Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan

Jerry Garcia Band, "Simple Twist of Fate"

Jerry Garcia Band, "I Shall Be Released"

Jerry Garcia Band, "Forever Young"

Jerry Garcia Band, "Tangled Up In Blue"

Jerry Garcia Band, "Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)"

"There's no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player . . . He really had no equal . . . " - Bob Dylan (after Jerry Garcia's death in 1995)

We've come to the end of this look back at the music of the Grateful Dead, and it seems fitting to end with a look at two of my favorite artists to come out of the 60s revolution, whatever the hell that means: Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan.

I've already spoken about the connection I hear between their voices, but the connection runs much deeper than that. The two men were friends, tour-mates and 60s icons, even if they didn't want to be. More than anything though, they were inspirations for each other, men who took their music seriously and strove to constantly follow their heart.

These songs come off the recent 2 CD compilation, Garcia Plays Dylan, which brings together various versions of Dylan songs that Jerry Garcia did with his various bands, from the Grateful Dead to the Jerry Garcia Band to Garcia-Saunders. I've focused on the Jerry Garcia Band ones, as they make up the majority of the two discs and should give a different view of Garcia's music. It might be a bit of a shock to hear the sound of these covers, as the JGB were not a Dead replica. Quite the contrary, this side project was Jerry's chance to explore all of his influences, try out different songs, experiment with new sounds. As much as the Dead were constant improvisers and experimenters, with success came less and less opportunity to do crazy things. The more fans, the greater the expectation to play the tried-and-true favorites, to stick with what was popular.

Enjoy the tracks, which cover some of the most perfect songs ever written. Go here to buy the album, as it is worth the $20+. Tomorrow, I will put up some Grateful Dead covers of Dylan.

-For all of those who think I'm hipster on top of everything before it's been discussed, peep Elliot at The Simple Mission discussing this album in October of last year. That's 2005, people. I mean, can you even remember that year? I must concur with bol, as he is dead right about the inadequate version of "Positively 4th Street." This is one of Dylan's most acerbic, angry songs, and Jerry's soft voice and the jazzy sound don't cut it. Just the wrong choice for the boys, that's all. More to come on The Simple Mission.

-Speaking of reworking originals, Palm Sounds Out has a great collection of remixes up now on Remix Sunday 4. Personal favorite is the ratatat remix of Ghostface's sick "Run," which sounds so good right now. Oh, and of course, the Project Pat "Make That Azz Clap" remix with Juvenile is the best, but you already knew I'd say that.

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