|Deadheads unite, for November is the month of 30 Days of The Dead.
The Grateful Dead at the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco
For many, this could be one of the greatest months of the year as each day a new live song from the archives will be released for download.
The process is simple, go to dead.net, and find the 30 Days of The Dead page and start downloading.
The first day of November opened up with a stellar cut of “Sugaree” from Olympic Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 1983, which has always been considered high priority among the Dead faithful.
Day Three unlocked “Uncle John’s Band” while Day Five revealed “Jack Straw.”
Day Six released a stellar version of one of my favorite jams with “China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider,” with many more releases to come this month.
If you’re like me, you remember the first time you heard the Grateful Dead.
Sure, I knew songs like “Truckin” and “Touch of Grey” during my teenage years, but it was around the time I was 18 years old that I first understood the Grateful Dead.
And when I say understand, I mean listening to the music and having it flow through you and really move you in some form.
Giving up on modern rock radio and everything else I was listening to at the time, I somehow remembered I was raised on groups like The Band and The Beatles on my mother’s side while my dad held down the soul side with artists like James Brown and Otis Redding.
I was also a big fan of groups like Gov’t Mule, Black Crowes and Ben Harper so I had to go back to the basics with the Grateful Dead.
With a mix of rock, folk, bluegrass, country and a very improvisational style, this group was right up my alley.
The original members of the group included Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen McKernan, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann.
Though some have been lost over the years, I have been fortunate enough to see a few different variations of the group The Dead, Phil Lesh & Friends along with Bob Weir shows.
During their live experience, there is a feeling that you just can’t explain. When you hear “Sugar Magnolia” or other favorites, it’s reminiscent of the Bob Marley lyric from “Trenchtown Rock” which states, “One good thing about music, when it hits you fell no pain.”
It’s very easy to lose yourself and forget anything else, to say the least.
Many live video releases such as “Festival Express” and “The Closing of Winterland” have captured the group peaking on different occasions and give any viewer a first-rate glimpse of what the live experience was about back in the day.
By far one of my greatest moments experiencing Grateful Dead songs came during the 2007 installment of Bonnaroo during a late night set from Gov’t Mule that enlisted some help from Bob Weir on “Sugaree” and “Loser.”
Another show of note in my day was the appearance of Phil Lesh and Friends at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam last year in Asheville, N.C., On this occasion, Lesh was accompanied by none other than the host, Warren Haynes, along with Jackie Greene for a set to remember.
Although some of its roots are no longer with us, the spirit of the Grateful Dead moves on like a headlight on a north-bound train and will carried on for many generations down the line.