Jerry Garcia Reggae Covers & More Spotify Playlist
Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and died on August 9, 1995 at the age of 53. For 25 years, the “Days Between” Garcia’s birthday and the anniversary of his untimely death have been an annual period of reflection and admiration for the legendary musician’s career. This week JamBase honored the Days Between with daily deep dives into Jerry’s five solo studio albums, as well as last weekend’s Spotify Playlist focusing on the bonus material from those records.
Today’s Days Between edition of Saturday Stream presents a Spotify Playlist of Jerry Garcia performing covers of songs by reggae musicians as well as tracks performed by the Jerry Garcia Band and the Grateful Dead with reggae-infused arrangements.
With keyboardist Merl Saunders and JGB, Garcia covered Bob Marley (“Stir It Up”), Peter Tosh (“Stop That Train”) and several songs by Jimmy Cliff (“The Harder They Come,” “Sitting In Limbo” and “Struggling Man”), though none of their songs ended up on one of Garcia’s solo albums. Tosh and Cliff were on the same lineup as the Grateful Dead for the 1982 Jamaica World Music Festival at Bob Marley Performing Arts Center in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Jerry’s final solo album, the 1982 LP Run For The Roses, contained a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” with a reggae arrangement done by bassist John Kahn. The cover translated to JGB shows and Garcia also covered Dylan’s 1973 classic with the Grateful Dead starting in 1987, but with a more traditional approach.
Kahn teamed with Garcia’s regular writing partner, lyricist Robert Hunter, on the song “Love In The Afternoon,” which was recorded on the 1978 JGB studio album, Cats Under The Stars. A staple of JGB live setlists, “Love In The Afternoon” had a distinct reggae vibe on both early live renditions and the studio cut.
Reggae was also infused into part of the studio version of the Garcia/Hunter Grateful Dead original “Crazy Fingers,” which was released on their 1975 album, Blues For Allah. Garcia’s third solo album, 1976’s Reflections, included a cover of “Catfish John,” which also appeared on the 1975 self-titled debut album by Old & In The Way — the all-star bluegrass supergroup featuring Kahn, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Vassar Clements and Jerry on banjo. Neither of those recordings has the reggae flare of a studio outtake of “Catfish John” made by the Grateful Dead during fall 1976 sessions for Terrapin Station, which the band never played live.
Below is a Spotify Playlist featuring the reggae covers and reggae-styled songs mentioned above: