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For Deadheads only

For Deadheads only

Music Posted by schoth Sun, July 21, 2013 23:10:44

This song review is an excerpt from Mikes Grateful Dead Blog

China Doll is a moody ballad with one of the most beautiful transitions from minor to major in rock music that I’ve ever heard. This song was originally released on the From the Mars Hotelalbum in 1974 and featured harpsichord.
China Doll is very much revered but is still underrated. China Doll should be an even more high profile Grateful Dead classic than it currently is. I am sure the song is virtually unknown outside of Deadheads so it earns the distinction of being For Deadheads Only.

This song is so deep, eerie, and mysterious it disappoints me that more people aren’t exposed to it. It is a very slow melancholy dirge and another thing that might detract from it’s popularity amongst Deadheads and the public at large is that the lyrics are very vague. I am not even sure what the plot of the song is or if the dialogue is a one person monologue or between two people, etc. The opening lines are vague:

A pistol shot at 5 o’clock
The bells of heaven ring
“Tell me what you done it for”
“No I won’t tell you a thing”

It has been written in the books that (per Robert Hunter) the opening shot refers to a suicide but without that 3rd party information I wouldn’t have known that. This fact of the vague lyrics does not bother me at all because I love China Doll so much but I am just conjecturing that the unclear storyline and lack of identifiable characters (ie no “Black Peter” in this one) might have caused the song not to receive the fanfare I think it deserves.
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Jerry’s ‘Tiger’ Guitar

Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) had about 25 guitars, but 70% of his time in the spotlight he played just 3, all custom built by the same luthier Doug Irwin (Sonoma, CA). Doug worked at Alembic guitars for a year and half or two. The guitarmaker spent more than six years working on it, result: Garcia’s favorite guitar for the next ll years & most played. He played the heavy 14-pound guitar for 11 years.
Irwin mixed exquisitely detailed, intricate brass work with dense, exotic hardwoods in his designs. He also incorporated a lot of special features Garcia himself devised, like a loop that ran the signal back through the guitar so he could control his special effects with knobs on the body of the guitar or a built-in pre-amp hidden beneath Irwin’s inlays. “Jerry knew more about his guitars and equipment than anyone,” said Parish. After a Roland synthesizer was successfully attached to Wolf, Tiger went back to the shop for retrofitting. Garcia used the synthesizer attachment to make his guitar sound like a trumpet or other instruments.

In 1990 Garcia changed guitars when Irwin completed “Rosebud” named for the inlaid dancing skeleton on the ebony coverplate. Lighter than the Tiger, it became his fulltime Dead guitar, but he used the Tiger in the JGB for a another year. Tiger and Wolf were named for the exquisite mother-of-pearl and ivory inlaid animal images Doug Irwin created This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is erikjerrygitaar.jpgon the guitar bodies. After Jerry’s death, the guitars returned to Doug Irwin, the master guitar maker who’s work Jerry Garcia so admired. In his will, Garcia left the guitars to Mr. Irwin who had devoted many years of his life creating them. Irwin sold his guitars, the Tiger and the Wolf, at auction on May 8, 2002. The Tiger was purchased by Jim Irsay for USD 850,000.

There’s a bootleg where Ryan Adams explains that he went to the Hall of Fame and saw Garcia’s guitars hence the lyric: “Rosebud shipwrecked up on the Ohio, behind a Wall of Glass, telling me to take care of myself, and my friends”.

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Slowly But Surely

Slowly But Surely

Lyrics: James Booker
Music: James Booker

James Booker with Jerry Garcia – Palo Alto Rehersals (1976)

Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals
John Kahn – bass
James Booker – piano, vocals
Ron Tutt – drums

I couldn’t find this song on YouTube so I had to post it here myself. No copyright … intended, it’s just for bringing a little joy in your heart. Played by James Booker, one of New Orleans’ true piano geniuses, with the Jerry Garcia Band in Jan 1976. The title in some lists is “Right Back Together” but the correct title is “Slowly But Surely”

Play on YouTube

Jerry’ s guitar picking and James Booker’ s piano playing match perfectly. And the song is so optimistic. Just a perfect soundtrack for a long drive at night to a far and foreign country… A big thanks to whoever recorded this jam session! The Piano Prince released only five official LPs of music during his lifetime. one of New Orleans’ true piano geniuses who died On November 8, 1983, only 43 years old, after taking a deadly dose of bad quality cocaine.


You know the world keeps going on around and round
And slowly getting back together
I know it’s getting right back together right now
Sun’s got the world going round and round
As though they’re getting back together
I know it’s getting right back together right now

There is a great big plan
It’s greater than superman, as great a superman
Tell you no lie, [’cause here is superfly, ooperfly]
Keeps the world running round and around and round
Slowly getting back together
I know it’s getting right back together right now

Well dead and gone, I may be dead and gone
Just helping the ground rotting
Yeah but the truth will live on
It never be forgotten
Oh but the birds and the ants
I know the trees and plants
They’re gonna bring me all the news
It won’t be no use, it won’t be no use
Because the world still be going on around and round
And slowly getting back together
I know it know it’s going to get back together, slowly but surely
Right back together now

This song here, “Slowly But Surely”, I dedicate this to my aunt down
in Bay, St Louis, Bessie, my aunt Bessie, she inspired this you know,
she inspired the title, ’cause she used to say that all the time,
“Slowly But Surely”, and she used to say this, she said…