May 31, 2019

Cosmic Charlie: A Performance History 1969-1970

Cosmic Charlie, the last track on the Grateful Dead’s 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, was never a major part of their live repertoire. They only played it for two years; then briefly brought it back five years later; then dropped it altogether from live shows. But during its brief history, it passed through a number of arrangement changes and performance variations which reveal a lot about the Dead’s flexibility (and shortcomings) as a live band.

Most people in the CD era have only heard Aoxomoxoa in Garcia’s 1971 remix, in which he stripped off much of its quirky strangeness and presented the songs in a less cluttered format closer to their live arrangements. Cosmic Charlie wasn’t altered as much as some other songs, but the remix does have significant differences: right away, part of the intro is shaved off, and the opening drums are mixed out. The intro is quieter, emphasizing the three guitars (one slide & one acoustic) and bass – the acoustic guitar in particular is brought forward, and the organ minimized. Throughout, the drums and organ are mixed much lower; the drums and vocals are centered, and the vocals are mixed differently (especially in the outro). The song isn’t changed drastically, but it is simplified, sounding more like a Workingman’s Dead production.

The Aoxomoxoa outtakes include an early demo of Cosmic Charlie from 1968, featuring just double-tracked Garcia and drums. It’s much faster than the eventual album track, done more like a pop song, and the extended ending isn’t there yet. The intro is different, with Garcia’s original guitar lick and charming “da-da-da-da” vocal, which was discarded on the album.

The first live Cosmic Charlie was done in a Hartbeats show in October ‘68, coming out of a Dark Star jam which Garcia ends with a dramatic chiming transition to Cosmic Charlie. The song is done just like the studio demo, based around the guitar riffs and drums, but played more forcefully here. (Phil adds a bouncy bass line in the background.) As on the demo, Garcia hasn’t worked out an ending – he just repeats “calling you” once and fades out.

The first full live Dead version came a couple months later on 1/17/69. Already Cosmic Charlie appears in what would later become its permanent spot, coming out of the Cryptical reprise jam. It still has its original guitar intro, but now played in more dramatic Dead fashion with bass and drums crashing in. The rest of the performance is rough – they get derailed a minute in, leading to a fascinating instrumental jam on the song riffs for a couple minutes until they restart the song. As in the rest of the live versions, Weir now shares the vocal with Garcia (I don’t think he sang on the album take). The ending is now more similar to the drawn-out album version, but here it’s a slow instrumental fadeout without the sung “go on home, your mama’s calling you.”

On 1/23/69, the day before starting the multitrack recordings for Live/Dead at the Avalon, the Dead taped a rehearsal at the theater working out some of the material. Cosmic Charlie is among the new songs, and they're still pretty shaky with it. The intro is delightful as it lasts more than a minute, and this is the best place to hear the lovely way Garcia & Weir originally played the intro. Unfortunately there's a big tapecut three minutes in, wiping out part of the song, but it ends with Weir repeating "calling you" before the music gently winds down.

1/25/69 – A much smoother performance, this comes out of a hard-stopped Doin’ That Rag in a little Aoxomoxoa song medley. Garcia has now added a new instrumental section, a great storming ‘Revolution’-style guitar raveup and a couple verses of the fuzzy guitars playing the vocal melody before the song’s finale; and the song has its extra repeated “calling you” ending. Constanten is especially audible in this version. (released on the 2001 Aoxomoxoa CD reissue)

2/11/69 – Played as the encore, Cosmic Charlie now has the ‘Revolution’ guitar intro to start it off…but the tape cuts after two minutes. (released on Fillmore East 2-11-69)
2/15/69 – A standalone Cosmic Charlie again starts with the ‘Revolution’ intro (and Pigpen also joins in on harmonica for this version only, adding an odd bluesy flavor), but the song is already starting to sound more sedate.

2/27/69, 3/1/69 – Cosmic Charlie is the encore on 2/27 (introduced by Weir as a “sentimental number, ladies’ choice”), and follows Doin’ That Rag on 3/1. The band sounds more secure in the song by now with more little textural details, and Phil’s bass part seems more worked-out. The song still has the same arrangement (with the ‘Revolution’ intro repeated at the end), but it’s played much faster and more energetically on 3/1, which zips along compared to the more sluggish 2/27 rendition.

4/5/69 – A month later, the arrangement has changed. Following a sloppy Hard to Handle with slide guitar, Garcia keeps the slide for Cosmic Charlie, and the intro and end reprise are now played exactly as on the album. The ‘Revolution’ part and original intro lick have now vanished, so the vocals now sound like they’re coming in too soon. Cosmic Charlie is now played far more slowly than it was before, and this performance sounds very tentative. Evidently the Aoxomoxoa take must have been recorded around this time, and they’re now replicating the album version – the ending now has Garcia singing “go on home, your mama’s calling you”

4/18/69 – Another standalone version, with Garcia on slide again. Duane Allman he’s not – the performance is slow, rough, and lumbering. Garcia would drop the slide in later performances, for the better.

5/30/69 – Cosmic Charlie comes out of a rather disjointed Dark Star jam in a neat segue: in the midst of the chaos, Weir starts playing his guitar line, tugging the others into the song. This is a stronger, faster-paced rendition than the tepid April versions; Garcia even revisits his ‘Revolution’ intro! (There’s a short tapecut in the final instrumental section.)

5/31/69 – Only the last 25 seconds survive on tape.
6/5/69 – Standalone version; smooth and unremarkable. Cosmic Charlie has found the loping tempo it would remain at, and the arrangement would remain the same for the next few months.

6/8/69 - For the first time since January, Cosmic Charlie comes out of the Other One suite. Uniquely, this time Garcia simply skips the Cryptical reprise, and starts up Cosmic Charlie right after the Other One concludes. (The others are right with him.) The instrumental buildup at the end has become particularly good.

6/21/69 – An encore, captured on a grungy AUD tape; nothing stands out. Aoxomoxoa had just been released, and fans would finally be able to recognize the song. (There’s noticeably no clapping when it starts.)

8/21/69 – Cosmic Charlie follows one of the shortest Dark Stars ever played, taking the place of St. Stephen. The Dead seem out of it in this show; this is a very sloppy version.

10/24/69 – A great stereo AUD tape features one of the greatest Cosmic Charlie introductions. This is the first tape since 1/17/69 in which Cosmic Charlie segues out of the Cryptical reprise jam. Cryptical itself is kept short, as they quickly blend it into the rhythm of Cosmic Charlie; for a minute they’re playing both tunes at once. Then Garcia slams into his old ‘Revolution’ riff and hammers out the Cosmic Charlie intro for a solid two minutes as Phil pulses and feedback soars. Finally they have to pull back and slow down to start the song.
Cosmic Charlie cuts off mid-song, but no matter; these few minutes have one of the most amazing Dead transitions on tape.
(It may be interesting to note that on the audience tape, China Cat is already greeted by the crowd with pleasure and cheers, while Cosmic Charlie barely gets a clap.)

11/15/69 – Standalone version; slow and unremarkable.
12/5/69 – A very good AUD tape. Again when Cosmic Charlie comes out of the Cryptical reprise, Cryptical is kept short, only a couple minutes here; but this time the segue is awkward as Garcia abruptly changes the rhythm and hurries through the intro. The taper sings along for part of the song, which is cute.

12/10/69 – A good AUD tape; Cosmic Charlie cuts off after a minute. It comes out of a calm Cryptical reprise; sometimes it sounds like they’re heading into a dramatic transition as on 10/24, but it never explodes. Smooth segue, though. (The crowd greets it with silence.)
12/11/69 – This night, the Cryptical reprise is very brief, basically just a short prelude to Cosmic Charlie. Another smooth transition. (released in better quality on the Dave’s Picks 10 bonus disc)

12/30/69 – Cosmic Charlie cuts in during the intro; it probably came out of the Cryptical reprise as usual, but the tape cut off during the Other One so we can’t be certain. This version’s better-recorded than the last few performances, but it sounds even more tired and lethargic.

1/2/70 – Another short, low-key Cryptical reprise, another deft transition, but a significant rearrangement of Cosmic Charlie for the new year. In 1969, the Dead played the dual-guitar vocal-melody riff only at the end; but now they also play it at the start before the first verse, a more majestic intro to the song that helps ease in the vocals. The tempo hasn’t picked up, but this version still sounds more energetic.

1/3/70 – For once, the Cryptical reprise jam gets loud and frantic, so Cosmic Charlie serves as a relaxing comedown afterwards. The song itself is barely any different from the previous night. (released on Dave’s Picks 30 bonus disc, which patches a couple minutes cut in the Cryptical reprise)

1/16/70 – The Cryptical reprise is just a brief interlude once again. Cosmic Charlie is about the same as the Fillmore versions; there’s a cut five minutes into the song.

1/30/70 – Following a giant, roaring Cryptical reprise, Cosmic Charlie rises from the maelstrom and…cuts after 30 seconds. This was Tom Constanten’s last appearance in the song; it wouldn’t sound much different without him. (It was always a guitar song, and aside from usually being mixed low on live tapes, he didn’t have a very distinctive part in it, mainly adding texture to the guitars.)

3/21/70 – From a great stereo AUD tape two months later, a standalone version (rare in 1970). The band teases the song for a while before starting it; Weir starts singing the verse early, so Garcia joins him, shortening the intro. Otherwise a fine heavy-sounding version; the crowd claps along. (They’re happy to hear the song, though they greet St. Stephen with more fervor.)

4/3/70 – After a raging Cryptical climax, the band settles down into a quiet little passage from which Cosmic Charlie can launch. Another good version, faster-paced, and the band plays an extra round of the melody riff at the end (a trend that would continue for the next few performances).

5/2/70 – One of the most colossal Cryptical jams leads, once again, to Cosmic Charlie; the segue is a little uncertain until Garcia dives furiously into the intro. After that, surprisingly, Cosmic Charlie isn’t really done any better or differently than the last performance; but it was played consistently in early ‘70 and didn’t vary that much from one show to the next.

5/7/70 – A decent AUD recording with a lengthy, crashing Cryptical jam; Cosmic Charlie glides out of the chiming conclusion, met by audience applause. The sound isn’t ideal, but the performance is equal (& all but identical) to the last few.

5/15/70 – The Cryptical reprise is short, mostly quiet and restrained, dissolving into near-silence before Cosmic Charlie emerges. The Dead sound tired, but muster up an average performance.

6/7/70 – A standalone Cosmic Charlie, played after a break in which the Dead “wait around until a good idea comes up.” Eventually they decide on Cosmic Charlie, but someone (Phil?) bellows over the intro, “Hey hey baby, I’m waiting for you…hey baby, you know I’m coming home to you…” It’s another average, somewhat dragging version – Garcia in particular seems distracted.

6/24/70 – The Cryptical reprise is brief and lovely but only a couple minutes long before it segues abruptly into Cosmic Charlie…which cuts out at 2:30.
The only AUD tape of this on the Archive is Jim Cooper’s good recording of the early show; there must have been a longer tape circulating sometime since Cosmic Charlie has a complete timing on deadlists – they say this tape was labeled “3/20/70 early show,” but so far it’s unavailable online, and 6/24/70 remains incomplete.
(The Lai 7467 copy of 6/24/70 is misleading since the “early set” actually comes from 7/10/70.)

7/10/70 – The Dead flirt noncommittally with the Cryptical reprise for a minute, but quickly shift to Cosmic Charlie. The segue is more interesting tonight – whereas on 6/24 Garcia had awkwardly dropped the tempo to start up Cosmic Charlie, here the two songs are blended together, Garcia sneaking a Cosmic Charlie tease gradually into the Cryptical jam until they slip into the extended intro, without changing tempo. The rest of the song is standard – the fair AUD tape reveals a good, peppy performance. (The crowd claps along after they recognize the tune - a habit in New York shows!)

7/14/70 – The Cryptical reprise is somewhat sloppy and disjointed, but they give it a decent try, and towards the end seem to be searching for a direction when Garcia slips neatly into Cosmic Charlie. Despite the recent performances, this version sounds very slow and uncertain, like they haven’t rehearsed it, and it’s a very weak rendition.

10/31/70 – Garcia hurries out of a rushed Cryptical reprise into a subpar Cosmic Charlie. The band takes it at a jaunty trot, the better to get it over with, and Garcia’s playing is particularly poor.

The tape of “11/21/70” turned out to be a falsely labeled fragment of 4/3/70, so there are no other Cosmic Charlies available from 1970. It actually wasn’t played that often in surviving shows – only 20 times in 1969, and 15 times in 1970 (though undoubtedly more performances are missing). Never a very frequent song, the Dead were playing it even less in fall 1970; it doesn’t even turn up in audience memories of lost shows. By that point, the Cryptical reprise (when played) was more likely to segue to Sugar Magnolia, and the Dead seem to have been losing interest in Cosmic Charlie.

The last performance came on 1/21/71, captured on a decent (but chattery) AUD tape. A great Other One leads to a fine, subdued Cryptical reprise; in the last minute, a new spirit stirs in the music, and a spontaneous chord progression arises, played by the whole band. It leads directly into the Cosmic Charlie riff, forgoing the usual slow intro – a moment of unbelievable beauty, and one of the Dead’s most magical transitions. (The California crowd seems indifferent.)
Cosmic Charlie is played at a quick pace, reverting back to its original brisk tempo. For a farewell performance, it’s energetic and well-played – Garcia’s unusually playful in the final instrumental section, and there’s no evidence of the rustiness heard in some of the late 1970 versions.

But instead of ushering in a new era of upbeat saloon-band Cosmic Charlies, the Dead stopped playing it. It had outlasted several other Aoxomoxoa songs, but Garcia wasn’t feeling too happy with it, especially when there were whole albums’ worth of interesting new songs to play. The tempo was one issue – Garcia evidently wanted to keep slowing the song down to a stately crawl, but the band struggles with the slow pace in many performances, and Cosmic Charlie often ends up at a different speed than when it started. It was also a constrictive song in that, like St. Stephen and Doin’ That Rag, it was made up of several musical parts at different tempos that had to be played and sung just right and in the right order – the Dead rarely screwed it up onstage (they were professionals, despite their reputation), but getting it to flow right was difficult, especially once they weren’t playing it regularly. So they dismissed it.

But Cosmic Charlie was a fan favorite, and Garcia still liked the song, so when the band came back to the road in 1976 after their hiatus, they brought Cosmic Charlie with them in a new arrangement. (They also resurrected St. Stephen from Aoxomoxoa.) Cosmic Charlie now featured Garcia’s slide playing again (much improved since ’69), as well as Donna’s harmony singing and Keith’s prominent piano, making the song feel more like smooth soft-rock. The drummers kept a steady beat; the whole song was sung in three- and four-part harmony; Garcia also played a more traditional solo mid-song, which wasn’t there before. The effect was to turn Cosmic Charlie into a more conventional-sounding part of the ’76 repertoire…in short, more like Row Jimmy. Sweet and mellow, it stays at an even keel, without the dramatic peaks or the sloppiness found in the earlier years.

Cosmic Charlie was played six times in 1976: (released on Dick’s Picks 20
(There's also a pre-tour rehearsal on tape, but it only has the first part of the song: )

These performances don’t differ much from each other, all arranged identically and played much the same each night with only slight variations. Listening comparatively, they all seemed to blend together with none standing out. (As Garcia would say, “We’ve gotten to be a lot more consistent.”) The tempos vary – 6/4 and 6/23 are taken at a faster clip than the others, and may be the liveliest; 6/19 is the slowest. Personally, my own favorite Cosmic Charlies are the earliest versions in ‘69 when it was still fast, noisy and punky; so it’s hard for me to write enthusiastically about these sleepy, plodding easy-listening ’76 versions.

The jamming transitions into Cosmic Charlie had been some of the most interesting parts of earlier performances, but this was not to be the case in ’76. Three times Cosmic Charlie followed Dancing in the Streets – on 6/14 and 9/25 Cosmic Charlie starts in a pause after the Dancing vocals have finished; and on 6/19 the drummers start pounding out the Wheel as Dancing finishes, but Garcia starts up Cosmic Charlie instead – no real segues there. On 6/23 Cosmic Charlie emerges from the middle of a frenetic Let It Grow jam, a very abrupt switch though the band’s right on top of it. The best transition comes on 7/16: when the band are in a melancholy little Playing jam, Garcia picks up a slide for a lonesome sound (reminiscent of some of the ’73 spaces), and soon enough he starts Cosmic Charlie.

Cosmic Charlie didn’t survive into 1977 – Garcia still wasn’t comfortable with the arrangement. (Though St. Stephen lasted longer, it would later meet a similar fate, with only three performances in the 1983 revival.) But fans continued hoping that the band would bring it back, and in the ‘80s the Cosmic Charlie Campaign surfaced, lobbying and petitioning the band to play it again. Garcia ignored their pleas with a stony heart.

Cosmic Charlie was revived on 2/27/94…for 40 seconds. The crowd screamed in delight, only to have their hopes cruelly crushed when Garcia suddenly switched to Wharf Rat.

Sometimes, Garcia would explain why he was reluctant to play this song:  
“I’ve always liked Cosmic Charlie, but it’s just really a little too difficult. If I could figure out a way to either just sing it or just play it – but playing it and singing it is a bitch.” (Mary Eisenhart interview, November 1987)

“Cosmic Charlie was really a recording song, and even when we did perform it, it always had its weaknesses. The weaknesses were part of what’s musically clever about the songs [on Aoxomoxoa], but part of what’s cumbersome about performing them. Cosmic Charlie has some really complex chord voicings in the bridges. Being able to pull off the changes and do the vocals – last time we worked it out was with Donna [in 1976], and it was pretty effective, sort of. But we still had a hell of a time getting through those bridges, and the fact that it didn’t stick as a piece of material tells something about what was flawed about the construction. It’s not quite performable… Those were the first songs me and Hunter did together, and we didn’t have the craft of songwriting down. We did things that in retrospect turned out to be unwise… Songs like Cosmic Charlie, there’s technically too much happening there for me to be able to come up with a comfortable version of it that I can sing and play on stage. I never would have thought about that when I started writing songs. I didn’t realize that you had to think about that stuff…” (Blair Jackson/David Gans interview, March 1981 – Conversations with the Dead, p.49)

“We’ve already brought it back once. It didn’t work out too well. We brought it back once when Keith & Donna were in the band, and we actually worked it out with harmony – three-part harmony all the way through – and it sounded pretty neat. But the thing is that the regular groove part of Cosmic Charlie is OK, it works, but Hunter and I were inexperienced songwriters when we wrote the song, so the song has some problematic… It doesn’t have any room to breathe, for one thing, and the other thing is it has these intense little bridges. There are two little melodic bridges in the chorus of the song that have words and everything, and they’re harmonically really complicated. They’re not easy, so trying to sing that song and actually play it at the same time is almost impossible. Now all I can say is we did bring it back, but it didn’t work, it wasn’t successful. The record…has a certain bigness to it, a kind of funky grandeur that we haven’t been able to capture really in a concert yet. Someday we might pull it off, but really it’s awful wordy.” (Steve Marcus interview, October 1986)

* * *


Runonguinness compiled a list of Jerry's slide outings up to the end of '74. This was part of an earlier comment thread, but I thought it worth including in a post.

Firstly, the Pigpen era:
67-03-18 Same Thing
69 Aoxomoxoa studio Cosmic Charlie
69-02-27 Lovelight
69-03-15 Hard To Handle
69-03-29 Lovelight
69-04-04 Other One, Lovelight
69-04-05 Lovelight, Hard To Handle, Cosmic Charlie
69-04-06 King Bee
69-04-11 Hard To Handle, Lovelight
69-04-12 Lovelight
69-04-13 Lovelight
69-04-15 Hard To Handle, Hurts Me Too, Lovelight
69-04-17 Hard To Handle
69-04-18 Hard To Handle, King Bee, Cosmic Charlie
69-04-21 Hard To Handle, Lovelight
69-04-22 Lovelight
69-04-23 Hard To Handle
69-04-25 Hard To Handle
69-04-26 Hurts Me Too, Hard To Handle
69-04-27 Lovelight
69-05-03 Lovelight
69-05-31 Lovelight
69 May or June solo practice Slow Blues Instrumental
69-06-06 Lovelight
69-06-21E Cosmic Charlie
69-09-06 Not Fade Away
69-12-26 Lovelight
69-12-28 Lovelight (Bob?)
70-01-23 Lovelight
70-05-07 King Bee
70-05-14 Schoolgirl, Nobody's Fault Jam
70-10-30L Smokestack Lightnin'
70-11-04PERRO studio Mind Left Body Jam
70-11-05 Lovelight
70-11-06 King Bee
70-11-07 Hurts Me Too, King Bee
70-11-11 Hurts Me Too
70-11-20 King Bee, (Jorma(?) plays slide on All Over Now)
70-12-27 Hurts Me Too
70-12-28 Hurts Me Too
71-01-22 Hurts Me Too
71-01-24 Hurts Me Too
71-02-18 Hurts Me Too
71-02-19 Hurts Me Too, Smokestack Lightnin'
71 July studio Deal
71-08-06 Lovelight
71-08-24 Hurts Me Too
71-12-05 Hurts Me Too
71-12-31 Same Thing
72-03-05 Mind Left Body Jam behind Pigpen's Good Lovin' rap
72-03-22 Big Boss Man, Hurts Me Too
72-03-25 Smokestack Lightnin'
72-03-27 Hurts Me Too
72-03-28 Hurts Me Too
72-04-08 Hurts Me Too
72-04-14 Hurts Me Too
72-04-17 Hurts Me Too
72-04-24 Hurts Me Too
72-05-03 Hurts Me Too
72-05-04 Hurts Me Too
72-05-07 Lovelight
72-05-11 Hurts Me Too
72-05-13 Hurts Me Too
72-05-16 Hurts Me Too
72-05-18 Hurts Me Too
72-05-24 Hurts Me Too

After an isolated '67 example, Jerry seems to enthusiastically take up slide in Spring '69, mainly on Pig's blues covers. Perhaps recording the slide part for Cosmic Charlie prompted his interest. This interest waned after this initial spell and his slide playing became rare except for It Hurts Me Too. Bobby briefly took up slide in the second half of '69 through early '70 as Jerry's slide playing became less frequent.

After Pigpen's loss Jerry took up playing slide on Dead originals. He briefly used it on Box Of Rain, substituted slide for pedal steel on Looks Like Rain, and consistently played it on Weather Report Suite Part 1 and Row Jimmy. He frequently played it during the post-Truckin' jams and occasionally tried it on his own tunes. I only know of four instances of him playing slide with Merl, three of these are close together in late '72 and early '73. There could be more in their many missing shows.

72-07-25 Other One
72-08-22 Hey Bo Diddley
72-12-28 JGMS Baby Please Don't Go
73-01-24E JGMS That's All Right
73-01-24L JGMS Expressway
73-02-28 Truckin'
73-03-19 Nobody's Fault Jam
73-03-22 Nobody's Fault Jam
73-03-24 He's Gone
73-03-30 Box Of Rain, Truckin'
73-03-31 Box Of Rain
73-04-02 Box Of Rain
73-05-20 Nobody's Fault Jam
73-05-26 Box Of Rain
73-06-10 Box Of Rain
73-06-22 Box Of Rain, Black Peter, Nobody's Fault Jam
73-07-01 Truckin'
73-07-28 Box Of Rain
73-08-01 Dark Star
73-09-08 Looks Like Rain
73-09-11 Looks Like Rain, WRS Prelude > Part 1
73-09-12 Looks Like Rain, WRS Part 1
73-09-15 Looks Like Rain, WRS Part 1
73-09-17 Looks Like Rain, WRS Part 1
73-09-20 Looks Like Rain, Stella Blue
73-09-21 WRS Part 1
73-09-24 Looks Like Rain, WRS Part 1
73-09-26 Looks Like Rain, Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-10-19 Looks Like Rain, Mind Left Body Jam, Sunshine Daydream
73-10-21 WRS Prelude > Part 1
73-10-23 Wang Dang Doodle sound check, Row Jimmy, post-Drums Jam
73-10-25 Row Jimmy, Stella Blue, WRS Prelude > Part 1
73-10-27 Nobody's Fault Jam
73-10-30 Row Jimmy, Mind Left Body Jam
73-11-09 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-11-10 WRS Part 1
73-11-11 WRS Part 1, Dark Star
73-11-14 Row Jimmy
73-11-17 Row Jimmy
73-11-20 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-11-21 WRS Part 1
73-11-23 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-11-25 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-11-30 WRS Part 1
73-12-01 Looks Like Rain, Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-12-02 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1, Mind Left Body Jam
73-12-06 Row Jimmy
73-12-08 WRS Part 1, Row Jimmy
73-12-10 Row Jimmy
73-12-12 Looks Like Rain, Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-12-18 Looks Like Rain, Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
73-12-19 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1, Nobody's Fault But Mine
74-02-22 Row Jimmy
74-02-23 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-02-24 WRS Part 1, Row Jimmy
74-03-09 JGMS That's All Right
74-03-23 WRS Part 1
74-05-12 Mind Left Body Jam, Row Jimmy
74-05-14 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-05-17 Row Jimmy
74-05-19 WRS Part 1
74-05-21 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-06-08 Wharf Rat 
74-06-16 Row Jimmy, Mind Left Body Jam
74-06-18 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-06-23 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-06-26 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74 Mars Hotel Loose Lucy
74-06-28 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-07-19 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-07-21 Row Jimmy
74-07-25 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-07-27 Row Jimmy
74-07-29 WRS Part 1, Spanish Jam
74-07-31 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-08-04 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-08-05 He's Gone
74-08-06 Row Jimmy
74-09-09 Row Jimmy
74-09-10 WRS Part 1
74-09-11 Row Jimmy
74-09-14 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-09-18 Row Jimmy
74-09-20 Scarlet Begonias, Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-09-21 Row Jimmy
74-10-16 Row Jimmy
74-10-17 WRS Part 1, Spanish Jam, Mind Left Body Jam
74-10-18 Row Jimmy, WRS Part 1
74-10-19 Scarlet Begonias
74-10-20 Good Lovin'

(Other than the Mind Left Body jams, Garcia rarely used slide for the 'deep jams' like the Other One or Dark Star, but mostly used it for blues solos, Lovelight jams, and specific song parts. After the hiatus, during the late ‘70s Garcia played slide on Cosmic Charlie, Row Jimmy, and Passenger…I think that was it until the ‘80s blues numbers.)
Here are Bob's early ventures into slide:

69-08-21 Easy Wind
69-08-30 Easy Wind (also misdated "69-09-11")
69-12-20 Lovelight
69-12-21 Smokestack Lightnin'
69-12-29 Easy Wind
70-03-20L Lovelight


  1. I wonder whether Weir appears on the album version of Cosmic Charlie at all?
    I believe Garcia does all the vocals, and it's possible he plays all the guitars as well. I assume the acoustic guitar is his, but the rhythm guitar part (best heard on the original mix) does not sound much like how Weir played it live, in fact it's extremely simplified. Weir's guitar lines in the live versions combine both the backing guitar parts on the album track, no mean feat...but I suspect Garcia may have recorded all the guitar parts himself.

    I wish the instrumental tracks on Aoxomoxoa could be released in a new mix without the vocals...if the Beach Boys could do it, why not the Dead!

  2. "China Cat is already greeted by the crowd with pleasure and cheers, while Cosmic Charlie barely gets a clap." That still just about sums it up for me, I'm afraid ..... never one of my favourite songs from that period. But another stunning piece of analysis and the graphic descriptions will make me go and check out some of those transitions again. Thanks!

  3. Hunter wrote it and titled it "Cosmic Charley"

    ....but now even the 50th Aoxomoxoa has it as charlie comes?

    1. Must be a cosmic thing. By 1971 Hunter would be writing "Mister Charlie"...
      In an early album tracklist, Garcia titled the song "Dum De Doodly Do."

  4. Too long LIA.....let’s go!!! 😀

  5. I love any version of Cosmic Charlie I hear even if it's super sloppy. Just something about that constant cosmic lullaby feel to it.

    If it got hardly a clap at that one '69 did get a huge screaming ovation in '94 before being abandoned for Wharf Rat.