- https://www.dead.net/features/joan-baez/blair%E2%80%99s-golden-road-blog%E2%80%94roots-and-branchesBlair’s Golden Road Blog—Roots and Brancheshttps://www.dead.net/features/joan-baez/blair%E2%80%99s-golden-road-blog%E2%80%94roots-and-branchesBlair’s Golden Road Blog—Roots and Branches26973
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Actually, it happened the opposite way for me. I was very late to get on the bus, and never got into the band while Jerry was still with us. I graduated high school in 1989 and still kick myself for the amazing shows I could have seen that summer, but I just didn't know what the fuss was (and was influenced by the stereotypes that I now recognize as supremely unfair). As my musical tastes grew and I got more into jazz and blues and roots music (e.g., the Anthology), I came to the Dead because I kept encountering them through connections and anecdotes. (For instance, I am a huge Miles Davis fan, and read about the band in his autobiography). As I became more familiar with the band's influences, everything kept pointing to the Dead. So, now I am firmly seated on the bus, enjoying the ride through trading and the amazing releases you folks are putting out.
... I absolutely love me some cowboy songs. The Marty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads is a bonafide classic. :)
it's definitely thanks to Jer that I was smart enough to go see Elizabeth Cotten while she was still alive... In a little side room of the Civic!
This one i'll keep short as my reply to your previous blog Blair, is going to be a long one....!!A great blog this one is too; in the days of vinyl, each sleeve would be poured over, looking for clues, credits, thanks and more. Who wrote that song? Who guested? Who was the inspiration? The keys to a greater musical Universe. But for me personally, in most cases, the Grateful Dead continually reinforced my expanding tastes, long before full immersion in them manifested. The links were uncanny. Having been turned onto free jazz by Henry Rollins and Thurston Moore - Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, David Murray, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, who should the Dead have played with or mentioned? Well whaddya know?! Reading about Karlheinz Stockhausen and having immersed myself in Berio's "Sequenzas"...I don't believe it! There's Phil Lesh! Being obsessed with drums and percussion from a young age and investigating African and Ghanian rhythms....Hello Mickey!! A friend of mine, deeply into Indian Ragas (the sitar and all encompassing drone, that when i first encountered felt as though i'd heard it all my and previous lives), opening my musical horizons still further?.....Oh, Mickey's studied with Alla Rahka you say? Well i never..... And on and on....Blues, Folk, Improvisation, early electronic tape composition..... I guess it was just meant to be. The beauty of that cosmic synchronicity that is all around us, waiting to come to the surface when we allow it to happen naturally. This was meant to be a short one and i'm still not sure that my answer has anything to do with the post; guess i'm still trying...... (peoples patience, mainly).
Growing up on a farm in rural VA I couldn't help but know country and bluegrass music. Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe etc.were staples of my musical diet. As I got older and started playing trumpet in the high school band I got turned on to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and other jazz greats. I also developed a love of classical music at that time. The first time I heard Ravi Shankar I was blown away and fell in love with Indian music. I also listened to a lot of Kingston Trio, the Weavers, Joan Baez etc. I didn't discover the Dead until I was 30. An audience tape of "Eyes of the World" from Englishtown NJ was what initially grabbed me. My Deadhead friend soon introduced me to "Reckoning" and I loved the acoustic interpretations of some songs I'd known for years. The thing about the Dead was that they incorporated all these different influences so well into their own unique styles. I have never found another band that can do that with the same seemingly effortless grace!
In a way. I HATED country music (my parent's music), but got sucked into "country rock" by the likes of Dylan's "Nashville Skyline," Poco's "Deliverin'," CSN&Y, and most especially, the Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." If not for those antecedants, I would very likely never have been drawn to the Dead, which really meant that I was drawn to the New Riders and then to the Dead's "country" sound. And if not for the Dead's cover of "Big River," I would have continued to write off Johnny Cash as an example of my parents' music that I just plain hated; if not for "You Win Again," Hank Williams would never have truly entered my musical lexicon. And what a shame those omissions would have been. Great topic, Blair, thanks!
Like a great observer still says; "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats". What you bring up is very true, Blair. I noticed many psychedelic bands succumbed to the trance-like influences of Eastern music, such as J.A., West Coast Pop Art, & Electric Prunes. After things settle down & all the commercial dust clears, what's left of the human race, may be in for a groovy Renaissance.
When I was a wee kid there was a lot of blues, country, bluegrass, and folk being played in my home, both on the phonograph and by my father on his guitar. When my family got a hold of Workingman's Dead in about 1979, it was a natural extension, and perhaps a more hip choice for me and my brother who were already reading R. Crumb comix and the like at the tender ages of 10 and 12. After becoming a more entrenched Head a few years later my tastes began to expand to jazz and so-called ethnic music, which as I discovered, my father was also listening to before and after I was born (after all, I was named by my dad after a prominent jazz musician who is largely credited with bringing eastern music more to the west). I have found out that a lot of what I began and continue listening to was/is still of interest and influence on members of the Dead, but that is incidental...isn't it? In the cosmic scheme probably not, but I listen to a lot of music that I found out about the Dead's association with after the fact. From root to expanding branches, onward ho!
Being a Deadhead certainly opened up entirely new worlds of music to me, but not as the result of tracing the lineage of particular songs, like Blair. The free-form exploratory jamming leads inexorably to the world of jazz. If you're a guitar player, Jerry's heavy reliance on finger-picking and the use of moveable chords in so many of his sorta signature solos leads directly to traditional folk music and country blues. And, of course, if you're a Deadhead, you can't help but check out OAITW, which opens up the world of bluegrass (and "newgrass"), and if you play music, a whole new world of instruments not typically seen in the worlds of rock or jazz. All of those genres in turn lead to other places, some of which take you back in time, some forward. I might very well listen to jazz and bluegrass, play country blues guitar and 5-string banjo, had I never listened to the Grateful Dead, and Jerry in particular. There isn't really any way to know. Although I do know that the Grateful Dead is what in fact led me to those places and aside from enjoying the music itself, that's been the best part of the Grateful Dead's and Jerry's music.
...was literally the first bluegrass I ever saw live. I liked it, but I can't say I really "got" it. I would've liked 'em better now that I actually know some stuff about bluegrass. It was getting into the Louvin Brothers and a couple of others through Emmylou Harris a couple of years later that really turned my head...
I have long heard about rock and roll's roots in the blues, but the GD put a lot of that stuff up front and center. also, back in the Golden Road magazine days, blair, you had a roots article or two, which helped me learn about blues and folk and psychedelia and whatever. Leading up to my first show (7/18/82), I loved Chicago, then the ABB, then the Clash, and then punk in general (Germs, X, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, etc.) The GD opened me up to a lot of new things (the aforementioned blues, folk, psychedelia...Phish...) Oh to have a million dollars and a year of free time all to myself to enjoy music.
Blair. I think you may "let off the hook" more recent players and audiences than I am tempted to do. Of course guitarists now should listen to great rock guitarists, but is not as if they cannot also listen to Charlie Christian and Howlin' Wolf. I found that as the years went by Dead audiences tended to be comprised of folks VERY familiar with the jam band scene, but often very little else. Of course this is a generalization, but it has, I think, some truth to it. Imagine, you go from having early electric Miles, one of the most interesting and experimental bands of all time, opening for the Dead to, well, the Good Rats ten years later! In a funny way the amount of music available on line easily does not only make it easier to listen to a wide range of musics, but also much easier NOT to! In the old days, when you went to the local record store, you might discover rather quickly that you exhausted the offerings in your favorite genre pretty quickly, and so moved on to something new. Now if you do not have that kind of musical curiosity you can listen to every obscure jam band, or what have you, well, for ever, and feel like your musical horizons are broadening, while in fact they really are not. I wonder how many Heads know, say, who John Cage actually is, and why he might be important to the Dead. In its extreme form you get Heads who ONLY know the dead. I recall sadly waiting on line to enter a show in the mid '80's and none of the younger folks on the like knew the title's of any of the Dylan covers the Dead had played the previous night, or even that they were Dead tunes. (Here would be an interesting "experiment" it would be fun to know how many Heads actually know which dead tunes are covers and which are not--I bet even Not Fade Away would not get great recognition!, Sure the Dead made many of these tunes their own, but.....Anyhow, thanks for the interesting post, one of the great aspects of the Dead was the sense in which they were like a giant musical ambix, into which so many styles were thrown, and out of which often emerged a golden amalgam. If we as Heads were to have ears as big as theirs I think the musical world of the average Head would be enriched.
sorry for the assorted typos, wuz writing quickly before, well, getting back to writing!
...but I think in general Dead Heads have broader tastes than your average listener... as Mickey said "an advanced sense of adventure." As for not knowing which are covers and which are not... I've been that guy! I remember the first time I heard "Waiting for Miracle" I was convinced it was a new Hunter-Garcia tune, but it quickly led me to Bruce Cockburn... I'll bet there are many Furthur fans who had never heard the Rolling Stones' "We Love You" before they unveiled it NYE last year. It's an obscure B-side! You only know what you know; there's always more to discover! That's the fun part...
Being born in 1961 allowed me to experience an incredible array of musical influences in a way that just cannot be duplicated today. I mean that in the sense of alot of it being in real time. Being the youngest of six children and growing up in blue collar New Jersey the variety was amazing. AM radio was the only avenue at the time but what a time. There was also the Ed Sullivan show and other variety shows that not only featured the most current rock and roll but classics like Louie Armstrong and Frank Sinatra etc.. If there were ever a test for the pros and cons of the hippie movement some of the answers lie in the the children who were just beginning to realize the very basics of living in society. We had and respected our parents influences and our older siblings as well. The world was such a great place for me at that time. Even watching shows like the Little Rascals and Looney Tunes gave us a musical education that we may not have realized at the time. The T V commercials that were selling Oldies records, Motown records, Soul records,Country records, Big Band records, Classical etc. let me know that there were alot of musical doors out there to be opened and I opened them all and left them open. Before I realized that he was a member of the Grateful Dead I fell in love with the first Garcia solo album. The advantages of having older brothers with wide open musical tastes. Europe 72 was always playing on the family hi-fi and my parents had no objections. It was then that I realized that Garcia was part of the Grateful Dead. Those songs spoke of an americana that no one had heard before. My oldest sibling is my sister who saw the Beatles twice. She loved the whole British invasion thing. Then came two older brothers who liked everything out there. My second sister was into Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Poco, that whole L.A. scene etc. The brother just above me turned me onto John Prine. In Junior High I was one of two people were into the Dead, Dylan, Band, Allmans, etc. and took an unbeleivable amount of heat for that. Its funny how, many years later alot of those same people saw the light and loosened up. I was fortunate enough to see Muddy Waters at the Rose Room at Rutgers University in 1978 along with a number of fantastic shows there over the years. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter I made sure that I played my favorite songs to her belly. When my daughter was three years old we were listening to Midnight Moonlight from Old and in the Way and she made me play it over and over again. She could'nt get enough of that song. ("tears in his eyes I guess") Those in-utero influences run deep. Teach your children well.
Did I get it right? But seriously, I have thought about some of these ideas - but backwards. I was real into very hard rock, what we called heavy metal, in the early seventies (though not exclusively, first Dead show 1973). By about 1974 or 75 it all started to sound alike to me. Part of it was that my tastes were changing; I was starting to listen to Jazz, had always listened to a lot of Blues (I was, after all, "Born in Chicago"), and was generally opening up my mind to many kinds of music. But, the hard stuff was all sounding to me as if the newer hard rock bands were recycling a shrinking package of ideas. At the same time, I would read interviews with (especially) guitarists in anything from Rolling Stone to Guitar Player, and they would all say that they did not listen to other rock n' rollers - even, or especially, those who they sounded exactly like... They all listened to nothing but Django, Charlie Christian, T-Bone, and Beethoven! It sounded so pretentious, and not very believable. Years later, I worked with many metal-heads and I learned that, in their opinions which they were certain were not opinions but absolute facts, there was no metal until about 1975 (OK, maybe Black Sabbath). They told me, essentially, that it was not metal if there was outside influence - Blues, Jazz, whatever. Like imagination is bad for the art. I would have hoped for better from Deadheads, but see quite often that it is not so. Music can be a very big, or very small, world - no matter what music(s) you prefer.
...our older brothers and sisters! Like uponscrutiny, I had a very influential brother who turned me on to everything from Miles Davis (In a Silent Way) to the Grateful Dead (Aoxomoxoa) to Ravi Shankar... the sheer variety of what he was into opened my mind so much...
love the in-utero note! I played to my first child, before he was born, and when he was a newborn Uncle John's Band, again and again (very badly) on my guitar. It became the only song that would calm him down. One car-ride famous in my family had my wife and I taking turning singing it over and over and over for 4 and a half hours. While we sung, he slept, when we stoped, he wailed. My children have heard all sorts of music since their birth, and no do not like almost anything I play, but the know what it is, and perhaps when the get older, and give up (I hope!) on commercial rap, they will have the foundation for returning to the music that is "under their skin." One definition of rock and roll, as good as any other I have heard, is that Rock is any music that your parents hate! Gotta go and flip a record! (what my youngest kid calls "giant cds!"
Blair and prof thanks for the shout-out it made my day. Also Blair great topic of discussion. It allowed me to finally put into words feelings that have been tumbling around my brain forever.
I thought I was in the minority, being raised on Jazz, Rock, Classical and Country along with The Dead, Beatles, Zappa and the pop stuff that showed up on AM radio in the '60's and '70's, until I read some of the other postings.One cat that was more of a recent revelation for me was Django. Heard some of his electric stuff that was done shortly before he passed away. I was awestruck by how proficiently Jerry was able to soak up his style, without being derivative. Django started with the Banjo in early European Jazz ensembles and moved to Guitar. Both Jerry and Django used the crossover to their benefit. There's a fluidity and emphasis on right hand technique that they may not have come across otherwise.
There's a real good Django biography by Michael Dregni called "Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend" I recommend. A fascinating life!
when i first started listening to the dead, i really didnt get into the roots part. they were just albums i liked. my first awareness of older music when i heard will the circle be unbroken. that was my first taste of really good bluegrass. it's still my favorite bluegrass album of all time (many others i'm sure...) though i think i've read that the biggest selling bluegrass album of all time is old and in the way! but the circle album introduced me to doc watson, mother mabelle and thus the carter family, norman blake and thus john hartford, tut taylor, tony rice, and grisman, merle travis, etc. it was thru grisman/hartford album retrograss that i met mike seeger, and thus new lost city ramblers, whom i then learned were big influences with garcia's roots. i love mike seeger, who was a rex foundation award recipient (and whom, as far as i know, when he died, wasn't even mentioned in the dead almanac "in memoriam" or this site) you can read lots about him and the nlcr in the shady grove liner notes. and then thru the dead i also met elizabeth cotton (who was "discovered" by the seegers, i think she worked for them!) i met dave van ronk, one of my fav folk/blues revival guys by just looking at his album in a used record store and seeing samson and delilah, he was a friend of mine, etc, so since i knew these songs thru the dead, bought it. again, that opened up a huge world for me. (dave was one of the first guys to embrace a young bob dylan when bob arrived in new york. bob slept on dave's couch for a while). then ramblin jack, then darrol adams (who is in dylans dont look back movie! bob practically gushes over meeting him and how he loved his albums darrol did with ramblin jack) blair, you are so right, the branches these guys have lead me out on...wow. i'm still digging into the old time music world. folkways, biograph, yazzoo, county, those are just a few of the labels to look for...
I'm old enough to remember when AM radio was the only game in town and the top 40 had a bit of everything in it. I was open to every and all styles from bluegrass to opera. The problem when you live in the middle of nowhere was how to hear more of the styles that caught my ear. My older brother and friend's older siblings would bring things back from college but there were so many artists that I read about but had no access to. I am more than a bit envious of today's kids being able to hear so much via the internet. What struck me about the Dead was how they covered songs by artist that I already likes. What still disappoints me was their choices. They were often too obvious or they ignored better choices by the same artist. I suggestion for Blair would be songs by the artists that the Dead covered that you wish that the Dead had covered.
The head of the jazz department where I studied jazz guitar somehow saw the "Smoke gets in your eyes" video that Jerry did. He made it a point to let us know that he thought that Jerry really stunk it up and was an embarassment to jazz music. This is a well respected musician who played piano for Buddy Rich. In private I tried to explain that Jerry was great...check out some other stuff. He was not having it to say the least. But that's OK, because at this university we jazzers were relegated to the corner to study this heathen music!!! To get a degree in jazz I had to appease the old classical music guard, who looked down upon our craft. Classical music was "legit." I have spent countless hours studying many forms of music. At this point I am an unapologetic fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. It is a good idea to be knowledgeable on the history of music. But that said...Another professor interviewed Louis Armstrong several times and had asked him "What makes good music?" Louis replied something like "If you like it go ahead and enjoy it. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks." You can't please all the people all of the time. Make the music you like...and if someone doesn't like it tell them the Garcia joke about the 10,000 bees in the cigar box!!!
I'm not sure 1995 Garcia is the best era to demonstrate his considerable talents, gnerd! Dose the schmuck and play him any '72 "Dark Star"! Just kidding, but I have NO sympathy for academics who think they can criticize jazz or any other form of music on purely technical grounds and have it be relevant in any way. I don't wanna hear it... I'll make up my own damn mind, broseph!
Great mention of the musical education in unrealized places uponscutiny! Looney Tunes and childrens TV? absolutely!! Carl Stalling, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Vernon Elliott, Ronnie Hazelhurst, a whole host of "Library Music" by unrecognised arrangers and composers; producing some incredible music, the arrangements and orchestrations in particular rivaling those of the classical greats (when will Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, R.D. Burman, Piero Piccioni, Bernard Herrman, Nino Rota, TRULY get the widespread, mainstream critical acknowledgement they so richly deserve?). And bruno14..."like imagination is bad for the art". true true. That's that old leeching, parasitic, diseased demon called "Labels". Done more harm to the beauty of music and creativity than anything else. Music is MUSIC! Pure and Simple. All the musicians worth a caca-discharge, abhorred categorisation. Heavy Metal, Pop, Disco, Folk, House, Micro House, Tech House, Deep House, Mickey House.......a NONSENSE!!! Black Sabbath were a "heavy" blues band, incorporating elements of jazz, Led Zeppelin and Cream likewise. Music is Music, folks. Britney Spears' "Toxic" is a great pop song; Son House's "Forever On My Mind" drags the waters of your heart; Kaoru Abe's six hour solo improvisations on the saxophone is the sound of a tortured soul trying to make sense of his existence; Wild Man Fischer's aural gems, the need to communicate the sub-conscious; Brian Wilson's "teenage symphonies to God"; Merzbow's amphetamine rush of noise, like the ocean waves pounding a sunlit shore. T.L.C., Mozart. Doc Watson, Yoko Ono. Sonny Rollins, Bad Brains. Tiny Tim, Nurse With Wound. Bob Dylan, Ritchie Hawtin. Kool Moe Dee, GRATEFUL DEAD. The mention of children and their openness to music, grateful prof, is also inspired. They don't judge, they just follow that inner voice. Pure intuitiveness and spontaneity. I remember playing a variety of music to my nephews in Japan on many a visit. (for the record, Morbid Angel made them laugh; Primus' "Pork Soda" album made them continually hit rewind; Bonzo Dog Band's "Hunting Tigers Out In Indiah" made them hysterical; Beach Boy's "Wouldn't It Be Nice" made them why we kept whistling it so much; Makigami Koichi's vocal improvisation made the youngest fetch his toy acoustic guitar and thrash out a harmonic squall worthy of demented crab with his pincers in the plug socket; Zappa's "Big Swifty->King Kong" from "Make A Jazz Noise Here" encouraged a pestering of their parents to hear the stereo phasing of dog barking and water flushing over and over and over again; Cathedral made them stare at the small speakers; The Band made them walk out into another room and a change of subject......oh well, can't win them all). Blair speaks the truth; no sympathy for academics (boy, what a redundant term). To think God gave them a heart, a soul, a brain and they wasted it...but it's never too late!!! Cast off the shackles, ladies and gentlemen. Please. No, pretty please. There's a beautiful world out there.
Sorry, forgot to add to the "nephew list" about the Grateful Dead's last ever show, at Soldier Field; the "Drums" section, during a particular torrent of percussive waterfall (that is if said water were thunder instead of a liquid flow), made them dive under a nearby duvet. Thank you Mickey, i believe you are guilty, Sir!!! I'll go away now.......
Listening to the Grateful Dead has definitely expanded my musical appreciation across decades, genres, and artists exponentially. This is particularly true with jazz, old country, and bluegrass. Through reading and watching interviews with Jerry Garcia I learned of his appreciation for Bill Monroe. Apparently, Garcia had done a cross-country trip in his early years to go see a Bluegrass festival in Pennsylvania with Bill Monroe. I thought it was cool he was doing cross-country traveling to see shows, which was similar to what I was doing, but 30 years later. Bill Monroe is nice to listen to sometimes, as he does have a sweet and "down home" sound. "Praise the lord I saw the light...." Whenever I see a Chuck Berry song on a Grateful Dead set list I often have some apprehension. If it's 'Johnny B. Goode' I think to myself "Oh this song that's been played a million times over by every bar band in the world." The cool thing is the Dead often could make this song sound fresh. One of my favorites is the somewhat unusual second set placement on Three from the Vault. It's a great placement for it and the band has that powerful '71 sound which does it real justice. I hear 'Around & Around' starting up and I think "OK, I may have turn my stereo down due to massive abrasive screaming". This song can really sound great sometimes, but I can't think of any favorites off hand. Best 'Around & Around' anyone?
The author and I seem to share a similar mindset: I followed heavy metal to classic rock (and the Grateful Dead) and jazz/jazz fusion and classical, then followed jazz (the liner notes of Kind of Blue to be specific) to the Allman Brothers Band and the Allman Brothers Band to blues. And somewhere along the line I developed an interest in bluegrass and various kinds of folk which I'm pretty sure was a case of exploring the 'last frontier' rather than hunting down any specific influences. This lead me to '70s outlaw country. (I was in a country household as a child but hated the modern stuff and never developed a taste for the older stuff until much later.) Indian classical, '80s hardcore, and ambient music (electronic) managed to work their way in there at some point or another, too. ...Yes, I've had a strange path, but I'm happy to have taken that path. I agree that most of my generation (20 somethings) who are into classic rock (and this is becoming more and more rare) do not tend to look into the bands' influences. I've asked myself for quite a while why it is that back in the day virtually any rock band you could find would jam and why now it's difficult to find a rock band anywhere near the mainstream that could improvise to save their lives. My personal research (in the form of asking people who are in modern bands or attempting to form such bands questions) indicates that contrary to the situation in the past where most rock bands listened to blues and jazz and enjoyed improvisation that current bands interested in the mainstream scene have very little interest in genres outside of rock (or rap). Those that do enjoy classic rock don't seem to bother with live shows or live albums. Or much of anything outside of well known singles, for that matter. If it ain't on guitar hero, it ain't worth hearing! Lest I seem pre-maturely old and bitter, I will say that I can think of a few exceptions off the top of my head. (Tool are known to speak of how proud they were to open for King Crimson early in their career, for example.) They're just uncommon.
11/20/70 :) ja, gern!4/18/71 :) ja, gern! 10/18/74 basically, any of them before they emasculated it and had it be a mere intro to good lovin or OMSN or whatever (you know, starting in 80 or so).
One thing that happened culturally is that FM radio changed during the '70s and mostly stopped playing long tracks, so groups were no longer "rewarded" in that way (with airplay) for playing long songs. I think, too, that the whole punk/new wave aesthetic in the late '70s and early '80s had a strong and lasting impact on pop music. The first batch of those groups were virulently anti-long solos; in fact the movement was in large part a reaction against the progressive rockers, plus perceived bloated dinosaurs like the Dead and the Allman Brothers, etc. As time went on, a surprising number of musicians from that "side"--everyone from Black Flag to Elvis Costello to Tom Petty-- came to admire the Dead and the unique community and business model they were able to create through playing improvised music. But it was pretty rough there for a while in the early and mid-'80s, when improvising rock bands seemed to practically disappear for a while. If Dead tours hadn't been going to inspire the first wave of late '80s and early '90s jam bands, we might be looking at a very different musical landscape today...
I enjoyed all of your recommendations. 10-18-74 was a nice show opener. Hopefully, we'll see that released on video someday...
There's another side to this too. If you were talking to other Dead fans, on the floor of Winterland or something (before this Intertoobz thing was invented), you could get a handle on what they liked by seeing what Grateful Dead influences took their fancy. People who talked about Merle Haggard liked one side of the equation, while people who knew about John Coltrane or "Sketches Of Spain" had a different take. That's not at all to say that people couldn't like many different things, of course, but if somebody talked to me--just for example--they were going to hear my appreciation of Miles or Merle (Haggard) rather than Olatunji or Harry Smith, because those were the doors the Grateful Dead opened for me.
a friend of mine, who at the time was trying to persuade me that going to a Dead show would be a good idea, was telling me about the Warfield shows, and mentioned in passing that when the band broke out Iko-Iko, he seemed to be the only person in his immediate area who knew what the song was. Given the inescapability of the Dixie Cups single during its 15 minutes of fame, which happened to coincide with our high school years, I found this hard to believe, but he swore it was true.
Had it not been for the good 'ol Grateful Dead playing that chestnut, Knockin on Heaven's Door, I never would have been turned onto Guns-N-Roses. Couldn't resist.! I've always had a fairly eclectic taste in music, and the advantage of an older brother who had albums by Cream, Canned Heat and Vanilla Fudge which I heard before the Grateful Dead. I actually got turned on to Workingman's Dead when I borrowed it from our local library. I had heard this song called "Thinking is the Best Way to Travel" and thought the GD played it. Hah....What did I know. It was the Moody Blues. I still love that song, but the Dead hooked me for life. The GD led me to bluegrass and some wonderful times spent at the Philly Folk Festival listening to other, older versions of Deep Elem, Been all Around this World, I Know You Rider ect.
Loved the blog post. Don't usually like blog's but I like this one. The only thing I kindly disagree with is the intro to the last paragraph. I can only speak for myself but as soon as the Dead took hold, that was it. I have completely stopped listening to other bands. There is no point after the dead get a hold of a listener, I believe. They are a good, tasty "stew" that has no equal... and I don't mean that as a knock to other bands. There is just no band that sounds like the dead. They have enough music to fill my life with... especially with Furthur still rocking and the damn devils. The devils are just so underrated! The thing with Jerry... or his gift was to be able to take what he learned from other shredders and make it his own. Shit, have you heard the cover of Long Black Veil!!? My goodness! Sounds nothing like the Cash but still is amazing none the less. Awesome Blog!!