As a host of Grateful Dead & Friends on KBOO for many years, my regular schtik has been to play ‘anniversary shows,’ most of something on or close to my broadcast date or a compilation of several nearby shows. But as I’m on the same week each month (3rd), that can be tricky year after year for certain months, so I decided to periodically produce some themed specials.
One is ‘Grateful Dead Covering Black Artists,’ created for a fund raiser during Black History Month in 2012. A while later I decided to apply the same idea for Jerry’s solo career, hence the ‘Jerry Covers Project.’ Once I compiled the song list, I realized there were musical themes I could use to sensibly organize the broadcasts: jazz, funk/soul, Bob Dylan, perhaps a reggae show, maybe ballads and then just ‘other.’
I’ve created two shows each for the jazz and funk/soul themes, which enabled me to play almost all of the material I collected. The first jazz show and both funk/soul shows are below, split into two mostly equal parts straight from the broadcasts, which is why they will sound like I’m on the air. I’m not sure what happened to the audio from the second jazz show and I’m in the process of recreating it so check back really soon for that. The Bob Dylan show is currently in the works for a likely April 2015 broadcast, with the other broadcasts happening when the time is right, at least one more after Dylan in 2015.
With the ‘Dead Covering Black Artists’ specials, many of the original artists were highly recognizable names. That’s also true for many of the Jerry Covers Project tunes. Certainly musicians like Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, The Temptations, Bob Dylan, Alice Coltrane, The Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles are highly recognizable, but also important were The Sensational Nightingales, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters and The Soul Survivors.
Just like The Grateful Dead and their cover material, Jerry played some of the songs in this special just once, others hundreds of times. Each show features the original of each song followed by a representative cover version by some iteration of a Jerry Garcia solo band. The jazz and funk/soul material is definitely focused on his early-mid 1970s projects, a favorite era of mine.
One note, I didn’t include songs that were performed only when a special guest joined (think James Booker in early 1976, or a couple of times that Bob Weir joined in during the later 1980s for All Along the Watchtower), because Jerry didn’t otherwise play those on his own.
January 2013 (Jazz Show 1 of 2) – Freedom Jazz Dance, Georgia On My Mind, Pennies From Heaven, My Funny Valentine, Summertime
February 2013 (Funk/Soul Show 1 of 2) – Finders Keepers, When I Die, Honey Chile, Are You Lonely for Me, Baby?, Just Kissed My Baby, I Was Made to Love Her
July 2013 (Jazz Show 2 of 2) – Ptah the El Daoud, Valdez in the Country, Little Sunflower, Favela
March 2014 (Funk/Soul Show 2 of 2) – Expressway (to Your Heart), Creep In, Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got, Boogie on Reggae Woman, Lonely Avenue, People Make the World Go ‘Round
April 2015 (Bob Dylan Show) – Tough Mama, It Takes A Lot to Laugh, A Train to Cry, She Belongs To Me, I Shall Be Released, The Wicked Messenger, Positively 4th Street, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Going Going Gone