Every year hippies from across the world celebrate the first week of August as ‘Jerry Week.’ Since his birthday is the first of August and he died on the ninth, it became custom to use those nine days to celebrate the life and music of Jerry Garcia, lead singer and guitarist of the Grateful Dead.
Today, I will share a handful of my favorite Jerry ballads. I think these songs best represent the emotion in his singing and his guitar playing, but it will only be a small sampling since he has a multitude of great songs with various great bands. So without further boring you, and in no particular order, here are just a few of my favorite Jerry songs:
I’ve always had a soft spot for Wharf Rat because the protagonist in the story reminds me of myself. He’s been dealt a bad hand in life, but for the most part stays optimistic about the future.
Reuben and Cherise
I couldn’t find a Jerry Band version that really grabbed my ears, so this lovely acoustic version from Jerry and John Kahn will do just fine. A great love song from the big snuggly bear.
This song is just beautiful. Hearing Jerry lament about the loss of Janis is about as touching as it gets, and this wonderful acoustic version is a must see.
Had to find a 1972 version since this was a fairly new song then. Originally about Mickey Hart’s father and how he took off after managing the band for a stint, this song almost takes more meaning to it after Pigpen dies, and again w/ Brent and again with Jerry, so it’s hard to leave this one off.
Can’t leave out this emotional masterpiece. It may be a cover, but let’s face it, the Grateful Dead made it theirs and no version represents their ownership of it as well as good old Cornell ’77.
That’s all for tonight, be sure to get your Dead discs out for your commute this week and remember the spirit of Jerry Garcia by pumping his music at high volume while driving around and seeing the world around you.