I have hosted a Grateful Dead program, Unbroken Chain, on KBOO Radio since the late 1990s (monthly, 3rd Sat @ Noon PDT). I often play music from a show or three, close in date to my live radio broadcast date. But I’ve also produced several series of themed programs to draw focus to various aspects of their repertoire.
Each February KBOO celebrates Black History Month on air with relevant programming. In 2012, my broadcast week that month was also during an on-air fund raising drive. Wanting to combine all these elements into my show, I decided to find the songs covered by The Grateful Dead that were written and/or first recorded by black artists.
Many of you will recognize the artists Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters and Otis Redding, as well as songs like Dancing in the Street, In the Midnight Hour, Turn on Your Lovelight and Johnny B. Goode. But I have many more obscure songs (Jock-A-Mo, If I Had My Way) and artists (Lemme B. Good, Noah Lewis, James ‘Sugar Boy’ Crawford and Blind Lemon Jefferson) included. The Dead played some of the songs in this special just once, others hundreds of times.
Each show featured the original of each song followed by a representative cover version by the Grateful Dead. Sometimes I played more than more than one of each, listen to find out which songs and why. Now you can listen to the first two broadcasts (2 parts each).
I hope you’ll hear and learn something new by listening – I sure did while producing it all.
I will post shows 3 and 4, after my January 2015 broadcast when I’ll create #4.
These excellent websites provided invaluable assistance in my production efforts:
My working song list (red = already played). This 8-page PDF has more details. Enjoy!