Jerry Week: An Elegy for Jerry

Jerome John Garcia

 

“Stella Blue” (10/17/74)

An Elegy for Jerry

Jerry, my friend,
you’ve done it again,
even in your silence
the familiar pressure
comes to bear, demanding
I pull words from the air
with only this morning
and part of the afternoon
to compose an ode worthy
of one so particular
about every turn of phrase,
demanding it hit home
in a thousand ways
before making it his own,
and this I can’t do alone.
Now that the singer is gone,
where shall I go for the song?

Without your melody and tase
to lend an attitude of grace
a lyric is an orphan thing,
a hive with neither honey’s taste
nor power to truly sting.

What choice have I but to dare and
call your muse who thought to rest
out of the thin blue air
that out of the field of shared time,
a line or two might chance to shine —

As ever when we called,
in hope if not in words,
the muse descends.

How should she desert us now?
Scars of battle on her brow,
bedraggled feathers on her wings,
and yet she sings, she sings!

May she bear thee to thy rest,
the ancient bower of flowers
beyond the solitude of days,
the tyranny of hours–
the wreath of shining laurel lie
upon your shaggy head
bestowing power to play the lyre
to legions of the dead

If some part of that music
is heard in deepest dream,
or on some breeze of Summer
a snatch of golden theme,
we’ll know you live inside us
with love that never parts
our good old Jack O’Diamonds
become the King of Hearts.

I feel your silent laughter
at sentiments so bold
that dare to step across the line
to tell what must be told,
so I’ll just say I love you,
which I never said before
and let it go at that old friend
the rest you may ignore.

– Robert Hunter

Dawn at the Ritz (J. Garcia)


Jerry Week: Footprints in the Sands of Time

Footprints in the Sands of Time (J. Garcia)

I apologize for the delayed Jerry week posts—I’ve been deep in the Canadian north with very little internet access the past few days. So for today, we’ll catch up for the last two days with three classic Dead jams. All three versions are worthy of inclusion in any “best ever” discussion and are must-hears for any Dead fan. Primal Dead.

Terrapin Station” (5/17/77)

Morning Dew” (6/18/74)

Dark Star” > “Eyes of the World” (11/11/73)

Jerry Week: Capitol Theater 1982/04/10 Solo Acoustic

”]

The recording of Jerry Garcia’s performance at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ on April 10, 1982 opens with the promoter saying “I think you’ll find this a rare musical experience.” But not even he, or even Jerry, could have known just how true that statement would become, for this was the one and only time that Mr. Garcia performed an entire show solo acoustic. There are competing tales as to whether Jerry booked the show solo and then called John Kahn on for the rest of the tour, or if Kahn was supposed to play but was unable to make it. Either way, it’s been said that Jerry felt uncomfortable during the performance and decided not to play publicly by himself ever again. Below, you can hear two cuts—one from the early show and one from the late—displaying Jerry in this intimate setting. A truly rare musical experience, indeed…

MP3: “Reuben and Cherise” (4/10/82)

MP3: “Gomorrah” (4/10/82)

 

Jerry Week: “Eyes of the World” 1974/10/19

Grateful Dead 1974

Jerry week continues here at DGB where we’ll be paying tribute on each of the days between. For today’s selection, we turn to the well-known and much-loved version of “Eyes of the World” from October 19, 1974. This was part of a run of shows that sent the Dead on temporary hiatus for the six months that followed, and also acted as the final shows using the legendary Wall of Sound speaker system. This version—which serves as the very first piece of Grateful Dead music that ever graced my ears—is featured in The Grateful Dead Movie, as well as on the So Many Roads Box set. If not for this version of this song, my life would likely have taken a very different path.  I owe a great deal to my friend who played it for me on that summer night so many years ago, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.

MP3: “Eyes of the World” (10.19.74)

Jerry Week: Legion of Mary – “Little Sunflower”

Legion of Mary

As we continue to celebrate Jerry week over here at DGB, let’s have a listen to something from my favorite Garcia side-project—Legion of Mary. Buried beneath Jerry Garcia’s endless side projects, guest appearances and solo endeavors is the rarely mentioned Legion of Mary featuring Merl Saunders, JGB bassist John Kahn, Martin Fierro on sax and flute along with Ronnie Tutt on drums (who replaced Paul Humphrey in early ’75). The band was short-lived, lasting only from July of ’74 to July ’75, but during that time, the group was a rare force, concocting an infectious blend of jazz, rock and R&B.

Today, we turn to LOM’s cover of “Little Sunflower” taken from Milt Jackson’s 1972 Sunflower release on CTI. This happens to double as one of my favorite pieces of Jerry’s playing and also one of my favorite jazz songs, and to add to that, we have one of the finest possible recordings. Taped by the legendary team of Bob Menke and Louis Falenga, you won’t find much better in the way of audience recordings.

MP3: “Little Sunflower