Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Acoustic Grateful Dead to kick off summer 9-30-1980

Hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day Weekend, welcome to summer...we made it.  I attended a good friends lovely wedding up in Syracuse and got to experience some beautiful weather but today it is back to the desk.  It is an easy Monday (OK it's Tuesday but it is the first day of the work week so play along and Friday will arrive that much quicker...) so let's just stroll into some excellent Acoustic Grateful Dead from the historic Warfield Theater Run in the Fall of 1980.
 Today's show is the first set from 9-30-1980, listen via that direct link or right c'here:

Acoustic Dead is just perfect for summer days, and we got a muggy one here in NYC, hopefully this will cool you down.  These acoustic sets from the Warfield and Radio City Music Hall in 1980 were all recorded and the best of the best would be released as the excellent Reckoning.  None of this sets songs made the cut, but that doesn't diminish the quality of both the recording and the playing...top notch on both counts.  It opens with Bobby a bit hyped up running through "On The Road Again" and "Monkey & The Engineer" and Jerry mellowing it out with "Jack A'Roe" and my personal favorite from this set, "Birdsong".
 An acoustic "Bird Song" is a thing of beauty, this tune has been played in a variety of fashions over the bands career, but it was not present during the late 70's and was a bust out at these shows.  It can be epic or it could be simple and sweet.  This version is just a joy, a real smile of a song, and a perfect tribute to a good friend of the band, Janis Joplin.

Next come a few folk standards, "Dark Hollow" was the first.  Here is a cool performance that has a young spry David Grisman pickin' away and Peter Rowan singing, Check out Muleskinner:

Then the Dead do "Rosalie McFalls", how about this live version by The Infamous Stringdusters?:

The Dead, having started as a folk band, are right at home with these hoedowns, especially in an acoustic setting.  They then give a Bob Weir original a run through, and while I never cared too much for the lyrical version, these acoustic instrumental versions of "Heaven Help The Fool" are a joy to hear and this airing is no different. 

"China Doll" is eerie and haunting with it's harpsichord instrumentation and Jerry's cracking voice, but on this performance the backing vocals overpower the proceedings and take a bit of the sting out of it.  "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie" works better with Jerry's world weary singing, and easy playing and what needs to be said about one of the simplest, picture perfect songs ever written..."Ripple", Enjoy.

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