They say the show ain’t over till the fat man melts, but that particular show has been over for quite some time now. Yup, Jerry Garcia would have turned 65 today, and I don’t really know what else to say about that. Maybe I’ll just quote Dylan’s eulogy again and link some tunes?
There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think any eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great, much more than a superb musician, with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He’s the very spirit personified of whatever is Muddy River country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There’s a lot of spaces and advances between The Carter Family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep. — Bob Dylan
There’s tons of Jerry on YouTube: with Rick Danko and Janis on the Festival Express, backstage at Woodstock, warming up with Crazy Fingers, playing Bird Song in 1980 and Eyes of the World in ’91, and taking it way out with Branford — but instead here’s the late ballad So Many Roads, which you just have to love in spite of Jerry’s shorts, Bob’s undershirt, and more than a few flubs.
The Fader had a nice tribute issue a few months back; you can download the entire thing as pdf. Dig deep into the Dead vault at Live Music Archive and David Lemieux’ Taper’s Section. New York heads are celebrating Garcia’s birthday with the Zen Tricksters at B.B. King’s tonight.
Okay, one last tune: I Shall Be Released with the Jerry Garcia Band, 10/31/87:[audio:I Shall Be Released-Jerry Garcia Band.mp3]