Friday, November 9, 2012

Keep On..."Truckin'" (The Grateful Dead in song and story )

Back in the late 1960's--early 1970's it seemed this poster art by famed cartoonist R.Crumb was everywhere from posters in my classes in school to kiosks and billboards in some of the seedier stretches of town. No other single image to me quite captures that era as well,and few songs evoke that time better.

(from Wikipedia)

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California.[1][2] The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk,bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock,[3][4] and for live performances of long musical improvisation.[5][6] "Their music," writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists."[7] These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world."[8] They were ranked 57th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine.[9] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University (May 8, 1977) was added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.[10]

In 1970 the California band calledThe Grateful Dead released an album called "American Beauty". The Dead were more prominent as a road band not heard often enough on Top 40 AM radio but a hit with older teens and young adults who found their music in the back of record stores after hearing them on the more daring FM album rock stations and by hearing them live in concerts.

They are well known for their devoted hard-core fans, called "Dead Heads" as for their music. Part-rock, part folk and part psychadelic, they became a mainstream phenomenon without any of the oversized corporate backing that other bands receive today. I never saw them live, which real fans thought was the only way to see them, but I still enjoyed their music and especially this deeply personal song that captures life on the road and the zeitgeist of the pop culture of a fertile and dynamic era.

The year before the "Grateful Dead" was formed, Jerry Garcia's band The Warlocks was formed as one of the pioneering rock groups of the "San Francisco Sound".    

This song was my favorite in those days and I'm glad to see that the tune has transcended its time and been deemed a National Treasure in 1997 by the usually staid Library of Congress!  

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