Jerry’s Favorite Solo Studio Album

The “Days Between” which is sometimes referred to as the “Daze Between” is the period of time between Garcia’s birthday on August 1 and the anniversary of his untimely death on August 9, and oddly this is celebrated by many Deadheads.  Jerry was born in 1942, so if he would have lived, he would have been 79 today, but sadly he died from a heart attack in 1995 at the age of 53.  I have always felt a special connection with his as I was born on March 3rd in 1953, so we have the number 53 in common and since March is the third month and if you multiply that by the third day, you get 9.  Jerry has four children-all daughters and he had a dog named Cheyenne, a horse and a domesticated crow.  I was able to find a picture of Jerry where he appears to be holding one of his daughters and there is a Siamese cat in the photo also.

Jerry Garcia always kept himself busy performing and recording with his own groups, as well as being a guest on other albums with other groups.  In 1978, the Jerry Garcia Band recorded the album, Cats Under The Stars, which had poor sales, but Jerry said that he worked the hardest on this and he considered it to be a successful record, even though it never went anywhere, it remained Garcia’s favorite.  The album contained all new material that they did by themselves, which probably explains why Jerry was so proud of this album.  The same year that the Cats album was released the Grateful Dead played in Egypt.  Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them.  To honor these treasured pets, wealthy families dressed them in jewels and fed them treats fit for royalty.  When the cats died, they were mummified.

Cats Under The Stars was Garcia’s fourth solo album and it peaked at #114 on the Billboard 200.  It was recorded between the Grateful Dead albums Terrapin Station and Shakedown Street, with Keith and Donna Godchaux, John Kahn, Merl Saunders, and Ron Tutt.  The title song ‘Cats Under The Stars’ has lyrics written by Robert Hunter, and Jerry Garcia composed the music.  The song is about someone who is restless at night, so he decides to go out for a walk.  There is not a hell of a lot going on as he takes this walk, until this satin blouse starts unbuttoning and you wonder if a lady is going to reveal her body, or if she is simply enjoying getting undressed.  That doesn’t seem to be the case here, as Hunter was only teasing everyone with that line about the satin blouse unbuttoning.  His next line is, “Time’s is doing it just for you – Time’s a stripper, doing it just for you”.  A lot of people try to interpret this line and I see it as time being the enemy that is capable of stripping everything from your life.   Starting in early 1989, Clarence Clemons sat in with both the Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band at several shows and he is featured on the video below.  It starts out a little dark and the camera is shaky in the beginning, but I think it is a great listen and this is my tribute to Jerry today for his birthday,

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

Cats on the blacktop, birdies in the treetop
Someone plays guitar that sounds like a clarinet
I ain’t ready yet, to go to bed
Think I’ll take a walk downtown instead

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

Cats in the limelight, feels like it’s all right
Everybody wants something they might not get
I ain’t ready yet, to go to bed
Think I’ll take a walk downtown instead

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

Cats on the bandstand, give ‘em each a big hand
Anyone who sweats like that must be all right
No one wants sometimes, no black eye
Just another cat beneath the stars tonight

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

Satin blouse unbuttoning
Satin blouse unbuttoning
Time’s is doing it just for you
Time’s a stripper, doing it just for you

Just for you
Just for you
Just for you
Just for you

Hammering the brass tacks, cover up you tracks, Jack
Ain’t nowhere till you can pay your own way back
What else do you lack to make it right
Cats down under the stars tonight?

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

Cats down under the stars
Cats down under the stars

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