Thursday, June 28, 2012

Show of the Week

So I just stumbled upon this show, and I have to admit that I am only a minute into the first song and this is a winner! What pleases me most about this is Keith! He is on fire.His rhythm is tight, his left hand attack is on point and his right hand is just flying. All of the great organ players, with the exception of my all time favorite Garth Hudson (of The Band) have had great left attack. Keith is no exception. While I am a die hard Pig Pen fan mainly for his ability to sing like an African-American man, this show really sheds light on Keith as a player. I am excited to be writing and playing this show one song at a time. This show has quite a few ballads: Looks Like Rain, Stella Blue, Crazy Fingers Peggy-O, Jimmy Roe and boy oh boy 76 is the year of the ballad.

Sugaree is one of those songs that is so easy to listen to. It seems to have a certain fluidity to it, and the rhythm is so perfect for the phrasing of both the guitar and the lyrics. It also gives Jerry a lot of solo time which is always a good thing, and this June 26th 1976 performance is no exception. Another thing to note is how perfect the drums sound. You can really hear everything that Micky and Billy are doing, which is important. These guys play together like they are from the same womb. I mean they dance and shine together. You can not ask for better drumming!  Jerry also takes a slow meaningful solo, and I have become a fan of his slower playing. It is so fulfilling.

I am unable to keep my feet still at the moment and that just means that there is pure delight to come. Keith is playing a sort of rhythm piano, almost like he is channeling Richard Manuel, and Jerry seems content with it. I would say that Keith is in the front of the mix, but to be honest he is not. I think Bobby might be in the back of the mix, but Keith is just playing well. The guitar and keys four minutes into this gem are just heavenly and Jerry's vocal are nice too. Finally, Phil comes in at about the nine minute mark, with a very nice riff. The boys are together and I hope they will be swinging like this for the rest of the show. I am feeling really positive about this one folks!

Cassidy, the drumming in this tune is off the hook! Man they are flying! The toms are singing! There is a lot of high hat finess, and it is beautiful. And the lyrics are sounding great! Keith is once again hitting all the right keys, but man the drumming is pristine! A drummer's delight and not a song that you would expect it from, but who cares. You have got to love this show so far! We are still waiting for Phil to catch up. Bobby is playing some really nice chords in the background of the bridge, And Mickey is playing some really cool flam rolls and jesting with some rim shots!

Row Jimmy  Man, those drums are mic'd perfectly, you can hear every nuance, especially in the slow beginning to this song. Phil is finally coming into the mix, almost leading Jerry's vocal and it has a neat effect. Believe it or not Donna sounds wonderful, and who ever is playing slide (most likely Bobby) just stole my heart. It must be because the rhythm work just got simpler, Jerry must be covering the chords. As soon as the slide ends, Bobby re-picks up the rhythm and you can tell, because his playing has a way of really resonating. Even in the slow songs such as this, you can hear his technique and skill. The way he hits the chords that combine to precede and follow the coming chords is just so masterful. He has such an understanding and harmonics. I am still in shock that Donna is great, and she sounds like she knows what she is doing! And the way the drums come in big for the final rendition of the chorus, is symbolic of a big finish! I like how they use amplitude of sound so well in terms of how they play and the effect that there drumming has on the listener.

Mama Tried  They pick it up with a fast paced Bobby tune, and the drums are simple and cowboy and it has a good effect compared to the intensity that they had in the two previous songs. Listen to Jerry and Keith, (especially Jerry) His lead and tasteful, and Phil is finally with the band, and he is really kicking it hard. How about Bobby's voice? I love his voice in these simple songs, and I love what he does to turn ugly bar chords into masterful rhythm anchors. He is simply good at what he does. Jerry's solo is on the slower side, but he still hits all the notes, and does a good job making you feel like it is slowing down, while in reality it maintains the same pace.

Tennessee Jed  To be honest, this is not a song that I particularly love, but
but lets see what the boys do since they are on such a roll. Phil is on right out of the box, he is up front and it sounds wonderful. Jerry licks are very typical of the song, but what bob is doing is really nice, under the radar but still very present in the rhythm of the song. The drumming has a very open sound almost like it is a 6/4 jam! Jerry is sounding a bit nasal, maybe he has a cold, although it does not seem to slow him down. I do not want to jinx myself but so far there have been no vocal slips.

Looks Like Rain   I am really liking the effect that Bobby has on his guitar and the drums come in so strong with a few flams; Just awesome! I really love the power that is behind the lyrics of this song. John Barlow is quite the poet, Not to the extent of Robert Hunter or Allison Davis, but none-the-less, its a great song sung with such emotion. And Jerry's lick at the 3:40 minute mark is just amazing, I think I just found g-d! But my favorite part is Bobby's AdLib
at the end of the song. If it looks like rain and it feel like rain then, it must be rain! And the little high hat ditty that is going on in the Adlib is so nice, quick and fast and gentle, like the way the sand whispers through your toes in the outgoing tide.

Scarlet Begonias The start of this song always warms my heart. The way the bass slides and the way that the chords and Jerry's lick seem to layer themselves perfectly. The way the drums are just hovering above the other instruments, with the piano just sort of haphazardly secreting a few chords. The words are so poetic, meaningful and true! I think when I find love for the first time, I will think of this song! This is a very laid back version, but in the most positive way. Phil is really keeping me guessing, and I love it. I can not wait for the solo, and here it comes! Of course the build up keeps your anxious, and he doesn't even take a solo there, what at tease. He can only taunt me for so long. Its lucid and smooth, for some reason I think of angel hair pasta....moving on! The actual solo is more like a conversation, I can hear the guitar licks that Jerry totally took from love supreme. Jerry is a huge Coltrane fan. Usually, his sax licks came later, but I guess he was experimenting in 76 too. Phil's playing is really pushing everyone to the next level, he is comfortable now, and I am excited for the second set, but we have a few songs to go including a Music Never Stopped, which is his zone!

Lazy Lightning As of late, this is my favorite Bbby tune, I love how smooth his voice is in this song. And the litte abrupt stroked he does for the chorus, and the bass lick which follows settles the music back to the pace of the verse, which is still jumpy but in a smooth and calm way. Plus the bridge is just outright exciting. The solo is interesting, not as smooth as it normally is, but the theme is there!

Supplication I love bobby's voice in this tune. It is dirty, and grinding. I really like this little tune, its up beatness and its ability to just be packed with energy from Bobby's playing to Pil's punchy lines to the drumming.

Peggy-O This is a dylan song, and at that, it is not among his finest, but the Dead always made it into something coming close to special. It has never done too much for me, but I will listen for something that is awesome. Phil is playing really well, and Keith is also playing nicely. I find this tune to be really repetitive. Moving on....

The Music Never Stopped I have always liked this song for the way Jerry has almost a springy sound and then a really smooth sound during the jam, and the way that Phil finds a way of pushing through the mix. Bobby does make a mistake or two, which rarely happens. Usually it is Jerry, but he recovers and it's a very good version of the song. We have not come across a bad song yet. They are on fire tonight!
Its hard to believe but that was only the first set! WOWZERS!
Playing in the Band I was never anchored by this song. I can handle it, but I usually dont get anything from it. Let's see what happens with this show! I have high hopes based on the past hour or so. The jamming is loose, but I like the use of the wah, and the drumming is once again superb! The song starts to get loose, and start to get lost. It is just not my type of Dead. Space also tends to lose me. I just prefer other songs more.

Saint Stephen I love this song! Man the band is tight, the drumming and everything! Really this is a find!! The guitar is almost hovering like a hummingbird.
It  just has a gliding aimless feeling to it; lovely! I  love when Billy and Micky play almost the same thing with slight differences and it creates this purely chaotic feeling and such volume and power. I love the lady finger part to and the jam they pull of at the 4:45 mark is so tight!!!!

The Wheel Solid,  Well sung, well played. Nothing stands out in my mind.

Samson and Delilah I have high expectations for this song based on the drumming that has already happened. This has some great drumming, noticiably in the beginning of the song as Dead Heads have come to identify this song with the awesome drum of Phil's.  I love bible renditions by Hunter!

Crazy Fingers Keith is playing some out of time stuff and it makes the piece sound timeless. Jerry sounds great and once again Billy and Micky are superb. I love this song, it brings me back to peace no matter what the case may be. There are a couple of audio patches in this song, but brave them. The end result is pristine and beautiful. I zoned out from the music, and Jerry's solo brought me back. This is wonderful!

Stella Blue  The lead up to this song from crazy fingers is simple and beautiful and Keith's jazz work in the beginning is very touching in an anachronistic sort of way.
Around and Around Yeah Bobby, this is another sweet song. I love what the Grateful Dead do with old Chuck Berry tunes. Bass is present, drumming is simple but wait till the song goes double time. Jerry is just having a good time! Oh and don't we all love when they have a good time. Bobby is such a sweet man, and Keith is shining also! Phil is just boogying slow and simple and here comes the double time. I love what Jerry does when he plays fast, Look out!!

One More Saturday Night  Man, when Keith is on, he is on! He is really adding so much to this show, and this song in particular! This has got to be the best Dead show I have heard. And I have posted some really tight shows in the past few weeks. Jerry is tight too!
U.S Blues  All I can say for this tune, is Bobby is on!! His guitar is coming through brilliantly! Jerry too! I like his singing in this version. Like I said before,

I am not sure I like this style, its almost like too long winded, but I thought I would give it a try. I think I prefer to listen to a whole show and then comment on it collectively.  

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