Unofficial 31 Days of Dead – 2012 Edition: Day Two

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Welcome back to the third installment of “The Unofficial 31 Days of Dead.” The past two years were so much fun that I decided to do it again. The idea for these compilations came about after ran its “30 Days of Dead” in November 2010. While the Deadhead community at large was no doubt thrilled to receive previously unreleased tracks from the band’s vast archives, many of us were hoping for just a bit…more.  Hey, we are Deadheads – we are always hoping for more! Therefore, I thought it might be fun to keep the music flowing by selecting my own daily picks. The month of December seemed more than appropriate since New Year’s Eve celebrations were such a big part of the Grateful Dead. Let’s think of these daily picks as an advent calendar leading up to New Year’s Eve. Unlike the “Official 30 Days of Dead,” there is no contest here. Instead, the prize is the music and the winner is the listener.

[Artwork by Brian Levine]

December 2

Jack Straw

1/11/79 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

A monster “Straw” taken from a rare January tour in the Northeast that had been rescheduled due to Garcia’s illness in November 1978 (check out the tapes from 11/24/78 if you don’t know what I’m referring to). The weather for this tour was dark, cold and wet. Also looming large was the imminent departure of the Godchauxs. Notwithstanding the morose backdrop, the music was actually quite hot as exemplified by this highly charged version of Jack Straw. Perhaps inspired by Bobby’s ad lib verse, “we used to play for acid now we play for Clive” (a reference to former Arista Records president, Clive Davis), Jerry goes for broke and unleashes a fury of notes at breathtaking speed. The soundboard which just surfaced a few years ago is admittedly a bit sterile making this show a great candidate to receive the matrix treatment. Calling Hunter Seamons!

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One thought on “Unofficial 31 Days of Dead – 2012 Edition: Day Two

  1. Max Reply

    The interesting thing about 1979 is that Garcia’s work in Reconstruction showed that he was bored with the Grateful Dead or in the very least caving into the pressure of being “Jerry Garcia”.

    To compound that problem the band was no longer rehearsing & Mickey Hart whom was proven unnecessary was off on his own island – not listening to the music anymore. The guy sounds as if he is taking a drum solo while Jerry is soloing. The band was no longer beyond description – they could easily be described in one word – sloppy.

    But that being said in terms of post 1974 Jack Straws this is one of the better versions. I am not a fan of the sped up arrangement. The tempo being pushed doesn’t match the narrative of the brilliant lyrics. I loved that they extended the outro jam but rarely did they play it as a cohesive unit.

    The other issue is Garcia one of the most inventive soloist to play rock played similar fury of notes during Eyes of The World and Other One.
    Garcia whom emotes better than anyone in rock history was now resorted to copy & paste solos. I suppose this is when the junk is beginning to interfere with his sensibility but it’s still Jack Straw. It’s still Garcia. Play it Loud!

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