Friday, March 22, 2013

Kind Tune of the Moment

Jerry Garcia, Mission in the Rain

One of Jerry's finest songs, it originally appeared on his solo album Reflections, released in 1976, and recorded with much of the Grateful Dead as backing musicians, along with members of his solo band. He only played it with the Dead 5 times in 1976, the final time at a show in Chicago. It's a shame the Dead didn't keep it in the repetoire, but with its delicate gospel feel, it made more sense  in the Jerry Garcia Band, with backing female vocals. Here's a great video of the Jerry Band playing the song in 1978:

Video of the whole show can be seen here. A great show overall, unfortunately the opening Jimmy Cliff tune The Harder They Come is not included in the video.

Mission In The Rain
Russian Lullaby 11:02
Tore Up Over You 23:10
Love In The Afternoon 34:45
I'll Be With Thee 46:43
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down 52:11
Rhapsody In Red 1:02:28

This incarnation of the band included Keith and Donna, on piano and vocals repectively, as well as Maria Muldaur on backing vocals. 

The Annotated Grateful Dead website has some great comments on the song and it's possible meanings. Garcia described the song as being autobiograhpical. Although Hunter was the author, Garcia clearly connected to it, a more first-person version of Wharf Rat. 

I turn and walk away
then I come round again
It looks as though tomorrow
I'll do very much the same

I must turn down your offer
but I'd like to ask a break
You know I'm ready to give everything
for anything I take

Someone called my name
You know, I turned around to see
It was midnight in the Mission
and the bells were not for me

Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain
Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain

Ten years ago I walked this street
my dreams were ridin tall
Tonight I would be thankful
Lord, for any dream at all

Some folks would be happy
just to have one dream come true
but everything you gather
is just more that you can lose

Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain
Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain

All the things I planned to do
I only did half way
Tomorrow will be Sunday
born of rainy Saturday

There's some satisfaction
in the San Francisco rain
No matter what comes down
the Mission always looks the same

Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain
Come again
Walking along in the Mission in the rain

It's the kind of bittersweet lyric that Garcia mastered; a person down on his luck, reflecting on life, what could've been, looking for redemption, turning down the temptation of hookers who can provide a moment of escape. Here's a late era version of the tune from 1992, performed not far from where the song was based:

Following Jerry's death, Ween lifted much of the music and feel of Mission for their tune So Long Jerry, still the best tribute to Garcia I've come across since his death. Here's their studio version of the tune, an outtake from the 12 Golden Country Greats album, and here's a nice stripped down version, just Gener on acoustic and vocals, and Dave on bass:

I picked up my things and went outside
A man that I loved up and died
I couldn't believe that after all of this time
I never knew the man but he was a good friend of mine
So long, i'll see you down that long dark river
Floating on that lining in the sky
I'm lucky, lucky enough to have heard you play your song
So long, Jerry, so long

Always be together
Rolling down the track
Always and forever
Never lookin' back
I got my guitar and went to the river
Saw alot of people just dancin' around
I took off my shirt and jumped in the water
  You always flew so high, now you've finally left the ground
So long, i'll see you down that long dark river
Floating on that lining in the sky
I'm lucky, lucky enough to have heard you sing your song

So long, Jerry, so long

So long, Jerry, so long

Best. Shirt. Ever.

Might As Well Party

You can tell some hippies put some thought into this.

One can only imagine what a different world we'd live in, had Garcia defeated Bush in '88. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Greetings from Branson

Donny & Marie, Reelin' in the Years

There were a few people whose feathers were ruffled when I posted a Steely Dan video a few weeks back. They're sure to be enraged by this, and possibly have their gripes with the Dan justified. Don't enjoy:

This is what happens when sober white people (code for Mormons) try to make rock n' roll.

Suck it Romney.

What a country!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Phish Tracks

Phish Tracks

If you kids like the Phish, then you're going to dig, where you can stream any show, or any version of any song Phish has ever done, for which there is a recording of. Search for your favorite show, or compare different versions of different songs. Say a Harry Hood from 1992 vs. 1998. Pretty heady stuff, gang.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kind Youtube of the Moment

Allman Bros & Nels Cline, Smokestack Lightning

A year ago Nels Cline joined the Allman Bros for the first time during their annual Beacon Theater run in NYC. For that inaugural pairing, he sat in on Dreams and Spanish Key according to setlists, although there is a Youtube out there of him playing the ending of Mtn. Jam, so who knows. Whatever the case, he did join them again last night for a cover of Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack Lightning. The song suits Cline's jagged guitar style well. Unfortunately, the cover is kind of brought down by Col. Bruce Hampton's improvisation of the lyrics. Wish Greg or Warren would've handled the vocals. But while things never quite reach their dizzying potential, it's worth a listen.

Here's part of the Mtn. Jam from a year ago:

Nels has been known to play Duane Allman's gold top Les Paul occasionally during Wilco concerts, so he's obviously a fan.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kind Tune of the Moment

Jumpin' Jack Flash

Although it is undeniably catchy, never been a huge fan of this tune. Maybe the Stones' version is too pop for my tastes, or it's just overplayed. Whatever the case, when I heard Alex Chilton's (Big Star, Box Tops) version, it breathed new life into the tune. The poppiness is stripped away, and the essence of Keith is dialed up: the tune is more raw, and that patented Keith strum is exaggerated. And although not as pop, it is even catchier. 

In preparing this post, little did I know how many different artists have covered the tune over the years. Unfortunately, most versions are shit. But here are a few good ones:

Leon Russell did this version at the Concert for Bangladesh with Harrison, Clapton, Ringo, Billy Preston, etc.

 Last week we saw Edgar Winter tearing up Frankenstein on this blog, and now his blues playing albino bro gets his turn to rip it up. I certainly never would've imagined I'd ever write about one, let alone both Winter's ever, let alone within a week of each other.

Guns N Roses acoustic version is pretty cool. Lies might be my favorite GNR album, featuring their acoustic and bluesy take on things. This is in the same vein. They also recorded an electric version which is a pretty straight cover.

I would be remiss not to include Aretha's version, the official video from the film of the same name. Pure 80's cheese, it features Whoopi, Keith, Randy "Dog" Jackson on bass, Ron Wood, and the antichrist himself Jim Belushi. I didn't know Aretha was into coke. God I hope she was. Unfortunately, it didn't have a slimming effect for her.

A few other less successful versions:

Tina Turner

Thelma Houston

To finish things off back where we started, here's the Replacement's tribute to the man himself, Alex Chilton:

Never traveled very far
Without a little Big Star

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather

Bob Dylan
Feb. 22 1999
RPI Fieldhouse
Troy NY  

An excellent Dylan show, featuring an all star band. Dylan had been a rejuvenated live performer throughout the 90's, and finally found his way back to cultural relevance with the release of Time out of Mind in 1997. Dylan rode that wave until its peak around 2002, so this concert finds Dylan in fine form on his way up.

 Download all tracks at once here or individually here.

1. Gotta Serve Somebody
2. Million Miles
3. Maggie’s Farm
4. Tears of Rage
5. Silvio
6. Masters of War
7. Boots of Spanish Leather
8. Tangled Up In Blue
9. The Times They Are A Changin’
10. Cold Irons Bound
11. I Shall Be Released
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Love Sick
14. To Be Alone With You
15. Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right
16. Not Fade Away


Concert # 1067 of The Never-Ending Tour. Concert # 21 of the 1999 US Winter Tour. 1999 concert # 21.

Concert # 214 with the 11th Never-Ending Tour Band: Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar), Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar), Larry Campbell (guitar), Tony Garnier (bass), David Kemper (drums & percussion).

A few comments about this band: Bucky Baxter is one of those guys that's been around and played with everybody. Larry Campbell had a long tenure in Dylan's band, and later went on to play with Levon Helm (The Band) and Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), giving him ties to the three great American rock institutions of the 60's. Tony Garnier still is in Dylan's band, possibly Dylan's longest musical relationship. David Kemper also spent some time in the Jerry Garcia Band, likely where Dylan first became familiar with him. Baxter would be replaced by Charlie Sexton about a year later, and this core group would form Dylan's finest band at this stage of his career.

6–9, 15 acoustic with the band.
7 new songs (43%) compared to previous concert. 4 new songs for this tour. 

Why have one heater when you can have two?

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The Edgar Winter classic. Love the studio version, but never seen a live version before, and stumbled across this doozy. Just stoner rock at its finest. But most scumbags of my generation are more familiar with the Phish version of this tune.  Surprisingly, Phish's rendition sounds restrained compared to Edgar's, though they do turn the psychedelia up to 11 towards the end of the tune.

Also, Mean Mr. Mustard.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kind Tune of the Moment


 Daniel Lanois, The Maker

A brilliant song by a great producer and musician. Lanois is best known for his production work with U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc., but has made some of his own music over the years too, including this standout track covered by many. Lanois' version sounds like something a producer would come up with, weird sounds bubbling up, bouncing around. A little bit spiritual, a little bit New Orleans, Lanois adopted hometown, with a subtle and sweet guest appearance from the sleeveless Aaron Neville. 

Oh, oh deep water, black and cold like the night
I stand with arms wide open
I've run a twisted line
I'm a stranger in the eyes of the Maker

I could not see for the fog in my eyes
I could not feel for the fear in my life

From across the great divide, In the distance I saw a light
Of John Baptist walking to me with the Maker

My body my body is bent and broken by long and dangerous sleep
I can't work the fields of Abraham and turn my head away
I'm not a stranger in the hands of the Maker

Brother John, have you seen the homeless daughters
Standing here with broken wings
I have seen the flaming swords
There over east of Eden
Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker
Burning in the eyes of the Maker

Oh, river rise from your sleep
Oh, river rise from your sleep
Oh, river rise from your sleep

For Deadheads like myself, we first discovered this song when Garcia started playing it in his solo band. A perfect song musically and lyrically for Garcia, a spiritual ballad. Garcia digs deep for the vocal, and gets the guitar bouncing. Here's the first time they played it, and nailed it.

For most, the first time they heard the tune was at the end of Billy Bob Thornton's Slingblade, as sung by Willie Nelson. A beautiful ending to that film. This song might be the perfect intersection of Garcia and Nelson's style: drugged out Django Rheinhardt. Willie's version originally appeared on the Lanois produced album Teatro. A nice melding of both mens' styles, experimental and traditional.

 Lanois also produced Emmylou Harris' album Wrecking Ball, and surprise, this tune appeared there as well. Here it is live with an all star backing band, including Buddy Miller, again expiremental merging with country while crusing down to New Orleans.

And here's a version by Willie and Emmylou.

What the song is about is certainly up for interpretation. It feels spiritual, and references the bible. It's too vague to really pin down. If you love Jesus, it's probably about finding him. If you hate the Jesus, you might interpret it as a rejection of him. I tend to think that the act of being an artist is god-like, in that an artist creates, and becomes the Maker. Lanois is talking to himself here, looking for inspiration, finding empathy, having a revelation, trying to and succeeding in writing a song. Biblical references are excellent symbols as they are part of the fabric of our unconscious, but not necessarily an affirmation or condemnation of any religion. It's just he artist's lexicon. See also, Bob Dylan. Also, the song, like a dream, comes from the unconscious. It's not literal, and should not be interepreted using logic or the rational mind. Just experience it, and you'll feel pretty good.  

Here's another version by Lanois with Buddy Miller (who also played on Emmylou's version). Looks like they're playing an office Christmas party or something. Weird, but a cool stripped down version.