Jerry Garcia – Deal

I haven’t heard this song as much as Sugaree but I like it almost just as well.

It is so well crafted and it swings with the best of them. This was off of his debut Garcia album and his voice is in perfect form. When I think of Jerry Garcia I never think…hmm great vocalist… but this changes my mind. His voice is so clear…it shows what a good vocalist Garcia could be. Robert Hunter’s words flow through you while Garcia’s guitar dances all around. He tops it off with a versatile solo.

The album is a mix of folk, country, blues, jazz, experimental,  and rock. I love the roots music because it’s so clean and genuine. He made the album in 1971 with mostly himself. Bill Kreutzmann (Dead Drummer) was the only other musician credited on Garcia, which was recorded at Wally Heider’s Studio D in San Francisco in July 1971 and released in January 1972.

Garcia also did the album for a cash infusion to buy a house for himself and Carolyn Adams (Mountain Girl) and two children. This was recorded a year after Working Man’s Dead and American Beauty…considered two of the best Grateful Dead albums. Many of the songs on this album became staples for the Grateful Dead in concert.

Bill Kreutzmann was credited as co-writer on 5 of the tracks and Garcia and Hunter on 5 tracks. Robert Hunter also collaborated with Bob Dylan on songs Duquesne Whistle, Ugliest Girl In The World, and the minor hit Silvio. He also co-wrote all but one track on the  Bob Dylan album Together Through Life released in 2009.

Jerry Garcia on making the album:  I’m doing it to be completely self-indulgent—musically. I’m just going on a trip. I have a curiosity to see what I can do and I’ve a desire to get into 16-track and go on trips which are too weird for me to want to put anybody else I know through. And also to pay for this house! 

Jerry Garcia: I’ll probably end up doing it with a lot of people. So far I’m only working with Bill Kreutzmann because I can’t play drums. But everything else I’m going to try to play myself. Just for my own edification. What I’m going to do is what I would do if I had a 16-track at home, I’m just going to goof around with it. And I don’t want anyone to think that it’s me being serious or anything like that—it’s really me goofing around. I’m not trying to have my own career or anything like that. There’s a lot of stuff that I feel like doing and the Grateful Dead, just by fact that it’s now a production for us to go out and play, we can’t get as loose as we had been able to, so I’m not able to stay as busy as I was. It’s just a way to keep my hand in so to speak, without having to turn on a whole big scene. In the world that I live in there’s the Grateful Dead which is one unit which I’m a part of and then there’s just me. And the me that’s just me, I have to keep my end up in order to be able to take care of my part of the Grateful Dead. So rather than sit home and practice—scales and stuff—which I do when I’m together enough to do it—I go out and play because playing music is more enjoyable to me than sitting home and playing scales.

Deal

Since it costs a lot to win, and even more to lose,
You and me bound to spend some time wond’rin’ what to choose.
Goes to show, you don’t ever know,
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round,
Don’t you let that deal go down, no, no.

I been gamblin’ hereabouts for ten good solid years,
If I told you all that went down it would burn off both of your ears.
Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round,
Don’t you let that deal go down, no, no.

Since you poured the wine for me and tightened up my shoes,
I hate to leave you sittin’ there, composin’ lonesome blues.
Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down.

Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down,
Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down,
Don’t you let that deal go down, don’t you let that deal go down.

Jerry Garcia – Sugaree

I remember this song on the radio in the seventies. Of all places, it was played a lot at our local skating rink. It’s high on the list of my favorite songs. It wasn’t the best song written by Garcia and Hunter but I can listen to it at any time. Probably the first Dead…or close to a Dead song I ever heard. The song has stuck with me my entire life.

Jerry Garcia played most of the instruments on this album except drums and Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann handled those. Sugaree was on the Garcia album released in 1972. He had teamed up with other players in the past but this was his first solo album. The song peaked at #94 on the Billboard 100 in 1972. I always liked the vague lyrics to this song. I first thought it was about death… you can take it a lot of ways.

The Grateful Dead did this live many times…Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter wrote this song. The Dead made their reputation live. They got very little radio play and didn’t sell many albums, but they are one of the top-grossing concert acts of all time.

Like the Allman Brothers, they formed a family atmosphere with their crew and it extended to their audience. From the early Kool-Aid acid tests to later on allowing the audience to tape their shows drew their audience closer. They would later give them their own section to record in…while other bands like Led Zeppelin would send people to bust their tape recorder or head. Garcia commented: Well, my feelings are, the music is for the people…I mean after it leaves our instruments it’s of no value to us, ya know what I mean? it’s like, ya know…what good is it? So it might as well be taped, my feeling is that..and if people enjoy taping it and enjoy having the tapes to listen to, that’s real great. “

They never played the same show twice. They would take songs in different directions and Garcia has said that he couldn’t play something twice the same. He just wasn’t built like that. That made every show unique…not that every show was great. The Dead has admitted they had their share of bad ones.

On Deadheads following them around the country: “Well, it’s obviously very important to them. And more than that, it’s giving them an adventure. They have stories to tell. Like, “Remember that time we had to go all the way to Colorado and we had to hitchhike the last 400 miles because the VW broke down in Kansas.” Or something like that. Y’know what I mean? That’s giving them a whole common group of experiences which they can talk about. For a lot of people, going to Grateful Dead concerts is like bumping into a bunch of old friends.”

Bill Kreutzmann…if you get a chance read his book Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead. I covered it here a while back. It’s an education in the rock world…or the Dead world of the 60s through the 90s. If you are offended by drugs, sex, and great music…pass it by.

Robert Hunter: “Sugaree was written soon after I moved from the Garcia household to China Camp. People assume the idea was cadged from Elizabeth Cotten’s ‘Sugaree,’ but, in fact, the song was originally titled ‘Stingaree,’ which is a poisonous South Sea manta. The phrase ‘just don’t tell them that you know me’ was prompted by something said by an associate in my pre-Dead days when my destitute circumstances found me fraternizing with a gang of minor criminals. What he said, when departing, was: ‘Hold your mud and don’t mention my name.’

“Why change the title to ‘Sugaree’? Just thought it sounded better that way, made the addressee seem more hard-bitten to bear a sugar-coated name. The song, as I imagined it, is addressed to a pimp. And yes, I knew Libba’s song, and did indeed borrow the new name from her, suggested by the ‘Shake it’ refrain.”

Bill Kreutzmann Drummer for the Dead: The album, Garcia, was cut at Wally Heider Studios in July 1971 and released by Warner Brothers the following January. There are a lot of songs on there that became Grateful Dead mainstays, in addition to “Deal”—we’re talking about straight-up classics like “Sugaree,” “Loser,” and “The Wheel.” Also, “Bird Song” is on there, which, to this day, is one of my all-time favorite Dead songs and one of my absolute favorite songs to play live (along with “Dark Star” and “The Other One”).

When I want musicians I’m playing with to learn any of those songs, I give them the Garcia versions. They’re just so good. I had a really great time making that album. Dealing exclusively with Jerry was the most effortless thing in the world. I didn’t have to do anything other than be myself. And play.

Cocaine was our special guest throughout those recording sessions, but you’d never be able to tell because everything was very laid back. I have no idea how we were able to do that, because cocaine isn’t exactly known for its relaxing properties. Maybe it was just the dynamic between us that made it all so … easy.

Sugaree

When they come to take you down
When they bring that wagon round
When they come to call on you
and drag your poor body down

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

You thought you was the cool fool
Never could do no wrong
Had everything sewed up tight
How come you lay awake all night long?

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

You know in spite of all you gained
you still have to stand out in the pouring rain
One last voice is calling you
and I guess it’s time you go

Just one thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
My darlin Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell them that you know me

Shake it up now, Sugaree
I’ll meet you at the Jubilee
If that Jubilee don’t come
Maybe I’ll meet you on the run

One thing I ask of you
Just one thing for me
Please forget you knew my name
my darling Sugaree

Shake it, shake it Sugaree
but don’t tell them that you know me
Shake it, shake it Sugaree
Just don’t tell ’em that you know me