Notice no one ever covers a Bob Weir song? Ever ask yourself why?
In The Grateful Dead Movie, Weir's lyricist, John Barlow, says something to the effect of "no matter what, we'll never write anything half as good as Garcia and Hunter. They ARE the Dead".
(Weir, sitting near by, looks chagrined...)
The Decemberists do "Row Jimmy" (Weird choice!)
Jeff Tweedy of Wilco does "Ripple"
Vetiver does "Don't Ease Me In"
Built To Spill does, um, "Ripple"
Cracker does "Loser"
Ryan Adams does "Wharf Rat"
Not a fan of this guy, but Billy Corgan recently did "Morning Dew" in the style of the Dead (as opposed to the Tim Rose/Jeff Beck etc arrangement)
and lastly, this all star band doing "Tennessee Jed"
Are you still maintaining this blog/doing podcasts? I just recently stumbled across it due to a link from a post over at the Steve Hoffman forums. I can’t remember now if it was Monkees or Dead related (I think it was about Nesmith), that’s the beauty of your blog: Someone who digs both the GD *and* The Monkees/Nez as much as I do?
Anyhow, I hope you’ll still be checking in and adding to the site. I plan on reading it all and checking out many of the podcasts. I don’t think I’ll be agreeing with all of your tastes/opinions (More in just a sec), but I appreciate them nonethelss. You are a very thoughtful writer.
Having said all that, I feel your Bob Weir-bashing on the blog is a bit much.
NO ONE’s ever covered his songs?? Not sure what’s up with Hornsby’s “Jack Straw,” Dwight Yokum’s “Truckin’,” Suzanne Vega’s “Cassidy” or Burning Spear’s “Estimated Prophet” (All from the Deadicated album, although Yokum and Burning Spear included their tracks on their own albums too, and Hornsby made “Jack Straw” a frequent song of his concerts too) then.
Or Los Lobos’ “West LA Fadeaway” from a few years ago, or Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs covering “Sugar Mag,” Motorpsycho doing “One More Saturday Night,” and even friggin’ Tesla covering “Truckin’ “! Then you’ve got a smattering of assorted “Bobby” songs on other Dead tribute albums: That old reggae tribute album, the albums that David Murray and The Persuasions each did, the recent Day of the Dead monstrosity, and Holly Bowling’s (pretty great) recent album too.
Finally, the jammy folks like Greensky Bluesgrass, Infamous Stringdusters, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Keller Williams, etc., all having played Weir tunes live. Not to mention Gov’t Mule playing “The Other One” a shit ton of times over the last decade. Look it up.
Weir was an essential part of the Dead. A great, perhaps underrated rhythm guitarist, an eclectic composer whose penchant for weird time signatures fascinates me, and a guy who (with the lyrics of Hunter, Barlow, and Gerritt Graham) has a host of great songs. Give the Ace album a listen if you need proof. It’s a gem, and nearly song on it a Dead staple. Also: see “Weather Report Suite,” “The Music Never Stopped,” the gorgeous “Sage and Spirt,” or “Throwing Stones” and “Victim or the Crime” for later examples.
Bobby will always live in Jerry’s shadow, sure, and he’s had some cheesy moments (So did Jerry, honestly). But Bobby (and the other guys) did a lot of heavy lifting when Garcia went downhill fast over the GD’s last few years.
And Bob’s still great: Give the one Ratdog studio album (Excellent, and better than many of the GD’s studio efforts) and the recent solo album Blue Mountain a listen. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Oh, and if we’re going strictly by covering Garcia/Hunter songs than “Don’t Ease Me In” doesn’t count.ReplyDelete
Or, if we’re allowing it as a “Jerry” song, than the recording of “Me & My Uncle” on the Day of the Dead collection can count as a “Bobby” song too. But, really, neither of those count.
Oh, duh... And, of course, “Morning Dew” is not a Garcia/Hunter song either!ReplyDelete
Some songs, the Dead made so much their own (Which is true for both Jerry and Bob alike) that sometimes it’s easy to forget that many of their live staples were actually covers.
I wonder how many people know “Not Fade Away,” for example, as “a Grateful Dead song” rather than Buddy Holly!