It Can Happen Here

It Can Happen Here

Ah, a category I didn’t think I would ever want on the blog. And yet circumstances warrant it. One issue is that I have to get up to speed quickly. Becoming a political writer isn’t something I’m immediately qualified for. I had left that to people, I thought, who were more plugged into it than …

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Aoxomoxoa

Aoxomoxoa

Aoxomoxoa marks the completion of the band’s contractual obligation to Warner Brothers, and it is also is an interesting transition for the band’s musical development. Having developed into a heavily improvisational, free flowing jam band in live performances characterized by lengthy excursions, Aoxomoxoa, the meaningless palindrome coined by the album’s cover artist Rick Griffin, is …

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Anthem of the Sun

Anthem of the Sun

Anthem of the Sun could be seen as the best expression of the Grateful Dead and how they would relate to the recording business and recorded music. The band never claimed to be oriented towards making music in the studio, and their efforts were initially geared towards trying to recreate the live sound in the …

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Morning Dew/New, New Minglewood Blues/Viola Lee Blues

Morning Dew/New, New Minglewood Blues/Viola Lee Blues

“Morning Dew” was a contemporary folk song by Bonnie Dobson, and is a song that would stay in the band’s repertoire for their entire career. Written in 1962, “Morning Dew” was inspired by the film On the Beach, a vision of a post-apocalyptic world where the bewilderment of such total loss takes place as a …

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Sittin’ on Top of the World/Cream Puff War

Sittin’ on Top of the World/Cream Puff War

“Sittin’ on Top of the World,” originally written by Walter Vinson and Lonnie Chatmon, recorded in 1930 by their group the Mississippi Sheiks, is another standard in American music. Confidence and optimism is driven home in both lyrical content as well as in the Dead’s arrangement. Adapted easily for a rock ‘n roll tempo, punctuated …

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Cold Rain and Snow

Cold Rain and Snow

“Cold Rain and Snow” is another song pulled from the catalog of American folk music. This traditional was inspired by Obray Ramsey’s rendering with a solo banjo, and it is likely Garcia was attracted to it from his banjo playing days. The song would remain in the repertoire until the end. Again, we have a …

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Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

The Grateful Dead were described as ugly and ruffian, with the unlikely oddity of Pigpen as front man. The uniqueness of Pigpen as this character unlike anyone else in the band (arguably unlike anyone else, really) was largely part of the appeal of this act playing the circuit of small bars along the Bay Area’s …

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