The Grateful Dead, undoubtedly one of the most iconic bands in the history of rock. A group that has fans of the most varied around the world that venerate them for life.
Take a look back and Relive The 5 Folk Songs From The Grateful Dead:
Uncle John’s Band
After the publication of ‘Live / Dead’ García and the band became interested in a return to roots, country, and folk music. For this, Garcia contacted Crosby, Stills & Nash to teach the band to sing in harmony and, in return, put his pedal steel at the service of the band. The result was the absolute peak of the band, its two masterpieces, ‘Workingman’s Dead’ and ‘American Beauty’, two discs in which the best compositions of the band are found. The first opened with ‘Uncle John’s Band’, a song that many ‘deadheads’ see as a reference to the Grateful Dead themselves, with Garcia being the title ‘Uncle John’.
Another of the wonders that can be found in ‘Workingman’s dead’, ‘Dire wolf’ is a perfect example of the step taken at that time, from one electric and psychedelic band to another with The Band, folk and roots music as main references. Below is a beautiful live version on television in 1981.
Friend Of The Devil
Another of the band’s greatest moments, according to Hunter, is “the closest we’ve ever been to writing a classic.” His lyrics about an outlaw being chased by the police and finally the Devil is pure Dead, but what is most remembered is the acoustic folk riff played by García.
The song that opened the second face of ‘American Beauty’ shows that, for a brief period, the most famous live band in the US found pure magic in the studio. ‘Ripple’ is one of the prettiest and saddest tunes ever created by Garcia and contains one of the lyrics Hunter is most proud of.
The band’s first big song was this’ St. Stephen ‘a hymn of folk-rock psychedelia, written by the couple formed by García and Hunter, with the help of bassist Phil Lesh. It is the song that opens ‘Aoxomoxoa’ and, despite being a fixture in the repertoire of the late 60s and 70s, it fell into disuse from then on, making the ‘deadheads’ (the staunch fans of the band that They went to every possible concert) considered a very special event when the band played it again. The song’s lyrics refer to the first New Testament saint who was stoned to death. This is a live version in January 1969.