Ky-Yi Bossie – come along with Bob Weir

Photo by Jay Blakesberg Photography

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Bob Weir over the last 10-15 years, it’s that he is most definitely not going to shave that giant mustache and beard. Bob, such a handsome dude underneath that hair! Ah well, the beards are here to stay all around me, I may as well just get used to it.

Crazy to think that more than 21 years have gone by since the passing of Jerry Garcia, bringing with it the end of what was the Grateful Dead. Bob has never let up though. He’s carried on with Ratdog over years with a rotating cast of characters in the band (sorry to see that the great bass player Rob Wasserman passed away earlier this year); and he has re-congregated in different incarnations with his former Dead band mates, most recently as Dead & Company, with John Mayer joining in on guitar and vocal duties (A+ decision on everyone’s part). I’ll finally be checking them out next May when they visit Phoenix on the second show of their tour (May 28).

Adding to his always active life in music, Bob also released Blue Mountain earlier this year, only the third album of his career billed only as Bob Weir (along with 1972’s Ace and 1977’s Heaven Help the Fool). It’s a collection of “cowboy” songs, as he’s referred to them, with help from quality musicians like Josh Ritter and a couple members of the National (who curated that huge and excellent Dead tribute project earlier this year, Day of the Dead).

The album struck a chord with me. I love the downtempo side of the music, and the great melodies and laid back acoustic stylings in Blue Mountain really grabbed me.

A notch above the rest for me are “Gallop on the Run,” “Whatever Happened to Rose,” and especially “Ky-Yi Bossie,” painting a vivid picture of addiction and relationship problems that have to be at least semi-autobiographical. It’s imaginative and honest, framed in a very catchy cowboy tune with a very cowboy title. Check it out…

Los Lobos: Live at the Furthur Festival, 1996

The first time I saw Los Lobos live was August 4th, 1996 as part of the Furthur Festival, launched by Bob Weir and Mickey Hart (two surviving members of the Grateful Dead) the year after Jerry Garcia’s passing.

Along for the short summer tour was Ratdog (Weir’s band), Mickey Hart’s Mystery Box, Los Lobos, Hot Tuna, and Bruce Hornsby.

Phoenix was the last stop on the tour. It was August. It was hot. And I was there.

The Los Lobos set sparked a lifetime love of the band for me. The set was only 45 minutes long, but the rich and eclectic nature of the music reeled me in. Rock n’ roll, blues, traditional Mexican, a Hendrix cover, and of course what I came to know as their signature Dead cover of “Bertha” (done better than any band outside of the Grateful Dead).

So I was stoked to come across this short but power-packed set (not to mention it’s a soundboard recording) from that very hot summer day in 1996, and I’m excited to share it with you all.

Los Lobos: an American treasure. And they’re still out on the road. I’ll be catching them again in a couple of short weeks – June 15th at Wild Horse Pass Casino here in the Phoenix area. Life’s too short not to.

Los Lobos
August 4th, 1996
Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix
Furthur Festival (last show of the tour)

Download ZIP of the whole set.

Angel Dance
I Walk Alone
Spanish Castle Magic
I Got to Let You Know
Los Ojos de Pancha
I Got Loaded (w/ Lovelight verse)
Mas y Mas
Bertha (w/ Pete Sears on keyboards)

Live Dead on YouTube: 3-28-81 at the Rockpalast Festival

There’s an insane amount of live Grateful Dead shows on YouTube these days, and I’ve fallen hard into the rabbit hole the past couple of weeks.

I’ve spent some time traveling back to the late 80’s at Alpine Valley (to think I was a clueless 18 year old just 45 minutes away at this moment), the early 90’s at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in Las Vegas (where I saw my final Dead show), and most recently – today in fact – over in Germany at the 1981 Rockpalast Festival.

The show really takes off midway through the first set, with the run of “Sugaree”, “Me & My Uncle”, “Mexicali Blues”, and the funky disco-jamming of “Shakedown Street.”

Here’s the Dead at the Rockpalast Festival in March 1981 – all three hours and twenty-two minutes – featuring a guest appearance late in the show by a Mr. Pete Townshend.

A Dead Giveaway – Europe ’72 & More

It’s been a long time since I’ve hosted a contest and it’s been way too long since I’ve featured the good old Grateful Dead. And wow, do I have a cool bundle of swag to give away this time around.

Earlier this month, Rhino released Europe ’72: Vol. 2, a follow up to the almost 40 year old Europe ’72, which captures one of the Dead’s most legendary tours (not to mention Ron “Pigpen” McKernan’s very last tour). There was a lot of great music from the tour still hanging around in the vaults all these years, and lucky for the us, Dead archivist David Lemieux got his hands on them, and gathered 20 songs for Vol. 2.

The result is a collection of twenty tunes from the 22-show tour, ranging from “Bertha”, “Next Time You See Me”, and “Greatest Story Ever Told” to the always epic “Dark Star” > Drums > “The Other One” from the May ’72 Bickershaw Festival in Wigan, UK (outside Manchester). Plus a whole bunch of other Dead classics from different stops along that European road (the track list is down below).

So, let’s get to the goods. Yes, I’ve got this great new release for one lucky winner. But – how do they say it? – that’s not all!!

To the victor goes the spoils, which are:

I’m telling you, I’m envious of whoever gets this. It’s sitting here staring me in the face, begging to be ripped open and explored. Buuut I’ll be good and pass it on to one of you fine people.

It couldn’t be easier to enter – just leave a comment below, and after a week, I’ll select a winner. If you’ve seen the Dead, I’d be interested to know, what was your one favorite show or your one cherished memory? If you didn’t catch them before Jerry’s untimely passing in 1995, just go with stream of consciousness… favorite song/show? Era? Does Donna Godchaux’s backing vocal stylings from their 70’s shows make your skin crawl, or does it do something for you? (Sorry Donna, for me, it’s the former.)

I’ll pick a winner and notify him or her by email on Friday, October 7th. Make sure to leave your email address in the field below. It’s not shared with the masses, I just need a way to get in touch (once). This giveaway is open to anyone in the US or Canada.

Good luck Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike!!

Here are a couple from the new Vol. 2 collection…

Bertha by gratefuldead

Greatest Story Ever Told – Olympia Theatre, Paris 5/3/72 by gratefuldead

EUROPE ’72: VOL. 2 || Track Listing

Disc One

1. “Bertha” – Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen (4/14/72)
2. “Me And My Uncle” – Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley (4/7/72)
3. “Chinatown Shuffle” – Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen (4/14/72)
4. “Sugaree” – Olympia Theatre, Paris (5/3/72)
5. “Beat It On Down The Line” – Theatre Hall, Luxembourg (5/16/72)
6. “Loser” – Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen (4/14/72)
7. “Next Time You See Me” – Olympia Theatre, Paris (5/4/72)
8. “Black-Throated Wind” – Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen (4/14/72)
9. “Dire Wolf” – Jahrhundert Halle, Frankfurt (4/26/72)
10. “Greatest Story Ever Told” – Olympia Theatre, Paris (5/3/72)
11. “Deal” – Olympia Theatre, Paris (5/4/72)
12. “Good Lovin’” – Jahrhundert Halle, Frankfurt (4/26/72)
13. “Playing In The Band” – Strand Lyceum, London (5/24/72)

Disc Two

1. “Dark Star”> – Bickershaw Festival, Wigan (5/7/72)
2. Drums > – Bickershaw Festival, Wigan (5/7/72)
3. “The Other One”> – Bickershaw Festival, Wigan (5/7/72)
4. “Sing Me Back Home” – Strand Lyceum, London (5/26/72)
5. “Not Fade Away”> – Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley (4/7/72)
6. “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad”> – Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley (4/7/72)
7. “Not Fade Away” – Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley (4/7/72)

Good Times at the Telluride Cajun Festival

The nature of vacations is that they fly by way too quickly. And my first 2 week vacation since, well, since I started working for a living, is about to draw to a close. After I celebrate my 39th year on earth tomorrow, it’s back to the grind on Tuesday.

My family and I just spent 11 great days with my mom and my dad in Telluride, Colorado. My folks live up there during the summers, and it has become a yearly tradition to strap the car-sick-prone kids into the vehicle and brave the 9+ hours to the San Juans of southwest Colorado.

As fate would have it, along with the hiking, fly fishing, restaurantin’, Smugglers Brewpubbin‘ and such, I managed to catch some quality live music during our visit. Early on, it was James McMurtry playing for free in Mountain Village. And Friday, for our final day in town, it was the Telluride Cajun Festival, featuring Louisiana native Papa Mali, with new BFF (and drummer for the Dead) Bill Kreutzmann in tow…

Giveaway: Mickey’s Drums, Jerry’s Greatest [All About de Riddim]

Hey! Let’s talk about drumming and rhythm and percussion, and give away a couple of CD’s: Mickey Hart’s 1991 collaboration with Airto Moreira and a number of amazing percussionists from around the world – Planet Drum; and Mickey’s latest project, Global Drum Project, a collaboration with some of the same legends, including Nigerian talking drum legend Sikiru Adepoju.

But that’s not all! I’ll also throw in The Very Best of Jerry Garcia, Rhino’s 2-cd release chock full of Captain Trips’ excellent solo and live material.

For the contest in question, let’s focus on the drummin’. To have a chance to win these CD’s, I pose one question to you fine ladies and gents….

Who is your favorite drummer(s) / percussionist(s) and why?

Neal Peart? Bonzo? Bun E. Carlos? Animal from the Muppets?

I just realized I have no clear favorite, but if I had to choose, I know who would be up there. Jon Fishman of Phish always blew my mind at their shows – how he could stay in rhythm and navigate through their myriad of mind-blowing jams. Fela Kuti’s drummer, Tony Allen, never ceases to amaze me when listening to Fela’s great Afrobeat catalog. I love the way Prince drums in “Irresistible Bitch” – a 1999-era B-side. But I recently found out that’s Morris Day doing the drummin’.

So let’s pick your brains. Leave a comment below with your opinion. The winner will be chosen from the comments in a week or so.

More about the Mickey Hart CD’s after the jump….

The Ickmusic Tapes – Ratdog, 1995

Once again, I have to thank my 18 month old for pulling a great cassette out of the box that I thought was so securely closed (you know, the four flap clockwise fold – there’s probably a name for it, like Boy Scout knots).

Between 94 and 97, I taped just about every Grateful Dead Hour off a local radio station (KZON, then KDKB). In late ’95, they played what was then an early Ratdog show from the Warfield in San Francisco – it was September 2nd, short of a month after Jerry Garcia’s death.

I’ve always loved this particular version of “Heaven Help the Fool”. And “Throwing Stones” was always one of my favorites. This early version of Ratdog included Rob Wasserman on bass (Weir and Wasserman performed together for years prior to that), and former Primus member Jay Lane on drums. In this particular show, though, former Tubes-man Prairie Prince is pounding the skins.

Check out this nice mini-set.

September 2, 1995
The Warfield, San Francisco

Heaven Help the Fool
Bass Solo (Wasserman)
Victim or the Crime
Throwing Stones

Simple Twist of Fate, Jerry-Style

Jerry Garcia Band

Regardless of your general palate for the Grateful Dead, it’s pretty hard to listen to this version of the Bob Dylan-penned “Simple Twist of Fate” and not be moved. Whether it’s Garcia’s pleading and perfect vocal, or his crisp and cascading guitar solos, this performance is simply gorgeous.

The Jerry Garcia Band was Jerry’s opportunity to let loose and play some of his favorite music outside of the Dead “scene”, from Dylan to Motown to gospel. And in my opinion, it got no better than this…

Jerry Garcia BandSimple Twist of Fate (mp3)

Buy: Jerry Garcia Band