With the Grateful Dead and his own side projects, Jerry Garcia frequently covered the songs of Bob Dylan. Fifteen of those interpretations have been collected for a two-disc set, “Ladder to the Stars: Garcia Plays Dylan,” due Oct. 11 via Rhino.
An American musical icon in his own right, the late guitarist/singer was a masterful interpreter, and within the poetry of Dylan, a longtime friend and compatriot, he found a wealth of material. The Jerry Garcia Band provides the bulk of the recordings in this collection, touching on such classics as “Positively 4th Street,” “I Shall Be Released” and “Tangled Up in Blue.”
The Dead is also present, with disc two boasting four selections from the group: “She Belongs to Me,” “Visions of Johanna,” “Mighty Quinn (Quinn, The Eskimo)” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” At deadline it was unknown if the latter pair of selections are the same versions that appeared on Arista’s 2002 compilation “Postcards of the Hanging: The Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan.”
Also included on the first “Ladder” disc is a version of “The Wicked Messenger” by Garcia’s short-lived jazz-leaning side project Legion Of Mary. That group’s version of Dylan’s “Tough Mama” was part of the “”The Jerry Garcia Collection, Volume 1: Legion Of Mary,” released in August by Rhino.
In addition to the music, which has been remastered in HDCD, the set includes liner notes by Garcia biographer Blair Jackson, with input from the Dead’s Bob Weir.
Here is the “Ladder to the Stars: Garcia Plays Dylan” track list:
“It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry / Tough Mama,” Jerry Garcia
“Positively 4th Street,” Jerry Garcia Band
“The Wicked Messenger,” Legion Of Mary
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Jerry Garcia Band
“Simple Twist of Fate,” Jerry Garcia Band
“I Shall Be Released,” Jerry Garcia Band
“When I Paint My Masterpiece,” Jerry Garcia Band
“She Belongs to Me,” Grateful Dead
“Forever Young,” Jerry Garcia Band
“Tangled Up in Blue,” Jerry Garcia Band
“Senor (Tales of Yankee Power),” Jerry Garcia Band
“Visions of Johanna,” Grateful Dead
“Mighty Quinn (Quinn, the Eskimo),” Grateful Dead
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” Grateful Dead