January 8, 2010

The Dead's Early Thematic Jams

This is a short guide to the various themed jams the Dead did in their early years. I've listed a lot of them here & there before, so some of these are repeated from previous posts. But I thought it might be useful as a handy reference for others, to have all the early jams gathered together in a brief introduction.
Note that this guide stops at 1974. There's also a good overview of many of these jams in the first Taping Compendium.

In no particular order....


The Feelin' Groovy jam is basically four chords based on the Simon & Garfunkel song, and was frequently done in Dark Stars from '69-'72. This first appeared in Dark Star in late '69 - in '73 it migrated into the middle of China>Rider, with a rather different feel and an extra 'bridge' section added. (A lot of people also call it the "Uncle John's Jam" since the four chords are very similar.)
This is one of the only jams where we have a recording from the Dead's home rehearsals, a long standalone version from the fall of '69 - alongside an extended exploration of the Uncle John's jam, and a cool early Friend of the Devil. Despite poor, distorted sound, this is one demo I can't recommend highly enough:
The first Feelin' Groovy jam appears in the 9/26/69 Dark Star, around the 11-minute mark, unfortunately hard to appreciate due to the sound quality:
Since it's an audience tape, most people probably haven't heard it - but this one from the Dark Star a month later is well-known:
- and just a week after that it had one of its best performances:
Feelin' Groovy appeared in many Dark Stars thereafter, too many to cite - almost every one up through 1970. Some of the best-loved versions might include 1/2/70, 2/13/70, 5/15/70, 9/19/70, 10/21/71, 4/14/72, and 5/25/72. From the end of '69 and through '70, Dark Star had a particular format: after the first verse the band would evaporate into space, explore weirdness for a while, then slowly return back to melody - and here the Feelin' Groovy jam (or sometimes the Tighten Up jam) would emerge, like bright joy after the darkness. (Sometimes though, they mixed things up or weren't in the mood, and you sometimes catch Garcia refusing to enter a Feelin' Groovy jam even when Lesh is trying to drop one in.) Over time the Stars changed, and became more dense and complex - particularly after Keith joined, the '72 Stars got jazzier with more jamming elements and meltdowns, and the Feelin' Groovy jam often became more brief and fleeting - sometimes just a hint from Phil.
Late '72 saw the end of its stay in Dark Star - one instance is 10/18/72, a classic version at the end of the Star, after the Philo Stomp:
By contrast, from 11/13/72 we have an extremely fast version in a Star filled with intense meltdowns:
The last time I recall Feelin' Groovy being played in a Dark Star is 11/26/72, a great version that should be known by more people - the end of the Star has a bass solo>Feelin' Groovy>Tiger meltdown - Garcia's tone in the Feelin' Groovy is just amazing:
A couple times the Feelin' Groovy jam would appear 'solo': on 10/2/72, in the post-Truckin' jam it's one of the themes after Nobody's Fault But Mine and is played very loosely, leading up to Morning Dew:
And on 2/24/73 it's part of the jam coming out of Eyes of the World (unfortunately the more complete audience tape isn't on the Archive), and follows a long bass solo - Garcia initiates it and they play it very sweetly:
The first time Feelin' Groovy entered the China>Rider transition was on 3/16/73; and there it would stay over the next two years, with many exciting versions as it became increasingly jammed-out - a couple examples would be the Dick's Picks of 6/26/74 and 8/5/74. One unique variation happens in the 3/31/73 show - after toying with the Spanish Jam in the Other One, out of the Other One space they suddenly shift into Feelin' Groovy, and from there head naturally into Rider without bothering with the China Cat:
After 1974, Feelin' Groovy mysteriously disappeared.

The Tighten Up Jam was a very common Latin-style jam theme in 1970. It's often called a proto-Eyes jam since Weir plays two repeating jazzy chords that are rhythmically similar to the opening of Eyes of the World, but they're from the Archie Bell & the Drells tune.
Its first appearance I'm aware of was on 8/30/69, where Weir plays the chords as Garcia's changing a string during Dark Star; it gets a full band performance on 10/25/69. After that they played it steadily for a year, in many Dark Stars and after March '70 in most of the Dancing in the Streets. They apparently dropped it in 1971, except for a surprise appearance on 10/31/71. As we'll see it was normal for the Dead to use a jam-theme interchangeably between two different songs like that, and Tighten Up works well in both of them. (It's surprising it took so long for them to play it in Dancing, since it's similar to the usual Dancing two-chord jam pattern - on 12/11/69 for instance, the Dancing is extremely close to a Tighten Up.)
There used to be a webpage devoted to the Dead's Tighten Ups, but it's disappeared. These are the performances I've found so far; I've probably missed a few (I think there are some in Lovelights as well), but this is the most complete listing available.
10-25-69 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-10-25.sbd.jagla.81.sbefail.shnf
11-2-69 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-11-02.sbd.goodbear.1125.sbefail.shnf
12-26-69 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-12-26.sbd.murphy.1821.sbeok.shnf
1-2-70 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-01-02.partial-early.sbd.86.sbefail.shnf
3-1-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-03-01.sbd.hanno.4641.sbefail.shnf
3-21-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-03-21.late.aud.lee.pcrp.21779.shnf
4-3-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-04-03.sbd.cotsman.4283.sbefail.shnf
4-15-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-04-15.sbd.kaplan.14354.sbeok.shnf
4-24-70 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-04-24.aud.hanno.19531.sbeok.shnf
5-2-70 Dancing (Dick's Pick)
5-6-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-06.sbd.gans.94.sbefail.shnf
5-8-70 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-08.aud.miller.32056.sbeok.flacf
5-24-70 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-24.sbd.hanno.6481.sbeok.shnf
6-6-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-06-06.sbd.miller.86951.sbeok.flac16
6-24-70 second Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd_nrps70-06-24.aud.pcrp5.23062.sbeok.flacf
7-12-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-07-12.aud.unknown.sirmick.24663.sbefail.shnf
9-17-70 Star - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-09-17.aud.remaster.sirmick.27591.sbeok.shnf
10-5-70 Dancing (Download Series with 2/4/70)
10-24-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-10-24.sbd.hollister.103.sbeok.shnf
10-30-70b Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-10-30.sbd.cotsman.20044.sbeok.shnf
11-8-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-11-08.aud.weiner.28609.sbeok.shnf
12-17-70 Dancing - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-12-17.sbd.unk.87356.sbeok.flac16
10-31-71 Star (Dick's Pick)
(I might add that Deadlists claims there's a Tighten Up in the 2/2/70 Star, but there isn't.)

The Tighten Up and Feelin' Groovy jams have often been confused, even by Latvala who should have known better! There were Dark Stars where they did both of these jams, but the 1970 Dancings generally have Tighten Up jams, not Feelin' Groovy jams. The easy way to check: is Weir repeating two chords or four chords?
Sometimes the two themes are done back-to-back. Check out the Dark Stars from 11-2-69 or 1-2-70, which have the same structure after the first verse: - a space, weird & wild, - then the Feelin' Groovy jam, almost sounding more fully developed than it was in later years with different variations, and when that dies down, - the Tighten Up jam, again done fully & at length; when this is done it's time for the second verse.


The Mind Left Body jam originated in the PERRO sessions, where we can hear an early, faster version of the four descending chords. Paul Kantner took this riff for his song "Your Mind Has Left Your Body", which Garcia played pedal steel on. Garcia in turn adapted it into a Grateful Dead theme, which first showed up on occasion in '72, but started regularly entering the jams in fall '73. It added a transcendental feeling to many shows up through '74 - these are some of the most notable jams:
4-8-72 Dark Star
9-21-72 Dark Star
10-19-73 Dark Star
10-30-73 Dark Star
11-11-73 Dark Star
12-2-73 Playing
5-19-74 Truckin' jam
6-28-74 WRS jam
7-31-74 Truckin' jam
10-17-74 Other One
In '75 the MLB theme was turned into a section in Weir's Music Never Stopped; but in later years it made some infrequent appearances in unexpected places.
Sometimes the MLB jam is mistaken for Feelin' Groovy - on Dicks Pick 12, Latvala even called the China>Rider transition the 'Mud Love Buddy' jam, which is misleading. The segue jam in the '73/74 China>Riders is definitely Feelin' Groovy, not MLB - Latvala just messed that up. (For instance, on DP12 the jam from 6/28 IS the MLB jam, but doesn't get named!)
I go into much more detail in the Mind Left Body post -

Weir based the Spanish Jam on the song "Solea" on Miles Davis' album Sketches of Spain, sometime in late '67 when the Dead started recording Anthem of the Sun. As it was, a little bit of the Spanish Jam actually got on the album, in the form of a short Davis-flavored trumpet break from Phil in the middle of Born Cross-Eyed (after the verse, "Think I'll come back here again, every now and then, from time to time"). For a moment, it seems like Garcia and the band are about to break into the Spanish Jam, but they quickly cut back to the song....
In any case, the Spanish Jam debuted on the Anthem tour of early '68 and was played regularly - but, was soon dropped from the setlists (along with Born Cross-Eyed). Weir kept it in mind though, and it made a surprise reappearance at the 2-11-70 allstar-jam show, out of Dark Star. It then disappeared for three more years - was revived for two shows in March '73 (tied with Dark Star again on 3-24-73) - was dropped again - and, once again, emerged from nowhere in another Dark Star jam on 6-23-74. Finally the Dead felt ready for it, and played it frequently through the rest of '74. However, aside from one show in '76, the Spanish Jam remained unheard for several years after the hiatus, until another revival on 5-6-81. After that, it appeared now and then, from time to time in shows up to the end in '95, making it one of the longest-lasting Dead jams.
Here is an older post with a brief history of the Spanish Jam:
And here are some more examples of notable early Spanish Jams not linked in the post:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1968-01-17.sbd.cotsman.11795.shnf - the first

The Main Ten was a ten-beat Mickey Hart riff the Dead started playing in mid-'68. It popped up in shows now & then for a couple years, when they felt like taking an excursion. It also appeared on Hart's first album Rolling Thunder. It's strange to hear this riff today, when it's so identified with Playing in the Band, but in its original incarnation it embodies a mysterious, otherworldly feeling.
The earliest performance we have is from 6-19-68:
It resurfaces, surprisingly, in a couple '69 Dark Stars:
4-11-69 in Dark Star (short, at 10-minute mark) -
4-15-69 in Dark Star (short, at 17 minutes) -
11-8-69 (in the Caution) - Dick's Pick.
12-5-69 (after the Uncle John's jam, segueing into a lovely Baby Blue) -
5-3-70 (for completeness' sake, a short bit inside this Lovelight - although the band can barely be heard, it's interesting to hear the crowd clapping to the beat) -
6-7-70 (a mystical groove in-between the great Cryptical outro and the first Sugar Magnolia) -
11-6-70 (inside the Good Lovin') -
11-8-70 (out of Dark Star, and into Dancin' in the Streets) - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-11-08.aud.weiner.28609.sbeok.shnf
In early '71, the Dead decided to turn the riff into a complete song, and merged it into Playing in the Band, which debuted on 2-18-71. It's credited to Weir/Hart/Hunter - presumably Hart originated the Main Ten, Weir added the other sections of the song, and Hunter wrote the lyrics. (Weir also turned Hart's "Pump Song" into the Greatest Story Ever Told.) Playing was a catchy tune which wouldn't become a 'jam' number for another year, but it lost the spooky feel that the Main Ten had.

The Seven is another riff from the experimental days of '68, and there are very few tapes. There are a couple in the Hartbeats Matrix shows on 10/8/68 and 10/10/68, and there's a short one coming out of the Viola Lee on 3/21/70 (they had sometimes teased it in '69 Viola Lees) - but the best is on the AUD recording of 9/29/69, it's very tight!
http://www.archive.org/details/gd68-10-10.sbd.miller-ladner.4513.sbeok.shnf (Hartbeats practice)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-09-29.aud.early.hollister.79.sbeok.shnf (out of Doin' That Rag, into Good Lovin')
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-03-21.early.lee.pcrp.20184.sbeok.shnf (brief, out of Viola Lee & into Cumberland Blues)

One jam that switched places over the years is the "We Bid You Goodnight" jam. This is unique as a song the Dead would jam instrumentally during Alligator, and then sing a cappella at the end of the show after "feedback"! It was introduced during the Anthem '68 tour - possibly Garcia had been listening to a Joseph Spence album and liked this song.
The earliest sung versions we have come from 1/22 and 3/16/68. The earliest instrumental Goodnight theme I recall is in the 2-24-68 Dick's Picks show, 5 minutes into the Alligator, played in Garcia's usual staccato fashion at the time.
By '69 the instrumental Goodnight theme frequently appears in Alligators, played a lot faster than it was later. I looked up a few shows where it's tracked separately and easy to find:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1969-02-15.sbd.goodbear.2175.sbeok.shnf - Alligator
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-11-01.sbd.cotsman.6298.sbeok.shnf - Alligator
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-12-12.sbd.gerland.10988.sbeok.shnf - Alligator
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-12-30.sbd.miller.28469.sbeok.shnf - Alligator
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-01-03.sbd.gmb.97743.flac16 - Eleven>Alligator (following a brief China Cat tease)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-02-05.sbd.hanno.9184.sbefail.shnf - Eleven>Caution (here Garcia almost takes it into a China Cat riff)
In 1970, as Alligators grew rare, the Goodnight jam starts showing up in Not Fade Aways, including 8/18, 9/18, and 9/20/70 - a few examples:
Starting in October 1970, it became the 'bridge' between Goin' Down the Road and Not Fade Away. This brings us to the birth of Goin' Down the Road - with so many shows missing from fall 1970, we're lucky to be able to hear it take shape from the start.
On 10/10 they start playing Goin' Down the Road instrumentally in Not Fade Away, but they never sing it:
On 10/11 it emerges as a separate song - but they don't play the Goodnight theme afterwards, instead they jump straight from "don't want to be treated this way" back into NFA:
And at our next show, 10/23, we finally have the Goodnight theme in the expected place - and it's a nice version, as they're already stretching it out before returning to NFA:
After this, it closed out pretty much every Goin' Down the Road for the next four years and beyond. (11/10/70 was the last Not Fade Away where it appeared 'on its own'.) I particularly like the versions from late '71 when they extend the two-chord jam going on after the Goodnight theme. One example is the 10/31/71 Dick's Pick, not as 'pretty' as some others but jammed out to four minutes.
There is one more version I must link, though a short one - on 11/19/72, for the only time, the Dead closed a show with the Goodnight instrumental:

Garcia was quoting Donovan's "There Is A Mountain" months before the Allman Brothers were formed, most often playing it for a bar or two in Alligator jams. I think the earliest instance is in the 9-3-67 Alligator; and you can hear it at 9:00 in the Alligator on the Anthem album, or briefly at 12:00 in the 2-14-68 Alligator. Melodically it sounds similar to the Bid You Goodnight riff, so it's interesting that both of these pieces were born in the Alligator jam - there are many early Alligators where Garcia seems constantly just about to play one of these.....
It's tricky finding good links for it though, since he always plays it as just a brief tease, and there's little point in directing you to long Alligators just to find a few seconds of a melody. But one place where it has its own track is 11-6-70 after Goin' Down the Road:
A couple other places where Garcia is playing, not necessarily the exact riff, but an extended jam in the Mountain Jam style, include the 6-4-70 Midnight Hour -
- and six minutes into this expansive Not Fade Away, which in this poor AUD recording sounds like a distorted wah-wah rendition!

Then there's the "Darkness" jam from the Youngbloods song which was done a few times in 1970; the most well-known version is in the 9/19/70 Not Fade Away where it's very clear. (They also do the China Cat riff in that NFA, which they did frequently (and at greater length) in the fall of 1971.)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-07.aud.weiner-gdADT04.5439.sbefail.shnf (in the Lovelight, which includes several theme-jams in a row)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-24.sbd.hanno.6481.sbeok.shnf - in the Lovelight (briefly)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-06-06.sbd.ashley.2172.sbeok.shnf (in the fantastic Alligator jam, following the Bid You Goodnight riff)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-09-19.mtx.chappell.SB14.31510.sbeok.flac16 (Darkness/China Cat jam in NFA)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-12-12.sbd.clugston.5985.sbeok.shnf (after Goin Down the Road, goes into the Stephen riff, very low-key)
It made a surprise return on 7/31/71, which could be the last version:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd71-07-31.winberg.weiner.5678.gdADT05.sbefail.shnf (AUD) - after Goin' Down the Road, comes uniquely out of the Bid You Goodnight jam (the SBD was released on the Summer '71 Road Trips)

My own favorite jam was done very few times - the instrumental version of Uncle John's Band, which is just lovely, but was done only in November '69:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-11-01.sbd.cotsman.6298.sbeok.shnf (in the Alligator jam - brief, following the Goodnight theme)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-11-07.sbd.kaplan.19783.sbefail.shnf (in Dark Star)
11/8/69 (in Dark Star) The most famous version, on Dick's Picks.
12/5/69 has a very short Uncle John riff preceding the Main Ten, but because it's cut by the AUD taper, it's impossible to tell whether this is the Jam or part of the full song, which had debuted the previous day.
And I have to mention again this great home rehearsal tape (very poor sound, but taped by Robert Hunter I think), which has the Dead in fall '69 practicing the Feelin' Groovy and Uncle John's jams at length - and also John Dawson's first version of Friend of the Devil, before Garcia sang it. Priceless stuff!

The Dead sometimes played the China Cat riff aside from the song, in moments of jamming exuberance in '70/71.
Our first example actually comes from a year earlier, when China Cat was out of the rotation - in the great Alligator jam on 2/7/69, shortly after the drums, Weir starts up the China Cat riff and the band grabs it. Garcia seems to be trying to remember how it goes, and he eventually drags them back to Alligator.
The China Cat jam was an occasional occurrence in 1970 when the band was in a good mood - in these shows, notice how often the Dead tend to string together various common themes:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-01-03.sbd.ret.19440.sbeok.shnf - in the hot Alligator jam (briefly, China Cat jam>Bid You Goodnight riff)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-03-21.late.aud.lee.pcrp.21779.shnf - in the Not Fade Away (Stephen riff>China Cat jam)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-07.aud.weiner-gdADT04.5439.sbefail.shnf - in the Lovelight (a great jam that includes the Stephen riff>Darkness riff>jam>China Cat jam)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-06-04.sbd.miller.12135.sbeok.shnf - in the Midnight Hour (briefly - it follows a very Mountain Jam-like passage)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-09-19.mtx.chappell.SB14.31510.sbeok.flac16 - Darkness>China Cat jam in Not Fade Away
Later in '71, China Cat jams became a regular feature in Not Fade Away. By late '71 Not Fade Away was hitting a new peak and becoming more jammed-out than it had been in early '71, and some of the best versions come from this tour. These are the Not Fade Aways with China Cat jams in them:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1971-10-27.ashley-bertha.32869.sbeok.flac16 http://www.archive.org/details/gd71-11-15.sbd.cotsman.12438.sbeok.shnf http://www.archive.org/details/gd1971-11-20.sbd.miller.92908.sbeok.flac16 http://www.archive.org/details/gd71-12-05.prefm.miller.3391.sbeok.shnf http://www.archive.org/details/gd71-12-10.sbd.yerys.1311.sbeok.shnf
and a later one - http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-04-14.sbd.hurwitt.8828.sbeok.shnf
The China Cat riff would sometimes pop up in later post-hiatus shows too, particularly in Franklin's Tower, where it fit nicely.

It's already been mentioned a few times in these notes, but frequently in 1970 the Dead would break into the St Stephen riff in the middle of a jam. This was more a 'tease' than a jam really, since they usually just jab at it for a few moments and then move on....sometimes it sounds like Lesh is pushing it but Garcia doesn't want to go that way. But these are the most notable occurrences:
3-21-70 Not Fade Away - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-03-21.late.aud.lee.pcrp.21779.shnf
5-7-70 Lovelight - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-05-07.aud.weiner-gdADT04.5439.sbefail.shnf
6-4-70 Not Fade Away - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-06-04.sbd.miller.12135.sbeok.shnf
7-12-70 Lovelight - http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-07-12.aud.unknown.sirmick.24663.sbefail.shnf - (tracked separately - this is one of the best 1970 shows, and one of the worst tapes....)
10-24-70 Good Lovin' - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-10-24.sbd.hollister.103.sbeok.shnf
11-11-70 Hard to Handle - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-11-11.aud.cotsman.17081.sbeok.shnf (the jam comes very close to St Stephen, but doesn't quite go all the way)
12-12-70 Not Fade Away - http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-12-12.sbd.clugston.5985.sbeok.shnf
4-26-71 Good Lovin' (not on the Archive)
4-29-71 Alligator jam (just a brief tease; released on Ladies & Gentlemen)
In 1972 the solos in Greatest Story Ever Told often edged close to St Stephen territory - one famous full-blown Stephen quote (complete with Donna's wails) happened here:
9-28-72 - http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-09-28.sbd.bill.12657.sbeok.shnf
A couple later examples are in the Greatest Stories on 5-20-73 and 5-17-74.

This was a blues song Garcia was fond of (done by Blind Willie Johnson, among others), and we have one performance from 1966:
Nobody's Fault resurfaced as a jam inside New Speedway Boogie for a few shows in 1970, including 5-14-70 and 6-13-70:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-06-13.sbd.hanno.9079.sbefail.shnf (brief, but this New Speedway is notable for having piano!)
Once New Speedway was dropped, you'd think that would be the end of it, but Garcia managed to slip Nobody's Fault into the Truckin' jam starting in late '72:
And for the next two years, Nobody's Fault would become a regular part of many a Truckin' - some two dozen in fact - sometimes sung, sometimes just jammed. Two released examples are the 12-19-73 Dick's Pick and the 6-16-74 Road Trips bonus disc. The last one played was this:
Nobody's Fault would very occasionally pop up afterwards - for instance on 10-12-77 out of Truckin', 6-4 and 7-7-78 in Not Fade Away, 1-5-79 out of Truckin' again, 5-4-81 and 9-3-85 in the 'space' slots, and about once a year in the '90s.....

The Philo Stomp was a stomping bass solo Lesh did in fall 1972. It may have started to take shape over the summer, as he often did rather aimless solos from Truckin' into the Other One; but all of a sudden in a series of October '72 shows, it emerges full-blown:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-10-18.sbd.weir.7295.sbeok.shnf (in Dark Star)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-10-24.pset2-sbd.hamilton.159.sbeok.shnf (in the Other One)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-10-28.sbd.finney.160.shnf (in Dark Star)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1972-11-13.aud.cotsman.7518.sbefail.shnf (in Dark Star)
11-13 is the best example; after that, Lesh's long solos in Dark Stars tend to meander:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-11-19.sbd.winters.17705.sbeok.shnf http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-11-26.sbd.cotsman.9248.sbeok.shnf
And from 1973, here are a couple Dark Stars that end in more organized, interesting bass solos:

Caution started out in '65 as an imitation of Them's "Mystic Eyes". It had been a regular jam-piece in Pigpen's days, usually following Alligator, but sometimes as an instrumental theme inside Viola Lee jams. (I talk more about it in my Viola Lee post.)
By the time Pigpen left in '72, the Dead had developed it enough so that they could have kept it as a jam theme even without him; but they decided not to. Somehow a couple Caution jams still slipped into the end of '74, very loose and jazzy:
9-18-74 (out of Truckin') -
10-19-74 (out of He's Gone, into Truckin') - on the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack.
In later years, Caution would be very rare indeed, but sometimes it would burst out of a He's Gone jam - on 10/27/79, 5/12/80, and 5/6/81.

Slipknot was just a riff in '74; in the studio in '75 the Dead would work it into the "space-jazz" section of a new suite. So it's interesting to hear the Dead (particularly Garcia) toying with this new riff in some '74 shows, seeing what they could do with it. Also note how far removed it is from the more melodic, accessible jam-riffs they had done in previous years!
(Although....the Slipknot riff closely resembles the Seven riff....)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd74-02-22.sbd.patched.sirmick.21539.sbeok.shnf (in Playing)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd74-02-23.sbd.clugston.3382.sbeok.shnf (in the Other One)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd74-06-20.sbd.clugston.2179.sbeok.shnf (19 minutes into Eyes)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd74-07-25.sbd.miller.12656.sbeok.shnf (21 minutes into Dark Star)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1974-10-20.sbd.smith-lee.GEMS.97193.flac16 (14 minutes into Eyes)

'73 and '74 saw the jams opening up in all directions. There are a number of gnarly riffs that get repeated from show to show (particularly by Phil), but without names or identities they're hard to pin down. The repeating-riff jam at the end of Eyes in these years is very similar to Stronger Than Dirt, and often gets called that, but I think it's a distinct piece. Stronger Than Dirt may have evolved from it, though - check out the Eyes>Dirt from 8-13-75 (One From The Vault) to hear the difference from the '73/74 jam.
[Stronger Than Dirt, confusingly, is also known as King Solomon's Marbles or Milkin' the Turkey. Most of these jams were not named by the band - here they gave one too many names!]

There may well be other distinct jams that they didn't do enough times for us to identify - the Alllmans-like Jam in the Other One of 7/25/72 is a great example, which sounds so composed it's hard to believe they only did it once - also the "Beautiful Jam", done only during the 2/18/71 Dark Star, which is quite unique, almost a song in itself. (I don't think it's closely related to the Tighten Up jam, though others hear it that way.)
Also check out the portion of 3-22-72 that was released on a bonus disc: in the jam at the end of Caution, there's a quiet part where the Dead play a mysterious instrumental theme that sounds like a lovely, unusual cross between Bobby McGee and Bid You Goodnight, but is definitely an unknown tune.....one of those haunting moments.

The "Beautiful Jam" in the 2/18/71 Dark Star -
the "almost-China Cat jam" in the 8/14/71 Other One -
the instrumental after the 3/22/72 Caution -
and the long, tantalizing "almost-Spanish jam" in the 7/25/72 Other One.

And finally, here is a listing of other various one-time-only jams the Dead played over the years, not related to their usual pieces.
This isn't the place to cover the big '74 jams out of Truckin' or Let It Grow, or the instrumental-only versions of Dark Star or the Other One, or the odd instrumental cover like Hideaway or various tuning riffs; and I've decided to skip the occasional soundcheck jams (though they can be interesting).
I also decided to leave out the Seastones '74 sets and Hartbeats '68 shows, since those were covered in this post:

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1966-XX-XX.sbd.GEMS.81254.flac16 - generic Blues Jam with Jorma & Jack Casady
http://www.archive.org/details/gd66-03-19.sbd.scotton.81951.sbeok.flac - Slow Blues Instrumental (They also cover Freddie King's "Heads Up" at this show.)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd66-03-25.sbd.unknown.38.sbeok.shnf - Instrumental
http://www.archive.org/details/gd67-11-10.sbd.sacks.1612.sbeok.shnf - this file includes 7-23-67, the jam behind Casady's rap (it's a Lovelight instrumental into Space)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd69-05-07.sbd.cotsman.6028.sbeok.shnf - Instrumental after a jammed-out Me & My Uncle (sadly cut)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1969-04-21.sbd.miller.88465.sbeok.flac16 - Foxy Lady jam (brief)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-04-15.sbd.kaplan.14354.sbeok.shnf - Santana-like jam after drums in the Other One
http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-10-09.sbd.vernon.5249.sbeok.shnf - short blues jam with Grace Slick
http://www.archive.org/details/gd73-07-27.aud.weiner.gdadt26.26363.sbeok.shnf - Watkins Glen Jam. (AUD version, since SBD has a small cut)
6/18/74 (Road Trips) - It's A Sin jam. (They had done the song a number of times in '66 and '69, but I don't recall other instrumental versions.)
http://www.archive.org/details/gd74-06-23.sbd.cribbs.16780.sbeok.shnf - Jam into Ship of Fools (Similar to the 6-26 jam into China Cat.)

I'm sure there are other unique jams I've forgotten, so feel free to add examples....


Another Tighten Up connection -
This is a performance of Archie Bell's original version:

Now here, from years later, is a tune called Hypnotize from Kingfish:

Hmm....that riff is a bit similar, isn't it?
Kingfish listeners at the time might've thought they were copying Eyes of the World....

And while I'm at it, a link to Your Mind Has Left Your Body (Garcia on pedal steel):

Feelin' Groovy (S&G live at Monterey):

Darkness Darkness (the Youngbloods):

There Is A Mountain (Donovan live on '60s TV - the world has sure changed):

Mystic Eyes (Them live! - the Dead copied this note-for-note in Caution):

Nobody's Fault But Mine (Blind Willie Johnson):

Hideaway (Freddie King live on TV - Garcia was especially fond of this tune):

I Bid You Goodnight (Joseph Spence & the Pindar Family - starting after 3:20):


  1. I found a link to the original Tighten Up page!


    Some nice reviews & timings, and a different take on Tighten Up....

  2. Hi there. I see this was posted a while ago but I have a question. There is a thematic jam I don't know the name of. It is in the 4-26-72 Other One. I know I have heard it other places but not sure where. Any clue what I'm talking about? I dont think you have it listed above.

  3. What point in the Other One are you referring to?
    There's a little Phil theme after 18:30 that was a Clementine bass line in '68. Otherwise, I don't recall any specific themed jams in that Other One, though a lot of it of course is similar to the other Europe '72 jams.

  4. A correction for the Main Ten -
    The '6/19/68' show is now known to be 2/19/69, so that's now our first known date for the Main Ten. I have to think, if it had been composed earlier, it would have shown up in one of the '68 Hartbeats shows, so perhaps this riff started much later than I thought.

  5. I forgot to mention - when Garcia joins the Jefferson Airplane for the 9/6/69 Family Dog jam, he plays the Darkness Darkness theme in there too, around the 17-minute point.

  6. I found the earliest Seven jam!
    Garcia plays it somewhere in the middle of the really long Carousel jam with Jorma, Jack and Mickey on 5/21/68. Out of nowhere, and it fits right in. (Brief, though.)

    I also read somewhere that the 5/7/69 Dark Star supposedly has a Seven jam in it - but listening again, I didn't hear one.

  7. There's a particular jazzy Phil riff that he pushes a lot around '73 - a good example is early in the Dark Star on 6/24/73. I haven't attempted to find all the different renditions. Sometimes it dies quickly, sometimes Weir joins in with a counterpoint, sometimes (as here) the whole band plays with it... I can't place whether it's an original riff or a jazz quote. But it's almost like an early version of the Stronger Than Dirt riff.

  8. I'm very tempted to believe that the 6/19/68 show (2/19/69) was recorded much later than February 69. The show starts with a Lovelight>Not Fade Away>Lovelight sandwhich. However, the band did not start playing NFA until 12/69. In addition, they didn't start combining NFA with Lovelight until around 3/70. Perhaps this was one of those mysterious "early shows" that they were doing in 1970? Early 1970 of course.

    -Rob Purificato (Brotherbuttcrack@aol.com)

  9. Listening to it now, it does sound, at the very least, un-Feb-69-like. Jerry's tone on this recording sounds nothing like the live/dead era Jerry. Also, (I'm only on the 2nd lovelight right now, its been a while) as of yet, I hear no Tom Constanten. Also, The way the Dead play here sounds so comfortable. It sounds like they're playing in a small venue with all of their friends. The crowd chanting (in lovelight), as well as the way dead are completely fearless in their playing (the jamming in the end of lovelight, going into NFA sounds like they're just having fun) and they are having fun by the sounds of it. On a wild guess I might even say that perhaps the Pranksters were a part of this show. What do you think?

  10. (sorry in advance for the flood of writing) There is some organ an the end of lovelight. But it does sound more like pigpen than Tom. And it's probly Pigpen because You don't hear it until the end, until after Pig came back to the mic (and probably onstage- judging by the "Hey Pigpen, where are you? Get the fuck over here!" comment that was made earlier in the song.


  11. Interesting, thoughtful comments - but, after writing a whole post on this show, I'm still convinced that it's 2/19/69:

    I think the style is a lot closer to early '69 than to early '70; it really doesn't sound like 1970 at all to me (especially the NFA).
    They almost did NFA on 4/23/69, but stopped because they were out of tune or something, so it's not improbable for them to try it in Feb '69. (For that matter, the Main Ten starts showing up in Dead shows in April '69 too.)
    And you're right about it being a comfortable venue for the Dead, as it was in the Carousel. I think my post explains the looseness & Pranksterish chanting.
    There are various mixing problems on the tape, so the organ is not really audible til the second-set jams. I don't know who's playing, it's not necessarily TC or Pigpen.

  12. Aw man, how could I forget about that post?!

    Haha wow. I would have to agree with you on that one. Very nice article btw.

    Looking forward to whatever you're cooking up.

    Good Day,

  13. The Tighten Up jam may be misidentified...

    People listening to a couple of the '69 jams have noticed its resemblance to the Chicago song Beginnings.
    You can compare Weir's chords to the intro of Beginnings:
    or to Tighten Up:

    I'm on the fence, as there are resemblances to both (it's a very similar pattern), but the Tighten Up jam may actually be the Beginnings jam!

    1. It sounds like "Tighten Up" to my ear.

      And recall that Pigpen would sometimes encourage the rest of the band to "tighten up" as things got a little weird in a drawn-out "Love Light," echoing Archie Bell's delivery.

    2. Has anyone ever asked Weir or the others about this? Since it was a jam that they returned to multiple times it's possible that they would have some recollection of its inception.


    3. No,I don't think the band members have ever been asked.
      Not that they might remember too much anyway. There's one '80s interview where Mickey Hart is asked about the Spanish Jam, and reminded that it drew on a Sketches From Spain piece:
      "God! Those things just come out! Those are really not planned. That really comes out when we are jamming. I forgot even where that came from! I didn't even think about that, but you're right, that's where it did come from... I knew I recognized it from someplace!"
      (from Swing 51 #7, 1983, Garcia article)

    4. what are some examples of the "Insect Fear Jam"
      This was mentioned in the Skeleton key dictionary, but they gave no examples

    5. Well, people's definitions may differ; I think of it as another name for the Tiger Jam - which wasn't a thematic jam, just a term for the band's scary meltdowns when Garcia's screeching on wah-wah & Lesh is scraping his strings & everyone's making alarming noises; very common in '72-74.
      Other people think of it as a name for the Phil/Ned interlude in '74, but I suppose any atonal space could get tagged with the name.

      Now that you mention it, I wonder how the name "insect fear" originated. The first time I've seen it used was on Mickey Hart's 1972 album Rolling Thunder, where Garcia was credited with "insect fear" on the 'Pump Song.' (Mickey later also recorded a radio play called "The Bugs" about an insect invasion, which included music from the 11/28/73 experimental performance.)
      How & when that term started being used for the Dead's spaces, I'm not sure.

  14. I believe there is a Tighten Up jam in the Dark Star from 10/17/70 Cleveland that has just surfaced, starting around 10:30.

  15. I don't think that counts - they start heading that way but don't go through with it, so that's just a tease.

    The 10/17/70 show, however, does have the first known Bid You Goodnight ending to Goin' Down the Road.

  16. THANK YOU for this fantastic blog, it's Dead Heaven:) You may enjoy this 90 in-depth master class on the original Dark Star, phree: http://youtu.be/rs_4TQLycQI

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    Dave Frank
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  17. Great article. I wanted to point out that the "Mind Left Body" jam made a reappearance in "The Music Never Stopped" circa summer 1990 and may have become a permanent part of the song after that (I heard it at 7-12-90 and 9-25-91).

    1. Hmm, I don't really hear it too clearly in those versions.
      It had always formed the bedrock for the bridge chords ("There's a band out on the highway"), and there are some versions from '76 where they really do a mini-MLBJ in the Music Never Stopped jams.

  18. Don't know if you're following 30 Days of Dead over at dead.net, but yesterday's selections was the Feelin' Groovy Jam -> Sugar Magnolia from 2/24/73 (more is in the vault than circulates, apparently). You mention above that there's an AUD tape from the show, and deadlists.com notes 60min. of AUD tape containing the Truckin' through Sugar Mags portion. But as far as I can tell, that audience tape doesn't circulate on the web (on Archive or elsewhere). Have you heard it? If so, do you have any idea how we could get it into circulation?

    1. I also talked a bit about this show in my post on incomplete shows from Feb '73. The second-set SBD snippet on the Archive is mislabeled as being Truckin'>Nobody's Fault (deadlists repeats the error, for some reason) but it's actually the post-Eyes jam.
      The Sugar Magnolia in the Vault snippet isn't on the Archive copy (which cuts off just at that point), but unfortunately a big chunk of the second set is missing from the Vault - Lemieux wrote:
      "Unfortunately, reel #5 is missing from the vault, but what’s on reel #6 is certainly worth hearing: Jam>Bass Solo>Jam>Sugar Magnolia. Too bad the 46 minutes that precedes this jam is missing, but at least this excellent jam remains."

      The AUD was reviewed in the Taping Compendium, but I've never heard it. My guess is the quality is pretty poor and very few people (outside of the top collectors) have it, or else it would've made it to digital by now. (Lots of AUDs mentioned in the Compendium or deadlists have similarly disappeared.) A mention of it in the Lossless Legs forum brought no response. So, unless someone who has the show gets reminded about it & has the desire to transfer it to digital, we're out of luck.
      But the situation isn't hopeless - I heard recently that someone's planning to transfer a complete AUD of 2/15/73 to digital, and I just worked to bring an alternate AUD of 7/12/70 to light too; so these things do keep trickling out.

  19. The Dark Star played on 12/18/73 contains a 'Mind Left Body Jam' that should be added to the list. Commencing at the 8:0l mark, and spanning to the 9:27 mark, this version is less defined than some of its contemporaries; however, the lush, subtleness of this one is no less charming. While it's not as fully realized and definitive as the epic 6/28/74 version (the yardstick by which all others should be judged), it nevertheless deserves its rightful place in the MLB canon.

    1. I didn't think that was one of the standout Mind Left Body jams; at any rate, I just listed the most notable versions here, but there's a more complete listing in my Mind Left Body post, and 12/18/73 does get covered!

  20. Right on! I feel obliged to delve deeper into your many posts, as I've found virtually everything you've written thus far quite invaluable.

  21. Found another Darkness Darkness jam - in the 4/13/71 Good Lovin', 14 minutes in:

  22. best find on the internet, ever!

  23. I'm listening to the 10-25-1969 Winterland Dark Star. Does this Dark Star not also contain a brief Feelin' Groovy Jam into a Tighten Up Jam? This would make a total of 3 Dark Star's containing a Feelin' Groovy and Tighten Up Jam. I admit that the 11-02-1969 and 01-02-1970 versions are much more developed.

    Thanks for all your work. Really love your site.


    1. Actually, I did not try to track how many Dark Stars had both Tighten Up and Feelin' Groovy jams, but it is certainly more than those three. Offhand I would say most of the 1970 Dark Star Tighten Ups are also accompanied by a Feelin' Groovy jam, though not necessarily back-to-back like in these early versions.

  24. When I first heard The Music Never Stopped I was immediately reminded of this song:


    So maybe we should call the MLB jam the YAINTGB jam...

    1. "You're all i need to get by" is a progression involving A, B7, Dm6 and back to A. All these chords include an A note, and they involve a descending pattern of E,Eflat,D and C#. For MLB, the chord progression which i've found to best work in all keys (it was played in A, D and E) is A7, D/E, Dm/E, A. All the chords share an E note, and there is a descending pattern of G, F#, F and E. So, indeed, similarities. I got the chords for YAINTGB from Motown Showstoppers.

      There is a jam which was called "Epilogue" on Europe '72, came in the wake of Truckin' and ahead of the Other One. It often popped up in Dark Stars of the era, notably 8/24/72 (excellent version of both the jam and DS, underrated and overlooked due to the version of three days later) and the 2/26/73 Dark Star (DP 28), likewise great versions of both. Has it ever attained a name of its own other than "Epilogue"?

    2. "Epilogue" sounds like passages in a lot of Dark Stars, but I wasn't able to pick out any particular themed jam in it. At any rate it doesn't go by another name.

  25. Some early 1970 Dark Stars feature another two chord pattern by Weir (A7 - G7), for instance 2/2/70 starting around 12:00. I believe some mistake this for Tighten Up and it does sound like a more aggressive variation on Tighten Up. Not sure if it occured often enough to deserve its own name.

    1. I think that pattern's too scanty to single out as its own jam (and not sure how much it occurs outside of early '70), but Dark Star did have some other recognizable themed signposts from time to time - like the "sputnik jams" so common in '69, or Phil's 6/8 riff that keeps popping up in '73 (for instance, around 6:30 in the 6/24/73 Dark Star).

  26. One reader wrote a post on Phil's jazzy 6/8 riff that pops up so often in 1973 shows - giving it the title of the "Elastic Ping Pong Jam." Well worth reading:

    Some further comment on it here:

    Early, undeveloped versions of it show up in late '72, for instance in the 11/19/72 Dark Star; but here's a partial list of where it shows up in '73:
    12/31/72, start of the Other One
    2/26/73 Dark Star (starts about 10-11m in)
    2/28/73 Other One (around 4:40)
    6/24/73 Dark Star (after 6:20)
    6/29/73 Other One (around 3:25)
    9/11/73 Dark Star (about 10-11m in)
    10/30/73 Dark Star (at 6:20)
    I'm sure more examples can be found. As far as I know, it dies away in late '73.

    1. Phil plays this line extensively in the 11/17/72 Other One, starting about 9 minutes in and continuing it on & off for a couple minutes - then he keeps repeating it occasionally in the rest of the jam.

    2. In the 6/10/73 Dark Star, Phil takes a bass solo before the verse, is it possible that this same riff is played in that jam?

    3. Phil's bass solo in the 6/10/73 Dark Star is based on the "Philo Stomp" (which got deconstructed a bit in '73 and played in more fragmentary fashion), but the jam after the bass solo, when the guitars return, starts with the "elastic ping pong" riff.

    4. Thanks for the reply, I love this particular jam, but seem to have some trouble tracking all the variations (I don't have any music education). Still, I'll be on the lookout for more versions.

    5. I don't have any music education either; I know almost nothing about music, which this site makes glaringly apparent. You can learn what to listen for, though. All you need is ears!

  27. The elastic ping pong jam is very cool. The writer of that blog suggests that this jam served as the basis for Stronger than Dirt/King Solomon's Marbles, and that may well be. Dirt/Marbles is in 7, however, so some further evolution would have had to occur. But, both the ping pong jam and Dirt/Marbles are in B minor. Further, the ping pong jam does remind me very much of the jam they did on 3/23/75.

    Also, the genesis of this jam may have begun as early as April 11, 1972 in Newcastle. Listen to Truckin' at 15:37-16:05. Phil quotes the bass line to Wayne Shorter's Footprints quite clearly (in D minor). Footprints is in 3, so it's not much of a stretch to work that into the ping pong type of jam. Some of Phil's opening licks during the 6/24/73 ping pong jam have a clear relationship to the Footprints bass line.
    In any case, great stuff.

    1. Some people have suggested before that this jam might have been based on Footprints -

      I am not so sure - Phil had a lot of related bass-lines going on in '72-75, making it hard to say whether one theme turned into another over time, or if they're distinct but just sound similar.... But over time, listeners will probably turn up more to study in this family group of Phil's jazzy riffs.

  28. The end of Eyes at the Curtis Hixon in Dec 73 could be an even earlier Slipknot - just Garcia and only a flirtation shortly past the 10 min mark.