Hiss Golden Messenger Covers Grateful Dead’s ‘Dire Wolf’

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Hiss Golden Messenger mastermind MC Taylor shared a performance of a Grateful Dead cover on his Instagram page. Taylor went solo acoustic for his cover of “Dire Wolf.”

“When Vinyl, Me Please asked me to contribute liner notes to their forthcoming Grateful Dead box set, it allowed me to revisit my history with the band,” Taylor noted in a comment accompanying the performance. “The first Dead song that ever worked its magic on me is called ‘Dire Wolf,’ so I thought I’d share a little cover of it from home.”

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Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter wrote “Dire Wolf,” which was originally released on the Grateful Dead’s 1970 studio album, Workingman’s Dead. Hunter penned the lyrics on a night in May 1969. Read Robert’s thoughts on the experience as told to Steve Silberman in 2001 via Dead Essays:

“The song Dire Wolf was inspired, at least in name, by watching The Hound of the Baskervilles on TV with Garcia. We were speculating on what the ghostly hound might turn out to be, and somehow the idea that maybe it was a Dire Wolf came up. Maybe it was even suggested in the story, I don’t remember. We thought Dire Wolves were great big beasts. Extinct now, it turns out they were quite small and ran in packs. But the idea of a great big wolf named Dire was enough to trigger a lyric. As I remember, I wrote the words quickly the next morning upon waking, in that hypnogogic state where deep-rooted associations meld together with no effort. Garcia set it later that afternoon.”

Watch MC Taylor’s version of “Dire Wolf” below:

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