Garcia Plays Dylan
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30 Trips Around The Sun
So Many Roads
Fallout From The Phil Zone
Garcia Plays Dylan
Postcards of the Hanging
The Golden Road
Beyond Description
Weir Here

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Garcia Plays Dylan  
Jerry Garcia Band mostly
Some Grateful Dead
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Jerry Garcia: Garcia Plays Dylan

Jerry Garcia: Garcia Plays Dylan includes renditions of all but three of the Bob Dylan cover songs that Jerry sang lead on.  Those are "Tears of Rage," "Going, Going, Gone," and "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest." The latter was never played live, but a studio version is available on Garcia Grisman's Been All Around the World. The other two songs were included in the exclusive GDM bonus disc and are also available on other releases.

In 2002, the Grateful Dead released a CD entitled Postcards of the Hanging, which is composed of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs. There is very little overlap between it and this album. From Postcard's 11 tracks, Jerry sings only three of its songs, and of them only "She Belongs To Me" was played within a similar time period. 

The material selected for Garcia Plays Dylan draws from seven different JGB and two Grateful Dead line-up's. The emphasis on selecting the songs from so many casts may have sacrificed a better version or two, but overall great choices, no matter how you spin it. There are no tracks with Bruce Hornsby in the band. With Bruce, the Grateful Dead had a great rendition of "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" that was preceded by "C. C. Ryder" > in their repertoire. The partnership and sequence of the two tracks made its inclusion impractical since Dylan didn't pen "C. C. Rider." However, Dylan sang excerpts of it with the Grateful Dead during their 1987 tour rehearsals. Traders would be well served to seek out a version of it, 9/22/91 comes to mind. 

As this compilation showcases so many different bands, it can serve a casual fan that is not familiar with the different Jerry Garcia Band personnel line-ups an overview them. Thereby, revealing clues on which of the other JGB releases to purchase. It is not a surprise that the songs we enjoyed most are from the line-ups we like best. 

We opted for an analysis by keyboard player, though some other personnel differs, i.e., drummer, saxophone. Within the track list, we provide links to other albums available with similar personnel. We've also included links to Dylan's albums and even a few references to The Band. After all, they were Dylan back-up band on Planet Waves, which Garcia covers three songs, as well as a few other obvious connections.

Merl Saunders
There are two tracks with Merl. From 1973, "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry," focuses more on the singing than the instrumentals. Their album Live at the Keystone Volume 1 includes two Dylan covers. Jerry and Merl's band Legion of Mary contribute "Wicked Messenger." This is easily Jerry's most creative Dylan interpretation and offers plenty of fine soloing from Jerry, Martin, and Merl. Not to overlook the excellent drumming required to execute this masterpiece. 

Nicky Hopkins
A wonderful version of "Tough Mama," showcases Jerry and Nicky solos, but it is at its peak when they play together. The last track featuring Hopkin's, "Positively 4th Street" has some great heart-felt singing with superb complementary fills from Hopkins. Jerry answers nicely. After hearing these two tracks the obvious conclusion is that this line-up should receive a few future releases. 

Keith Godchaux
"Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is very slow during the verses. But when you get to the instrumental section, Jerry and Keith lock into an awesome lengthy musical dialogue. My wish would be to track the song into segments so if one wanted they could skip the vocals and get straight to the instrumental. "Simple Twist of Fate" carries on the fine musical interaction. 

Ozzie Ahlers
The charm of the line-up with Ozzie Ahlers has little to do with the keyboards as they were very low key. It has everything to do with Jerry, the 1980 JGB material is Jerrytastic! Excluding bonus discs, this is the first version of "When I Paint My Masterpiece" released with Jerry singing the song, as Weir handles vocals on the Grateful Dead's interpretation. Though, it is his guitar playing that will get your attention. The liner notes offer a perfect description, "How do you take a three-verse song like "When I Paint My Masterpiece" and it turn it into a 14-minute tour de force? By exploring every inch of canvas--playing with tempo, timbre, and phrasing, mixing stacked chords with fluid runs, always listening for new openings that will somehow wordlessly convey more of the songs meaning..." In other words, smoking hot. 

Melvin Seals
Jerry's long standing band contribute four songs. "Tangled Up In Blue" is tight revealing plenty of excellent soloing. The other three tracks are ballad oriented. "Forever Young" offer dynamics, tight soloing, and great back-up vocals. The Grateful Dead performed that song once on 11/3/91 at the Laughter, Love & Music festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Neil Young sang lead vocals; CSN&Y played a set at the event too. This festival was a celebration of the life of concert promoter Bill Graham who was tragically killed in a helicopter accident on October 25.

Grateful Dead - Brent Mydland
My favorite of the Brent songs is "She Belongs To Me," Phil comes through clearly. A dynamite version of this song was released on Dick's Picks 21. The Garcia Grisman line-up performed this song live, too bad they didn't include one of those renditions. Something to look forward to in the future?

"It's All Over Now Baby Blue," was first covered in 1966 by the Grateful Dead. The rendition included is executed sweetly.

Grateful Dead - Vince Welnick
The only song from the Vince era is a rendition of one of my favorite Dylan songs, "Visions of Johanna." This 1995 version is better than expected. Dylan's best version is the studio cut, but his live take from 1966 is also highly recommended.

Blair Jackson
did an excellent job with the liner notes. They include some background on Dylan, notes on the recording sources, analysis by Jackson, some quotes by Garcia, Weir, lots of rare photos and more. 

We invite you to visit our Dylan and the Dead section. The track cross referencing is not up-to-date, but there is some excellent information within. 

Garcia Plays Dylan is the CD mix you always meant to compile but never got around to it, along with some rarities. Well done.
by Barry Small © 
Grade  B +

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Track List

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The links from the songs are to a review of one of the cd's  available with similar personnel. The Dylan links are to thebestofwebsite reviews when available; otherwis, it is to Amazon.

1. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
Recorded Live at THE BOARDING HOUSE, San Francisco, CA (1/25/73)
Orig. Dylan album - Highway 61 Revisited

2. Tough Mama
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at KEYSTONE, Berkeley, CA (11/18/75)
Orig. Dylan album - Planet Waves

3. Positively 4th Street
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at KEYSTONE, Berkeley, CA (11/17/75)
Orig. Dylan album -
Greatest Hits Vol. 2

4. The Wicked Messenger
Legion Of Mary
Recorded Live at ORIENTAL THEATER, Milwaukee,WI (4/19/75)
Orig. Dylan album - John Wesley Harding

5. Knockiní On Heaven's Door
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at KEYSTONE, Berkeley, CA (2/15/76)
Orig. Dylan album -
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
Also - Dylan and the Band - Before The Flood

6. Simple Twist Of Fate
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at SANTA CRUZ CIVIC AUDITORIUM, Santa Cruz, CA (2/19/78)
Orig. Dylan album - Blood On the Tracks

7. I Shall Be Released
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at the WARFIELD THEATRE, San Francisco, CA (11/28/87)
Orig. Dylan album -
Greatest Hits Vol. 2

1. When I Paint My Masterpiece
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at THE STONE, San Francisco, CA (2/2/80)
Orig. Dylan album -
Greatest Hits Vol. 2

2. She Belongs To Me
Grateful Dead
Recorded Live at FROST AMPHITHEATER (STANFORD UNIVERSITY), Palo Alto, CA (4/28/85)
Orig. Dylan album - Bringing It All Back Home
Also - Dylan acoustic - Bootleg Series Vol. 4

3. Forever Young
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at the WARFIELD THEATRE, San Francisco, CA (3/4/88)
Orig. Dylan album - Planet Waves
Related: The Last Waltz

4. Tangled Up In Blue
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at OAKLAND COLISEUM, Oakland, CA (10/31/92)
Orig. Dylan album - Blood On the Tracks

5. SeŮor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
Jerry Garcia Band
Recorded Live at the WARFIELD THEATRE, San Francisco, CA (4/23/93)
Orig. Dylan album - Street Legal

6. Visions Of Johanna
Grateful Dead
Recorded Live at SOLDIER FIELD, Chicago, IL (7/8/95)
Orig. Dylan album - Blonde on Blonde
1985 GD version on Fallout From the Phil Zone
Also - Dylan acoustic - Bootleg Series Vol. 4

7. The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)
Grateful Dead
Recorded Live at SULLIVAN STADIUM, Foxboro, MA (7/2/89)
Orig. Dylan album - Self-Portrait or
Greatest Hits Vol. 2

8. Itís All Over Now, Baby Blue
Grateful Dead
Recorded Live at COPPS COLISEUM, Hamilton, Ontario (3/22/90)
Orig. Dylan album - Bringing It All Back Home
Also - Dylan acoustic - Bootleg Series Vol. 4

Exclusive bonus disc

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Jerry Garcia Band - Seven different line-up's
Grateful Dead - Two different line-up's

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Released - October 25, 2005
Label - Rhino Records, Jerry Garcia Records, and Palace Press

Exclusive Bonus Disc - with the pre-order purchase from the JGB website
1. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Acoustic)
Orig. Dylan album - Highway 61 Revisited

2. Tears of Rage (Electric)
Orig. Dylan album - The Basement Tapes or 
The Band - Music From The Big Pink (The Band's first album and first song on it.) Though Dylan penned this, it is more of a Band song.

3. Going, Going, Gone
Orig. Dylan album - Planet Waves

From the JGB website
Garcia Plays Dylan (available nationwide October 25th) presents 15 stellar examples of Dylan covers played by most of Garcia's important bands from 1973 to 1995. The 2-disc set includes all previously unreleased performances that took place in venues ranging from small clubs to a football stadium.

From the beginnings of the Grateful Dead in 1965, there were Dylan songs in the Dead's repertoire and over the next 30 years Jerry would become of one of the most thoughtful and creative interpreters of Dylan's songs, even as he and lyricist Robert Hunter would evolve into a formidable songwriting team themselves.

-- "Sometimes I feel like I'm right in those songs. I mean to say that it's me speaking ... Those are songs I wear really well. When I sing them I feel like I could have written them. I relate to them that well." (from a 1988 interview with Blair Jackson)

If you order Garcia Plays Dylan directly from, you will also receive an exclusive, additional disc featuring more than 30 minutes of previously unreleased performances of Dylan's songs, including an 18 minute version of "Going, Going, Gone" from 1975.

Amazon's Album Description
The Grateful Dead's revered Jerry Garcia pursued an eclectic array of side projects throughout his life. While he always remained central to the Dead's sound and mythology, his other acclaimed musical incarnations included the Jerry Garcia Band-both acoustic and electric configurations-the short-lived, jazz flavored Legion of Mary, solo outings featuring Merl Saunders, and bluegrass super group Old and In The Way. On his own and with the Dead (who toured with Dylan), Garcia's interpretations of the "Zimmerman" canon are rich musical masterpieces that embody the very soul of American roots music. This newly compiled 2-disc set celebrates many of the best of those memorable performances.

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