Tag Archives: Grateful Dead

The Giant Flying Turtles Wow With Waltz To The World Album

20 Oct

Rocking the Brooklyn music scene with their eclectic sound comes The Giant Flying Turtles. Their overall sound characterizes itself as tropical, yet beachy vibes within the tunes of their instruments. The themes of their songs range from coasting and feel good music to experimental musings of the mind. Between mixing lyrics about the seasons, the world, and more, The Giant Flying Turtles definitely have a unique sound.  Attracting audiences of a variety of ages, listeners who enjoy listening to carefree and quirky music will be delighted by The Giant Flying Turtles and their waltz to the world.

For more listening: The Giant Flying Turtles

What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been: Journeying with Jam Bands

29 Sep

Jam bands are special to me.  Any music I listen to, I try to find a live version.  There’s something about knowing a band can recreate their music and actually seeing a band perform that’s so exciting.  My favorite part about Jam Bands is that each and every night they create, for one fleeting moment, music that will never again exist in the same form.

Nothing says jam band like playing over three thousand shows, but never in the same way for the same set list, and the granddaddy of them all never played the same show twice.  Go to The Live Music Archive (a great website for getting free live shows for hundreds of bands) to listen just a few thousand of the Dead shows they offer.  Born from the psychedelic movement in San Fransisco during the 1960’s, the Grateful Dead created flowing jams that fused their psychedelic core with folk, blues, jazz and other American roots music.  Listening to the Dead, while always enjoyable, can be best described by the men themselves, “What a long strange trip its been.”

If you think record sales and radio airplay indicate popularity, you’ve never been to Dave Matthews Band concert.  I just was watching my sister’s Dave videos from the postponed Governor’s Island shows and it was nuts just how crazy the crowds were, not to mention the band was as good as ever.  The diverse instrumentation (electric violin, acoustic and electric guitars, and a horns section) coupled with Dave’s crazy personality and always fascinating lyrics makes this band one of my favorites.

There’s no I in team, but there is an I in Dispatch, which is weird because they’re the ultimate team.  Most songs feature all three members singing, with each one singing lead at different points and all three switching instruments like it’s their job (which it is of course).  In addition to singing harmonies, all three individuals play guitar, bass and some type of percussion.  Their most popular song is “The General,” but all the songs they play live are really good, especially the following entitled Mission.

R.I.P Owsley and Hugh – Bob Dylan…in China? – 1967 Album March Madness UPDATE

14 Mar

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, LSD Pioneer, dies at 76

Owsley Stanley took his last trip Saturday, dying of injuries sustained during a car accident. He was 76. Stanley’s influence on the LSD culture in California during the mid-late 1960’s is often understated. He produced a lot of the drug, yes, but he also inspired musicians and was a successful sound engineer for The Grateful Dead. Stanley, whose nickname was “bear” inspired the band’s dancing bear logo . Lyrics written by The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa reference Stanley and his conflicts with authorities. The Dead’s song “Alice D. Millionaire” is based on an LA Times newspaper headline about Owsley entitled “LSD Millionaire.”


Hugh Martin Jr., composer, dies at 96

Well, it seems the news segment of the Music Court is quite depressing today. Hugh Martin wrote “The Trolley Song” for Judy Garland in the 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” but he is most famous for his beautiful creation “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which, even though it was also written and sung by Garland in the same play, became a staple of Christmas music that still is equally as popular today. Yes, Martin’s composition is still getting air time around 70 years later. The wonder of Christmas nostalgia.

The creation of the song is actually quite interesting and particularly poignant. Originally Martin wrote the lyrics as:

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last. Next year we may all be living in the past.Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more.”

But, while the song does has melancholic implications, a wise studio executive told Martin that the lyrics did have to be somewhat more uplifting. So, Martin went back and drew up what we now listen to today (starting in October – it seems) incessantly.

Here is a great version of the classic from Katie Melua:


Bob Dylan Approved to Play in China

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

Bob Dylan will be doing (above picture) in China. Yes, after scheduling dates in China last year only to be turned down, Dylan finally gained permission from China’s Ministry of Culture to perform in Beijing between March 30th and April 12th.

Dylan, who seemingly has played in every country, will be playing in China for the first time.

This, from the Rolling Stone article about the subject:

“The approval notice for Dylan’s appearance in Beijing will require him to stick with a setlist that has been vetted by Chinese officials. No details have been released regarding what Dylan material was deemed appropriate for Chinese audiences, but it is likely that his more politically oriented songs did not make the cut.”

LOL! Yeah, I don’t think “Blowin’ in The Wind” or “The Times They Are A’ Changin” will be played for the Chinese audience, especially now at the outset of recent protests quashed in China. I envision the setlist being quite conservative, focused mainly on blues. But, let’s be real China Ministry of Culture, Americans, who speak Dylan’s native language, cannot even understand what he is saying anymore. Do you really think a Chinese audience will understand?



After a couple of days of voting I have a quick update of the March Madness 1967 album Bracket Competition, where we are pinning the best albums of that year up against eachother.

Currently, the 1 vs. 16 battle is being led by heavily favored Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band 7-0. This can be voted on by following this link:


Other Match-Ups:

#2 seed The Doors leads Days of Future Passed 6-1

#3 seed Are You Experienced is beating Procol Harum 6-1

and…our only potential upset chance thus far (it seems)

#4 seed Magical Mystery Tour is only beating Velvet Underground and Nico by three votes 5-2

The above can be voted on by following this link: https://musiccourt.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/march-1967-madness-continues-2-vs-15-3-vs-14-4-vs-13/

More first round match-ups will be posted up on Wednesday so sit tight and VOTE!


Traveling the Dark Star

24 Jul

“Shall we go, you and I
While we can?
Through the transitive nightfall
of diamonds”

-Robert Hunter from “Dark Star”

Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter claimed that this obscure lyric was the first he ever wrote with San Francisco psychedelic superstars, the Grateful Dead. In my opinion, the “transitive nightfall of diamonds” is the obfuscated world of dreams, both tenebrous and terrifyingly apparent. Today, I entered the dream of Christopher Nolan and experienced his new film, “Inception.” It explored different levels of consciousness in wicked cool dream-like action scenes and it sustained a deep message about loss, memory, and guilt. It was not overly complicated. Heck, it’s as easy as saying, well it’s all dreams.

I am not a movie critic so I will stop with my poor review. But, Nolan’s phantasmagorical film did get me thinking about the anagogic subject of dreams and movies. And, wouldn’t you know it, after a quick online search for some fresh court links I came across some news on a movie about one famous guitarist who entered the unknown close to 15 years ago…well, who knows, maybe he just woke up.

Before the long strange trip began

The long-awaited Jerry Garcia biopic finally has a script and a director. Amir Bar-Lev, director of “The Tillman Story” will take Topper Lilien’s screenplay, which is based on of Robert Greenfield’s book, “Dark Star,” and turn it into a motion picture. The movie will focus on Garcia…before the Dead. Now, the question is…who will play Jerry Garcia?

Link: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118022032.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&ref=vertfilm

Zach Galifianakis (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

Jerry Garcia


Furthur * Barton Hall (Cornell University) * Concert Review and Set-List

16 Feb

I was among the many who witnessed the live ageing of  65-year-old Roger Daltrey and 64-year-old Pete Townshend on the main stage of this past Superbowl halftime show. It was depressing seeing two men who had once galloped youthfully around the stage with fervor attempt to recapture this fire. Yes, I do understand that they are in their mid-60’s but, still, there was something odd about the spiritless performance. I saw Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, both members of the English rock band The Who who have lost their bassist John Entwistle and Keith Moon to death in 2002 and 1978 respectively, a few years ago. The concert was strong and entertaining, but, somewhere in the years since it, they have lost a little something. On the television screen I was more worried that Townshend was going to break his arm doing his famous windmill than I was excited to see The Who play.

Yet, there are two performers who are in a similar position to The Who (with band members lost through the years) that have continued truckin’ and playing sold-out, creative shows for the most interesting crowds. (Those who know the two members of Furthur…Do you like what I did with the last sentence?) Bob Weir, 62, and Phil Lesh who is five years older than Pete Townshend, both former members of the most famous eccentric jam band of all time, The Grateful Dead,  are still together and playing stronger than ever. On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, Furthur (which also features Dark Star Orchestra guitarist John Kadlecik and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti) played a tremendous show in famous airplane hangar/current Cornell campus field house Barton Hall. Barton Hall, which most deadheads, the most loyal fans of the Grateful Dead, will tell you was the sight of one of the greatest Dead concerts of all time in May of 1977.


“Concert Photography by David Oppenheimer”

The concert really began for me while I drove through Cornell campus after grabbing dinner with my girlfriend and brother. Lining the street leading up to Barton Hall were a line of long-haired old and young hippies, rusty yellow school buses used for transit from concert to concert, and various vendors selling unknown goods for flexible prices. I felt like I was sent back to the 60’s (which I never really experienced), but, the only difference was that it was insanely cold and windy walking to the hall. Quite a reversal from the sunny days of California.

Inside, we leisurely walked our away towards the front of the stage and ended up around 10-20 feet away. One thing great about Grateful Dead, or any combination of their members, shows is that there is always a nice amount of space between people. Unlike most standing concerts people are not packed together like a crowded elevator. Proper room is given for hippie dancing (the best type of dancing) which involves swaying and, according to a guy next to me for the second half of the concert some sort of hyper-sexualized praying.

Yeah, Kind of Like This (To a bit of a lesser scale)

The people who crowd the arenas that Bob Weir and Phil Lesh perform in are a diverse and mellow group. Most interestingly, a variety of people (from hippies to hicks to students, sorry to label everyone) love the band and, for each night they perform, they all unite and collectively sing each song in a stoned choir. It is beautiful and Weir and Lesh cannot help but smile at the crowds they create. Oh yeah, I am forgetting the best part of the concert. The music.

The night began with a cover of Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour” which was done to absolute precision. It was a solid cover with some great soloing and after the concert I realized how perfect of a choice it was to open the concert (the concert almost ran until midnight). Furthur then exploded into some Dead Winterland 73′ material. I apologize for getting deadhead on you all but, “They Love Each Other,” (which also was played at the original Barton Hall concert in 1977) “Beat It On Down The Line,” and the fantastic “Tennessee Jed” sing-along were played at the famous Grateful Dead concerts at Winterland in 1973. The crowd loved “Tennessee Jed,” helping Weir sing the hook “Tennessee, Tennessee, There ain’t no place I’d rather be, Baby won’t you carry me, Back to Tennessee .”

A product of the 60’s folk movement “Fennario” was played next followed by “Looks Like Rain,” which has become a Bob Weir staple at his shows with RatDog. “Sugaree” was next in line and Furthur rocked the hall with its awesome tune. The soloing was done with such awesome intensity that I was surprised they were actually performing it. A cover of The Young Rascals’ “Good Lovin” closed the first set excellently and left the crowd longing after its finish.

After intermission Furthur came out and just played “Uncle John’s Band” (no big deal or anything) in easily the best performance of the night. I am a little biased because it is my favorite Dead song but the performance was excellent. “Peaceful Valley,” “Ashes and Glass,” “Unbroken Chain” and “Morning Dew” (which was played at the original Barton Hall concert as well) were played next and prepared the crowd for the three songs that closed the concert (before the loud encore of Samson and Delilah, otherwise known as the Dead song that repeats “If I had my way”) Included in this list of songs was “The Other One,” “Standing on the Moon” and, of course, “China Cat Sunflower.” The close of the concert was, simply put, a diapason of sound that echoed throughout the hangar into a sweet symphony.

Concert Conclusion: You cannot judge a musician’s performance by his age. With age some musicians quality of performance may decrease, but, like a fine and aged wine, others may become better. Bob Weir and Phil Lesh are proof.

He was playing this bass. It is obviously cool enough for its own picture and caption


Set 1: In The Midnight Hour>
They Love each Other
Beat It On Down The Line
Tennessee Jed,Fennario
Looks Like Rain, Sugaree
Good Lovin’

Set 2: Uncle John’s Band>
Peaceful Valley> Ashes & Glass
Unbroken Chain> Morning Dew>
The Other One> China Cat Sunflower
Standing On The Moon>
I Know You Rider

Encore: Samson & Delilah

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