Grateful Dead

February 22 - February 28, 2010

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

A warm welcome back to the Tapers' Section, where this week we'll cover 15 years of Grateful Dead history from 1972 to 1987.

Our first couple of stops this week are at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, MO, with our first selection being the end of the second set of the first night of a three night run in St. Louis on 10/17/72. From that excellent show, we have Ramble On Rose, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Sugar Magnolia, NFA>GDTRFB>NFA. as good as this show is, the next couple of nights are even better. from the second show on 10/18/72, we have a couple of great first set songs, Bird Song, Big River, with the bird song being particularly grandiose. please note that there is plenty of dead air/tuning between these two tracks, so don't give up; the big river rocks!

Next up, from 12 years later in Hartford, CT on 10/15/84, we have the entire first set made up of Hell In A Bucket > Sugaree > El Paso, Bird Song, C.C. Rider, Tennessee Jed, Jack Straw> Keep Your Day Job, starting and ending with two of the then-quite new tunes, Bucket and Day Job. Between RatDog, Phil and Friends, The Other Ones and The Dead since 1995, one of the only songs in the entire Grateful Dead repertoire never performed by any of these bands is Day Job. I wonder why that is…

Finally this week is another complete first set from the 1980s, from the opening show of a five night run at Madison Square Garden on 9/15/87. I was fortunate to attend this and the next night, and I was already a huge Meters fan thanks to my buddy Swinny making me a cassette featuring their two albums Cabbage Alley and Rejuvenation, a tape that was in my car for years. So, when the band opened with Hey Pocky Way, I was thoroughly blown away. The entire set, made up of Hey Pocky Way, New Minglewood Blues, When Push Comes To Shove, Me And My Uncle > Mexicali Blues, Row Jimmy, Queen Jane Approximately, Tennessee Jed, The Music Never Stopped. There's a nice, well-developed Beer Barrel Polka tuning break in there, too, after Brent's communist friends sabotage Weir. I was always a fan of When Push Comes To Shove, which only had a couple of years left in the repertoire. To digress, another In The Dark track I love is My Brother Esau, which would be gone from the repertoire just a couple of weeks after this show.

Be sure to stop by next week for more great music. Feel free to write to the email address below with questions or comments about the Tapers' Section, or anything Grateful Dead-related.

David Lemieux


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Joined: Oct 1 2007
going down the road feeling bad....

Is not by Woody Guthrie. It is a traditional, with known roots going back to the '20's, but it bears structural and lyrical similarities to tunes which take us into the late '19th cent. The lyrics were often signified on, with many variations known. Rumor has it Jerry learnt the tune while on the Festival Express train, but he could very easily have learnt it earlier given its rather prominent place in the cannon of American Traditionals.
Keep on Truckin'!

Joined: Jan 13 2010
uh, don't go to

that is what you call a ghost web site.

yes, the band varied stuff interchangeably, one of the reasons why they generate so much interest to this day. viva variety!

Joined: Jan 13 2010

hey "this one",

Do you have a copy of DeadBase VIII? One of the editions has a list of "lyrical images" from among the songs. For example, Agriculture: Barnyard (in Little Red Rooster), Fields (in Brown Eyed Women, Music Never Stopped, The Other One); Direction: Down (in Alabama Getaway, Alligator, etc.)

hopefully you get the concept.

anyway, I agree with what you are saying. i remember years ago "getting" how images appeared in various GD songs, and the concept you are talking about.

check out perhaps they have the lyrical images list there.

Joined: Nov 23 2007
keep your day job

I'm seeing something here: It seems to me that the Dead had pairs of songs that mirrored each other; songs that could be played interchangeably on alternating shows. For example, one show they would play Not Fade Away toward the end of the second set, then the next show they would play Good Lovin'. One show Bobby would do Me and My Uncle into Mexicali Blues, then MAMU into Big River. They seemed to do that a lot.
Today was the first time I ever heard Keep Your Day Job. It's OK, but it came at the end of the first set, just like another song with a similar feel and a similar message. That would be Deal, also played at the end of the first set a lot. Deal is about gambling and the savvy required to be successful at it. Quitting a job when another job or cash opportunity isn't secure is a gamble, isn't it? Just a thought.

SaintSteveg's picture
Joined: Nov 19 2008
all-time favorite

One would think that a long-time fan of a band with hundreds of songs in their repertoire would find it difficult to name one song as a favorite. The Grateful Dead have so many great songs. But for me there is just nothing that has it all like "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad!" I've heard the most well-known version on "Skull and Roses" probably ten thousand times and it still gets my heart pumping fast and brings tears to my eyes, Jerry's guitar soaring on the power of Bob's churning rhythm. To me it literally expands the boundaries of the power of music.

This '72 St.Lou version does nothing to diminish that power, with the addition of Keith hammering the ivories to beat the band - just tremendous. What a delight to sit in my office with a big ol' smile on my face!

I would also highly recommend the '71 Austin TX version in the Road Trip listening party on the home page. It smokes, too. "Goin' where the water tastes like wine..."

By the way, does anyone know who is the songwriter? Is it Woody Guthrie? Thanks.

Peace to DL and GD family

~ I'll meet you some morning in the sweet by and by

shwack's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2008

Hey Man,
Finally getting to TS! (work like the devil...)
2 complete 1st sets:Wonderful! Recall the Pocky Way Opener; a Stunner for me as well.
Also 6 days earlier 9/9/87 Providence R I.
D.L.,yeah you right with that Cabbage/Rejuv recording.That stuff is fine like wine.
Also diggin' the 2 Birdsongs from 2 distinct Eras.Lovely.

Merci Beaucoup Monsieur Lemieux

shwack in nh

ststephen49's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
The Fox shows...

My very 1st show was 7/8/70 at MRF in Edwardsville, IL but this run of Fox shows really sealed the deal. Harper Barnes did the great liner notes about the Fox & the Dead on "Two from the Vault". "The best room in the country" as Jerry used to say, the rumor was they were thinking of buying the Fox as their Midwest home. My oh my, to dream...But these shows crackled with that early seventies energy that comes along with a houseful of dosed hippies. And I do agree the next two nights just got better. I'm so grateful I was there and now, here.

Peace, Steve

Joined: Jan 6 2009

Esau was one of about 5 tunes I never caught live - always loved that tune and had my fingers crossed before every Walkin Blues

gratefaldean's picture
Joined: Jun 22 2007
Hey Pocky Way, I was thoroughly blown away

Appears to be part of the link. Do we get to hear Mr Lemieux getting thoroughly blown away on this track? Let's listen....wait for it... ;-)

Joined: Aug 21 2007

This old redneck/biker bar a buddy and I use to hang at had the "Touch of Grey" 45 in the jukebox. We always played the flipside "My Brother Esau" instead. Always got a few curious looks.

Love that tune!


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