"We're gonna take a break from all this sweat & steam & uproar & tumult and we're gonna break out our acoustic guitars and regale you with some wooden music."
- Bob Weir, 4/9/70
Today I continue my latest covers project, featuring only songs the Grateful Dead played acoustically. Part 1 is here.
"The Dead had their origins in acoustic music," says this comprehensive look at the band's early acoustic sets, "Back in '61 Phil Lesh was impressed enough by Garcia as a folk-singer to get him his own radio show - and Garcia, Weir, and Pigpen first started playing together in the Mother McCree's jug-band in '64, after Garcia had tired of the local bluegrass circuit. If it hadn't been for their love of the Beatles and the Stones, perhaps they would have become a merry band of old-time traditionalists like the New Lost City Ramblers."
To acknowledge some of the artists who contributed to the band's love of acoustic music, I've compiled a list of all songs The Grateful Dead covered acoustically. I've located the original recording of each; first I'll play that and then a carefully selected GD acoustic cover (when a choice was possible, more about that on-air).
One major distinction this special has from the other parts of the trilogy is that it only includes 44 songs from 26 shows spread across only three years (1969, 1970, 1980). A key trait this special shares with its predecessors is that the original artists featured range from the commonly known (John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Judy Collins, Merle Haggard and The Everly Brothers) to the much more obscure (Furry Lewis, Maddox Brothers & Rose, John Dilleshaw and the Fisk Jubilee Singers).
In part, today I'll play bluegrass, gospel, jug band, folk, blues and country music featuring artists like Bill Monroe, Furry Lewis, Tossi Aaron, Grandpa Jones, Lightnin' Hopkins, Wanda Jackson and more!
I hope you enjoy the show, perhaps even learn something.
Interested in the other covers projects? First were the 'Dead Covering Black Artists' shows where I played the original versions of songs written or popularized by black musicians that The Grateful Dead covered, followed by a GD version. That series spawned the 'Jerry Covers Project' in which I replicated the overarching concept (no limit on original artist) but presented the songs in themes by genre.