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 and culminating with our grand finale 50th video premiering the day of the final Fare Thee Well show in Chicago on July 5. We started the series with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and asked many of our favorite artists to record cover versions either 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 Voodoo Switch shared “Jack Straw.”
The Grateful Dead debuted “Jack Straw” along with several other songs the night of keyboardist Keith Godchaux’s first show as a member of the band on October 19, 1971 at the Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis. That night guitarist Bob Weir handled lead vocals on the song he penned with Robert Hunter, as he would continue to do until their May 3, 1972 concert at Olympia Theatre in Paris when Jerry Garcia began sharing verses with Bobby (the Paris “Jack Straw” was included on the band’s Europe ‘72 live album). “Jack Straw” soon became a staple of their shows, often filling the opener role, as it did the last time it was performed live at the second to final Grateful Dead concert at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 8, 1995.
Bay Area-based five-piece Voodoo Switch set up recently at the JamBase offices for a mostly acoustic rendition of “Jack Straw.” Guitarists Chris Reale and Victor Ballesteros handled the Weir and Garcia lead vocals as the funk-forward outfit showcased a more subdued but still energetic side to their sound.
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.