What started out casually over a decade ago, has gradually turned into a seemingly endless stream of broadcasts exploring songs performed by the Grateful Dead (& Jerry Garcia), but written by people outside the band.
This latest special focused on songs performed (not just) acoustically by The Grateful Dead. Launched in 2020 and continued in 2021, it's now time to put this one to bed. In this finale, you'll hear performances from John Lee Hooker, James 'Sugar Boy' Crawford, Marty Robbins, Charlie Monroe, Merle Haggard, John Dilleshaw, Vern Stovall, the Fisk Jubilee Singers and more.
Recall that "[t]he Dead had their origins in acoustic music," says this comprehensive look at the band's early acoustic sets, "Back in '61 Phil Lesh was impressed enough by Garcia as a folk-singer to get him his own radio show - and Garcia, Weir, and Pigpen first started playing together in the Mother McCree's jug-band in '64, after Garcia had tired of the local bluegrass circuit. If it hadn't been for their love of the Beatles and the Stones, perhaps they would have become a merry band of old-time traditionalists like the New Lost City Ramblers."
To acknowledge some of the artists who contributed to the band's love of acoustic music, I've compiled a list of all songs The Grateful Dead covered acoustically. I've located the original recording of each; first I'll play that and then a carefully selected GD acoustic cover (when a choice was possible).
One major distinction this special has from the other parts of the trilogy is that it only includes 44 songs from 26 shows spread across only three years (1969, 1970, 1980). A key trait this special shares with its predecessors is that the original artists featured range from the commonly known (John Lee Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Judy Collins, Merle Haggard and The Everly Brothers) to the much more obscure (Furry Lewis, Maddox Brothers & Rose, John Dilleshaw and the Fisk Jubilee Singers).