Saturday, November 19, 2005

From the Attics #2

This week, I've written a bit about Grateful Dead keyboardists. Necessarily then, it is time for a fun Garcia moment. The Dead played Good Lovin' from their earliest days on through to the end. Played it 428 different times, in fact. It was a Bobby staple and, with only rare exceptions in the band's last 20 years, it found its home as the final song of the show, excluding the encore. They did it well. Even so, the song had something of an inevitable quality about it. Suffice to say that noone was ever surprised to hear it. That's why what happened on September 7, 1987 as the Dead kicked off the fall tour in Providence, R.I. was so much fun. Although the opening night of any tour had a little something extra, the show was, in all material respects, relatively unremarkable. That is, it was until, in the middle of an otherwise routine rendition of Good Lovin', the chord progression subtly changed and, before anyone picked up on it, Garcia stepped to the mike and began belting out La Bamba in perfect spanish. It was one of those laugh-out-loud kinda moments -- a sure signal that, not only had the band fully recovered from its annus horriblis in 1986, but was really and truly having fun again.

La Bamba would show up only 4 times, but that was enough. It was never a serious contender as a permanent addition to the repertoire. It was just silliness with a bit of gusto. Well worth a listen, though. Here's the first version from Providence (this is a taper section recording, so don't expect soundboard crispness) (or track 22 in this stream). Because La Bamba wasn't seperately tracked, you'll have to hear the way we heard it -- in the middle of Good Lovin'. The crowd reaction is priceless. If you're too impatient, here's the seperately- tracked 09.18.87 Madison Square Garden effort (or track 16 in this stream) (.nfo). The other two versions were performed on 09.13.87 in Landover and 09.23.87 in the hallowed halls of the Philly Spectrum.

More: Oh what the hell. One can hardly talk about Good Lovin' without at least mentioning one of the most widely respected versions. Before his death, Pigpen owned this song. And owned it on April 17, 1971 in Princeton he did. Because this version spans three separate tracks to accomodate a six-minute drummer's interlude, best to select track 11 from the stream. The real action begins, though, with track 13 (warning: this is a 9.0 mb 64K .mp3 so, yes, it's long (20 minutes) -- the stream is the best bet all round).

By the by, I use winamp for the streams, though I suspect anything will work.

More: For reasons noted here, many of the links will no longer work.