versions were Midnight Oil’s “Wharf Rat” and a truly odd “Ripple” from Jane’s Addiction; love ’em both! Despite the diverse lineup, the album hangs together beautifully and it has survived the test of time. I put it on every couple of years and enjoy it anew each time. Too bad Sall didn’t get to make a “Volume II,” as he’d originally hoped. Unfortunately, Deadicated is out of print. Have a friend burn it for you!

    But the flood of tributes really started after Jerry died. Some of them are pretty good, some are mediocre. A series of Pickin’ on the Grateful Dead CDs of bluegrass-style instrumentals have their hot moments (and poor choices). The two volumes of Fire on the Mountain: Reggae Celebrates the Grateful Dead feature an assortment of top names from the genre, including the Wailing Souls, Judy Mowatt, Toots Hibbert, the Mighty Diamonds, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. As with the Pickin’ albums, they are hit-and-miss—the occasional inspired interpretation surrounded by songs that sound like they are being unnaturally forced into reggae settings. The production on many of the tracks is cheesy and dated, as well. Still, a few winners in there.

    A more unusual and, to my ears, successful musical marriage is the Celtic-Grateful Dead acoustic fusion by the Bay Area’s Wake the Dead, led by Danny Carnahan. The group has put out three excellent albums—Buckdancer’s Choice, Wake the Dead and Blue Light Cheap Hotel — that ingeniously blend traditional Irish tunes with Grateful Dead songs. So, for instance, “Scarlet Begonias” is bookended by a pair of spry reels, “Bird Song” blends with a number called “Coleman’s Cross,” and “Friend of the Devil” is preceded by fragments of “Banks of Lough Gowna” and “The Reunion.” Here and there the group also folds in bits of blues, old-time country and other styles in their acoustic mélange. I’m not sure why it works, but it does. Highly recommended! You can find out more about them here.

    Another interesting anthology is the 2000 CD Stolen Roses, which was compiled by David Gans (who has recorded his own share of Dead covers through the years). My favorite track on that one is a wonderful version of “Dark Star” by the David Grisman Quintet (which you can also find on the recent 3-CD benefit set Jerry Jams & Jerry Cares, featuring a slew of mostly little known jam bands and other groups doing Dead/Garcia songs). Other cool performances on Stolen Roses include Widespread Panic’s version of “Cream Puff War,” Elvis Costello’s “Ship of Fools/Must’ve Been the Roses” medley, The Persuasions’ brilliant “Black Muddy River” and Patti Smith’s haunting take on “Black Peter,” recorded the night Jerry died.

    Here are some other random Dead covers I’ve dug on some level:

    Jimmy Buffett’s pleasant (if vanilla) take on “Uncle John’s Band” (on 1994’s Fruit Cake album); four very different versions of “Friend of the Devil”—by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Friends of Mine, 1998), Jorma Kaukonen (Too Many Years, 1998), Counting Crows (Films About Ghosts: The Best of…, 2003), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (The Live Anthology, 2008); Sublime’s slightly twisted “Scarlet Begonias” (40 oz. to Freedom, 1992); Dave Alvin’s “Loser” (West of the West, 2006); Willie Nelson’s “Stella Blue” (Songbird, 2006) Levon Helm’s “Tennessee Jed” (Electric Dirt, 2009); Mark Karan’s “Easy Wind” (Walk Through the Fire, 2009); Jesse McReynolds & Friends’ “Black Muddy River” and “Standing on the Moon” (Songs of the Grateful Dead, 2010); Los Lobos’ “West L.A. Fadeaway” (Tin Can Trust, 2010); and Bruce Hornsby’s “Standing on the Moon” (Bride of the Noisemakers, 2011).

    That barely scratches the surface, of course. What are some of your favorites? For the purposes of this discussion, lets not include Grateful Dead cover bands (DSO and their ilk) or Grateful Dead band members’ solo groups.

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My blog a couple of weeks ago about the new/retooled Persuasions of the Dead CD, on which the famous a capella giants tackled a wide variety of Grateful Dead songs, got me thinking about my favorite covers of Dead songs. Although the Dead will never match the zillions of new Beatles covers released every day, the number of Dead covers being released has increased steadily through the years, particularly since Garcia died.

The first cover a Dead song I recall hearing was folk singer Chris Smither’s version of “Friend of the Devil” on his Don’t It Drag On album back in 1972. I don’t have any figures to back it up, but I’m guessing that “Friend of the Devil” must be the Dead’s most covered song—it’s become a virtual standard in the acoustic folk-country-bluegrass world. (Has anyone actually heard the Kenny Loggins version of that song that Garcia says influenced him to slow it down post-’72? I’ve never found it.)

After Smither’s cover, however, I can recall very few other recorded versions of Dead tunes for the next decade and a half. Chris Hillman cut a nice “Ripple” on his 1982 album Morning Sky. And avant-guitar master Henry Kaiser—always an explorer of the first order—boldly put a 31-minute exploration of “Dark Star” > “The Other One,” along with the previously unreleased “Mason’s Children,” on his eclectic 1989 CD called Those Who Know History are Doomed to Repeat It. The following year, on Heart’s Desire, Kaiser and his band dialed up a live version of “Dark Star,” and then his 1995 Garcia tribute, Eternity Blue, contained still another “Dark Star,” plus a 30-minute, totally out-there voyage through “Blues for Allah” and several other Garcia-associated songs. All are good choices for you adventurous types! For more on Henry’s trip and to hear some cool tunes go here.

In 1991, an L.A.-based record and film producer named Ralph Sall assembled the first CD consisting entirely of GD covers — Deadicated, put out by the band’s label at the time, Arista Records, with proceeds benefitting a pair of nonprofit groups the Dead favored, Rainforest Action Network and Cultural Survival. The star power Sall mustered for Deadicated was impressive: 15 tracks, including such “name” performers as Los Lobos (“Bertha”; the song subsequently became a part of their regular repertoire), Elvis Costello (“Ship of Fools”), Suzanne Vega (“China Doll” and “Cassidy”), Dwight Yoakam (“Truckin’”), Indigo Girls (“Uncle John’s Band”), Warren Zevon (“Casey Jones”), Lyle Lovett (“Friend of the Devil”) and Burning Spear (“Estimated Prophet”). Two of the riskier versions were Midnight Oil’s “Wharf Rat” and a truly odd “Ripple” from Jane’s Addiction; love ’em both! Despite the diverse lineup, the album hangs together beautifully and it has survived the test of time. I put it on every couple of years and enjoy it anew each time. Too bad Sall didn’t get to make a “Volume II,” as he’d originally hoped. Unfortunately, Deadicated is out of print. Have a friend burn it for you!

But the flood of tributes really started after Jerry died. Some of them are pretty good, some are mediocre. A series of Pickin’ on the Grateful Dead CDs of bluegrass-style instrumentals have their hot moments (and poor choices). The two volumes of Fire on the Mountain: Reggae Celebrates the Grateful Dead feature an assortment of top names from the genre, including the Wailing Souls, Judy Mowatt, Toots Hibbert, the Mighty Diamonds, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. As with the Pickin’ albums, they are hit-and-miss—the occasional inspired interpretation surrounded by songs that sound like they are being unnaturally forced into reggae settings. The production on many of the tracks is cheesy and dated, as well. Still, a few winners in there.

A more unusual and, to my ears, successful musical marriage is the Celtic-Grateful Dead acoustic fusion by the Bay Area’s Wake the Dead, led by Danny Carnahan. The group has put out three excellent albums—Buckdancer’s Choice, Wake the Dead and Blue Light Cheap Hotel — that ingeniously blend traditional Irish tunes with Grateful Dead songs. So, for instance, “Scarlet Begonias” is bookended by a pair of spry reels, “Bird Song” blends with a number called “Coleman’s Cross,” and “Friend of the Devil” is preceded by fragments of “Banks of Lough Gowna” and “The Reunion.” Here and there the group also folds in bits of blues, old-time country and other styles in their acoustic mélange. I’m not sure why it works, but it does. Highly recommended! You can find out more about them here.

Another interesting anthology is the 2000 CD Stolen Roses, which was compiled by David Gans (who has recorded his own share of Dead covers through the years). My favorite track on that one is a wonderful version of “Dark Star” by the David Grisman Quintet (which you can also find on the recent 3-CD benefit set Jerry Jams & Jerry Cares, featuring a slew of mostly little known jam bands and other groups doing Dead/Garcia songs). Other cool performances on Stolen Roses include Widespread Panic’s version of “Cream Puff War,” Elvis Costello’s “Ship of Fools/Must’ve Been the Roses” medley, The Persuasions’ brilliant “Black Muddy River” and Patti Smith’s haunting take on “Black Peter,” recorded the night Jerry died.

Here are some other random Dead covers I’ve dug on some level:

Jimmy Buffett’s pleasant (if vanilla) take on “Uncle John’s Band” (on 1994’s Fruit Cake album); four very different versions of “Friend of the Devil”—by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (Friends of Mine, 1998), Jorma Kaukonen (Too Many Years, 1998), Counting Crows (Films About Ghosts: The Best of…, 2003), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (The Live Anthology, 2008); Sublime’s slightly twisted “Scarlet Begonias” (40 oz. to Freedom, 1992); Dave Alvin’s “Loser” (West of the West, 2006); Willie Nelson’s “Stella Blue” (Songbird, 2006) Levon Helm’s “Tennessee Jed” (Electric Dirt, 2009); Mark Karan’s “Easy Wind” (Walk Through the Fire, 2009); Jesse McReynolds & Friends’ “Black Muddy River” and “Standing on the Moon” (Songs of the Grateful Dead, 2010); Los Lobos’ “West L.A. Fadeaway” (Tin Can Trust, 2010); and Bruce Hornsby’s “Standing on the Moon” (Bride of the Noisemakers, 2011).

That barely scratches the surface, of course. What are some of your favorites? For the purposes of this discussion, lets not include Grateful Dead cover bands (DSO and their ilk) or Grateful Dead band members’ solo groups.

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My blog a couple of weeks ago about the new/retooled Persuasions of the Dead CD, on which the famous a capella giants tackled a wide variety of Grateful Dead songs, got me thinking about my favorite covers of Dead songs. Although the Dead will never match the zillions of new Beatles covers released every day, the number of Dead covers being released has increased steadily through the years, particularly since Garcia died.

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There's a Bruce Hornsby show from Mississippi Nights in St. Louis in the Spring of 96, where he performs a sweet Wharfrat. As he's playing the intro he says-"Lost an old friend last year, very dear to me. Gonna do one of his songs- Cuz we love him, that's why."
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Cracker did an excellent version of "Loser" on thier 1993 CD "Kerosene Hat"
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...has done a ton of Dead tunes through the years, most of 'em really good IMO.
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Two of my favorites are the great "Ripple" you mentioned by Jane's Addiction and a very nice "Row Jimmy" done live by Phish's Trey Anastasio.
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I always loved it when Merl Saunders covered Franklins Tower, Fire On The Mountain or Sugaree... or anything for that matter!
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I think the album is titled music from Cape Cod where a cover of liberty is sung by a female vocalist with a very good backing band. I heard it only one time years back but it got me thinking that certain jerry songs would sound great if sung by a variety of women. This one was a perfect example.
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...for Emmylou Harris to do "Box of Rain." And David Gilmour and his band to do "Terrapin." It also occurred to me yesterday that Bonnie Raitt could really nail "So Many Roads" (and about ten other Jerry tunes)!
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My favorite Dead covers can be heard on the albums "Blue Light Rain", "Laughing Water" and "Great Sky River" by Jazz Is Dead. To my ears, this experiment was the best interpretation of the Grateful Deads music with contributions from Jimmy Herring on guitar, T. Lavits (RIP) on Keyboards, who auditioned for the slot vacated by Brent Mydland. I can only imagine how awesome the GD would have become with him as opposed to Vince Welnick. Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson were a dangerous rhythm section. When Cobham left the band, Rod Morganstein and Jeff Sipe took over the drum slot. The tracklists for their 3 albums are as follows: "Blue Light Rain" - Crazy Fingers, Unbroken Chain, Scarlet Begonias, Dark Star, Red Baron (the only non-Dead song on all three albums), King Soloman's Marbles, Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower > Spiral Stairway. The Help>Slip>Franklin's and King Soloman's Marbles are nothing short of amazing. I think Jerry would've approved. "Laughing Water" is basically a fusion remake of "Wake Of The Flood" which is a live album featuring guest musicians include Donna Jean Godchaux, Steve Kimock, Derek Trucks and Vassar Clements. The songs are Vocal Intro> Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Let Me Sing Your Blues Away, Row Jimmy, Stella Blue, Vocal Intro > Here Comes The Sunshine > 'Sunshine Jam', Eyes Of The World, Two Sisters and Weather Report Suite. Their third album "Great Sky River" is another live offering. The songs are China Cat Sunflower, Estimated Prophet, St. Stephen, The Eleven, Drums & Jam, Blues For Allah, Terrapin Station, Morning Dew. If you are looking for musical fireworks in the form of prog/fusion, and dare I say, versions of some songs that actually surpass the original versions, then Jazz Is Dead is the way to go. The Warren Haynes album "Live At Bonnaroo" has nice versions of Stella Blue and To Lay Me Down. Govt Mule and The Allman Brothers both have covered the Dead with many downloadable shows available.
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A South Florida favorite is the Blue Grass spin off of the Dead cover band called Crazyfingers. Their Blue Grass band is "The Grass is Dead" and they have three CDs, self titled "The Grass is Dead", "Built to Grass", and "Twenty Degrees of Solitude" all three excellent. The band takes the Dead's songs to a new and different level with banjo and mandolin. A way better bluegrass version of Dead songs than the lackluster Pickin of the Dead.
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...by various artists. I don't think any particular type of music is immune to well-played renditions of Dead songs, it's just up to the creativity of the various musicians. At this point credit must be given especially to Hunter and Garcia. The tunes are universal, but they're not.. It is a contradiction
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The MSG network (Madison Square Garden) braodcasts some shows of musical acts from time to time and there is a version of Wharf Rat performed by Ryan Adams band with Phil playing bass that is stunning as far as I am concerned.
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But I heard Phish do a cover of Terrapin (the full suite as I recall, but my recollection ain't what it used to be) that I quite liked. But in general, I prefer Phish covers to Phish originals on just about any given night...which, of course, is a different subject altogether. I heard Susan Tedeschi slide the chorus of "Sugaree" into a cover of "Angel from Montgomery" that just electrified the crowd (both songs). Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes did one of those transcendent "Friend of the Devil" covers that goosebumped up and down my spine for the entire song. Joan Osborne on "Brokedown Palace," not bad. Speaking of Jimmy Buffett, another vanilla cover that I like -- "Scarlet Begonias." Off the top of my head...
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i gotta hear willie doing stella and grissman on dark star (cant belive i didnt know about that one) i lost my deadicated CD somewhere
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...is actually a bit of a disappointment IMO. I think I was the first to mention in print that he would be good on that tune (in my Golden Road article on the "Deadicated" album back in '91), but the version on his Songbird album is kinda noisy and ambient, whereas what I envisioned was up-close and intimate--the way he usually handles standards--with some of his amazing acoustic guitar work on it, maybe some tasteful piano and not much else. Instead he sounds kind of distant and apart from the musicians and I don't think he plays on it at all. Oh, well...
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...if I was gonna get one Grass Is Dead CD, which would you recommend? I think on their website they only offer "Grass Is Dead" (which looks pretty choice) and ""Built to Grass."
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Dark Star: The Music Of The Grateful Dead The overall collection is somewhat uneven, but I really enjoy his 16 minute take on Dark Star. The song starts with very airy, trumpet led, space segment. Murray's sax part becomes more prominent as the tune progresses, his playing evoking an intense post drums space segment. This leads into the piano playing the opening notes we all know so well. Well worth a listen.
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I was fortunate enough to see these guys in concert at a furthur festival in 2000, they were playing the other stage, not the main stage. Best Dead sounding band I had heard, I had to come running from the other stage when they covered "Eyes of the world" I thought the dead had showed up. Very good band, highly recommended.
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I love the Jazz is Dead catalog as well-incredible song lists on all 3 CDs, and players not far from the Grateful Dead family tree.Does anyone remember bassist Joe Gallant and the three live (2 for Relix and one for Knitting Factory) and one studio CDs (for Which? Records)? Some good fusion there as well. One standout not yet mentioned is from the a cappella group the Bobs, on their '94 Rounder CD "Cover the Songs of...". They do a blazing version of "the Golden Road (to Unlimited Devotion)." Here's one from left field--Matt Krefting "To Lay Me Down" on the Ecstatic Peace! release "I Couldn't Love You More."
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blairj, while your comment doesnt make me not want to hear it at all... i am certainly less excited now i too would have expected a treatment similar to his stardust or night and day albums as you implied ...one in which you can here every slight finger movement across his nylon strings (no rust) and that quivering voice seem so perfect for that song not to digress... but i am reminded of a friend who did the food catering for a willie show in my town of richmond VA a few years ago, she is a wonderful women who enjoys many treats of the mind but NOT including the green growing lady, well she wound up on willie's bus afterwards and due to his presence was peer-pressured into partaking of said weed, unfortunately her disdain of that particular indulgence was only re-enforced as it made her extremely uncomfortable and she had to excuse herself almost immediately
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...going on Willie's bus, I thought "Uh-oh!" ;-) That Bobs a capella "Golden Road" mentioned earlier is also on "Stolen Roses."
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...does awesome tribal versions of Lovelight.... or at least they used to... they also do an acoustic version of I know You Rider from time to time as an encore.
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The marching band version of Uncle John's Band on Stolen Roses is great for pure kitsch. Patti Smith's Black Peter on the same album is interesting too.
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I remember having Kaiser's version of Dark Star/the Other One from "Those who know history..." Always my favorite performance in the spirit without plagiarizing.
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I'm not sure if an NRPS incarnation fits the category, but I'll take the opportunity to relate my favorite live performance of "Friend of the Devil". I lived in Reno around 1987 or so and remember walking 4 miles in the cold to see an incarnation of NRPS with the great Marmaduke himself. It was at a tiny little hole-in-the-wall joint off Virginia Street. An interesting thing about this show was that half of the band was missing! McDuke explained that the rest of the band were being detained by the Nevada police. They had played the night before in Lake Tahoe and weren't aware of the strict MJ laws on the NV side of the state line. Of course, he then launched into a super version of "Friend of the Devil". The spirit of the song really came through! I believe the NV laws have mercifully moved in a more humane direction since then...
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Wow, he would do a great "High Time" and "Cosmic Charlie". Emmylou doing "The Wheel". Change some words and Bonnie could do a sweet "Operator". Years ago I dreamed of having the technology that could duplicate your favorite singer/musician's sound and and make them do your favorite stuff. Science fictiony stuff, but a guy can dream. Tom Waits doing "Easy Wind". Yeah!
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McCune Salazar- or something similar is my favorite collection of Dead covers. Lots of great guitar picking and traditional playing. I found them on iTunes years ago. I can't seem to find them now. So this info is likely useless. I will re-post once if I can find more info. Note to whomever posted that Gilmour did 'Terrapin': It's a different song- a Syd Barret tune. Matt
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It's actually A Tribute To Jerry Garcia byPhil Salazar and Jonathan McEuen from 1999. Worth it if you can track it down. Tennessee Jed Casey Jones Eyes of the World Deal Shady Grove The Wheel Franklin's Tower Pig In A Pen China Cat Sunflower I Know You Rider Don't Let Go Dead Heat
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No mention of Illuminati? I have Terrapin and enjoy pulling it out a couple times a year. Can't beat the Bill Walton vocal.
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Ollabelle does a good version of Brokedown Palace and perhaps one or two others. Nice harmonies. Levon Helm's daughter is a member.
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...which brings to mind "The American Beauty Project" a few years back. I believe Ollabelle was part of that, and Jorma, and a bunch of other talented folks... Can't recall the details...
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Sugar Magnolia on their second "covers" album. And since the Bangles were so tight with the Dead and all, definitely deserves mention.
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Thanks for the link to Kaiser site. I have wondered who he is for years now, having a venue named for him in the bay area and all. I'm listening to the Dark Star>Other One now and it is fascinating. It is some heavy fusion stuff with a crispy, unique 80's sound to the mix. Creative instrumentation with cello adding a lot of texture...also, cool whale sounds in there. David Gans plays on it, too. A favorite Dead cover experience was seeing Dylan and Paul Simon play a show together. Towards the end of Dylan's set he played Not Fade Away. It isn't a Dead original but my friend and I were jumping up and down freaking out over it. I had called it couple minutes prior. Dylan, were you listening?
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is actually related to Henry J., though where exactly he is on the Kaiser family tree I don't remember.
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I am surprised nobody mentioned Jackie Greene (or did I miss it?). He sprinkles a few Dead covers through his sets and does a great job. New Speedway Boogie, Sugaree, and Friend of the Devil (acoustic) jump to mind but he does others as well.
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...and am happy to hear him sing Dead tunes any time. He's been known to do a really good "Scarlet" and "Deal" and "Brokedown" and a few others, as well. I still miss that version of Phil & Friends he was in with Larry Campbell!
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That was a great band. I was just thinking, too, that Greensky Bluegrass does a real nice China-Rider.
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new speedway boogie by catherine russell. Soulful, but too short...
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Back in 1999, I came across a CD titled Swingin to the Grateful Dead, which is exactly as it sounds. Dead tunes in swing, jazz and dixieland arrangements - horns and all. Oddly compelling and pretty fun for the occassional listen. Or I sneak it in where a "normal" Dead tune may not pass muster. Interpretations cover Touch of Grey, FOD, Bertha, Scarlet, Wharf Rat, US Blues, Eyes, Truckin, Cumberland, China Cat, Casey Jones and Ship of Fools. Outside the box for sure...
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I'd never heard of that one and just went and checked out the samples on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Swingin-Grateful-Dead/dp/B00000IFTZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=… Sounds pretty good! I like the "Scarlet" with the bari sax in there. Nice, breezy "Eyes"... Some of it sounds like it might be a little lounge-y, but definitely a nice effort in general. Love the cover, too, with the three zoot-suited skeletons.
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David Gans mentioned on another site a while back that he played guitar on a CD of "cocktail piano"-style GD covers by Jim Hudak, titled "Gratefully Yours" - "It's a "piano record" featuring tasteful accompaniment from guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and bass on some of the most beloved songs from the Grateful Dead" You can hear samples on http://cdbaby.com/cd/jimhudak2 see also http://www.deaddisc.com/disc/Gratefully_Yours.htm
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This topic sent me to the closet to uncover a half-dozen old tapes that I had compiled from songs featured on David Gans' GD Hour broadcasts (at least I think that's where most of them came from). I put a bunch of these covers of Dead tunes (and original versions of songs the Dead covered) and labeled them Dead Relatives #1-6.For your consideration: Dr. John - Deal Dave Nelson - The Wheel Jimmie Dale Gilmour - Ripple Patti Smith with Robert Hunter 10/30/97 at CBGB - New Speedway and Franklin's Tower Finally, there's Box of Rain, done by a female vocalist in a pop style. I think it might be Nicky Holland. . . but I missed the name. I played this for some of the guys, and they groaned, but I like it. . .
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Tom Waits doing Easy Wind - truly an inspired choice! I think we should start a petition. "I been ballin' a shiny black steel jackhammer..." ... like it was written for him!
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Surprised no one mention the album by David Murray, Dark Star, recorded in 1996. That same year Dylan was performing in Montreal, and performed a searing version of Alabama Getaway, where he was almost channelling Jerry.... It is rather odd that more Hunter tunes have not entered the general song-book--tunes like Ripple, Brokedown Palace, To Lay Me Down, Bird Song, among others are ideal for entry into the Great American Songbook. Friend of the Devil has been the most widely performed, I think.
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I was stoked to hear Willie do "Stella Blue" and was sorely disappointed at the result - just flat. Darn. Just did look at the copyright on Deadicated - 1991. Long time. From it I especially like Los Lobos' "Bertha", Elvis Costello's "Ship of Fools" and, of course, Spear's "Estimated" - when he sings "way up the middle of the air" it's Dead on! The two Deadicated discs have some great, great moments, too. The first came softly on the heals of Jerry passing ('96) and I feel was an extraordinarily heartfelt compilation from top to bottom. Lasana Bandele's version of "Cassidy" will make you smile when you check his unique phrasing. The second one is all good, but it doesn't hold together as well as the first. The standout track for me is Ken Boothe's "Bird Song" - again, cool phrasing. I loved Jazz Is Dead while it lasted. I loved "Laughing Water", the live one and a couple that circulate here as a vine, but nothing really tops the first. It was released in 1998 featuring Billy Cobham and called "Blue Light Rain". I love the whole thing but even if you were to hear only the first five tracks you'd be well-sated. "Crazy /fingers", "Unbroken Chain", "Scarlet Begonias", "Dark Star" and one written by Cobham called "Red Baron" are all ex. I also like Wake the Dead - St. Patrick's Day Dead. I know Feat have included songs and snippets in their sets so that's cool, too. What a legacy!
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10 years 11 months
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I can't believe no one recalls the punk rock version of "Truckin'" by the Pop-O-Pies, from the early 1980s. You had to hear it to believe it. Reputedly they did a great version of "Sugar Magnolia" into "Going Down The Road" in concert, but the time I saw them at Berkeley Square, they just did "Truckin." Like, twelve times. And then another song about getting donuts for cops. That was the whole show.
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8 years 4 months
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as is probably known, there is a band from Massachusets (i think) that does dead tunes with a raggae bent to them.called 'Grateful Dread" they also have a web site where you can order their cd. they're not too bad. and their album logo looks cool too. hope ya like it. i do.
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11 years
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Bob Dylan used to perform "Alabama Getaway" in concert. I'm not sure if he still does.
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11 years 5 months
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covered Pigpen's "Operator" on his 2009 Red House release "River of time" and pretty damn good it is too. How many covers of Pigpen songs are there out there?
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  • UncleJake
    2 years 10 months ago
    Kenny Loggins
    You've no doubt found it by now, but the Kenny Loggins FOTD is easily findable now on youtube.
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    Annie_Rose
    3 years 9 months ago
    Punk version of Truckin'
    Pretty sure the version you heard was by Black Flag.
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    Annie_Rose
    3 years 9 months ago
    Punk version of Truckin'
    I have a tape with a punk version of Truckin' by Black Flag. It must have been from the late '80s or very early '90s. Very cool version.
  • tennessee john
    5 years 1 month ago
    Thanks Anna!
    I'm putting that one on my Christmas wish list. Sounds great. I really like the Deadicated album. Especially, Costello's Ship Of Fools & Jane's Addiction's Ripple. To address the matter of the slowed down Friend Of The Devil. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Jerry was inspired to slow it down from Kenny Loggins. I may be wrong though?
  • Anna rRxia
    5 years 1 month ago
    Blue Grass Dead
    Can't believe nobody mentioned this band "Dead Grass" featuring Vassar Clements: Brown-Eyed Woman; Casey Jones; Attics Of My Life: Brokedown Palace; Alabama Getaway; Ripple; U.S. Blues; Dire Wolf; Friend Of The Devil; It Must Have Been The Roses; Mexicali Blues I liked the Reggae versions and the one by other famous musicians (Costello) and such. But this is my favorite!