Songs Of Their Own | Jelly Bread – Fire On The Mountain
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own video series. We began with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and tapped many of our favorite artists to record a cover version either at the JamBase office in San Francisco or at one of the many venues around town and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participants Jelly Bread explored “Fire On The Mountain.”
One of the few Grateful Dead songs to give drummer Mickey Hart sole musical composition credit, “Fire On The Mountain” in its earliest incarnation also featured Hart on lead vocals, done in a proto-rapping style. Hart recorded a version sans Robert Hunter’s lyrics for his 1976 Diga Rhythm Band album Diga, entitled “Happiness Is Drumming.” Jerry Garcia handled vocals when “Fire” was performed by The Dead and more often than not it followed “Scarlet Begonias,” developing into the famed “Scarlet/Fire” pairing along the way. The song made its live debut following “Scarlet” to close out the first set at the Winterland in San Francisco March 18, 1977 and regularly made its way onto setlists until July 2, 1995 at Deer Creek in Noblesville, Indiana.
Our neighbors from Reno, the soulful rock outfit Jelly Bread, were in town for a couple of Bay Area gigs and stopped into the JamBase office to record their session. We absolutely loved their laid-back arrangement of “Fire” but it only dawned on us after they had left our offices that the day they recorded was the 38th anniversary of one of the most fan-loved versions of the tune: the famed May 8, 1977 Dead show at Cornell University’s Barton Hall in Ithaca, New York.
Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below: