Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead Hour no. 500

By David Gans

Grateful Dead Hour by David Gans

Week of April 20, 1998

Documentary by David Gans

Grateful Dead 4/6/71, 5/3/72, 2/23/74, 9/20/90


Grateful Dead 6/27/69 Veterans Auditorium, Santa Rosa CA

Grateful Dead 3/11/93 Rosemont (IL) Horizon

Mutilaudio by David Gans and Gary Lambert

ID by David Crosby

David Crosby and Jerry Garcia

Steve Silberman 11/7/94 Icon Byte, San Francisco

Mickey Hart (unreleased)

I had a request for the legendary Mickey Hart "rap" "Fire on the Mountain," which has been broadcast several times over the course of the Grateful Dead Hour's history. This one was easier to get to than the first airing, which is archived in PCM digital form on a video cassette. One o' these days I'll get those Betas transferred...

This "500th" show is actually somewhere closer to the 600th hour of GD-related radio programming I had produced. As I noted in the hoopla surrounding GD Hour #1000, my first broadcast was on February 18th, 1985 on the KFOG Deadhead Hour in San Francisco. I was one of several area Deadheads assisting original host M. Dung with the show at that time (the others were Paul Grushkin, author of The Official Book of the Dead Heads, and Dr Richard Raffel); later that year I was asked to take responsibility for the show, and then other radio stations started asking if they could carry it, too. The band gave their blessing, and that's how I inadvertently became the producer and host of a nationally syndicated radio show. I started numbering them in 1987 and got up to #55 before a commercial syndicator got involved in September 1988 and started the numbers over again from 1.

As I said in the intro to GDH500, "I thought I'd put together some stuff that you heard first on the Grateful Dead Hour, and some things you probably wouldn't have heard otherwise." GDH501, to be posted next week, has more of these firsts and exclusives.

"Greatest Pump Song Ever Wrote" is the documentary I produced for my first appearance on the KFOG Deadhead Hour. "Greatest Story Ever Told" opens Bob Weir's 1972 solo album Ace, but an earlier version appears on Mickey Hart's 1972 solo album Rolling Thunder as "The Pump Song." I had interviews with Weir, Hart, and lyricist Robert Hunter talking about how this song came to be, and Mickey did me the gigantic favor of inviting me up to his studio, hauling out the multitrack master of "The Pump Song," and soloing up the individual tracks. The song began with a recording of a pump on his ranch, to which Mickey added some log drums; he then gave the tape to Bob with a challenge to turn it into a song. Hunter added lyrics, which Weir altered a bit (e.g. "Moses come ridin' up on a guitar" became "...on a quasar"). Bobby also changed the title; "That song was 'Moses,'" Hunter told me. I followed the documentary with a composite of the song edited together from four very different-sounding live renditions.

The 1969 live GD excerpt includes a rare country cover of "Old Slewfoot," an early "Casey Jones" from before the intro was worked out, and "Dire Wolf" with Bob Weir singing lead while Jerry Garcia played pedal steel.

"Kids and Dogs," a lovely multitracked instrumental duet by David Crosby and Jerry Garcia, was brought to my attention by Deadhead author and Crosby confidant Steve Silberman, who learned of its existence via a bootleg tape of an unreleased early-'80s Crosby solo album and made it his business to tell the world about it. Steve's campaign came to fruition a year so ago when the song was included on the Crosby boxed set Voyage.

Steve Silberman also appears in the program reading his poem "The Drum Circle," the text of which you can read on his web page.

"Flibberty Jib" is from a guest appearance by Ken Nordine at the Rosemont Horizon on March 11, 1993. Ken was famous in the 1950s and '60s for a unique form of poetry with music that he calls Word Jazz (and which he still creates to this day). Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and sound man Dan Healy were huge fans of Ken Nordine's work. We met him in 1990 and invited him to join us for the live broadcast of New Year's Eve, and then in February of 1991 he made a CD called Devout Catalyst with the Garcia-Grisman band backing him. Ken also co-anchored the New Year's Eve 1991 broadcast.

"Handle" is a bit of digital audio art that I made with my pal Gary Lambert, editor of the Grateful Dead Almanac and one of the editors of this web site you're reading right now. We found half a dozen performances of this great Otis Redding song and shuffled 'em together like a deck of cards. After we finished the work we realized that we'd left out one very cool cover of the song, from Toots in Memphis.

And of course, we have the legendary unreleased Mickey Hart "rap" version of "Fire on the Mountain," from an unreleased 1974 studio recording that featured Jerry Garcia on guitar and I'm not sure who else. I got a copy of M Dung's reel, which he got from Mickey's master. This track really oughta see the light of day officially some time.


Your requests are requested! Browse and/or search the Grateful Dead Hour program logs on the show's home page, Let me know if there's a particular program you'd like to hear, and feel free to post requests and comments here or by email to gdhour [at]

Thanks for listening! David Gans
gdhour [at]

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Zaorish's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2007

If I could go back in time and persuade Jerry to let Mickey rap that song every time...and also start playing it with the Dead in 1974....whew....that would be absolutely nuts!!
Sorry for the triple post, couldn't resist.

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God is good.

Zaorish's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2007

AWESOME!!! I totally have to get the Rap FOTM asap! That's great stuff!
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God is good.

Zaorish's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2007
Thanks David Gans and everyone else

Great stuff David.
It's always fun to hear Mickey talk about drumming etc., he was always my 3rd favorite Dead man.

I like the composite GSET, it's cool to hear the different eras.
I assume the Mickey rap is at the end...can't wait to hear it!
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God is good.

Joined: Sep 20 2007
Crazy Mickey

Mickey is too much! I can imagine how much fun that was to record.
REALLY loved the "kids & dogs". Wish there was more Garcia/Crosby to listen to out there. Uncle Jerry's got the fingers and David's got the voice. Good stuff.

Joined: May 26 2007
Mickey's "rap"

Mickey never claimed to be a progenitor of rap with this - it's just something the Heads decided :^)

GD Hour blog
Station list

built to listen's picture
Joined: Nov 17 2007

Loved every second of this one. Thanks David. Mickey is amazing, I'm not sure about rap history, but this version of FOTM predates the Sugar Hill Gang by a few years, right? And what a great story about the genesis of Greatest Story! Brilliant stuff!
"Looking for a shove in some direction"

spring mountain high's picture
Joined: Jul 22 2007


Joined: Aug 21 2007

I always thought certain Dead tunes lent thmeselves for rap songs, either because of the lyrics or the groove. China Cat is primed for it! Any influence you can have getting that idea out there, Dave? Regardles, regards from me.

Joined: Jun 26 2007
Thank you!!

What an absolute treat to hear the Mickey "rap" Fire 1st thing this morning at work. Just makes the whole day alot better. Maybe Run DMC should have brought in the Dead instead of Aerosmith for a crossover hit!!. Great stuff as usual.

Joined: Oct 5 2007
thank you for a real good time...

great show David, its a treat to hear these interviews and commentary on the band and the songs origins.Its sort of a trip down memory lane to re visit these archived shows.I used to religousley record, these weekly episodes of our favorite band..back than the majority of the stuff you put out had not been heard.I recall being a tad disapointed at the time when a show was not jammed full with 50 plus minutes of music(when do I flip the tape?),But these interviews are truly classic.The hand of fate was kind to you, to put you in the right time and place to pull off this great show...thanks again,...Bobby K...
Tommy Kelly 9/11 notfadeaway never forget


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