Songs Of Their Own | Leftover Salmon – Mr. Charlie

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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 Leftover Salmon offered their take on “Mr. Charlie.”

Penned by organist/vocalist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and band lyricist Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead debuted “Mr. Charlie” on July 31, 1971 at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut. Pigpen would lead the Dead through 48 additional performances prior to its final playing in London at The Strand Lyceum on May 26, 1972. 

LoS filmed last month while in the midst of a three-night stand at Terrapin Crossroads in nearby San Rafael. The band had warmed up on Dead tunes their first night at Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s venue with many members sitting in with Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band prior to their Songs Of Their Own taping the next day.

This video was the first of many we shot on the backstage patio at Terrapin Crossroads. The space proved to be an ideal backdrop for several Songs Of Their Own sessions and the venue staff has been incredibly accommodating throughout. In addition to his impressive musical resume, LoS frontman Vince Herman revealed an interest in interior design as he spent a fair bit of time rearranging plants and other items that ended up in the video’s background. After careful thought, the “Recycle” sign was deemed appropriate to stay on the wall, though the garbage bin beneath it was removed.

A brief discussion regarding song selection and possibly taping Leftover’s “Pasta On The Mountain” ensued, but after Vince asserted, “It wouldn’t fit the assignment,” he, along with Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn, settled on “Mr. Charlie,” which you can watch below:


The Songs Of Their Own series launched with Anders Osborne and Luther Dickinson performing “Black Muddy River” which can be viewed here. The second entry in the series, Yonder Mountain String Band’s cover of “Shakedown Street,” can be viewed here.
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