Grateful Dead

February 19 - February 25, 2007

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

By mid-February, the Grateful Dead’s touring year was really getting under way, with the usual March madness just around the corner. This week we’ll check out some great stuff from 1973, 1974, some acoustic material from 1970, and we’ll look ahead to later in the year with come classic 1984 Grateful Dead.

It’s widely known that there isn’t too much in the band’s vault from the great year of 1970, especially disappointing because when the band was on in 1970, they played some of the best concerts in their career (2/13&14/70, 5/2/70, 11/8/70). One quirky little show in the vault is from 2/23/70, just a week after the Fillmore East shows, in Austin, Texas. The show is filled with some standard (read: very good) 1970 material, but we’ve received a few requests lately for some 1970 acoustic Dead to be played, so that’s what we’ll focus on here. A terrific Little Sadie shows off some excellent singing and playing by Jerry. This is followed by a Weir-alone version of Me and My Uncle, although Jerry does chime in on lead acoustic guitar at the very end. Finally, here is nice combination featuring a pairing of the rare and the sublime: Seasons>Uncle John’s Band.

This week in the Grateful Dead’s recorded history also featured the outstanding 2/21&22/73 shows in Champaign-Urbana, IL, recorded by Kidd on ¼” reels at 7.5 ips. This rendition of Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodel-oo from 2/21 demonstrates the confident sound the band would carry through the year, as well as the exceptional recording quality. Also from that tour, here is the final reel (reel #6 of 6) of the Iowa City, IA, show from 2/24/73. Unfortunately, reel #5 is missing from the vault, but what’s on reel #6 is certainly worth hearing: Jam>Bass Solo>Jam>Sugar Magnolia. Too bad the 46 minutes that precedes this jam is missing, but at least this excellent jam remains.

A year later, the band would start 1974 with a 3-night run at Winterland, with Donna back with the band after sitting out the final tour of 1973 on maternity leave. This run is certainly one worthy of hearing in its entirety, and with so many highlights, it’s tough to select just a little, but here goes: from 2/22/74, the first set ends with this very special Playing In The Band. What makes it unique is Jerry’s persistent teasing of what would become Slipknot! in 1975 with the release of Blues For Allah. Slipknot! would appear in various Grateful Dead jams throughout 1974, but this is one of the earliest. Also from 2/22/74 is this Me and My Uncle, which is one of the tightest, most powerful versions of this little song ever. Also, here is a typically hot China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, also from 2/22/74. From 2/23/74, the second set jam is one of the finest of the era, and filled with noteworthy moments. With a sequence of He’s Gone>Truckin’>The Other One>Eyes of the World, you know it’s going to be good, but everything is given that extra effort. The He’s Gone ending jam is truly rocking, the Truckin’ is played with passion, and The Other One is WAY out there, filled with crazy, deep spaces. And, once again, there is that Slipknot! jam again. And top it off with a typically inspired 1974 Eyes of the World. A stunning 60 minutes of music.

Like last week, we’ll jump ahead a few months to play some 1980s Dead, specifically a nice Shakedown Street from Rochester, NY, on 4/16/84. For whatever reason, the Dead usually played spectacularly in upstate and western New York, and this night was no exception. Jerry’s REALLY into this Shakedown Street. Drawn from the cassette master.

Check in next week, when we have no idea what we’ll be playing, but we’re certain it’ll be good. Your comments and questions are always welcome, so feel free to get in touch.

David Lemieux

vault [at]



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Joined: Jun 25 2007

Um a little more detailed than I expected, but greatly appreciated. Interesting history for songs that are so similar. Also makes for some cool reading. Muchas gracias amigo.

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007
my goodness!

that's awesome. thanks, Pliers!

Joined: Oct 26 2007

I should say so :)

SocietysPliers's picture
Joined: Jul 24 2007
Little Sadie History

Did that help? ;)

SocietysPliers's picture
Joined: Jul 24 2007
Cocaine Blues vs. Little Sadie vs. In Search of Little Sadie.

They're not entirely the same. The chords and lyrics vary a bit more, though they obviously came from the same source as do a few other similasongs of the same tale.

Thought a good place to start would be with Dylan's "In Search Of Little Sadie:"

G . A . G . . . . . . .

Went out last night just to take a little round.
I met my little Sadie and I brought her down.
I ran right home and I went to bed
With a forty-four smokeless under my head.

I began to think what a deed I'd done.

I grabbed my hat and I began to run.

I made a god run but I ran too slow;
They overtook me down in Jericho

Standing on a corner I's ringin' my bell,
Up stepped the sheriff from Thomasville.
G G#
He says 'Young man is your name Brown?
Remember you blowed Sadie down."

[from this point there is some kind of regular rhythm]

"Oh yes sir, my name is Lee.
I murdered little Sadie in the first degree.
First degree and second degree.
Bm F#
If you've got any papers will you serve them to me?"

Well they took me down town and they dressed me in black,
They put me on a train and they sent me back.
I had no one for to go my bail;
G D |: Dsus4 D Dsus2 D :|
They crammed me back into the county jail.

Oh, yes they did.

Now, the judge and the jury they took their stand.
F Fm
The judge had the papers in his right hand.
C Am
Forty-one days, forty-one nights;
F Fm
Forty-one years to wear the ball and the stripes;

Oh, no!

C Am
Went out last night to take a little round.
Em G7
I met little Sadie and I blowed her down.
C Em
I ran right home and I went to bed,
F Dm Fm C
A forty-four smokeless under my head.

There's one take.
Now, "Little Sadie:"

Went out last night to take a little round.
I met my little Sadie and I brought her down.
I ran right home and I went to bed
G [n.c.] A
With a forty-four smokeless under my head.

I began to think what a deed I'd done,
I grabbed my hat and away I run.
I made a god run but I run too slow;
They overtook me down in Jericho

Standing on a corner ringin' my bell,
Up stepped the sheriff from Thomasville.
He said "Young man is you name Brown?
Remember the night you blowed Little Sadie down."

"Oh, yes sir, my name is Lee.
I murdered little Sadie in the first degree.
First degree and second degree,
If you've got any papers will you serve them to me?"

Well they took me down town and they dressed me in black.
They put me on a train and they brought me back.
I had no one for to go my bail;
They crammed me back into the county jail.

The judge and the jury they took their stand.
The judge had the papers in his hand.
Forty-one days, forty-one nights;
Forty-one years to wear the ball and the stripes.
[Instrumental verse; ends: E7 E7 A]

Now "Cocaine Blues:"

\=slide down
/=slide up

m=palm mute

Capo on 1st fret
intro (Electric):

This is what the electric does curing the singing:


Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin' 44 beneath my head

Got up next mornin' and I grabbed that gun
Took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I ran too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez Mexico

Late in the hot joints takin' the pills
In walked the sheriff from Jericho Hill
He said Willy Lee your name is not Jack Brown
You're the dirty heck that shot your woman down

Said yes, oh yes my name is Willy Lee
If you've got the warrant just a-read it to me
Shot her down because she made me sore
I thought I was her daddy but she had five more

When I was arrested I was dressed in black
They put me on a train and they took me back
Had no friend for to go my bail
They slapped my dried up carcass in that county jail

Early next mornin' bout a half past nine
I spied the sheriff coming down the line
Ah, and he coughed as he cleared his throat
He said come on you dirty heck into that district court

Into the courtroom my trial began
Where I was handled by twelve honest men
Just before the jury started out
I saw the little judge commence to look about

In about five minutes in walked the man
Holding the verdict in his right hand
The verdict read murder in the first degree
I hollered Lordy Lordy, have a mercy on me

The judge he smiled as he picked up his pen
99 years in the Folsom pen
99 years underneath that ground
I can't forget the day I shot that bad bitch down

Electric during the singing:

Outro Chords:
Come on you've gotta listen on to me
Lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be.
And . . if that's not enough info:

Song History
"Little Sadie"
~ variants also known as
"Bad Lee Brown", "Bad Man Ballad", "East St. Louis Blues",
"Late One Night", "Chain Gang Blues", "Bad Man's Blunder",
"Penitentiary Blues", "Cocaine Blues", and "Transfusion Blues"

Digital Tradition Folk Song Database
Sheet music and lyrics

From the "Traditional Ballad Index"

Bad Lee Brown (Little Sadie) [Laws I8]
DESCRIPTION: The singer goes out one night to "make his rounds."
He meets his (girlfriend/wife), Little Sadie, and shoots her. He flees,
but is overtaken and sentenced to (a long prison term/life)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 (Randolph) see below
see full entry here


According to the above the earliest reference to the "Bad Lee Brown"
variant of the song dates from 1922 and appears in Vance Randolph's
Ozark Folksongs, Vol. II (1948, pp. 117-118):

Sung by Miss Billie Freese, Joplin, Mo., Apr. 17, 1922. Miss Freese
learned it from her boy-friend, a native of West Plains, Mo.

Last night I was a-makin' my rounds,
Met my old woman an' I blowed her down,
I went on home to go to bed,
Put my old cannon right under my head.

Jury says murder in the first degree,
I says oh Lord, have mercy on me!
Old Judge White picks up his pen,
Says you'll never kill no woman ag'in.


The first known recording of "Little Sadie" was in 1930 by
Clarence "Tom" Ashley

It was reissued in 2001 on the album 'Greenback Dollar -
The Music of Clarence "Tom" Ashley 1929 - 1933
Available from
Clarence "Tom" Ashley was an extremely colorful character
with a fascinating career in rural entertainment that spanned
over half a century. He traveled extensively on the medicine
show circuit, helped give Roy Acuff his early training, and
was still appearing at fiddlers’ conventions in the 1960s
when folklorists Ralph Rinzler and Eugene Earle discovered
a then-unknown Doc Watson playing in his band. Surprisingly,
Ashley has not been that well represented on record recently,
perhaps because he is considered to be more of an entertainer
and "character" than a musician. But from listening to this
impressive 20-song collection one will quickly find that he
had considerable talents as a banjo player and very distinctive
singer. His vocal & banjo solos such as LITTLE SADIE and
COO COO BIRD—all 6 of which are found here—are
stunning and some of the classics of recorded old-time music.
His work with Byrd Moore’s Hot Shots and the Carolina Tar
Heels, and his duets with Gwen Foster are all superior &
almost unique in their individuality. A wonderful set of notes
by Joe Wilson highlights this superb and important re-issue.


The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

Nearly 25 hours of recordings featuring 300 performers that
John and Ruby Lomax recorded during their three-month trip
through the southern United States in 1939

"Bad Man Ballad"
performed by Willie Rayford -
recorded at Cummins State Farm, near Varner, Arkansas ; May 21, 1939


Ashley recorded the song again in Chicago in 1962 with Doc Watson
on guitar on an album called "Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's,
Vol 2" released on Folkways Records in 1963 and reissued in 1994 as
"The Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence
Ashley 1960 - 1962" [Disc 1] (Smithsonian Folkways)

With 20 previously unreleased performances, many rare photos, and
producer Ralph Rinzler's comprehensive notes, this is the definitive
collection of two earlier volumes entitled Old Time Music at Clarence
Ashley's. These LP's introduced the world to Doc Watson and played an
important role in the folk revival of the '60s. Featured are Gaither Carlton,
Clint Howard, Fred Price, Jack Burchett, and others. Compiled by Ralph
Rinzler, Matt Walters and Jeff Place. Annotated by Ralph Rinzler. "Soul
pours out of these unschooled folk musicians..." -- SF Chronicle

Listen to Doc Watson sing "Little Sadie"
live at Gerdes Folk City in New York
(1962) on NPR's All Songs Considered


Remembering The Old Songs:


by Lyle Lofgren

(Originally published: Inside Bluegrass, January 2002)

Outlaw as Folk Hero is an old theme in the Anglo-American tradition, probably dating from before the Robin Hood stories. America developed a second idea, that of Outlaw as Psychopath, a truly Bad Man. Stagolee and John Hardy come to mind, as well as Lee Brown, the narrator of today's story. Versions of this song were found throughout the south, particularly in Appalachia and the Ozarks. The tunes vary, but the story is remarkably stable. Lee Brown shoots his woman, runs away, is caught, tried, and gets a long sentence. He has no remorse, other than that he is jailed. One writer says this song was very popular as early as 1885, but I couldn't find the source of that claim. There are lots of towns in
America with the names given in the song, but Thomasville and Jericho, North Carolina are only 60 miles apart, which make them prime candidates for locale. There's no reason to believe this song is literal history, though. A cursory search shows no information on a real Lee Brown, or any evidence that the song describes an actual murder. (continued here)


The Folk Music Index lists the following book/
recordings references:

Little Sadie [Laws I 8] Rt - Bad/Badman Lee Brown

1. Miller Jr., E. John; & Michael Cromie / Folk Guitar,
Quadrangle, Bk (1968), p109
2. Ashley, Clarence (Thomas/Tom)). Old-Time Music at Clarence
Ashley's, Part 2, Folkways FA 2359, LP (1963/?), cut# 2
3. Ashley, Clarence (Thomas/Tom)). Sing Out! Reprints, Sing Out,
Sof (196?), 9, p35
4. Ashley, Clarence (Thomas/Tom)). Asch, Moses (ed.) / 124 Folk
Songs as Sung and Recorded on Folkways Reco,
Robbins Music, Fol (1965), p125
5. Bailey, Hobart. Rosenbaum, Art / Old-Time Mountain Banjo, Oak,
sof (1968), p56
6. Dr. Corn's Bluegrass Remedy. It'll Tickle Your Innards, Grassroots
GR 004, LP (1977), cut#B.03
7. Erbsen, Wayne. Erbsen, Wayne / Manual on How to Play the 5-String
Banjo for the com...., Erbsen, sof (1974), p35
8. Foreacre, Louise. Stoneman Family Old Time Songs, Folkways
FA 2315, Cas (1957/?), cut# 12
9. Freight Hoppers. Where'd You Come From, Where'd You Go?,
Rounder 0403, CD (1996), cut# 4
10. Grossman, Stefan. Grossman, Stefan / Book of Guitar Tunings,
Amsco, Sof (1972), p66
11. Jarrell, Tommy. Rainbow Sign, County 791, LP (1984), cut# 4
12. Keith, Bill. Trischka, Tony / Melodic Banjo, Oak, Sof (1976), p 35
13. May, William. Folksongs and Ballads, Vol 4, Augusta Heritage
AHR 010, Cas (1992/?), cut#B.06 (Sweet Sadie)
14. Michael, Walt; & McCreesh, Tom. Dance Like a Wave on the Sea,
Front Hall FHR-017, LP (1978), cut#A.05
15. Muller, Eric. Muller, Eric & Barbara Koehler / Frailing the 5-String
Banjo, Mel Bay, Sof (1973), p56
16. Perlman, Ken. Perlman, Ken (ed.) / Fingerstyle Guitar,
Spectrum Books, Sof (1980), p129
17. Rice, Tony. Rice, Tony / Tony Rice Guitar, Rice, fol (1984), p59
18. Ward, Wade. Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward, Folkways
FA 2363, LP (1962/field), cut#B.09
19. Watson, Doc. Doc Watson on Stage, Vanguard VSD 9/10,
LP (1970), cut# 22
20. West, Hedy; and Bill Clifton. Getting Folk Out of the Country,
Bear Family BF 15008, LP (198?/1972), cut# 4


Little Sadie
Comprehensive List of Recordings 1930 - 2005

Year / Artist / Album Title (Label)

1930 - Clarence Ashley (Columbia 15522-D, on RoughWays1)
1939 - Clarence "Tom Ashley / Various Artists / My Rough And
Rowdy Ways: Early American Rural Music. Badman Balads
And Hellraising Songs, Vol. 1
1957 - Louise Foreacre / The Stoneman Family - Sutphin, Foreacre,
and Dickens: Old-Time Tunes of the South (Folkways Records)
1962 - Wade Ward / Music of Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward
(Folkways Records)
1963 - Clarence "Tom" Ashley with Doc Watson / Old Time Music at
Clarence Ashley's, Vol 2 (Folways Records)
1963 - Clarence "Tom" Ashley / Various Artists / Old Time Music at
Newport-1963-Newport Folk Festival
1966 - Liz Getz / How Can I Keep From Singing (Folkways Records)
1967 - Paul Jones / Love Me Love My Friends
1969 - Grateful Dead / Mojo
1969 - Grateful Dead / Filmore Auditorium 12/19/1969 (Disc 1)
1969 - Grateful Dead / 12-26-69, McFarlin Auditorium, S.M.U., Dallas, TX
1969 - The Blue Velvet Band / Sweet Moments With The Blue Velvet Band
(WEA International)
1970 - Bob Dylan / Self Portrait (Sony)
1970 - Doc Watson / Doc Watson on Stage (Vanguard)
1970 - Trees / On The Shore
1970 - Grateful Dead / 1/31/70 The Wharehouse - New Orleans, Louisiana (Disc 2)
1972 - Hedy West & Bill Clifton / Getting Folk Out Of The Country
(Bear Family Records)
1975 - DOC Watson & SON / Doc Watson & Son (Vanguard)
1980 - Grateful Dead / 80-10-31 - Radio City
1982 - Jerry Garcia / 04.10.82 Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ (early show)
1982 - Jerry Garcia & John Kahn / 06/04/82 Neighbors Of Woodcraft
Portland, OR (Late Show)
1985 - Tony Rice Unit / 6/23/85 Tony Rice Unit, Telluride, CO
1985 - Jerry Garcia & John Kahn / The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA 10-16-1985
1986 - Jerry Garcia & John Kahn / Garcia/Kahn 1/27/86 The Ritz, NYC
1987 - Tony Rice / Manzanita (Rounder Records)
1987 - Jerry Garcia Band / jgb 87/08/29 French's Camp (Acoustic) 1
1988 - Doc Watson / On Stage (Vanguard)
1988 - Acoustic All-Stars / 1988-01-23 (Disc 2)
1989 - Daniel Lanois / The Maker
1990 - Michael J Miles / Counterpoint (RTOR)
1991 - Tony Rice / Tony Rice Unit-Live Pawling NY 1991
1992 - Tony Rice / Tony Rice Unit
1993 - Garcia, Grisman, And Rice / The Pizza Tapes
1993 - David Grisman / Early Dawg
1994 - Doc Watson & Clarence Ashley / Original Folkways Recordings 1960 - 1962
[Disc 1] (Smithsonian Folkways)
1994 - The South Loomis Quickstep Band / Collector's Edition
1995 - Gaither Carlton / Various Artists / High Atmosphere (Rounder Records)
1995 - Doc Watson / The Vanguard Years (Disc 2)
1995 - Bill Keith With Jim Rooney /Various Artists /
Folk Music At Newport Part 1 (Vanguard)
1996 - The Freighthoppers / Where'd You Come From Where'd You Go?
(Rounder Records)
1996 - Tony Rice / Teaches Bluegrass Guitar
1997 - Golden Delicious / Various Artists / Used To Be -
Blues From The Pacific Delta For Bill Monroe
1997 - Wayne Erbsen / A Manual On How To Play The 5 String Banjo
For The Complete Ignoramus (Pembroke Music Co. New York)
1998 - The Radiators / Live At The Great American Music Hall
1998 - The Sadies / Precious Moments
1998 - Wooden Leg / Various Artists / Edges from the Postcard 2
1998 - Dan Crary / Flatpicker's Guide
1998 - Dana Robinson & Lui Collins / Paired Down
(Molly Gamblin Music and Threshold Music)
1999 - Doc Watson / The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968 (Vanguard)
1999 - Mark Lanegan / I'll Take Care Of You (Sub Pop)
1999 - Golden Delicious / Live At The Laurelthirst (Cavity Search)
2000 - Jerry Garcia, David Grisman & Tony Rice / The Pizza Tapes (Accoustic Disc)
2000 - Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott / Real Time
2000 - Dana Robinson / The Trade (Threshold Music)
2000 - Misty River / Rising
2001 - Clarence "Tom" Ashley / Greenback Dollar - The Music of
Clarence Ashley 1929-1933
2001 - Doc Watson / At Gerdes Folk City
2001 - Black Twig Pickers / North Fork Flyer
2001 - Hadacol / All In Your Head (Slewfoot)
2001 - Uncle Henry's Favorites / Old Time String Band Music
2002 - Clarence Ashley / Various Artists / The Other Anthology of
American Folk Music (Disc 4) (Sheep Shaggers)
2002 - John Renbourn / Faro Annie (Sanctuary)
2002 - The Sadies / Various Artists / Making Singles Drinking Doubles
(Bloodshot Records)
2002 - Doug Wallin / Various Artists / Sodom Laurel Album:
Appalachian Ballads From Madison County, North Carolina
2002 - Dave Grant, Various Artists / From The Low Note
2002 - Lee Knight / From The Appalachains (spiritsounds studio)
2002 - Tommy Jarrell / Vol. 2-Legacy Of Tommy Jarrell (County)
2003 - Doc Watson / Trouble In Mind / Country Blues Collection 1964-1998
2003 - Clarence Ashley / Various Artists / Classic Old-Time Music from
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (Smithsonian Folkways)
2003 - David Lindley Y Wally Ingram / Twango Bango III
2003 - Hilarie Burhans/Clawhammer Banjo / Put On The Skillet
2003 - Adam Granger / Various Artists / DocFest (FGM Records)
2004 - Grateful Dead / Reckoning (Disc 2)
2004 - Kitchen Syncopators / Yazoo City Strugglers
2005 - Liz Carlisle / Five Star Day
2005 - Sam Mann Of Alligator / Various Artists / Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares
2005 - John Doyle / Wayward Son (Compass Records)
2005 - Troublesome Creek String Band / Fast as Time Can Take Me (County)
2005 - Sankofa Strings / In Sule's Garage: Live at The Flagstaff Folk Festival
June 11, 2005
2005 - The Monogram / Siesta
2005 - The Rosinators / One Kind Favour / Little Sadie/ Just Can't Keep
From Cryin' (PDC Music)

Joined: Jun 25 2007
Little Sadie

I always loved Little Sadie whether it was the Dead or Jerry doing it solo. Something interesting that I noticed: I bought a copy of Johnny Cash's excellent album Live @ Folsom Prison. On this there is a track that is labeled as Cocaine Blues. As I listened to it the first time I began to think that the tune was familiar. After going back & listening again I realized that it is the same song as Little Sadie, but where Jerry sings Little Sadie Cash would say Cocaine. Example: Went out last night to take a look around, met little sadie & blowed her down is how Jerry sings it. Cash sings went out last night to take a look around took a shot of cocaine & blew my old lady down. With that exception in the lyrics, the song is exactly the same including where the trial takes place - the judge & the jury they took the stand etc. Anyone out there know anything about this? I have heard other artists do Cocaine Blues inc. the Dead, but it was a different version. Interesting.

GrayFolded's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
Sucks reel 5 is gone....

Looks like we missed Row Jimmy ; Big River ; Ramble On Rose ; Me And Bobby McGee ; Truckin' >Jam....But you gave us a treat with reel 6..

Dead to the Core


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