30 Years Later

A previously unreleased Grateful Dead concert from Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 10, 1990 will be broadcast for free on Youtube tomorrow night beginning at 8:45 p.m. ET.  Go to this website to listen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaMvpDDuGuw

The performance took place just weeks before pianist Brent Mydland died from an accidental overdose.  Set 1 includes, ‘Jack Straw’, ‘Loser’, ‘We Can Run’, ‘Me and My Uncle’, ‘Big River’, ‘Friend of the Devil’, ‘When I Paint My Masterpiece’, ‘Bird Song’ and ‘The Promised Land’.  Set 2 contains ‘Iko Iko’, ‘Playing in the Band’, ‘Uncle John’s Band’, Drums and Space, ‘The Other One’, ‘Stella Blue’ and ‘Not Fade Away’.  The encore closer is ‘Brokedown Palace’.  Set a reminder as you don’t want to miss out on this!

Wait All Summer

‘Let Me Sing Your Blues Away’ is a Grateful Dead song that came out on their 1973 studio album Wake Of The Flood and it was also released as a Grateful Dead 7” single.  The lyrics were written by Robert Hunter and the music was composed by Keith Godchaux.  This was Keith’s only songwriting credit and lead vocal that he sang while he was in the band.  Wake Of The Flood was the first Dead studio album where Keith and Donna appeared on.  ‘Let Me Sing Your Blues Away’ was only played live six times by the Grateful Dead, all in September 1973, and on each of those performances, after the first one, the horn player Martin Fierro played on the song.

For a brief period during the fall of 1973, the Grateful Dead included a section of horn players for including saxophonist/flutist Martin Fierro and trumpeter Joe Ellis.  Fierro was also a part of the famed Legion of Mary band of 1974 to 1975, which featured Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, and others.  Keith gave the Dead a deeper dimension and the husband-and-wife team of Keith and Donna Godchaux joined the Grateful Dead as a package deal.  The couple’s timing was fortuitous, as founding member Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who played organ as well as harmonica while singing the Dead’s blues numbers, was in poor health (he died in 1973) and he was unable to keep up with the band’s rigorous touring schedule.  Keith Godchaux was the keyboardist for the Grateful Dead from 1971-1979, he was born on July 19th, 1948 and died on July 23rd, 1980.

Donna Jean Thatcher was a studio singer working as a session singer in the Muscle Shoals area before she married Keith Godchaux in 1970.  Her first recording session was with Ray Stevens probably in early 1966.  She contributed background vocals to Percy Sledge’s 1966 ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ and Elvis Presley’s 1969 single ‘Suspicious Minds’.  Her vocals were featured on other classic recordings, singing on the eponymous first Boz Scaggs album featuring Duane Allman which was released in 1969, and her picture appears in the front row on the cover of the 1969 Cher album 3614 Jackson Highway.  Donna sang on R.B. Greaves’ ‘Take A Letter, Maria’, which she also sang on occasion with the New Riders and it is thought that she sang on the Neil Diamond song ‘Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show’.  She also sang with Joe Tex, Benny King, Dionne Warwick, Etta James, the Boxtops and many others.

On September 17, 1971, Pigpen went into the hospital, seriously ill and near death.  The Dead were faced with a dilemma of who would be their next keyboard player.  Tom Constantine had played organ and piano with the Grateful Dead from 1968 to 1970 appearing on Anthem of the Sun, Aoxomoxoa, Live/Dead and live performances at The Fillmore East and Woodstock, but he left to start a solo career.  Ned Lagin played on the American Beauty album along with Howard Wales had also played on several songs on American Beauty.  Howard also collaborated with Jerry Garcia on the 1971 album Hooteroll.  Howard disappeared from the music world and Ned wasn’t considered as the replacement keyboardist, or he turned them down.  Merl Saunders was playing with Garcia all the time, but he didn’t really want to join the band.  Keith was a big fan of the Dead before he joined the group.

In 1973, the Grateful Dead were going through a lot of changes as their Warner Bros. contract was expiring and the band decided to start their own independent record company Grateful Dead Records, with their first album release being, Wake of the Flood, which incorporated horns and a violin.   This album sold more than 400,000 copies and the band earned approximately four times the money per album because they had their own independent label.  Grateful Dead Records used the image of a mediaeval court jester holding a mandolin whose face was a skull as their artwork symbol which was originally designed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley.  This may have been inspired by the character of Yorrick in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.  Hamlet is speaking to the gravedigger when he finds the skull of Yorick, the royal jester.

This song contains a lot of car lyrics and it is also about a race.  It contains the starting jingle,One for the Money”, which is an English-language children’s rhyme which came out in the 1820s to count before starting a race or other activity.  This rhyme reads as, “One for the money, Two for the show, Three to make ready, And four to go”, which Hunter changed up a bit.  This rhyme also exists in the 1955 songs ‘Roll Hot Rod Roll’ by Oscar McLollie and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ by Carl Perkins.

Well hop in the hack, turn on the key
Pop in the clutch let the wheel roll free
Not a cloud in the sky, such a sunny day
Push in the button let the top ten play
Come on honey, let me sing ‘em away
Come on honey, let me sing ‘em away
Oh, honey, let me sing your blues away

Give me a little of that old time love
‘Cause I ain’t never had near enough
Honey, walk that walk
With style and grace
This ain’t no knock-down, drag-out race

It doesn’t matter much, pick any gear
Grind you a pound and drop the rear
Baby, baby, what can I say
I’m here to drive those blues away

I sent a letter to a man I know
Said one for the money and two for the show
I wait all summer for his reply
Said three to get ready and four to fly

Only two things in this world I love
That’s rock and roll and my turtle dove

When I was a young man, I needed good luck
But I’m a little bit older now and I know my stuff

Come on honey let me sing ‘em away
Come on honey let me sing ‘em away
Oh honey let me sing your blues away

Written for Paula’s Thursday Inspiration 64 where this week’s theme is summer.

She Flipped Out

I called her Frondescence, because she was always seemed to find new ways of leaving me and I doubt that she’ll ever come back.  If only we could have only met later on in life when I was more mature.  She was special to me and I am the one who is culpable for our relationship falling apart.  She warned me from the beginning that she would not stand for me showing interest in anybody but her, but when I saw this tall blonde hitchhiking in the rain, I stopped to offer succor, because I saw she was in distress.  When I got back to our apartment, I told her about the girl that I picked up in the rain, and she flipped out saying, “You can have her if you want her, as I am leaving.”

I said, “Honey, it is not like that, nothing happened and all I want is you.  I would never sink to the level of cheating on you, so you have no reason to be jealous of this girl that I will most likely never see again.  I would not have even told you about her, if I thought that you were going to go off on a virtual tirade like this.  I want our love to soar, but if you already have your mind made up, I did get that girl’s phone number.”  She threw a shoe at me and left.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompts – Succor, for the Daily Spur prompt – Sink, for FOWC with Fandango – Culpable, for Jibber Jabber by Sue – Soar, for July Monthly Writing Prompts – If only we could, for Ragtag Community – Frondescence, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Offer Tall Special and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Virtual.

A Mantra

She is praying for peace and an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The hummingbird hears her chanting and it hovers near by after sucking sustenance from the flowers.  She starts singing, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  The sixteen-word mantra is repeated to deliver peace and to free her mind.  The word Hare refers to the divine feminine potency of God.  Krishna means the all-attractive one, and Rama is the reservoir of all pleasure.  Chanting these sixteen names is supposed to be counteract the evil effects of the demon Kali.

At the dawn of civilization, when the human race was still under the spell of the powers and mysteries of nature, most human rituals were centered around pleasing the five basic natural forces.  Those being fire, water, sky, wind and earth.  Hearken to that which all Shrutis (the Vedas) keep secret and hidden, through which one may cross the Saṃsāra (mundane existence) of Kali.  One can shake off the evil effects of Kali through the mere uttering of the name of Lord Narayana, who is the primeval Purusha.  Kali is dark in color, she drinks blood, and is portrayed as evil.  Kali is a mysterious goddess of death and destruction with a very complex story.

The name Kālī first appears in the Atharva Veda, a collection of hymns and mantras published between 1200 BCE and 1000 BCE, however she is not a goddess but rather a fierce black tongue, one of seven belonging to Agni, the god of fire.  It is another 400 years before Kali is described as an individual in her own right, when she appears as a battlefield goddess personifying the wrath of Durga.  At this point, she has become a terrible skeletal and frightening crone, wearing animal skins and carrying the skull-topped staff associated with tribal shamans.

In Swami Vivekananda’s 1898 poem, Kali the Mother, he evokes the Night of Kali as a time of pitch darkness that blots out the stars, trouble comes from the souls of a million lunatics let loose from the prison, while on every side a thousand shades of Death blacken the sky perpetuating plagues and bringing sorrow which becomes a mad dance of terror and death.  In the poet’s vision, destruction follows her every foot step, for she is the relentless power, the All-Destroyer of Time, locked in a Dance of Destruction.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See? Picture prompt Image credit- Stefan Keller – Pixabay.

A Poke in the Eye with a Sharp Stick

My wife was invited to a United Way rewards dinner at a swanky restaurant and I went with her.  We ended up sitting at a table with a bunch of managers from her company who I didn’t know.  The waiter accidently stepped on this lady’s foot who was sitting next to me at our table.  She screamed and complained about how the waiter was so clumsy and honestly all of her complaining was ruining my dinner.  I said, “Better than getting stuck with a javelin” to lighten the mood, knowing that things can always be worse, but she just gave me a dirty look.  In hindsight, I probably should have kept quiet, but she continued making a really big deal out of this and most times I talk without thinking first.

Written for Linda G. Hill Life in progress One-Liner Wednesday.

More Than I Need

I had enough toilet paper to last me till Thanksgiving and I was not worried when all the shelves were empty at the store, but yesterday when I went out, I saw that they had toilet paper available on the shelves again, and I bought more.  It is taking up the whole bottom space in my pantry and I can barely close the door and I figure that now I will be good through Easter and my pantry could be called the cupboard of abundance.  I certainly don’t want to run out of toilet paper and it looks like we have a long way to go with this Covid-19 pandemic, as it doesn’t seem to be going quietly away.  I wonder if I was stocking up, or have I become a hoarder.

It seems simple enough, wash your hands, avoid touching your face and when you are out in public, wear a mask and practice social distancing.  Trump came up with a deeply flawed argument, dismissing the severity of the pandemic, downplaying the effect of the disease even as infections continue to spread across the US.  He falsely claimed that 99% of the virus cases are totally harmless and I heard on the news that 4% of the people who get Covid-19 in the US, end up dead.  Almost 130,000 people have already died here from this so-called “harmless” virus and at about 2.9 million people have tested positive for the infection, so a simple observation along with some easy math says that it is closer to 4.5% of the people that contract this virus will end up dead.  These statistics don’t even account for the thousands of people who have spent weeks in the hospital or weeks at home with mild to moderate symptoms that caused debilitating health problems.

In Florida where many people are aging, test results showed that by July 3, that there has been a total of 190,052 positive COVID-19 cases with 3,702 of these resulting in death from the virus.  Since July 3rd, 18 more Florida residents have died from this pandemic.  It is not just the older populations and those with underlying health conditions that are at risk, as Covid-19 is having a severe impact on young people now.  In Florida, the median age of positive Covid-19 cases in March was 65 years old, but within the last week, it has dropped to 35 years old.  Florida has reopened and maybe this was done by Governor Ron DeSantis to oblige the Republican president, but if that is the case, this was done in bad taste.

A significant portion of Covid-19 patients are asymptomatic, so that means that there are a lot of people who are walking around with the virus, but since they are unaware of having it, but they are passing this infection on to others, so the transmission is still spreading.  The Novel Covid-19 is a silent killer and you may not know that you are infected, until it is too late.  The world is different now, especially in the stillness that was created by social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.  Many people feel loneliness and this is apparent in those who wear their heart on their sleeve, but everyone copes differently and you can’t tell a book by its cover.  It is not like we can put on a pair of ruby slippers and tap our heels together like Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz and have everything go back to normal again, as the genie is not getting back in the bottle.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompts – Oblige, for the Daily Spur prompt – Loneliness, for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt – Observation, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 142 prompt – The genie is not getting back in the bottle, for FOWC with Fandango – Taste, for Midwest Fantasy Devereaux Frazier and Beth Amanda Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge – to write a poem or piece of prose around the words “in the stillness”, for Jibber Jabber by Sue – Quietly, for July Monthly Writing Prompts – The cupboard of abundance, for Ragtag Community – Ruby, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Available Book Sleeve, for Linda G. Hill Life in progress What Day is it Anyway? July 7th, 2020 and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Aging.

Melanie Sharing

In your opinion, what’s the closest thing to real magic?

Machine programming is very close to real magic, as a machine sits and waits for instructions and then it follows what it is told to do.  At first, there may be some bugs in the program and the machine is not acting like expected, but this usually boils down to some bad code or operator error.  Thorough testing will solve many code errors and over time the code can be adjusted to account for most operator errors.  A properly functioning machine will perform the particular task that it was made to do, and when that happens, it is magical.

Where is the worst smelling place you’ve been?

I worked in a steel foundry when the workers went on strike.  I had just started and did not have enough time in to join the union, so the workers let me cross the picket line, because they knew that I would not be taking away any of their work.  Management was in meetings the whole time and they gave me a shovel and a bucket and instructed me to clean out the pits, which had not been cleaned in over 30 years.  The pits always gives a negative connotation of something that is very bad or unpleasant like armpits or the pits of hell and nobody wants to be down in the pits, but I was happy to have a job and I was willing to do what ever work they required me to do.  The pits were fine as long as they were not stirred up and that is what they asked me to do.  When the stink lays there, the stench does not hit you and you can ignore it for the most part.  I shoveled it out bucket by bucket and nothing smells as bad as a dead rat, which I found a lot of in those pits.

What are some things that you’ve heard in your own life, which sounded like compliments but were actually insults?

I was never a really good golfer, but I always enjoyed playing.  I always played with my friends and when I hit my ball in the sand trap, or in the water, or in the woods, or out of bounds, somebody would always say, “Nice shot” and then they would laugh.

What incredibly common thing have you never done?

One time I smelled a beat, but I have never eaten any.

Written for Melanie’s sparksfromacombustiblemind’s Share Your World.

I Can Love You Better Than Him

‘Hard to Handle’ was written by Allen Jones, Al Bell, and Otis Redding and it was released on his 1967 album The Immortal Otis Redding.  This song charted #15 in the UK and it reached #51 in the US.  Al Bell was a career music industry affiliate, as a DJ, producer, songwriter and record executive.  He is best known for co-founding Stax Records.  Allen Jones was also a record producer, a writer and recording engineer at Stax records.  Redding had a career total of 11 Top 40 hits in the Billboard charts, an astounding achievement for somebody who did not live to see his 27th birthday.

Otis experiments with James Brown-style funk in this song backed by Booker T Jones on piano, anchored by percussive horns and driven by a groovy Duck Dunn bass guitar.  Otis is essentially selling his sexual prowess to a woman in this song, bragging about how good he is in bed.  During the song he is aware that this woman is with another man, but he tells her that he is far superior, he is a man of action rather than one of words, and if this lady decides to go home with him, she will find this out for herself.  The chorus leaves little to the imagination with Redding talking about lighting this woman’s candle and then calling on the song title to insist he truly is “hard to handle.”  In summary, the narrator is telling us that he is a player and since he is not charging for love lessons, she needs to catch what he is throwing at her.

‘Hard to Handle’ was a mainstay of the Grateful Dead’s live set from 1969 to 1971, where it was sung by Ron “Pigpen” McKernan.  There is not all that much left to say about this song, unlike my usual posts, but I have some great videos for you to watch.

Baby here I am
I’m the man on the scene
I can give you what you want
But you gotta’ come home with me

I have got some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get through throwin’ it on
You gotta’ come back for more

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Action speaks louder than words
And I’m a man of great experience
I know you’ve got another man
But I can love you better than him

Take my hand don’t be afraid
I’m gonna prove every word I say
I’m advertising love for free
So you can place your ad with me

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Yeah
Hard to handle now
Oh baby

Baby here I am
I’m the man on the scene
I can give you what you want
But you gotta’ come home with me

I’ve got some good old lovin’
And I got some more in store
When I get through throwin’ it on you
You got to come a-runnin’ back for more

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Hard
Hard to handle now
Oh yeah, yeah yeah yeah

Boys will come along a dime by the dozen
That ain’t nothing but ten cent lovin’
Pretty little thing, let me light your candle
‘Cause mama I’m sure hard to handle now, yessir’am

Yeah
So hard to handle now
Oh yeah

Baby
Good lovin’
Baby, baby
Ohh, good lovin’
I need good lovin’
I got to have it, oh yeah
Yeah
So hard to handle, now, yeah

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Best/Better/Good/Great.

More

Humans started off being hunter-gatherers and then as they became more social, they formed stable societies, and musicians started entertaining others from the beginning of recorded history.  Musicians started by making naturally occurring sounds adding rhythms to represent the phenomena in their lives, using repetition patterns, banging on objects, and strumming devices to create music.  The first musician in the Bible was Jubal, the son of Lamech, and he is described as “the father of all who play the harp and flute or any stringed instrument”.  English is a great language, but some common adjectives form irregular comparatives and superlatives, like the word “good” forms better and best, not “gooder” and “goodest”.   These three words good, better, and best are examples of the three forms of an adjective or adverb being positive, comparative, and superlative.  St. Jerome once said, “Good, better, best.  Never let it rest.  ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

Last week we had Measured with a Thermometer and everyone was asked to find a song with a temperature related prompts of Cool/Freeze/Heat/Melt.  This week we have the delightful, lovely, magnificent, marvelous, splendid prompts of Best/Better/Good/Great and hopefully this will fit for everyone.  Take some time to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this music challenge, as you will probably find many enjoyable songs and it is quite possibly that you will learn a thing or two.  Share your music with others and post a video, try do some research and let everyone know something about the song that you post.  Show the lyrics, let’s all listen to our favorite songs and explore some new music.  Try to find a song that fits the prompt, then write your post and create a pingback, or you can just place your link in the comments section.

Here are the “rules”:
• Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.  If it does not fit, then please explain why you chose this song.
• Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
• Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
• Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
• Ping back to this post or place your link in the comments section below.
• Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
• Feel free to suggest future prompts.
• Have fun and enjoy the music.

I am writing about the Otis Redding song ‘Hard to Handle’ this week.  Next week I will be writing about the song ‘Spoonful’ by Willie Dixon.  The upcoming prompts will be:
July 12, 2020 – Air/Earth/Fire/Water
July 19, 2020 – Baking/Bread/Cake/Pie/Picnic
July 26, 2020 – Different/Same
August 2, 2020 – Acquire/Collect/Gather/Secure

Happy Birthday USA

Happy 4th of July, my friends and I have a very appropriate song for you to celebrate this holiday with today.  ‘U.S. Blues’ is a Grateful Dead song written by Hunter and Garcia and it was released on their 1974 album Mars Hotel.  In 1973, the Grateful Dead started playing a song called ‘Wave That Flag’ and this eventually developed into ‘U.S. Blues’.  This is a patriotic rock song as can be seen in the first line of this song combining the colors of the USA and the song that was a hit for Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.  Uncle Sam is not taking your taxes here, he is saying hello and slapping you a high five.  Garcia has been up on stage in many concerts and he sings that it ain’t luck that he learned to duck, which always makes me think of the Blues Brothers movie where the bar patrons are throwing bottles at the band.

Garcia is cool up on stage with a pulse remaining at an even seventy-two, but he wants the audience to make some noise and he instructs the fans to pop the bag to create a pressure wave, which should get others jumping.  Jerry wants the audience to make some waves by rocking the boat and perhaps there will be a feast later, if somebody skins the goat.  The fans know how to show their spirit as the chorus comes in telling everyone to wave the flag, wide and high, which sort of reminds me of Francis Scott Key watching the British as they bombarded Fort McHenry, because he was so happy to see the flag still standing.  In 1973, the U.S. was withdrawing troops from Vietnam which was less-than-triumphant close, and the song makes a comparison with summertime being done and gone.

Garcia declares that he is Uncle Sam and that he has been hiding out in a rock and roll band.  He is proud that he got to shake the hand of someone who shook hands with P. T. Barnum and Charlie Chan.   Rhyming finishes this song off with shoes, fuse and Blues, as Jerry offers a toast, says he will share your wealth, run your life, and steal your wife.  Back to back could be two people looking in opposite directions or a sequence following immediately after another.  Chicken shack could be a place that serves food or the British blues band that Christine Perfect was in.  Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics for the song ‘One More Saturday Night’ which him and Bob Weir clashed over when Weir rewrote them and then Weir asked if he could call the resulting song ‘U.S. Blues’, which Hunter would not permit.  In the end, Hunter didn’t want to have any association with ‘One More Saturday Night’ and it was credited solely to Weir.  This song ends with the line, “You can call this song the United States Blues”, which may be a dig at Weir.

In the Grateful Dead Movie, a 1977 music documentary, Jerry Garcia came up with the idea of opening this with a cartoon, a lengthy eleven minute opening sequence that takes viewers through memorable Dead iconography including album covers from Blues for Allah and From the Mars Hotel, as well as the relatable misadventures of a dancing skeleton.  The Dead are sitting on couches wearing space suits watching TV.  We see the Blues for Allah skeleton with long white hair wearing a red robe and sunglasses, playing a violin.  Then we are out in space where a psychedelic yellowish animated character whose body looks like a corn on the cob and he has arms like the Michelin Man is playing a giant pinball machine knocking planets into each other, before an explosion brings Uncle Sam Skeleton into the picture.  The music changes into ‘Beat It on Down the Line’ while he is riding a motorcycle into a desert valley and he probably dropped some acid.  He changes radio stations and finds ‘The Wheel’ playing and then he dreams about floating on a raft in a swimming pool, but he ends up in a jail cell.  The Statue of Liberty breaks down the wall and frees him and all of his friends, then the animation ends and we are watching ‘U.S. Blues’ being performed at the San Francisco Winterland Arena in October 1974 and the crowd is dancing.

Red and white, blue suede shoes
I’m Uncle Sam, how do you do
Gimme five, still alive
Ain’t no luck, I learned to duck

Check my pulse, it don’t change
Stay seventy two, come shine or rain
Wave the flag, pop the bag
Rock the boat, skin the goat

Chorus
Wave that flag, wave it wide and high
Summertime done come and gone, my oh my

I’m Uncle Sam, that’s who I am
Been hiding out, in a rock and roll band
Shake the hand that shook the hand
Of P. T. Barnum and Charlie Chan

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use them old U.S. Blues
I’ll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife

[chorus]

Back to back, chicken shack
Son of a gun, better change your act
We’re all confused, what’s to lose
You can call this song the United States Blues