• April 27, 2012
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blairs-golden-road-blog-listen-river-sing-sweet-songs
    Blair's Golden Road Blog - “Listen to the river sing sweet songs…”

    My 18-year-old daughter just had a week no one should have to experience. As Regan and I were coming out of the screening of the 7/18/89 Alpine show at the recent Meet-Up at the Movies, floating on air, we got a call from her telling us that three of her friends—all high school seniors—had been involved in a horrible automobile accident south of the Bay Area on Highway 101. One boy was killed, a second was in a coma, the third in critical condition but expected to recover. The past week has been a swirl of disbelief, grief and soul searching, as both students and parents have struggled to cope with this unthinkable tragedy, offer support to all who need it and also try to carry on with the other things in our lives. It’s not easy buckling down to read a chapter on comparative government when one of your pals is undergoing his second brain surgery in three days. Nor for us, as parents, to see our daughter entering what is new emotional territory for her and many of her closest friends. There have been solemn get-togethers and a beautiful candlelight vigil, and teachers and counselors at the high school have been sympathetic and helpful.

    A few nights ago, my daughter was headed out of the house and surprised me by suddenly asking, “Can you find me version of ‘Brokedown Palace’ I can play in the car?” She has always enjoyed the Dead on some level, knows a lot of their songs to varying degrees and has become more interested in their music over the past year, especially since seeing Furthur during the last New Year’s run. I have heard her idly singing bits of “Brokedown Palace” around the house from time to time; maybe it’s from all those nights I sang it to her as I rocked her to sleep when she was a baby.

    I had about 30 seconds of panic wondering which version I should choose before I went with the obvious one: the pristine studio recording from American Beauty, right out of “Ripple” (another song she knows), sweet as can be. The next morning she reported she’d listened to both songs a few times and it had made her feel better. And that eased my worried soul a bit to hear that. How wonderful it is that we can take solace from songs; relieve some of the emotional burdens we all carry.

    “Water Lily Pond and Weeping Willow”
    by Claude Monet, 1919.

    “Ripple” and “Brokedown Palace” have brought me through sad and confused times and also, as often, put an even bigger smile of my face when I was happy. There was always something that felt right about ending a great weekend of Dead shows with a beautiful “Brokedown,” as fans and band got to sing to each other: “Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell /Listen to the river sing sweet songs/ To rock my soul.” What a profoundly gentle and loving sentiment. I felt it strongly listening to Furthur end their recent Beacon Theatre run on that lovely grace note. And Crystal Hall from the Mickey Hart Band sings it as well as anyone these days; her version is in my head now, too.

    Sometimes at a concert or listening to tape, I don’t know the song that’s going to affect me until I’m in the middle of it. A line will trigger some thought or memory and suddenly “The Wheel” is a revelation, or some line from “Stella Blue” or “Comes a Time” is the one that touches my heart in unforeseen ways. For me, “Attics of My Life” may be the single most affecting song in the entire Hunter-Garcia canon, at once mysterious (with its “cloudy dreams unreal” and “secret space of dreams”), frank about our frailties and so full of compassion and empathy. It always gets me. It is spiritual in the most uplifting and undogmatic way.

    There are times I feel the quest in “Terrapin” is my own (down to being trapped in the lion’s den) and that’s the song that speaks to me, or I’m hurtling out of control and hanging on for dear life in “The Other One,” with Cowboy Neal at the wheel (at least someone else is driving!). I’ve been the Lost Sailor and had many a day Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad. A well-placed “Bertha’ might wash the blues away. Conversely, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” can be a cold slap of reality to remind us of life’s fragility. And a lot of the songs are marvelous escapes, where we briefly encounter the myriad characters that populate the Grateful Dead universe—from gentle Jack Jones to Delia DeLyon to Jack Straw from Wichita to Althea to Loose Lucy—and then move on, perhaps more observers than participants. I love a good yarn (although there are life lessons in them, too).

    It’s an infinite, ever-changing tapestry that continues to yield new meanings and emotions, that changes as I change, and as the particulars of my world—and those I love—shift in both subtle and obvious ways. It seems as if there’s always a Dead song out there in the ether to shed light and move me brightly.

    What are some of the Grateful Dead songs that have been important to you—in good times and bad?

    348121
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 7 months

My 18-year-old daughter just had a week no one should have to experience. As Regan and I were coming out of the screening of the 7/18/89 Alpine show at the recent Meet-Up at the Movies, floating on air, we got a call from her telling us that three of her friends—all high school seniors—had been involved in a horrible automobile accident south of the Bay Area on Highway 101. One boy was killed, a second was in a coma, the third in critical condition but expected to recover. The past week has been a swirl of disbelief, grief and soul searching, as both students and parents have struggled to cope with this unthinkable tragedy, offer support to all who need it and also try to carry on with the other things in our lives. It’s not easy buckling down to read a chapter on comparative government when one of your pals is undergoing his second brain surgery in three days. Nor for us, as parents, to see our daughter entering what is new emotional territory for her and many of her closest friends. There have been solemn get-togethers and a beautiful candlelight vigil, and teachers and counselors at the high school have been sympathetic and helpful.

A few nights ago, my daughter was headed out of the house and surprised me by suddenly asking, “Can you find me version of ‘Brokedown Palace’ I can play in the car?” She has always enjoyed the Dead on some level, knows a lot of their songs to varying degrees and has become more interested in their music over the past year, especially since seeing Furthur during the last New Year’s run. I have heard her idly singing bits of “Brokedown Palace” around the house from time to time; maybe it’s from all those nights I sang it to her as I rocked her to sleep when she was a baby.

I had about 30 seconds of panic wondering which version I should choose before I went with the obvious one: the pristine studio recording from American Beauty, right out of “Ripple” (another song she knows), sweet as can be. The next morning she reported she’d listened to both songs a few times and it had made her feel better. And that eased my worried soul a bit to hear that. How wonderful it is that we can take solace from songs; relieve some of the emotional burdens we all carry.

“Water Lily Pond and Weeping Willow”
by Claude Monet, 1919.

“Ripple” and “Brokedown Palace” have brought me through sad and confused times and also, as often, put an even bigger smile of my face when I was happy. There was always something that felt right about ending a great weekend of Dead shows with a beautiful “Brokedown,” as fans and band got to sing to each other: “Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell /Listen to the river sing sweet songs/ To rock my soul.” What a profoundly gentle and loving sentiment. I felt it strongly listening to Furthur end their recent Beacon Theatre run on that lovely grace note. And Crystal Hall from the Mickey Hart Band sings it as well as anyone these days; her version is in my head now, too.

Sometimes at a concert or listening to tape, I don’t know the song that’s going to affect me until I’m in the middle of it. A line will trigger some thought or memory and suddenly “The Wheel” is a revelation, or some line from “Stella Blue” or “Comes a Time” is the one that touches my heart in unforeseen ways. For me, “Attics of My Life” may be the single most affecting song in the entire Hunter-Garcia canon, at once mysterious (with its “cloudy dreams unreal” and “secret space of dreams”), frank about our frailties and so full of compassion and empathy. It always gets me. It is spiritual in the most uplifting and undogmatic way.

There are times I feel the quest in “Terrapin” is my own (down to being trapped in the lion’s den) and that’s the song that speaks to me, or I’m hurtling out of control and hanging on for dear life in “The Other One,” with Cowboy Neal at the wheel (at least someone else is driving!). I’ve been the Lost Sailor and had many a day Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad. A well-placed “Bertha’ might wash the blues away. Conversely, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” can be a cold slap of reality to remind us of life’s fragility. And a lot of the songs are marvelous escapes, where we briefly encounter the myriad characters that populate the Grateful Dead universe—from gentle Jack Jones to Delia DeLyon to Jack Straw from Wichita to Althea to Loose Lucy—and then move on, perhaps more observers than participants. I love a good yarn (although there are life lessons in them, too).

It’s an infinite, ever-changing tapestry that continues to yield new meanings and emotions, that changes as I change, and as the particulars of my world—and those I love—shift in both subtle and obvious ways. It seems as if there’s always a Dead song out there in the ether to shed light and move me brightly.

What are some of the Grateful Dead songs that have been important to you—in good times and bad?

Display on homepage featured list
Off
Custom Teaser

My 18-year-old daughter just had a week no one should have to experience. As Regan and I were coming out of the screening of the 7/18/89 Alpine show at the recent Meet-Up at the Movies, floating on air, we got a call from her telling us that three of her friends—all high school seniors—had been involved in a horrible automobile accident south of the Bay Area on Highway 101.

dead comment

user picture

Member for

9 years
Permalink

This song helped me care for my father as he passed, and it helped knowing the song served the same use for Phil Lesh.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

... me, too, with both my mom and dad...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 11 months
Permalink

My prayers and thoughts to your daughter and her friends and family. music lives, and like all living things, its has the ability to heal.
user picture

Member for

11 years 1 month
Permalink

Black Muddy River was never a favorite until I came upon it while starting a long drive home after my mother's death and all the emotional earthquakes, and busy work, that came with it. And I agree with everything you said about Brokedown Palace, as the best way to end a show as well as to console. "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

This bittersweet song hints at the pain of loss, recognizes the unstoppable momentum of life, and finally comes to terms with reality in the wordless wonder of the ending.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

This was my late brother Frank's favorite. He turned me on to The Dead back in 1972. In 2005 we got to see Phil do an interview at The Center for Ethical Culture in N.Y.C. Peace, Michael
user picture

Member for

11 years 1 month
Permalink

very sorry about the tragedy that your daughter has had to cope with. my condolences and thoughts go out to you and her... as for songs and lyrics, so many... when on tour i remember 1st hearing "...crawling out your window, they're never gonna miss us..." when i started dating my now wife, and was commuting 1800 miles (ug!) she one day texted me "...get back home where you belong, and don't you run off no more..." needless to say, i moved and am where i belong. i work at a summer camp, and there are so many lines in days between "...summer flies and august dies..." "...hearts of summer held in trust, still tender young and green..." and... "When all we ever wanted Was to learn and love and grow Once we grew into our shoes We told them where to go Walked halfway around the world On promise of the glow Stood upon a mountain top Walked barefoot in the snow Gave the best we had to give How much we'll never know" to me, that song is still the best words hunter ever put to paper...
user picture

Member for

8 years 5 months
Permalink

Blair, I am so sorry to hear about the crash and I hope that your daughter is getting through this...Many years ago I was talking to Eileen Law about my going to therapy for my depression and she said "Hunter is my therapist." I started listening to the songs and hearing the words after that and sure enough he is a wonderful therapist...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 2 months
Permalink

I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy. Car accidents are a whole category of unspeakable violence, I hope you and Regan keep talking and healing. As a teen and 20-something Deadhead, and with all that exuberant tour-hounding implied, I tried really hard to keep a clear head about safe travel to and from the shows. It was not easy with the music and who knows what rattling in my head for hours (days?). Without a doubt, listening to Reflections for the first quiet hour in the car post-show was like a mantra, our getaway prayer. I agree, Comes A Time was the one that really sunk in, every time. And that whole record, and Jerry's first solo LP, are just amazing gifts in song to us, Hunter/Garcia documentary grace.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

My thoughts are with your daughter, her friends and their families. Such loss and trauma is way too much for young folks to endure. There is no doubt about the healing powers of music and especially the Hunter Garcia canon. It is not just the words, it is the whole feeling created by the combination of words and music, a feeling of constancy, pushing on into the dark or the light, trying to take life's burdens seriously, but lightly too. They have helped me many times. Reflections has already been mentioned, but not just for Come's a Time, also the wonderful Mission in the Rain and the (non Garcia Hunter) I'll take a Melody. That outro weaving 'Shine on, keep on shining' with the sweet guitar has healed many a dark moment. Row Jimmy also has that feeling of enduring constancy, I have no idea what it is about, but it has healing powers too. In a particularly period of immense personal stress Sugaree from March 18 1977 (yes that show again) literally saved my sanity. I listened to it over and over. Again it wasn't really the words, it was the constancy of the rhythm and the meditations of Jerry's guitar, always wandering, but always with sure direction.
user picture

Member for

6 years 11 months
Permalink

In times of confusion..."Sure don't know what I'm going for, I'm going to go for it for sure" I always go to Morning Dew when I see something tragic on the news like tornados that affect communities Death don't have no mercy from "Live Dead" will bring me to the sudden death of my dad and it gets me at the most inopportune times. But a good cry is not always a bad thing As I ordered tickets for Ga & NC summer tour my wife asked me what my motivation was to travel 4 hour from the Charlotte area to see a show, why not wait and just go to Cary. My answer was: "It Keeps Me Sane"
user picture

Member for

8 years 9 months
Permalink

Learning to play these gems on my acoustic guitar is quite healing. With the recent passing of Levon Helm I sat down and played To Lay Me Down over and over. Robert Hunter should get the Medal of Freedom.
user picture

Member for

6 years 8 months
Permalink

I recalled last night the two teenagers weaving through traffic in a very congested commercial strip at about twice the posted speed limit. All I could think was "Casey Jones you better watch your speed." There is a very graphic video that has been out there for a couple of years now about teens driving and texting/talking. While I don't know the reason for that accident, I know it is a video I would have my teens watch before they started driving. It is a combination of me getting older and the number of new gadgets on the dashboard to cause distracted driving that is causing me to feel more unsafe, even as I slow down and drive more defensively.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I second Sugaree, although the one that hauled me out of the pit was the one Jer played at the Keystone Palo Alto in January '81, and I don't think I've ever heard a tape of it. On the face of it, it's such a dark song, but like Badger says, maybe it's something about the, not authority exactly, but high-level sureness, with which Jer's guitar navigates it.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

What Eileen Law Said.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Mr. Jackson. You're a good Dad. American Beauty had to accompany my daughter when she went away to school. I hope she has leaned on it when times got tough.The song Comes A Time has always been wonderful consolation and a refuge of sorts. In the late '70's I was introduced to it through Reflections and later was completely slayed by it when I heard the December '71 versions. And 17 years ago, when Hundred Year Hall came out, I was stoked with anticipation hoping it's version would surpass my faves. It didn't, but was still really good. I just finished listening to the 4/26/72 box version and have a new appreciation, not only for the unabridged show but for the song. Wow!!! It's easy to see why it's so highly regarded. All the best, Deadicated
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Bravo. Weird coincidence....just before I put my two year olds down for a nap earlier today just randomly played Ripple from AB on the iPad. I saw their enchanted faces and felt myself getting misty eyed. To Lay Me Down definitely a song that move me. Puts me in a space like nothing else. Comes A Time another. Almost 20 years ago now when embroiled in personal problems I used to play I Will Take You Home right before collapsing at 4 am. It was comforting but also I think it was telling myself "you are going to get through this and one day it will be about you giving back to your kids...not living this selfish, empty existence." And fortunately, that came true.
user picture

Member for

9 years
Permalink

My mother passed quickly after 93 healthy years, so her passing was easier.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

6 years 6 months
Permalink

I put my children to bed every night singing "we bid you goodnight" from LiveDead while they were young for comfort as they slept. I tragically lost my son last year and have been comforted myself numerous times as I listen some of the songs already mentioned. There is definitely healing in the music, "so let there be songs to fill the air."
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Blair, I'm sorry about the tragedy of your daughter's friends, my thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.As Eileen Law says no better therapy than a few songs of the Dead. For my Box of Rain was a great help in the death of my father 9 years ago, and of course Broke-Down Palace, Comes a Time, To Lay Down My, Attics of My Life, Ripple, Terrapin, He's Gone, Mission in the Rain, etc... help me in many times my feelings decay.
user picture

Member for

11 years 2 months
Permalink

high time off workingman's always does that spine tingling feeling for me, just a flood of memories reaching deep down into my psyche
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Marye, there is a circulating aud of 23 Jan 81, which opens with Sugaree, taped by Dick Latvala no less! I do not have it, but if you are interested, I am sure someone can help. But then again sometimes such special things are best left as they are in the memory.
user picture

Member for

8 years 4 months
Permalink

Very interesting thread, and Blair, I'm so sorry about your daughter's friends. For me, Ripple is the most beautiful song ever, and always makes good times better and bad times more bearable for me. I wish I had seen it more than the one time I caught them acoustic (10/30/80). But at least I never heard Phil sing it, lol. Might have ruined it for me forever. Seriously, I think it's the most beautiful (lyrics and melody) of all of the Dead's beautiful songs.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 2 months
Permalink

I offer you, your family, and all the families affected by this tragedy my wishes for peace. My dayjob is working with traumatized preschool aged children. You are right, non one should have to experience the tragic and seemingly senseless destruction of life such as your daughter witnessed....especially not so young. The impact it can have on a psyche is profound, as profound as the swirl that any of the songs you mention bring up for us, as you say, in unexpected moments. I probably don't have much more to add. I have definitely experienced comfort in song lyrics (especially Grateful Dead songs)...it's therapeutic to have the emotional resonance that comes from knowing that someone has had an experience similar enough to relate. It's also amazing how efectively the medium of music conveys these similarities of experience.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

48 years 10 months
Permalink

Other than the love of dear friends and family and (for me) spiritual practice (meditation, nature, reflection,etc.), music heals in a way nothing else can. I need music to get through pretty much every day, and pretty much every day that means grateful dead music. Amen to the songs on American Beauty having particular healing powers. I may have missed, but I haven't seen Unbroken Chain mentioned. I survived a psychically distressing experience following the ingestion of some psychotropics by listening to Unbroken Chain over and over (as this was in the glory days of cassettes, this required a great deal of rewinding). The sound in that song that (to my ears) reminds me of a plane landing (I have no idea, to this day, what makes that sound) reassured me that I was "coming down." And the way Phil (and Donna) sings it was/still is hypnotically calming to me. And so is that sweet, clean, melodic guitar intertwined with Phil's winding bass lines in the beginning. And then there's that groovy jam in the middle.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

48 years 10 months
Permalink

One more tune (performance, really) that carries powerful emotional resonance for me is a 30 minute performance of Shining Star from (I think) the early 90s. My college sweetheart played this show for me many times and gave me a copy which I eventually lost. I've listened to it many times, and not once made it through with dry eyes. For me it carries all these sweet, wonderful memories, as well as the memory of getting through the breakup of that relationship partly thanks to that song. By the way, if anyone knows what show that was (my tape wasn't dated) and if that recording is available, please let me know. I found on amazon an out-of-print release called "Shining Star" which unfortunately is only available from sharks for unbelievable amounts of money. I'm wondering if that is the version.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

blair-I'm so sorry for your family- and for those families-- i know exactly what you're writing about-- the same thing happened to me-- we lost a beautiful 18yr old girl on a glorious spring day... the grief is unimaginable... ripple brokedown palace and birdsong-- birdsong became her song-- still is. all i know is something like a bird within her sang... then that beautiful guitar line... it doesn't take away pain, but it gives a shape and a movement to it- a sound to it-- one i can live with-- i send love and good vibes to you and yours-
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 1 month
Permalink

that I read of your daughter's loss, my heart goes out to you all. Now for the far more mundane and less important. It is worth thinking not just about the words and the effect they have to capture our moods, funnel our thoughts, show us doorways and paths we had not seen, but the combination of the words with the music. This is something I study "professionally", so to speak, and it is one of the great mysteries of music, and the holy grail, in many ways, of music cognition. Perhaps the most profound aspect of the Garcia/Hunter partnership was their mutual ability to match word to melody, and visa-versa. Many a Hunter lyric would be simply a nice song, but not something that would drill into your soul, without the melody, and many a Garcia melody would be simply a nice tune to whistle if not for the hunter lyric. It is the song, the combination of the two that "rocks our soul". So whether it is Stella Blue, Ripple, Brokedown Palace, Box of Rain, To Lay Me Down, Mission in the Rain, one can easily go on, it is both the meaning of the words, and the meaning of the music, that affects us. Perhaps this is why folks like myself are overly (according to some!) sensitive to changes in the Dead's "style" over the years, the word/music link is so tight, that we cannot just focus on the song-as-words-simply-melody, but note how much issues like guitar tone and the like make the piece. Stella Blue can be a dusty window shining grey light onto your soul, or a stained-glass window, casting bright colors onto all it touches. Which is up to the band.Peace to all, my we find solace where we can in the Dead oeuvre.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

7 years 8 months
Permalink

So sad for the losses and families, Blair. We and others have navigated those transitions helped by Brokedown Ripple Eyes Roses My Dad, cousin, aunts, uncles, pals, friends and especially the young ones gone suddenly in war and acccident, babies... My own last wishes are for Uncle John's Band to be played acoustically for whatever reason-seems to lft the most spirits. bear
user picture

Member for

8 years 4 months
Permalink

That is one of the most eloquent and thought provoking posts I have read on here. Bravo!
user picture

Member for

11 years 3 months
Permalink

Blair, I'm really sorry to hear about this tragedy. As I was reading this thread, of all things, a friend came into my office to tell me that her biopsy revealed cancer. The prognosis is good, but of course that is always alarming. She doesn't want many people at the college to know, so I find myself sharing it here for some reason. And this makes me think... in addition to the words, the music, and as Grateful Prof says, the combination of the two, there is the community. That Blair can share this personal tragedy here, and all the thoughtful comments in response, just serves to remind me that the community is almost (at least?) as important as the music. All the arguments go away, in the end there's just a song, and a lot of really interesting, compassionate folks.
user picture

Member for

7 years 3 months
Permalink

I love how Robert Hunter's lyrics are very ambiguous and change meaning just like Blair said. I have wondered for a long time exactly what Ship of Fools was really about. During a hard time in my life, the meaning of the lyrics, for me, went a whole different direction. The meaning had changed from what I originally thought and became what I needed to hear at that particular time. Very amazing but not surprising...One of my favorite songs and every performance I've ever heard is great.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 1 month
Permalink

Back during my touring days Ship of Fools was the song that seemed to always signal that the show would be good. Not sure why, not sure even if, but thats how it always seemed, "Ah, Ship of Fools--ok it will be a good one!"
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

It was very heartwarming to hear recently that Burmese Nobel prize winner and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi said in an interview that she found comfort and encouragement from 'Standing on the Moon' during her years of house arrest, imprisonment and maltreatment. She is free now and has been elected to Parliament. Maybe Burma is changing at last....Jerry and Hunter should be so proud that they made a difference for someone so special.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

used to make me feel safe. Not everytime I heard it but from time to time, I felt like being home, like being me, when I heard it. Of course there are other Dead/Garcia tunes that I like a lot and some may have a soothing effect but "It must've been the roses" is very special to me. For no particular reason except maybe because "Reflections" was the first record I got with the Dead actually playing on it. That was in late February or early March, 1976. Micke Östlund, Växjö, Sweden
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

Blair, I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's friends. As a parent of four adult children, I think the worst thing for any parent is to lose a child. My father predeceased his mother, who was in her late 80s when he died, and she said as much. God speed healing for your daughter's two injured friends. Songs to heal, from the Dead. Where to start? Those that come to me immediately are Box Of Rain Ripple Brokedown Palace Other that hit a similar spot. Comes A Time. Always does it for me ... when the blind man takes you hand... Althea. Can't figure it, but this is a song that always gets me.
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

to ease my soul! Previous mentions of Box of Rain, Ripple and Brokedown Palace have all been soothing during times of sadness and disappointment. Jerry's Brokedown Palace from Telluride in 1987 is a very special version. A few posts back, Cosmicbadger referred to JGB doing Sugaree: I'm trying to download that Keystone show, but apparently the show isn't available to pull, as my download speed has been sitting on 0.0% for quite some time. Jeff Knudsen used Dick Latvala's audience recording to create the torrent file. I'll check-in later to see if a seeder will oblige. Back to the soccer match in Manchester!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 4 months
Permalink

"Box of Rain" brought me to tears while driving to work one morning in 2004; I had to pull over. My mother,who was dying of cancer,passed almost exactly 24 hours later.
user picture

Member for

10 years 10 months
Permalink

At my final GD show in Salt Lake City 1995, I became separated from my friends and found myself in somewhat strange environs far from home when suddenly, it seemed, bubbling up out of Space appeared Visions of Johanna. For no apparent reason I got all weepy, alone in the dark. Probably meaningless coincidence, but for me it turned out to be my final memory of Jerry. In a more general way, I've always felt Uncle John's Band is a song like a glass of whiskey: Equally perfect for joyously celebrating and poignantly drowning your sorrows.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

6 years 7 months
Permalink

So many Grateful Dead songs have the ability to touch my heart, but some seem to be able to do it every time I hear them. Wharf Rat is one. Box of Rain is another. To Lay Me Down is one more. Brokedown Palace? Yeah. I remember seeing Rat Dog in Austin, Texas in 2003 and they did Brokedown Palace as the encore -- acapella. Makes my eyes water just to think of that night. I think tears of joy and sorrow come from the same place-It's our heart reminding us of what it means to be human. Fragile, momentary, noble in purpose, not always noble in deed. But inspiration moves us brightly. And we know we are supposed to be together in this tribe. I feel so blessed to be able to pass these tunes along to our children, so that they can use this music to climb mountains and endure the deepest valleys. So kind thoughts and prayers to Blair's daughter's friends. Warm winds blowin'.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

7 years 9 months
Permalink

First and foremost, my heart goes out to your daughter and her friends. Regarding the musical aspect of your post, rather than picking this or that song, I just want to note how amazing it seems that Hunter was not even 30 when he wrote such profound lyrics as those on American Beauty, especially those mentioned by you. Makes me also think of how young Lennon/McCartney were when they wrote "In My Life." To me, these lyrics have always had the wisdom of the elders notwithstanding the youth of the writers.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

10 years 9 months
Permalink

The studio version of Ripple>Brokedown Palace was a good choice. It is a stunning bit of beauty. What other band has been able to pull off something like that? Spiritual ballads that don't feel fake in any way. They don't feel like product; more like perfect gentle poetry which the band is moved by as much as we all are. I wish they did th Ripple>Brokedown pairing more often in concert. The only version I know of offhand is 08-18-70 which unfortunatelly is a listenable, but rough audience recording. It is still great if you can deal with that. It is my favorite of the accoustic sets, due to both that and from having more of the gospel tunes than usual. That and the next night are two of the shows I most wish good version would emerge. Just the other day while going through the Europe 72 anniversaries I was struck by the Brokedown Palace from 04-11-72. Specifically, it was Keith's playing that got me. Subtle, but perfect. Comes A Time is the song that gets me the most though. It helps that it usually followed such ferocious jamming. Couldn't be a better contrast. The 76-77 versions also featured some of Garcia's most lyrical soloing. Time stands still on the version from Dick's Pick's 29 (05-21-77). Oh to have been there.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Healing thoughts to the kids involved, your daughter and all coming to grips with this far too common high school tragedy. It is one my daughter experienced four years ago at the start of her senior year when her friend was lost in a crash and several others hurt. Much in your blog deeply touched me because it is just as I've experienced the Dead's music. .Soundtrack of my life is a cliche, but it is always there for fun, support, grief and inspiration American Beauty was my go-to lullabye for my daughter when she was a baby. I recall many nights and walks softly singing Box of Rain, Ripple, even FOTD. I affectionately refer to her as my Dead spawn. She's gonna graduate college in a few days and she, her mom and I are going to celebrate with a DSO concert.
user picture

Member for

9 years 7 months
Permalink

i don't usually comment here but "Mission in the Rain" is a song that really gets to me. "I'm ready to give everything for anything i take" "Ten years ago, i walked this street my dreams were riding tall tonight i would be thankful lord, for any dreams at all some folks would be happy just to have one dream come true but every thing you gather is just more that you can lose" gets me every time.
user picture

Member for

7 years 3 months
Permalink

Good call - "Mission in the Rain". Works for me every time, too...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

7 years 8 months
Permalink

Phil's recent renditions of "Unbroken Chain" are beautiful and consoling.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

I'm suprised this hasn't been mentioned. Of course box of rain is a given but as well bird song is comforting in times of grief or sorrow. "All I know is something like a bird within her sang. All I know she sang a little while and then flew on...""Don't cry now. Don't you cry. Don't you cry anymore lalalada. Sleep in the stars don't you cry dry your eyes on the wind..." It is truly an inspiring song that you can't help but feel overwhelmed with emotion while listening. That said the song was written about Janis Joplin, a good friend of the band so it is a tribute to her legacy and in doing so it also allows us to identify with how we are feeling when faced with that sort of situation.
59 comments
sort by
Recent
Reset
  • Default Avatar
    deadheadben
    3 years 11 months ago
    pig
    two souls in communion is good the music and words. I love when pig played harp in hurts me too. I like when they cover country songs like green green grass or sing me back home too, those are emotional.
  • ds smith
    6 years 6 months ago
    my girlfriend Nickie
    in 2002, my gf of 5 years passed away suddenly in a car accident and we played both We Bid you Goodnite and Brokedown from Dozin so she'd get a huge applause. i was so crushed at the time that i just cried and cried. but Brokedown is one of the greatest songs in the history of songs. Jerry has some of the best ballads ever...any genre included. the older i get, the more I feel this way. i just absolutely love JG and the GD. thanks for the blog Blair.
  • Default Avatar
    blairj
    6 years 6 months ago
    I love...
    ...those cosmic coincidences, tjvh. They happen often enough to make wonder...
  • Default Avatar
    tjvh
    6 years 6 months ago
    Row Jimmy
    Walked out of the Hospital 20 minutes after my father passed away, had to go to my Mom's house, and in the Cassette deck right off the bat out comes a beautiful Row Jimmy. My Dad's name was Jim. I'll never forget that. My thoughts go out to you.
  • Default Avatar
    cschimmel
    6 years 6 months ago
    Mom
    "....when I had no wings, you flew to me...you flew to me..."