Happy Birthday Jerry Garcia: Solo Albums Outtakes & Bonus Material Spotify Playlist
Today would have been Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia’s 78th birthday. Garcia’s untimely death on August 9, 1995 brought a tragic end to his storied career at the all-too-young age of just 53.
For 25 years, Jerry’s life and music has been celebrated during the “Days Between” his August 1 birthday and the anniversary of his death on August 9. Various tributes and concerts have been offered in honor of Garcia over the past quarter-century, and starting today the Jerry Garcia Family and Grateful Dead’s charity organization the Rex Foundation will begin the nine-day Daze Between online celebration.
JamBase will also celebrate Jerry Garcia during the days between August 1 and August 9, starting with this edition of Saturday Stream. Each weekday during the coming week will feature an article taking a deep dive into one of Jerry’s solo records. Those essays will examine the standard releases of the LPs, with the bonus material included on the expanded editions making up the Spotify Playlist below.
In 1972, Jerry released his debut solo album entitled Garcia, playing all of the instruments on the record except the drums that were provided by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kruetzmann. Several songs, written with Garcia’s longtime partner, lyricist Robert Hunter, became staples of the Dead’s live repertoire. Three of the Garcia bonus tracks are alternate takes of what became Dead tunes, “Sugaree,” “Loser” and “The Wheel.” There are two versions of “The Wheel,” which are notable for featuring Garcia on pedal steel guitar. There is also an alternate version of the suite of instrumental songs, “Late For Supper”/“Spidergawd”/“Eep Hour.” Additional Garcia bonus tracks are “study” takes of “The Wheel” and “Eep Hour” as well as a brief jam based on “Dealin’ from the Bottom.”
In 1974, Garcia’s second Garcia-titled solo album, known as Compliments, was released featuring nine covers and a new original co-written by Hunter and bassist John Kahn, with the latter also producing the LP. With the help of Kahn as well as several other musicians including keyboardist Merl Saunders, drummer Ron Tutt and guitarist , Garcia recorded (at least) nine additional covers that were left off of Compliments but were part of the expanded edition along with the funky jam “Cardiac Arrest.” Many of those outtakes became Jerry Garcia Band live favorites such as “(I’m a) Road Runner” by Holland/Dozier/Holland, “That’s A Touch I Like” by Jesse Winchester and “It’s Too Late (She’s Gone)” by Chuck Willis. Garcia’s bluegrass roots can be heard on James F. Hanley/Ballard MacDonald’s “Indiana (Back Home Again in Indiana)” with Garcia’s Old & In The Way band mates, Vassar Clements on fiddle and David Grisman on mandolin.
In 1976, Reflections was released featuring a mix of covers and Garcia/Hunter originals. Half of the tracks were recorded by Garcia and then-members of the Jerry Garcia Band, including Tutt, Kahn and keyboardists Larry Knechtel and Nicky Hopkins. The other half of the album was recorded by Garcia and his Grateful Dead band mates. Bonus material from Reflections includes JGB covers of Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” Fats Domino’s “All By Myself,” Elizabeth Cotten’s “Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” and Hank Williams’ “You Win Again.” There’s also a 16-minute studio jam recorded by the Grateful Dead that was labeled “Orpheus.” All of the songs and outtakes (except “Orpheus”) on Reflections were regularly played live by Garcia or the Dead — in some instances by both.
In 1978, the first Jerry Garcia Band album, Cats Under The Stars was released containing six new Garcia/Hunter songs, along with one written by Grateful Dead/JGB vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux and one composed by Kahn. Only one of the songs on the original Cats release crossed-over to the Dead’s performances, while nearly all the others caught live action with Garcia’s various solo projects. Garcia recorded the album with Kahn, Tutt, Godchaux and her husband and Grateful Dead/JGB keyboardist Keith Godchaux, along with vocalist Maria Muldaur and a few others. Taken from “previously unreleased studio recordings from November 1976” and “previously unreleased outtakes from the Cats Under The Stars recording sessions in 1977,” the LP’s bonus tracks are made up of covers of “Magnificent Sanctuary Band,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Mighty High” and “Don’t Let Go” from ’76 along with “I’ll Be With Thee,” Kahn’s “Down Home” and Garcia/Hunter’s “Palm Sunday” from the ’77 latter sessions.
In 1982, Garcia’s final solo studio album, Run For The Roses, was released and again presented a blend of Garcia/Hunter originals and covers. Keyboardist Melvin Seals was part of the recording sessions that also included familiar Garcia cohorts, Tutt, Saunders and Kahn. The album featured a closing cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” which Garcia brought to the Dead’s repertoire as well. The outtakes — culled from sessions in 1979 and 1981 — feature covers of Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” and “Simple Twist Of Fate” and a Garcia/Hunter original that was also recorded by the Grateful Dead, “Alabama Getaway.” Additional Run For The Roses bonus tracks were covers of the traditional “Peggy-O” and The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence,” along with an alternate version of the Garcia/Hunter original “Valerie.”
Stay tuned for deep dives into each of Jerry Garcia’s five solo albums coming this week during the Days Between. Get started with the Spotify Playlist below featuring the bonus material from each record: