Friday, March 12, 2010

Roots of the Dead

Artifact of the Week: Roots of the Grateful Dead Picture Disc LP
Tape of the Week: 4/10/82

This week's post was delayed a bit as I fulfilled a lifelong dream of heading down into the heart of the Mississippi Delta with some of my oldest friends and band mates. It's also going to be a bit short as I've gotta throw on my dancing shoes and head out the door for Phil Lesh's 70th birthday bash.  70!  Can you believe Phil is 70?  Let's leave that show for another post.  Ok, so, I thought it would be fun to post some of the photos from the delta blues trip and tie them in with a tape of the only day Jerry Garcia was known to perform solo (a la the old blues men) and pair this with a rare Shanachie "Roots of the Grateful Dead" picture disc LP. 

This week's Artifact of the Week is a 12" picture disc LP that was put out in the fall of 1995 after Jerry Garcia passed away.  The American roots label, Shanachie, put the limited edition disc out.  It is a gorgeous disc as they commissioned the freaky-good cartoon artist, Robert Crumb, to do the artwork.  As many of you may know, Crumb has his art roots going back to the mid/late 1960's Haight-Ashbury scene.  Among other great characters, he is famous for creating the "Truckin" cartoon, which ended up on stickers, posters and postcards (Jerry Garcia even had one of these Truckin' stickers placed on his Wolf guitar for a brief period in 1973).  More recently, Crumb has produced artwork for playing cards, books and CDs that feature noted southern folk and blues artists.  It is a real treat to see Crumb's artwork on this Dead disc.
One of the special features of this picture disc is the fact that Bob Dylan allowed "Its All Over Now Baby Blue" to be featured on this compilation.  At the time, Bob had always refused to be on any compilation record, so it turned out that this feat was only achieved after the President of Shanachie gave Bob several rare roots 78's that Bob was missing from his collection.  Gotta love the way the bard barters!  The picture disc was only released as a limited run of, I believe, 10,000 copies.  The copy that the Palace has is number 47.  The CD of this album is still in print.
1Obray Ramsey - Rain and Snow3:25
2Merle Haggard - Mama Tried2:10
3Dixie Cups - Iko Iko2:00
4Gary Davis -  Samson & Delilah4:03
5Cannon's Jug Stompers - Big Railroad Blues3:18
6Marty Robbins - El Paso4:20
7Bob Dylan - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue4:13
8Charlie Patton - Spoonful3:11
9Howlin' Wolf - The Red Rooster2:23
10Chuck Berry - The Promised Land2:26
11Henry Thomas - Don't Ease Me In2:59
12Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man2:49
13Bobby "Blue" Bland - Turn on Your Love Light2:36
14Bonnie Dobson - Morning Dew4:05
15Buddy Holly - Not Fade Away2:20
16Woody Guthrie - Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad2:47
17The Pindar Family w/ Joseph Spence - I Bid You Good Night2:47

This week's Tape of the Week is from the early show on April 10, 1982 in Passaic, New Jersey.  Between Grateful Dead tours, Jerry Garcia was embarking on an acoustic tour with his partner-in-crime, John Kahn.  There are conflicting accounts about how these shows came to pass, but as I have heard it, Kahn did not get into New Jersey that day and Garcia was forced to either cancel the afternoon and evening shows, or go on alone.  Despite being extremely nervous (a real surprise if you ask me) he decided to go on alone.  So, for the first and only time in Jerry's history, he played solo.  The set list on the tape shows Jerry's wonderful folk and blues selection.  Most Deadheads consider this a real treasure in their collections, so I hope you will check it out if you don't have it already. Until next week!
Jerry Garcia
April 10, 1982
Early Show
Capitol Theater
Passaic, NJ
1.  Deep Elem Blues
2.  Freight Train-> 
3.  Babe, It Ain't No Lie                
4.  Gomorrah               
5.  Dire Wolf                 
6.  Little Sadie       
7.  Stagger Lee              
8.  Valerie           
9.  Been All Around This World  
10. To Lay Me Down         
11. Run for the Roses         
12. Ripple           
13. Reuben & Cherise                

Roots trip photos from top to bottom:  
  • Dockery Farms (Dockery, MS)
  • Charlie Patton 78 record (Clarksdale, MS)
  • The original acetate of "Rocket 88" that kicked off Rock and Roll (Memphis, TN)
  • Elvis's original Sun Studios Shure microphone (Memphis, TN)
  • Beale Street (Memphis, TN) 
  • Charlie Patton's Grave (Holly Ridge, MS) 
  • Cutting heads in front of one of Robert Johnson's old Juke Joints (Helena, AK)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson II's original corn meal ad trailer (Helena, AK)
  • Sun Studios window reflection (Memphis, TN)
  • Elvis's engraved microphone from the '70's (Memphis, TN)
  • Elvis's grave at Graceland (Memphis, TN)
  • Old Highway 61 by Memphis Minnie's grave (Walls, MS)
  • Johnny Cash, Sun Studio (Memphis, TN)
  • Robert Johnson's grave (Greenwood, MS)
  • Robert Johnson's grave and pecan tree (Greenwood, MS)


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