Songs Of Their Own | Scott Guberman – Dark Star


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 Scott Guberman explored “Dark Star.”

A standard of early Grateful Dead setlists and perhaps the quintessential example of the band “Dark Star” made its live debut some time in 1967 with noting the first recorded performance took place on December 13, 1967 at the Shrine Exhibition Hall in Los Angeles. A fierce jam vehicle for The Dead, many performances of “Dark Star” stretched into long improvisational journeys lasting well over 20 minutes or more. A truncated studio cut of the Garcia/Hunter track backed by “Born Cross-Eyed” was issued as a single in 1968, selling poorly. Their over 23-minute, February 27, 1969 recording of “Dark Star” from the Fillmore West filled the entire A-side of the 1969 Live/Dead double LP. Played live regularly during the Pigpen era, by 1974 “Dark Star” had become a setlist rarity, performed once in 1978, twice in 1979 and once again in 1981 and 1984. The second night of the “Formerly The Warlocks” Hampton Coliseum two-night stand on October 9, 1989 featured “Dark Star” for what would be the first of several more regular performances. “Dark Star” was played by The Dead a final time at The Omni in Atlanta on March 30, 1994.

A Terrapin Crossroads regular and Bay Area local, keyboardist Scott Guberman dropped by JamBase HQ this week to tape his solo version of the legendary song. Guberman is well versed in the Grateful Dead’s songbook having performed with bassist Phil Lesh in his Phil & Friends ensemble as well as Communion with Phil and his son Grahame Lesh, as well as in many different lineups at the San Rafael venue and beyond. Watch as Scott treats the JamBase staff to a wonderfully and aptly psychedelic solo rendition of “Dark Star.”

Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Jackie Greene, Strangefolk, Midnight North, Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below.