Jerry Plays the Blues

jerry plays the blues

On this post, our old pal Nikos asks this question:

Need some advice: I contribute to a private blues blog, and have the thought of offering a compilation like Mat’s entitled “Jerry Garcia – Blues Guitarist”. Would welcome any suggestions of tracks with Garcia playing blues numbers, whether with the GDead or his own bands, pre-1984.

I thought I’d make a whole post of it as sometimes comments get buried after a day or so.  So friends, anybody got some suggestions?  What are some of the best versions of Jerry playing the blues?

10 thoughts on “Jerry Plays the Blues

  1. Thanks Mat for helping in my quest! I will hopefully be sharing a Jerry Blues collection with music friends who are not into the Dead per se, so the tracks can also be well known. I was thinking to start with “Viola Lee” from the first GD album and “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” from Live Dead, then perhaps some Garcia/Saunders or JGB blues numbers (here is where I need your help in choosing!), and finish with the acoustic “Deep Ellum” from Reckoning.

  2. Lonely Avenue with Merl Saunders, Bill Vitt and John Kahn/ Album Fire UP
    Someday Baby : Garcia/Saunders Keystone Vol.2
    Its No Use: Garcia/Saunders Keystone Vol.1
    Its Too Late : Keystone Encores
    It’s A Sin: Uncirulated Primal GD GEMS – Assorted 1966 Grateful Dead
    Going Going Gone: Garcia/Saunders 1975-06-03
    He Aint Give you None: JGB 1976-08-16

  3. Great idea and choices. If you aren’t limited to 12-bar blues only, JGB has nice covers of Hank Ballard’s Tore Up Over You (After Midnight: King’s College is a good one) and also Arthur Crudup’s That’s All Right (Garcia Vol. 1).

  4. Big Boss Man 1981-12-26 Oakland Auditorium
    If Jerry doesn’t have to be the lead vocalist, “Smokestack Lightning” from Bear’s Choice and “I’m A King Bee” from Fillmore East 2-11-1969.

  5. Official: 1) Big Boss Man, Standing on the Corner – Birth of the Dead 2) Good Morning Little Schoolgirl – Filmore West 1969 3) Viola Lee Blues 5/2/70 4) Hard To Handle 8/6/71 Unofficial: 1) I’m A King Bee 1/6/66 2) The Same Thing, It Hurts Me Too 3) Hi Heel Sneakers, Smokestack Lightning 11/19/66 4) Death Don’t Have No Mercy 8/23/68 4) Easy Wind 9/20/70 5) Next Time You See Me 12/14/71 6) Deep Elem Blues 3/9/81 7) Little Red Rooster 3/21/81 8) Big Railroad Blues, Wang Dang Doodle 10/15/83 JGB: 1) Neighbor, Neighbor 9/2/74 2) That’s All Right 12/20/79, 3) That’s the Touch I Like 5/21/75

  6. Thanks ED, fantastic! I was thinking of Little Red Rooster myself, and I actually had in mind a version from the same European tour a few days later, 3/28/81 Essen (check it out – also excellent Sugaree, Althea, Shakedown – Jerry on good form in the first set!). Garcia often delivers scorching blues workouts on this song, but I decided not to use it because I’m addressing this not to kind, forgiving heads but to obsessive blues devotees, and, immersed as they are in versions by Howlin’ Wolf and other master vocalists I thought they wouldn’t take kindly to Weir’s vocals (nor to his slide guitar)! I have already posted a first try there, and if there’s a reasonably good response I’ll post more, using several of your recommendations here.
    Thanks again to all for helping out!

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