Last week we gave a listen to a big "Playing" jam wrapped around an
"Uncle John’s Band" as a way of starting to look back at the Grateful Dead’s fall
1973. That show (12/1) was one of the first without Donna, who went on maternity leave,
but this week we’re going to roll back a week or so to November 23 in Texas. Specifically,
we’re going to listen to "He’s Gone" > "Truckin'" > "Other One" > "Me & Bobby McGee."
The sequences of "He’s Gone" > "Truckin’" and especially "Truckin'" > "Other One" were
both well traveled paths by this point, with a half dozen or so full triptychs having been
played in the preceding year and a half. As such the music here seems effortless and
patient...there’s no rush and plenty of time to let the music unfold as it builds up
energetically through "Truckin’" before opening on a long version of "Other One." That
tune plunges off into deep space right after the first verse, drifting and tumbling and
catching glimpses of other worldly vistas before rising beautifully into "Bobby McGee."
I’m a big fan of early '70s Psychedelic Cowboys, a "Dark Star" > "Me and My Uncle" or an
"Other One" > "El Paso," and this transition/paring has just that sort of feel, with a
California twist. This is sparkling, confident Grateful Dead, and a pristine recording
too. (A funny side note: my late '90s hard cover Dead Base IX only has Weather
Report Suite listed for this date.) Come on back next week for the third and final part of
this retrospective, and as always, enjoy!
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Written By: Dan Alford
[Published on: 12/2/13]