Posted On: Tuesday - November 26th 2019 8:02PM MST
In Topics:   Music  The Dead
Just looking under the topic key, we've only been putting up 3 or 4 Dead songs yearly, not counting the obligatory US Blues on the 4th each year. That's not right.
A new reader of Peak Stupidity had never even heard of this band, but can be forgiven, due to "not bein' from 'round heah". We covered this odd thing in "Classic (rock) Europe.
Anyway, if you're new to The Dead, it may be better to hear a clearer version of one of the shorter songs from the studio first. Although the summer-of-1970 album Workingman's Dead had a more well-known song called Casey Jones about "driving that train, high on cocaine .." this song, the Cumberland Blues has a combination of a historical working-man theme with a bluegrass sound from the origins of the band. It is not a blues song at all, though they've sure got some of that too. This tune is pretty different and not at all easy to sing, which why I'm presenting the version off the album.
Most Dead fans like the live music, as it could have been played many different ways, and Jerry had the longer lead guitar parts when live. That's mostly what Peak Stupidity presents, but here is the studio version of Cumberland Blues with banjo and all. (I don't hear the banjo in the live versions, but YMMV.)
Did you note that the tune does not resolve itself, in musical theory terms, until the last 45 seconds or so? On the live versions, Jerry plays those leads, which take you in a different direction. Still, FINALLY after 5 minutes or more, the song gets back to where it needs to.
From Oakland, California, on the last day of 1982, here is a decent live version. Yes, it's hard to sing, and no, they (especially Jerry) aren't doing a great job on the vocals. It didn't matter - the fat man rocked!