Welcome back to the third installment of “The Unofficial 31 Days of Dead.” The past two years were so much fun that I decided to do it again. The idea for these compilations came about after dead.net ran its “30 Days of Dead” in November 2010. While the Deadhead community at large was no doubt thrilled to receive previously unreleased tracks from the band’s vast archives, many of us were hoping for just a bit…more. Hey, we are Deadheads – we are always hoping for more! Therefore, I thought it might be fun to keep the music flowing by selecting my own daily picks. The month of December seemed more than appropriate since New Year’s Eve celebrations were such a big part of the Grateful Dead. Let’s think of these daily picks as an advent calendar leading up to New Year’s Eve. Unlike the “Official 30 Days of Dead,” there is no contest here. Instead, the prize is the music and the winner is the listener.
[Artwork by Brian Levine]
Me & My Uncle
2/22/74 Winterland, San Francisco, CA
According to Deadbase, Me & My Uncle was played over 600 times making it one of the most frequently played songs in the Dead’s repertoire. Repetition breeds familiarity which breeds boredom. So, why would I waste one of my precious 31 picks on what many fans consider to be a throw-away song? Well, sometimes a version of an overplayed song can take you by surprise and this is one of those times. It certainly caught my attention the first time I heard it. So, saddle up partner and crank up this highly charged version of Me & My Uncle from the first show of 1974 at Winterland.
Bobby growls the lyrics, Keith lays down his best honky-tonk piano and Jerry wields his guitar like a Colt ’45. His all-too brief guitar solo reaches an incredible peak that sounds as if he physically loses his footing from the sheer force of playing the final devastating note. The searing intensity gives Bobby the confidence of a Texas cowboy riding bareback on wild horses. You know it’s a great version when he changes the lyrics from “I shot him down, he never saw” to “I grabbed a bottle, cracked him in the jaw.” Wa-hoo! Saloon rock at its finest.