Songs Of Their Own | Billy Iuso Featuring Todd Stoops – China Doll


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own 50-day tribute series featuring a daily cover of a Grateful Dead original song. Our grand finale 50th video, a Playing For Change Songs Around The World rendition of “Ripple,” will premiere the day of the final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago on July 5. With a focus solely on Grateful Dead original songs, we asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions at the JamBase office in San Francisco, at one of the many venues around the Bay Area, at Telefunken’s Connecticut studios and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participants Billy Iuso featuring Todd Stoops picked up “China Doll.”

The fifth Songs Of Their Own entry that made its debut at The Dead’s February 9, 1973 show at Roscoe Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California, “China Doll” later appeared on the 1974 From The Mars Hotel album. Typically reserved for the second set, “China Doll” was reportedly originally given the title “The Suicide Song.” With its heavy lyrics written by Robert Hunter and sung by Jerry Garcia, ”China Doll” came and went from the band’s live repertoire, often being played just once a year, though an acoustic arrangement was featured heavily at the band’s famed 1980 extended run at the Warfield and Radio City Music Hall. “China Doll” was performed once in 1994, its final rendition coming on October 11 at USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland.

New Orleans-based guitarist Billy Iuso utilized Telefunken’s studios in Connecticut to record “China Doll.” The singer-songwriter has performed as a member of the group Dead Feat which counts Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann and first Songs Of Their Own performer, guitarist Anders Osborne, among its lineup. Todd Stoops was at Telefunken recording a Songs Of Their Own session with Hayley Jane and got into the action playing keyboard and adding backing vocals on “China Doll” as well.

Head here to explore our Songs Of Their Own homepage featuring John Scofield & John Medeski, Yonder Mountain String Band, Incidental Animals, Holly Bowling, Keller Williams and more or watch each entry via the YouTube Playlist below.