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 participant Pete Pidgeon flew with “Wharf Rat.”
“Wharf Rat” was one of five original songs debuted by the Grateful Dead to begin a six night stand at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York on February 18, 1971. Born in the middle of a first set “Dark Star” that night in 1971, the story of a down-on-his-luck wine drinking August West became an inspiration for a collective of sober Deadheads who began calling themselves “Wharf Rats” while organizing supportive meetings at Dead shows. Regularly in the band’s rotation from 1971 on, The Dead’s final performance of the Hunter/Garcia composition came June 25, 1995 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The first of our remotely shot videos, Pete Pidgeon filmed his version of “Wharf Rat” in his home state of Colorado at Colorado Sound in Denver. The guitarist and vocalist who leads the Denver-based Pete Pidgeon and Arcoda recorded without his bandmates, offering a touching solo rendition backed only by his subtle dobro playing.
Credits – Collective Multi-Media – videography, editing – Recorded, Mixed, Mastered by Jesse O’Brien
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:
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